Posts Tagged ‘Nokia’

Nokia N82 appreciation usecase #3: The Economist in my pocket

November 5, 2008
The Economist in my pocket

The Economist in my pocket

As a subscriber to The Economist, I get the newspaper in my mailbox every Saturday (UK subscribers get it on Fridays, I believe, but up north we are not so fortunate…). However, I can usually download the MP3 edition on Thursdays. Of course, I copy it onto my N82 right away.

Most often, I listen to The Economist while walking or commuting to work, using my Koss Portapro headphones, but sometimes my ears tire from the headset, or the headset cable gets in the way as I move about tidying the house (right..).

Thanks to the N82’s pretty powerful stereo speakers, I can put the phone in my pocket and have it play The Economist for me as I walk around the house. They aren’t powerful enough for this to work well outdoors, and the sound quality doesn’t cut it for listening to music – but for radio, podcasts or audio editions of newspapers, they work fine.

My next phone will need to have at least as powerful speakers as the N82 – judging by reviews, it seems the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is well equipped; hopefully upcoming Nseries touchscreen phones (and Android handsets) are as fortunate.

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Nokia N82 appreciation usecase #2: On a whim, shooting the rooftop concert

October 9, 2008

I do have a digital video camera – a good old Sony DCR 115, which cost me about $3000 (!!) back in 2002. However, it isn’t exactly pocket-sized, and it uses DV tapes, which feel hopelessly analogue considering they store bits.  I hardly ever use it – though the picture quality is great and the 10x zoom very handy, it is just too big, and handling the amount of data it produces too cumbersome.

Enter my N82. It has VGA-resolution 640×480 video capture at 30 frames per second – I’d call it VHS quality, Nokia calls it “TV quality”. The sound quality is decent. And, of course, I always bring it with me. So when the company has brought a great musician to the summer party, it’s just a matter of deciding which parts of the concert to enjoy fully and which parts to “store” on my N82 (which could save all of it on its 8 gigabyte memory card, if I wanted it to).

Looking back at all the moments I’ve captured with my N82 over the last year, there is no way I’m getting a new phone with at least as good video capabilities.

Here’s one example: Molde on New Year’s day

Nokia N82 appreciation usecase #1: The couch and the BBC World Service

September 29, 2008

Thanks to its FM tuner and the 3,5 mm audio jack, I can hook the N82 up to the stereo in the living room, sit back and listen to the BBC World Service (broadcast on “Alltid Nyheter” in the evening). No fuss, no software, no plugins, no radio, just the amplifier and a 3,5mm cable. I could of course also have just hooked up a headset and activated the internal speaker, but seeing as I have a great stereo system available there’s really no point.

This is the first post in a series I’ll use to outline the requirements for my next mobile phone. The N82 is now a year old, and I’d like to have a device with a nicer UI and larger screen, preferably a touchscreen. Believe it or not – there aren’t that many phones that offer that as well as the N82’s feature set.

Nokia N82 spontaneously reboots when I receive a SMS message

June 11, 2008

I haven’t had the time to do any proper research on this, but my Google searches haven’t turned up anything sensible, so I’m creating a blog post where I’ll put any info I come across – and hopefully other people’s Google queries will wind up here.

This is what happens: I receive an SMS, and the phone does a soft reboot, returning me to the standby screen after about half a minute. I can then read the SMS. I am a bit unsure, but I believe the “SMS received” icon is shown the second before the device reboots.

This has been happening about 1-2 times per day on average, or for about every 3-5 SMSes I receive, over the last couple of weeks. As far as I can see, it doesn’t seem to be related to other apps I am running, which is mostly Opera Mini 4.1 and the Gmail Java app. It is a possibility that it is related to the latest firmware – I upgraded about a month ago – but it is strange that this should start happening after a couple of weeks of use and not right away.

Hopefully it is not a hardware issue – if it continues and I cannot find a solution, I’ll try to re-install the latest firmware.

Anyone else out there having this problem?

Uodate 09/08/08: I still have this problem, and it doesn’t seem related to the phone’s power consumption or heat. The only thing the crashes have in common is that they all occur during bursts of network traffic – after a phone call, when I send a SMS or receive one, when I download mail (that has triggered a crash just once). Weird. Hopefully a firmware upgrade will fix this, but I haven’t had time to try yet.

Make the battery of your 3G/HSDPA Nokia phone last longer by turning off 3G / HSDPA

April 20, 2008

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For a while, I’ve been annoyed by the rather mediocre battery life of my Nokia N82. I do use it quite a lot – especially for Opera Mini, Gmail and music playback – and I have to recharge it every night. Some evenings the phone even runs out of battery before I go to bed.

What to do?

You can turn down the brightness of your display, but that makes for a poor user experience. And shutting down applications that are running in the background is also a good idea. However, none of these made all that much difference to the battery life of my N82.

Then I tried switching off 3G / HSDPA. It turns out that – in my highly unscientific measurements conducted with Nokia’s Energy Profiler utility – the N82 draws 0.4 watts when running with EDGE, about 0.7 with 3G and 1.3 watts (!!) when in HSDPA mode. This is with the phone idling and no transfers going on. I suspect that transferring data over 3G and HSDPA is relatively more costly compared to EDGE as well.

As said – these were highly unscientific measurements, so I may be wrong, but “field tests” (ie. me using the phone) have shown that while I normally charge it every night, I can now use it and charge every other night.

In other words – if you want to make the battery last longer – you should definitely try switching off 3G / UMTS / HSDPA and see if you get similar results.

What’s the downside?

Of course, you lose the 384 kbits to 3 mbits of bandwidth 3G and HSDPA provides (and the video telephony 3G enables), and have to live with the ~ 200 kbits EDGE can deliver. For me, this is no big issue, since the apps I use on the go are not bandwidth intensive (Opera Mini and Gmail both use very little bandwidth) and I don’t use video telephony. If I do need more juice, I am normally in a WiFi zone – or I can switch 3G/HSDPA on manually.

You can try turning off 3G/HSDPA by hitting the menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Network -> Network mode -> GSM. This might look a bit different on your phone, as I have translated this directly from the Norwegian user interface. Wait a few seconds, and you should get EDGE coverage (if EDGE is provided by your local services provider).

You can see what kind of network you are currently on in the top left corner on the standby screen – E for EDGE, 3G for 3G, and 3.5G for HSDPA.

Good luck, and do let me know what kind of effects switching off 3G/HSDPA had for your battery life!

PS: I can only conclude that Steve Jobs was not lying when he claimed they dropped 3G from the iPhone due to battery life concerns. Seems that was at least partly true.

Pairing the Apple Wireless Aluminium Keyboard with the Nokia N82

January 20, 2008

I had some problems hooking the Apple Wireless Keyboard up with my N82 and thought I’d share the experience.
The procedure should be very simple, and goes as follows:

Get the Nokia wireless keyboard support software. You want the 3.1 version, even though the N82 isn’t listed as supported by the software. Install this software on the phone (I assume you know how that part works – the easiest is to go to the site above over wifi and download the app straight to your phone, or download to your computer and transfer the install file to the N82 via bluetooth.)

Start the software. It is not located in the “Programs” folder – it is in what I believe is called “Connections” or something similar (I have Norwegian titles on my phone). That’s the same folder you have bluetooth settings in, among other stuff.

Activate the keyboard by pressing the on button. It should start looking for a bluetooth client to pair with – the status light should flash regularly. This is where I had a problem – every time I switched on the keyboard, it automatically resumed the connection with my Mac Mini, which it was paired with. To avoid this, I switched off bluetooth on the Mac (you could probably also just unpair it). The keyboard cannot pair with several units simulateneously (which is unfortunate – I would like to pair it with the mini, the N82 and the PS3…).

To be absolutely certain the keyboard was “rebooted” I also briefly removed the batteries – this shouldn’t be necessary at all, but who knows.

When switching on the keyboard again, the light blinked regularly and the keyboard showed up when I searched for it in the wireless keyboard app. After following the onscreen instructions with regards to setting a password, I can now consider my N82 a personal computer. Rejoice!

You might be interested in knowing that the left command key (apple key) maps to the left soft key, and the right command key maps to the right soft key. The central navigation button on the N82 (the “OK” key I guess?) is mapped to Enter – or sometimes shift+Enter. You can get to the menu with alt+tab. I haven’t figured out how to “escape” (red button on the N82) yet.

SanDisk 8gb microSDHC card works great with Nokia N82

January 11, 2008

I had some difficulty finding confirmation online that the N82 would work with a 8gb microSDHC card, so here are my results: It works! The phone recognizes the card as having the right amount of memory, and in use it is fine so far (I’ve used about 2 gigs of the space).

The exact model number of the card I’m using is SDSDQR-8192-E12M.

Also, there is a tiny microSDHC card reader for USB ports included – really, really practical, considering the slow transfer speeds of the N82 on USB.

Brief review of the Nokia N82 and comparison with the iPhone

December 25, 2007

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About three weeks ago, I received the Nokia N82 in the mail, as a replacement for the Nokia 6300 I had been using. These are the main reasons I went for the N82:

  • Symbian OS combined with plenty of RAM (128 MB) – the amount of RAM was one of the main problems with the previous Symbian phone I used (the E50)
  • Decent 5 megapixlel camera with autofocus and flash
  • Great video camera, 640×480
  • Wifi, 3G and HSDPA
  • Acceptable size for its functionality

To most readers with some knowledge of the iPhone’s specs, it’s probably easy to see why I went with the N82 instead of the iPhone. As I see it, these are the main differentiators between the N82 and the iPhone:

Camera: The N82, with its 5 megapixels, VGA video recording and flash can act as a compact camera when my SLR is out of reach. You can’t do that with 2 megapixels, no autofocus and no flash or camera light.

Wireless connection options: The N82 supports 3G and HSDPA, meaning you can get a theoretical 3 megabits of bandwidth to the phone. The iPhone maxes out at 230 kbits. Also, the iPhone doesn’t support wireless stereo headsets over Bluetooth A2DP.

Openness: On the N82, you can install any Symbian or Java ME application you want to. Personally, I am a big fan of Opera Mini and Google’s mail application.

Media playback: The iPhone synchs easily with your computer (iTunes, that is), and has a huge screen, great for video playback. Getting video onto your N82 is cumbersome in my experience. It is always nice to be able to connect the phone as a USB mass storage device and drag and drop content on it, but that doesn’t take care of video conversion for you. The tools Nokia provide for that purpose are not really a match for iTunes at this point.

User experience: You can do pretty much anything with the N82, but the interface isn’t very impressive. For instance, some screens can be rotated and seen in landscape mode, some cannot (i.e. the Video Centre and the main screen). Also, the traditional phone keypad is no match for the touch screen of the iPhone. In my opinion, the combination of OS X software and the touch screen makes for an unbeatable user experience (or it would, if Apple added a few more real buttons for things like taking a photograph).

Radio: The N82’s got one. I can see no reason why my phone shouldn’t be able to play FM radio, and I enjoy having the option to tap into fresh, unbuffered content whenever I like.

GPS: Having GPS on your phone is just plain neat. Over the last three weeks, I have used it for finding parties twice – not bad, and it is also OK for in-car navigation. I believe the route finder/navigation is only free for the first 90 days, though – not so good. Still – you will be able to use the GPS with third-party apps such as Google Maps.

N82 weaknesses and conclusion
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The N82 is a computer, a camera, a radio, a MP3 player, a GPS, an internet device – stuffed with functionality. On the other hand, the iPhone is very slick phone + media player. It is also good as an internet device, but to me, Mobile Safari is useless outside of WiFi zones – it is too slow and too expensive, whereas using Opera Mini on a N82 results in the web nicely formatted for a small screen and compressed to size that’s healthy for my phonebill.

The N82 does have a few weaknesses.

Transferring media to the phone is slow if you use the Nokia micro-USB cable. It feels more like USB 1.1 than USB 2.0 – I’d estimate that moving over 60 megabytes takes about a minute. Still, as long as I am not transferring huge amounts, I don’t bother with a SD card reader. (I sometimes use Bluetooth to move an album or two of MP3s across – it is perfectly doable if you have the time to spare.)

While we are on media transfers – I would like it to sync with iTunes as well as any iPod can. It seems Nokia is working on this, at least on the Mac platform. I haven’t taken the time to check out their offering yet, but something good is cooking.

The battery life is barely acceptable. If you use it like I do – music and the web en route to work, calling and music while at work interspersed with radio, the occasional photograph on some days and a barrage of video and photography at parties, some wifi while I am at home, you will need to charge it every night.

I expected the phone to work with 8 GB microSDHC cards, but I can’t find confirmation that it works with anything bigger than 4 GB, which is a shame. Update April 2009: My N82 works fine with a Sandisk 8gb MicroSDHC.

The design is inferior to that of the iPhone, although it is not bad. The same goes for the user interface, which is actually quite responsive for a smartphone. I would have liked it to have dedicated buttons for play/pause, next/previous, in addition to buttons for volume up/down, gallery and shutter.

Finally, I have found it to be less stable than it should be. I estimate that I have experienced 2-3 total freezes or soft reboots per week while I have been using this phone. Now, I am probably a pretty extreme user – freezes are most common when I use the GPS as well as the music player while running Opera or the NetFront browser and more in the background, but still – the phone should handle those usage scenarios. (Caveat – I don’t think I have the latest firmware for the phone – haven’t been able to upgrade yet.) Update April 2009: With the latest firmware, my phone is quite stable – on average it crashes once a month, and keep in mind that I’m a heavy user.

If you need (or want ;) ) all the functionality the N82 can offer – it is definitely worth getting. If what you need is a phone and a media player, the iPhone will probably make you a happier person. But I can tell you – when surfing the web, reading the mail, checking out the great, flash-enabled party photos, navigating with GPS and listening to music, all at the same time, using the N82 elevates me to geek nirvana and makes me feel like this is at least May 2008. And that is awesome.