Thread: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
10-25-2009, 01:19 PM #1
7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
I am about to enter my 8th month with my Nokia 5800 XM and Symbian S60v5 (aka S60 Touch). As many know, I came from a Palm TX (which still works fine). I have maintained the TX though most of that time, syncing it regularly to serve as a back-up, but I started using it less and less. It is hard letting go of the TX, but it has become more and more apparent that it is largely due to sentimental value rather than some function I need. When my TX (affectionately known as Hookette) went off to Texas for a couple of weeks to help a friend, it really hit home that I had fully moved on. Recently, I reformatted my hard drive. I have still not installed Palm Desktop nor any Palm app desktop components. I doubt I will.
I still have much to learn (as we always do), but I think I am finally settled into my move and am very happy with my choice, despite occasional complaints. I have found something that really suits me and has even changed the way I work in small ways that I think are good. I thought it might be nice to do a final summary of where the transition ended up. It’s a happy ending. I think there are many good places for a former Palm-Garnet user to go with different pros and cons for all of them. This is just one of those choices and will not be for everyone.
My hope is that this will give anyone considering a move to Symbian a quick overview of key factors to consider. However, keep in mind, this is only one device—Nokia and Symbian have some diverse offerings. Also, I am a PDA user. The Smartphone stuff, while it has become useful, is not a primary consideration for me. Much of what is here is talked about in more detail in other posts I have made over the past 7 months, but I wanted to pull together an overview in one place that I could then point folks to more easily.
Briefly, the hardware on this device is magnificent. It is very solid, well-crafted, shows no signs of wear or creakiness after 8 months of solid use with no screen protector or body case. It lives in a leather belt pouch, but when I pull it out it is naked as it is too sweet and svelte to mung up with a bulky case. It has a truly incredible screen. I really thought going from a TX to a 3.2” screen would be hard, but it’s going back to the TX’s screen that I find hard. Resolution, luminescence and saturation more than make up for the screen size. Yes, I would like a bigger screen, but it no longer feels like a “must have.” This is just a very nice piece of hardware. The battery life is astounding (2 days minimum). The camera is so/so, but serviceable, but I really don’t care about cameras. I love that the screen is resistive rather than capacitive for the input possibilities it leaves open and the stylus in the bezel is terrific. The 5800 does have a cradle of sorts, actually a stand that holds it on a surface in landscape orientation for watching media. You can just barely make it out in my sig pic. The 5800 also has stereo speakers that are good enough quality that, in a quiet room, you can get reasonable sound without headphones or external speakers, even for music.
I really enjoy S60 Touch, I think I will always want a touch screen. Whether software or hardware, touching requires a little pressure, so, especially with a screen-off slider (the keylock), it is very hard to have something pushed accidentally, the usual complaint with touch screens. The screen provides haptic feedback. Some find this annoying and turn it off, I love it. It has, of course, an accelerometer. The accelerometer is a little quirky and sometimes the 5800 needs a smack upside to get it to shift. This is the first device with S60 Touch and it has a few bugs, but they are minor. For example, sometimes the UI wants one touch and at other times two and the distinction is not always clear. I’m hoping a new firmware release which should be rolling out might address some of these issues. I think as newer devices have rolled out, S60 Touch has gotten better and better. Nonetheless, the interface is very slick and responsive and the quirkiness is not enough to be a real problem.
One tends to underestimate the capabilities of S60 at first because Symbian does have a tendency to bury stuff in menus and in odd places, not unlike what I have heard about WinMo. However, once you figure things out, this OS is powerful and even the default OS-bundled apps are quite capable. I’ve garnered a number of pricey 3rd party apps because, well, I could. But if all I could have afforded was the phone, I’d still have been in pretty good shape. The four input methods are wonderful, and it’s great to have the choices even if some are used infrequently. There is a full size QWERTY landscape keyboard, a mini Qwerty keyboard (like Pruss’s MyKbd), a T9 keypad and a handwriting recognizer. At this point, I mostly use my fingers, but when real precision is called for, the stylus is there.
Finally, though I was generally skeptical about the wonders of multitasking on a handheld, it is, in fact really useful. The OS handles it very well and with efficient management of resources. I also can’t say enough about how nice it is to have a real, hierarchical file system that is fully under my own management control and can be worked with both on the device and through my computer.
See update post down below. My software usage has shifted dramatically.
My key software is listed in my sig, but sigs change. Let me start by summing up the PIM situation. With the help of 3rd party software, I have found some very satisfactory solutions for me. My approach to PIMs are fairly simple, I only used the Palm default PIMs or Beyond Contacts. I never really used categories much. I find the GTD approach to be a method of making so much work for yourself that you never get anything done, but that’s just me. Symbian apps do not make much use of categories, but instead rely on robust search features. I find his a fine solution for my needs. It will probably drive a heavy Datebk6 user bonkers. I have augmented my PIM capabilities with Handy Calendar and Handy Alarm Pro. In addition, I have just found a new, fantastic contacts manager called DreamConnect.
There are quite a number of default OS-bundled apps that are quite good and need no replacements. The music player , the video player, sound recorder, browser (webkit based, like iPhone, though not as slick a wrapper), Nokia Messenger (upgraded from the web), connectivity in general, including syncing, and Nokia Maps (some services are pay, which I don’t use, but NAM maps and basic mapping is free).
For working (My work work is not allowed on this device, I have a locked down BB for that), I have Quickoffice (word, excel, powerpoint), a Quickoffice version of Adobe Reader , Projekt (an outliner), and Handy Safe Pro (Splash ID replacement). I also have iSilo reader for ebooks.
For OS enhancements/ utilities, I have Handy Shell (a Today screen that also gives instant access to a huge number of apps and contacts), Handy Weather (integrates with Handy Shell), Handy Taskman (a sophisticated task manager), and Y-Browser (a free file manager that gives you access to the entire system. The OS file browser tries to limit you to a user folder).
Desktop apps, syncing and connectivity.
On my desktop, I use Nokia PC Suite which, in my mind, is what Palm Desktop should have been. It syncs my 5800 with Outlook 2007, installs and uninstalls apps, converts and moves video, manages files, and even has an app I never use to use the phone to connect your PC/laptop to the internet using the phone. Nokia is attempting to replace Nokia PC Suite with OVI desktop (related to, but not the same as OVI on the web), but so far it is a very poor approach and I will not be switching until they force me too, which would only happen with a new device. They are clearly moving to wanting everything to be OTA. That’s ok to enable things to be that way, but if they ever decide to force that on me as the only option, I would likely move to WinMo. Otherwise, I am very happy here.
All my music syncing is through Media Monkey, iTunes also didn’t make it back on my restored hard drive and I’m quite happy about that. I also have a desktop component for Handy Safe Pro.
My syncing is done via USB cable. I also, as a backup, sync my PIMS with OVI web, which means I can update information and back it up immediately, or restore immediately in the unlikely event of a wipe of my phone. However, it is just a backup, I do not depend on the data in the cloud.
I do use data as well as wifi, but only very limitedly. You can read about my inexpensive gophone data plan elsewhere.
I am very happy with my move. I have found most everything I want, and am really enjoying being able to use connectivity anywhere even though I don’t need it that often. One of the things that has shifted for me is that I find myself working much more on the device since there are fewer desktop companions for my software. At first I found this annoying, I always preferred data entry on the desktop with my Palm, but I am now finding this to be nice. In other words, I have actually become mobile. I find it much easier to do data entry on the 5800 than my TX, but as I do more and more, I now find myself wishing for a hardware keyboard. For that reason, I am looking at moving next year to maybe an N97 or N97 Mini. The N97 would be ideal as, not only would it have the keyboard, but a d-Pad and a larger screen. On the other hand, the mini may have a much better tweaked UI/UX, in which case I’ll at least consider it. I think the arrow keys on the keyboard can be used like a D-Pad and I clearly don’t mind the 3.2” screen. At this point, I would like to stay with Symbian and my investment in it, so I would prefer not to jump to an N900 or a Touch Pro 2. If I were going to make another platform jump, the TP2 would probably be more likely.
In all, I have fully moved and left Palm behind. I am very happy where I have ended up. I will update this thread if there are any significant shifts in my usage or some really great new app comes down the pike. I hope this is helpful to someone with questions about Symbian.
UPDATE (Jan 16 2010): I briefly explored the possibility of getting a larger screen and keyboard and as well as moving to WinMo to get them in order to have better PIMs via Pocket Informant. It was very tempting, but I ultimately decided that I really didn;t want to lose some of the things I really enjoy with my 5800 and that the improvement wasn't yet worth the cost. I'm happy and will stay with what I have and see what the end of 2010 and 2011 bring.
10-25-2009, 01:45 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
- Kingsport, TN USA Device: Touchie, the Touch Pro2
Re: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
Good job with the write-up, Hook! You even included several links to apps and info...
It's interesting (to me, anyway,) that we seem to have very similar uses, needs, and wants in a device, but have found two different paths that suit our respective needs - That's a good thing! You're right, there are choices for folks who feel abandoned by Palm for PDA / pocket computer devices. Yes, with a new device you're going to get at least some connectivity stuff. It can be pushed aside a bit, however, waiting in the wings for occasional use if needed.
I'm not sure if it's common on hardware keyboards (I assume it is,) but my experience with the TP2 is that the arrow keys & Enter key function quite well as a D-pad. I was missing that feature from my T3, but discovered the similar keyboard functionality and was fine. It might not be for everyone, as a physical keyboard is going to require either extending that feature (decreasing one-handed capability a bit) or sacrificing half the screen size (which would make it almost useless for me.) I prefer using two hands when necessary, and still having the large display.
Glad you're finding your move beneficial and enjoyable, and thanks for updating us!
Somedays it's not even worth chewing through the restraints...
I should only have to LET the technology work for me. If I have to MAKE the technology work for me, it's not a tool - It's a boat anchor. And I've got better things to do than manage boat anchors, especially if I don't have a boat.
10-25-2009, 02:04 PM #3
Re: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
I've always admired Nokia products. I had a few Nokia phones back in the day. Nokia PC Suite even worked with those old, simple phones. It's too bad there's no CDMA version for Sprint.
Very nice review, Hook. Thanks for sharing this summary.This Signature Line Intentionally Left Blank
10-25-2009, 09:20 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- Between the Wheels Devices: N9, iPad 16GB, KF-HD
Re: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
Ah, the sounds of a happy device switch. Nice smmary Hook. The N9u Mini might be just what you are looking for, then again, Nokia could swing something nicer before you would need/want to make a switch.
I'm using my N97 much like I did my Treo 680. Add to that, the sheer ability and (mostly) stability of it has been excellent. Can't really say that I want more hardware wise except for that 2days of battery life you get. If I could get that with how I use my device, I'd be nothing short of estastic. Nevertheless, I like it and Symbian has room to grow on me as well.
Just think, Qt apps will extend the life of Symbian devices even more. And the Maemol folks are all too interested in going that route. Things really will get fun for this platform.
10-25-2009, 09:37 PM #5
Re: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
Excellent post Hook, very interesting and helpfull
It is bookmarked for future reference and that is the highest accolade
All the best, woz of ozIf you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
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02-08-2010, 01:04 PM #6
Now 10 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
I have slowly been finding myself peeling back and simplifying as I seem to be entering a second phase of my adaptation to Symbian and my Nokia 5800. Part of it is learning what I need and don't need and some of it is just discovering the deeper capabilities of the device's native apps. In some cases, I've found myself willing to give up power for the elegance of the integration of the Symbian native apps. Curiously, this giving up of power is not so much a compromise as it is coming from a "life's too short" feeling as I got into tweaking everything. Since being snow-bound left me with a lot of time on my hands this week-end, I finished some of this up and thought I'd share my choices with a few screen shots.
I jettisoned a couple of my Handy Apps. Handy Shell provides a very powerful launcher and today screen, but it actually consumes 8-10Mb of RAM when loaded. Not that I ever ran up against major RAM issues, but on principle that seems wasteful to me. So I decided to just use the Default Nokia standby screen (although I am using a nice theme called Fissure by Tehkseven). The default Standby screen, or Home Screen, has hot spots where you can launch the clock, calendar, profiles and connectivity, plus the four shortcuts and a shortcut for contacts. In addition there is a membrane button on the Nokia above the screen that gives you a translucent toolbar for launching music, pictures, video and internet. The latter won't show up in a screen shot.
Because the home screen opens the default calendar and contacts and won't give you a choice, I ditched Handy Calendar and Dream Connect. They were more powerful, but not so much so that I felt they were worth extra effort. As I have learned more about the default apps, they turn out to be quite capable.
From the standby screen, one press gets me to the Menu screen (which is actually a hierarchical folder organized launcher). So you see a lot of folders (like tabs in Zlauncher). Tapping a folder like "Applications" gets me another set of icons.
A longer press of that menu button gets me a quicklist launcher in Handy Taskman where I can have almost any launchable object such as calls or texts to my son's mobile (the only person I use my phone with on any regular basis ).
All-in-all, a very nice setup where most everything I want is a click or two away without hogging a lot of resources.
Finally, I also swiched out SBSH SafeWallet Pro for Handy Safe Pro. Safewallet is a nicer program (both sync with their own desktop), but HSP imports better. However, I finally decided the import was still so bad that I would just handjam new data from scratch, so I might as well go with the one I prefer-- which just also happens to have more cross platform possibilities.
I'm really hitting my stride with the 5800 now, even if I did flirt with jumping to WinMo. I must say, at about $260 unlocked (and that is from Nokia-- you can probably find it for less), the 5800 XM makes a very nice, reasonably priced PDA. You heard me-- PDA. And, quite frankly, the software it already comes with will get you pretty far if you can't afford much 3rd party apps (which do tend to be expensive in the Symbian world). Even free mapping and turn-by-turn navigation.
02-08-2010, 02:31 PM #7
Re: 7 Months with a Nokia 5800 XM
Feels good to be settled, doesn't it Hook.
At least for awhile.