Friday, May 30, 2008

Nokia E61 Preview

It's been a long time this phone has been on the market, 2 years as of this writing, but it still competes well against current phones - sharing much of its hardware with the current Blackberry-styled E-series phone, the Nokia E61i.

Sporting quadband (850, 900, 1800, 1900) GSM and WCDMA 2100 support, a QWERTY keyboard, and large 2.8 inch screen, the Nokia E61 is a great phone if you're looking for a alternative to Blackberry and Windows Mobile:

Initial impressions are very good with a tight joystick control, relatively thin at the bottom (but a tad too thick at the top), an impressively bright and large 2.8 inch screen, and large battery. The back battery cover creeked so I placed a piece of paper napkin under it and that removed the creek. Nokia should have put some rubber behind the battery cover.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Nokia E61!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting GPS and maps the easy way: Nokia Maps 1.0

This is the easiest way to get maps on a Nokia S60 and it's totally free if you turn off A-GPS and pre-load the maps.

If you don't have Nokia Maps on your phone already, you'll need to download Nokia Maps to your device. And if you want to pre-load the maps to your phone you'll been to download the Nokia Map Loader to your PC. You'll also need a USB data cable to pre-load maps. Both of them can be downloaded at:

Note: For S40 users, you can't added Nokia Maps to your phone. You must have it already included (pre-installed) in your phone's firmware. Some phones with Nokia Maps S40 support: Nokia 6300i, 6600 classic, 6600 slide, 3600 slide

If you intend to pre-load maps and want to avoid data charges like I do:
  1. Turn on Nokia Maps
  2. Go to: Options > Settings > Network
  3. Set "Use network" to "Never"

If you select the use data as needed option then it will prompt you for data access when you move to a location you don't have a map for.

Pre-Loading the Maps through your PC:
  1. Connect your phone to your your PC
  2. Set your phone to Data Transfer
  3. Launch Nokia Maps Loader
  4. The only instructions you'll be getting:

    Click the button at the bottom
  5. The Nokia Map Loader window will open:
  6. Click on the > to expand and drill down to the map you want
  7. Click + to download the map. So clicking + beside America will download all maps for North and South America so that includes Canada and the United States.
  8. The right pane under "Selection" shows what you've selected for download and install to your phone.
  9. Click download.

Note: You can delete all the maps from your phone by clicking "Delete maps from storage".

Nokia Maps loads map cumulative so you don't have to reload maps you already have on your phone, it will merely add maps to the ones you already have. But you can't see which maps you have installed on your phone via Nokia Map Loader. To remove the maps you don't want any more, for those moments you need to free up space on your memory card, you need to delete all maps on your phone and re-load the maps you need.

If you're planning a long road trip, you will need to obtain maps to every state/province you plan to drive through or Nokia Maps will not be able to provide directions. Garmin provides a base map with major roads by default so specific state/province maps are not required.

Let's disconnect your phone from your PC and launch Nokia Maps.

Before your phone gets a GPS lock, you're greeted by a globe. If you're willing to pay for data, you can speed up the GPS lock by enabling assisted GPS (A-GPS) by going out of Nokia Maps to the phone menu, click Tools > Settings > General > Positioning and enabling Assisted GPS. I personally keep this off since I roam a lot.

When your phone has acquired a GPS lock, Nokia Maps will zoom into your location. You can return to your location at any time by hitting '0' on your keypad. The look of the map is clean.

Too bad the 3D view doesn't differ much from the 2D since the viewing angle difference is so insignificant.

Moving around the map with the d-pad is smooth and there are no loading or "drawing" delays commonly seen on low end GPS devices.

Video of browsing maps in Nokia Maps 1.0:

With Options you will find the following:
-- Find
---- GPS location
---- Address (type out the full address)
---- keyword search (if you know the name of a place and you're lucky it's listed as a POI, this is the fastest way to find something)
---- Nearby
---- Guides
---- Recent
---- Landmarks (special POIs)
-- Use this place
---- Search nearby
---- Route from
---- Route to
---- Navigate to
---- Send
-- Extra Services (purchase Guides or navigation)
-- Map Options (Zooming, 2D/3D, Categories (choosing which POI types appear on the map), Change map colours (switch between brighter day to dimer night mode map colours), and Satellite Info (which is my favorite feature of Nokia Maps and I describe later)

I'm glad Nokia added the shortcuts for each of the functions in brackets such as zooming in and out. The more I see the shortcut the better I remember them.

Using route to, route from, and navigation you can have Nokia Maps calculate the "best" path from the start point to the end point. "Best" path is determined by the criteria you set in Options > Settings > Routing. Here you can avoid things like Ferry, Tunnel, and Toll road. There are many cases where "fastest" route is not the fastest as traffic is not factored and sometimes creates routes with a lot of turns.

With navigation, much of the screen real estate is spent on icons and text, you don't see much of the map:

Without paying you won't get voice turn by turn navigation but you will get navigation simulation and a limited navigation through Options > Use this place > Navigate to. I was watching the navigation simulation for a while and I got really bored so I doubt anyone without patience, like me, would use it.

Video of Navigation Simulation in Nokia Maps 1.0:

A very valuable feature of map software are its points of interest (POI). I find myself frequently pulling out my phone to look up the closest parking lot or gas station by the airport and it's nice to be able to do that within the GPS software so I can easily have it calculate a route without re-entering the information.

A few points of interest are included with the maps but accuracy is questionable. For example, there is a McDonald's and Wendy's by my place that have been there for a couple years, McDonald's shows up and Wendy's does not while a Boston Market appears on the map but no longer exists in real life. If you want more POI you can purchase guides but I think it's risky given the included POI are hit or miss. Of the points of interest included, you can hover over the icons on the maps and when the cursor locks onto the icon you can click Option > Show Detail.

It's not pretty. If you want to call the place, you need to have to go back to Option > Call. You don't see the number you're calling until you make the call.

If you have screen rotation on your phone like the N82 and N95 (new firmware only) then you can rotate the screen to get it in portrait mode. I personally prefer letter mode since you can see further ahead instead of to the sides.

One of my favorite features in Nokia Maps is the ability to monitor the GPS lock on.

Go to: Options > Map options > Satellite Info

Here you will see how many satellites your GPS has connected to. The bars will fluctuate with various lengths. The longer the bar the closer to a position lock. You need 4 satellites to get the initial GPS lock but only 3 satellites to maintain a GPS lock.

Nokia Maps come with most S60 phones and it's very convenient that maps are free and accessible through the air as well as pre-loading via PC. Nokia Maps shines in its presentation and easy to navigate map. Nokia Maps stumbles with its numerous routing options, weak POI, and limited usefulness of the 3D view. Nokia did a very good job in its first version and most users will find everything they need in Nokia Maps. Power users will likely look elsewhere for maps with better POI. I found Nokia Maps only useful for walking around and having it tell me where i am. It's good for exploring the area around me since moving around the map is fast, smooth, and I didn't buy navigation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The S60 Road Warrior, Part 1: Finding my way around

You could be travelling in a different city each week or just exploring your own city, a GPS is a valuable tool to help you find your way. Just last week I used it to find a detour to avoid an accident on my way to Yankee stadium and find a close parking lot to the stadium.

Unlike the "GPS" pushed by your wireless carrier for phones that clearly do not have GPS (Motorola RAZR and first generation Apple iPhone) and rely on triangulation of cellular towers, a real GPS relies on a clear view to the sky to connect to a GPS satellite to give you your position accurate to within a few meters (accuracy depends on your GPS receiver). Moreover, a real GPS does not need to use cellular data if you have the right map software and maps already installed.

Most of Nokia's recent S60 include a GPS receiver but if it doesn't, you can always get a bluetooth GPS receiver and pair your S60 phone to it. The benefit to having a bluetooth GPS is that your handset's battery is not drained as quickly. But you have one more thing to carry and that's one more thing you;re likely to forget to bring when you really need it. There were a few times I was lost in New York City and relied on my GPS to find my way back to the hotel.

A couple years ago I plotted my trips on paper maps. With the advent of the Internet and MapQuest/Google Maps, I plotted my trips online and printed out the directions. But now with a GPS, I can jump into my car and plot an address or place of interest onto a map program.

Unlike the GPS products you buy from BestBuy or Fry's, S60 phones don't usually come with maps pre-installed onto the phone or memory card. You may also need to download the map software and install it to the phone. It's a little more complicated than buying a dedicated GPS but you the flexibility to choose the map program.

With each mapping program comes pros and cons so it's important to evaluate each one before purchasing. The most common mapping programs available for S60 and support Nokia's internal GPS in North America are Nokia Maps, Garmin XT, and Google Maps. Here is a brief list of pros and cons of each before I going into detail on how to get them set up on your phone:

Nokia Maps 1.0
Pro: Usually installed by default. Installable over the air. maps are free, maps can be downloaded over the air (wifi or data)

Con: Turn by turn navigation is charged by subscription. Pay for Points of Interest (POI) guides that are not up to date for North America. Pre-loading of maps requires a data cable. If you choose to install maps from your computer, Nokia Maps needs an Internet connection to download the maps from Nokia's servers.

Garmin XT 4.10.80
Pro: Same software you find on dedicated GPS devices from Garmin. Decent list of Points of Interest (POI) included with maps.

Con: Complicated install if you deviate from the suggest method. High initial cost. Need to pay for maps. Maps must be pre-loaded.

Google Maps 2.0.14
Pro: Simple install instructions. Installable over the air. ability to see satellite view, always up to date. Points of Interest (POI) comes from Google. Can be used with GPS with limited accuracy.

Con: Relies on data, slow to load maps depending on your data connection. No voice turn by turn navigation.

There are two more major map software for S60, but Wayfinder doesn't support Nokia's internal GPS and TomTom just released 6.02 to support it. I haven't a chance to test out TomTom.

I was going to write about all three map software in one blog entry but it quickly got too long so I'll blog about each one in an individual blog entry. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The S60 Road Warrior

From toasty dry summers in Dallas to the frosty winters of Toronto, I've been on business trips all over North America for the last three years. Each week I spend at least a full work day at the airport or on a plane. Being so mobile, I need a quality phone that suits my life style and Nokia has offered that in their S60 platform.

A lot of web sites already review S60 applications so in the next couple blogs I will write about how S60 helps me with...
  • Finding my way around
  • Capturing my experiences
  • Getting my work done
  • Keeping me entertained
  • Saving me money
  • My reminder
  • Connecting me with work and friends
  • Sharing
  • Safe guarding my phone

I hope you will find this has interesting to read as I will writing it. If there's any topic you want covered, feel free to leave me a comment.

I will be writing my experiences with my Nokia N82 but I'm sure the experience is similar on many other S60 phones like the N95, N96, E90, etc.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How S40's UI has changed - 2nd edition to 5th edition

S40 is a platform for mobile phones that run Nokia's proprietary operating system. Most people refer to S40 like an operating system. I will be focussing only on S40's user interface (UI) in this blog entry.

The last S40 phone I got for myself is the Nokia 6230b and it used a modified version of the S40 2nd edition platform. It's modified because it was the first S40 to use a grid for the menu. All future S40s have the option of grid or list for the main menu. My last review, of the Nokia 3555, made me think about how much S40 has progressed since late 2004 against the latest S40 5th edition.

One very observable difference between S40 2nd edition and S40 5th edition is the support for portait screens (128x160 pixels) instead of the old screen screen (128x128 pixels).

I love pictures and they truly say a thousand words. Now let's look at some screen shots (I switched the positions of the 6230b and 3555b a couple times just to make sure you pay attention - ok, I took the photos in two different sittings so I apologize):

Standby Screen (2nd on left, 5th on right):

You can do much more on the 5th's standby screen like control your music player, show calendar updates, and shortcuts to your most used apps.

Menu (2nd on left, 5th on right)

Not much has changed here except you can now see battery life, reception, and other indicators too. You can see these indicators without the phone now in all submenus.

More Icons (5th on left, 2nd on right):

There are some icons beside the text for help. Even though there is more vertical screen space, it hasn't increased the number of menu items on the screen at once.

UI Changes (5th on left, 2nd on right):

The left/right toggle for the 5th edition reduces the number of clicks, somewhat.

Some new icons don't match the rest of the User Interface (UI):

Some menus have an added Save button so some changes are not automatically saved. The icons don't match the look of the rest of the UI.

Real Theme Support (both from 5th edition):

The 2nd edition only support color changes while the 5th edition supports background and color changes. It's pretty neat that S40 will preview the theme after highlighting it.

Calendar (2nd on left, 5th on right):

Things that were good before are the same.

Calculator (2nd on left, 5th on right):

The calculator has undergone a dramatic change from being a simple native app to a complex Java app.

Camera (5th on right, 2nd on left):

Much more controls on the camera application like zoom.

One thing I wish S40 had was a way to switch between an Advanced mode (for users to configure the phone) to a Basic mode. I usually recommend S40 phones to people who want a phone for a phone and a no non-sense phone UI. But with so many available options and customizability like active standby, S40 is starting to become overwhelming for a first time user. I wish there was a way I could set up and customize the phone for the user in Advanced mode then switch it to Basic for them to use. The only other option I can think of is to refer them to emerging market phones but they're hard to come by in North America and/or cost more than carrier subsidized phones.

The new S40 operating system puts up a good fight against Sony Ericsson's phone platform in terms of customizability; but I don't think Nokia's S40 platform is as refined judging by the inconsistencies in the UI look.

Nokia has made great strides to make S40 a highly customizable platform without needing to make it a smart phone operating system. However the introduction of all these options have made S40 a lot more overwhelming for a first time user than previous iterations. I personally like how the new UI works and the additional functionality it provides and I'm sure users will slowly get accustomed to it even if they're a first time user.

You can learn more about the S40 platform at Forum Nokia

Sunday, May 04, 2008

3555 Takes Better Photos than N82 - only in VGA

I was out and curious at how good the 3555's VGA (640x480 pixels) camera is compared to the N82 in VGA and was very shocked with the results.

I kept both 3555 and N82 in AUTO mode without fiddling with any settings after opening the lens cover.

Outdoor photos:

The 3555 is on top and the N82 is below. You can see the N82 employs a lot of noise reduction throughout downsampling of the photo. The N82 ends up making the sky blocky and loses a lot of the details in the trees compared to the 3555.

Original Photos



Indoor photos:
I did turn off flash on the N82 but that was it. Same AUTO settings as above.

The 3555 is on top and the N82 is below. This one is a lot less clear which phone is taking the 'better' photo but the 3555 is showing a reasonable amount of noise on the left while the N82 just blurs it all together. You can see the shadow on the left turn into a bunch of blocks on the N82.

Original Photos



I personally prefer the VGA photos coming from the 3555 but it's likely the algorithms on the N82 were designed with higher pixel photos in mind like those at 5MP. Of course the N82 beats out the 3555 with any higher resolution. Another thing to note is the 3555 generated larger files than the N82 for both photos. I think this is a good reason Nokia should allow users to turn on/off the post processing algorithms and give us control to the JPEG compression settings.

Update: After looking at it further, it seems it only happens for lower resolution photos so higher resolution ones like those taken at 5MP are not affected:


Seems like it's a problem with just taking VGA photos. There's something odd happening in the downsampling algorthim. I guess it's not a big problem as people rarely will use this setting and just take photos at the highest resolution and resize in an image editor.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Nokia 3555 (T-Mobile) Review

I'd have to admit that I was surprised to be reviewing this phone. I've since moved away from Nokia's mainstream phone operating system (S40) to phones with more advanced smart phone operating systems such as S60. But here I am holding my old reliable 6230b for roaming in the US, one of Nokia's early flip the Nokia 6102, and a new 3555b. The firmware on my 3555b is V 05.07 (the initial production firmware) and runs S40 5th edition. The box contains the phone, AC-3U charger, HS-40 mono headset, BL-5C: Extended 850 mAh battery.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 3555b
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 1700
Weight: 94 g
Dimensions: 100 x 44 x 21 mm
Battery life (stand by): up to 660 hours (GSM)
Battery life (talk): up to 204 minutes (GSM)

My phone was manufactured in: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) Mexico.

Nokia 3555 box:

Nokia 3555 un-boxing:

With Nokia's market share in North America dropping for the last couple quarters (dropped more than 23% in 2007), Nokia will need to design more phones geared to the taste of North Americans. One of these efforts is the Nokia 3555b which comes in a flip format (very popular in North America and less so for the rest of the world) and a very smooth stylish exterior. This is a good start for my review so let's see how the Nokia 3555b stacks against Nokia's earlier flip design and older S40.


On the right of the phone are the charger and 2.5mm headset holes and on the left are the volume rocker and a camera button.


The Nokia 3555b is about the same dimensions as my 6230b. It actually looks like a thicker Motorola KRZR. The 3555 feels light but from the specs it should be heavier. The 3555 case does not creak anywhere open or closed and this includes the plastic around the display, hinge, and plastic surrounding the keys. The case has little to no flex. This phone is solid. Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and even Nokia's own N-series can take cues from this phone.

Everyone I've shown the 3555 to has liked the look of the phone. Some of them have asked about other colors like red. Placing the 3555 beside the Nokia 6102 and you'll see a dramatic improvement to design. By placing the 3555 by the Motorola RAZR and you see some design resemblance such as the "lip" at the bottom of the phone that houses the antenna.



Nokia has really put together a handsome phone. I really liked the chrome accents with the blue of the phone. The blue matched the blue monochrome exterior screen! The smooth shape and narrow body of the 355 fit the hand really well.

The keypad light is very bright. No complaints about it.

The SIM mechanism is exactly like the one found in the 6682, which I love.

The screen is small and resolution is low at 128 x 160 (1.8 inches) and can display up to 262,144 (18-bit) colors. There's no light sensor to vary the brightness of the screen.

Images and icons on the phone appear very pixilated because of the low resolution.

The main drawback to the main screen is the subtle high pitched buzz. It's not noticable by everyone and all screens emit some kind of buzz. Check if it bothers you by opening the phone and putting it against your ear.

The external screen is small, monochrome in blue, and has a low resolution of 65 x 98 pixels:

It displays data in landscape so you have to turn your phone side ways to read it. You can't change the orientation to portrait.

It's a shame the external screen also dims out to the level you can't read it (even after turning off Sleep Mode and Screen saver in Settings / Mini Display):

The good thing is that you can hit the volume keys on the side of the phone to wake the display. But it's a little slow refreshing the screen so you're left waiting for the time to appear.

The keys are spaced out well for mid-sized fingers. The traditional styled keys are used for the number pad so there is a gap between each number. I think it's a lot better for dialing but it looks a bit old. I'm also glad Nokia didn't use a ring styled D-pad for this phone as they're so narrow and difficult to use.

The D-pad is raised slightly higher than the rest of the keys (like the soft keys) with it concave at the center so the center button is higher than the D-pad while at the same height as the soft keys. This makes it easy to distinguish the D-pad and center key. The number pad, soft keys, and call buttons are darker grey and have a soft rubber feel to them and really help the keys stand out from the smooth plastic of the case and the d-pad. Without the difference in texture, it would be really hard to feel for the number keys as they're flush with the case. There is good tactile feedback from all keys.

So how is the 3555 keypad for gaming? The 3555 is comfortable playing the included Pac Man and Tetris with a large D-pad and the right amount of feedback. It's not as precise as a Nintendo DS control pad but there aren't many Java games out there that need that kind of precision.

From a phone perspective, you can easily use the 3555 with one hand both flipping it open and using it.

The music player can continue playing while the phone is closed but there are no controls that can stop or skip songs while the phone is closed.

General menu navigation was smooth and very snappy. There was no perceived lag.

Default T-mobile screen (active standby is off by default):

After some configuration, you can switch to a Nokia theme and turn on active standby:

The active standby feature allows you to display 3 items from the following: Calendar, Countdown timer, General Indicators, Music Player, My note, and Short cut bar. You cannot choose the same item type twice; for example you can't have two sections for countdown timer. I have chosen short cut, music player, and calendar above. Within the short cut bar you can choose from a long list of core phone functions like profiles or camera but added Java applications are not available options.

T-mobile icons:

The icons are pastel in color, don’t contrast well with light backgrounds, and can't be changed easily with a theme.

With the introduction of S40 5th edition, Nokia phones have become very customizable but with that, Nokia phones are creeping towards being complicated and menus are getting very deep.

For example, to access the calculator, if you don't have it as a short cut, it's in Menu/Fun&Apps/Organizer. It takes a bit of time to get use to it. With the low resolution of the display, only 3 menu items are shown at a time so you'll need to do a lot of scrolling. There are 14 groupings in Settings.

Interesting things you can customize on the 3555 is phone behavior when the phone is opened/closed, timed profiles, profile to use when connected to a charger, and over the air software update.

Menu Structure:
-- Voice Notes
-- Log
---- Call Log
---- Missed calls
---- Received calls
---- Dialed numbers
---- Message recipients
---- Clear log lists
---- Call timers
---- Packet data counter
---- Packet data conn. timer
---- Message log
---- Sync Log
-- t-zones
---- t-zones (online)
---- Bookmarks
---- Last Web Address
---- t-zones inbox
---- Settings
---- Go to address
---- Clear the cache
-- IM & E-mail
---- Instant messages (t-mobile app and online)
---- E-mail (t-mobile app and online)
-- Messaging
---- Create message
---- Inbox
---- Drafts
---- Outbox
---- Sent items
---- Saved items, Delivery reports, Voice mail, Service commands, Delete messages, Message settings
-- Fun & Apps
---- Gallery
------ My Album
------ myFaces Icons (online)
------ Images
------ Voice Clips
------ Music Clips
------ Themes
------ Graphics
------ Tones
------ Recordings
------ Receiv. Files
---- Games & Apps
------ Games (online)
------ Games
-------- PAC-MAN and Ms. PAC-MAN DEMO
-------- Petz Demo
-------- Tetris
-------- 5th Grader
------ Collection
-------- World clock
------ Media
-------- Camera
-------- Video
-------- Music Player
-------- Recorder
-------- Equalizer
-------- Stereo wider
------ Organizer
-------- Alarm clock
-------- Calendar
-------- To-do list
-------- Notes
-------- Synchronization
-------- Calendar
-------- Timer
-------- Stopwatch
-- Help (online)
-- Phonebook
---- Names
---- Synchonize all
---- Settings
---- Groups
---- 1-touch dialing
---- My numbers
---- Delete all contacts
---- Move contacts
---- Copy contacts
-- Settings
---- Profiles
---- Themes
---- Tones
---- Main Display
---- Mini Display
---- Date and time
---- My shortcuts
---- Connectivity
---- Synchronization
---- Call
---- Phone
---- Enchancements
---- Configuration
---- Security
---- Restore Settings

The Nokia 3555 didn't come with Snakes. That is just wrong. All the included games are demos like Pac Man and Tetris. Also included are T-Mobile's suite of online apps such as t-zones, Instant messages, E-mail (there is no native S40 e-mail client on the 3555), and myFaces Icons

There is no task switching key as found in Sony Ericson’s and Nokia's S60 operating system so there's a limited amount of multi-tasking possible.

Music Player
The built-in music player is native to S40 and can run in the background and while the phone is closed. Too bad there are no external keys to control stop or skip songs in the music player.

The 3555 doesn't support 3.5mm headsets but only 2.5mm headsets so you're quite limited for choices.

Java applications open fairly quickly with a little load time when opening and closing. Within the application, the response is snappy with no lag like old implementations of Java. It's become so fast that some included applications that use to be native are now implemented with Java like the calculator:

You can't leave a Java application without closing so this limits you to one Java application open at a time.

Note: Java applications no longer start with a display of the Java logo.

Sim-less Mode
The Nokia 3555 already has flight mode where it will function with the antenna deactivated (Settings/Profiles and choose Flight). The 3555 goes one further and allows you to operate the phone, with the antenna deactivated as well, without the sim-card!

You can connect the 3555 to your computer using Bluetooth or USB data cable (not included but compatible with CA-101). You can install Nokia PC Suite to synchronize the 3555 with your computer. By default the 3555 USB data cable is set to Music Sync mode when you connect it so you need to change the settings at Settings/Connectivity/USB data cable.

You can pair devices, you can send images/music files/video clips/themes and virtually any content via Bluetooth to another device. Each time you want to connect to another device, the 3555 needs to scan for devices even if you've previously connected with the device (this gets annoying if you Bluetooth a lot as you need to wait for the search to finish). If your BT is off you can still send media, the phone prompts you to turn on BT and will automatically turn off BT when the transfer is done. So if S40 can automatically turn off BT, why can't S60 do the same?

Sending files occur in the foreground (cannot multi-task) but receiving files occur in the background so you can multi-task during this time.

Pairing the 3555 with a PC gives you these features in the included Bluetooth profiles:
Dial up networking
HS Audio gateway
OBEX Object Push
OBEX File Transfer
Serial Port
Network Access Point Service

There are not as many profiles as on Sony Ericsson phones but its good enough for most people. I paired the 3555 to my laptop and N82 with no problems.


Sound Quality
The outgoing sound quality was loud and clear. The receiver had no complaints about sound quality.

Incoming sound quality is loud and clear. It is a lot louder than my N82. The main problem is that there was a bit of static in the background and the main screen has a subtle high pitched buzz to it but it's not always noticable.

You can set your own MP3 as a ring tone too.

The speakerphone works well on the 3555. Voices come out clear. Playing music via the speakerphone was a different experience with low bass coming out with a lot of static and distorted. High tones were not affected.

Headset use
I haven't tested this.

Multimedia Features

The 3555 has a VGA (480x640 pixel) camera. It's there only so it can say it has a camera.

Without a forward facing camera and no firmware support, the 3555 cannot make video calls even if it has WCDMA support.

The 3555 is the best VGA camera phone I have right now as you can see from the comparison to my best VGA camera phone, the 6230. Surprisingly, the 3555 stores pictures taken in the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) format but the only EXIF data stored are width, height, bit depth, equipment make, model, firmware, and Color Representation.

There are 2 picture sizes

Image Quality

Camera Sounds
On/Off (it really turns the phone silent unlike most S60 cameras)

Image Sequence
This mode takes a sequence of photos with the camera. I noticed it take 8 pictures. There is an animated icon on the screen while the image preview on the screen doesn't change making it look like the phone is "hung".

normal, sepia, grayscale, negative

White Balance
Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Horizon

Bright Desk

Nokia 3555

Nokia 6230

The 3555 produces a sharper but noisier photo compared to the 6230.

Night Mode
There is no night mode, but it's interesting to see how normal mode in 3555 fares against the night mode from the 6230b. These photos were taken with very little external light:


6230b with night mode:

The 3555 produces a much more blurry photo compared to having light and lots of noise is present. The 6230's night mode brightens up the photo, has less noise, but is more blurry. The 3555 is a pretty decent camera for a VGA.

The 3555 also records video. You can record directly to the memory card and length of the movie is only bound by the amount of free space available.

Video clip quality:

Video Resolution:

The resolution is really low and isn't adequate for anything useful. Even YouTube supports a higher resolution (320x240).

External Memory
No memory card is included but the 3555 supports micro SDs. The memory card lies under the battery so you can't hot swap the memory card.

I got a battery warning after 1h talk in 1.5 days with no texting and no web browsing. The battery took 1 to 2 hours to charge from 1 bar with the included AC-3U. It's the same battery as some older Nokia phones like the 6230:

Build quality...........10
Features for $.........6 (for T-mobile, you can get the more capable Nokia 6263 for free too), 3 ($89 on Rogers, you can get a much more capable Sony Ericsson W810i or Motorola K1 KRZR for the same price or less)
Battery life.............5


*Attractive exterior design
*loud speaker
*More advanced S40 5th edition operating system
*Great build quality
*Fast menu navigation
*Free on T-Mobile
*Support for T-Mobile's 3G network
*Support for various IM and e-mail services like MSN and gmail

*Very small screen
*Complicated menu system
*External screen dims out becoming unreadable
*Main screen emits a subtle high pitched buzz
*High price on Rogers and high MSRP price compared to other phones
*No external music keys
*No video calling support
*no native e-mail client
*No 3.5mm headset jack

Overall the Nokia 3555 a great low to mid-ranged phone with a very compelling design and great build quality. It offers a very comfortable keypad with no gimicks. It may not shine in the imaging or music departments but it provides great outgoing and incoming call qualities.