A look at the Nokia Booklet

4 01 2010

The Nokia Booklet is Nokia’s first dip into the increasingly popular world of Netbooks, and how have they done?

Well the Booklet looks fantastic, it feels very solid, much like a Mac Book, it certainly feels more quality than my Acer Aspire 150. The keyboard is pretty damned good too, netbooks are usually disliked for tiny keyboards and tiny screens, but not on the Booklet. The Booklet gives you a regular laptop ‘feel’ in the form of a netbook.On the left hand side you have and HDMI output, 2 USB 2.0 ports and a headset port, this differs from a normal netbook which will have a port for headphones and a port for a microphone. A suitable headset is included in the box. On the right hand side you find another USB port and a cover that when opened reveals a SIM card slot and an SD Card slot.

My Booklet came with Windows 7 Home Premium  installed as well as the Ovi Suite. Also installed is ‘Nokia Social Hub’ which handles your SMS messages, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr feeds. It’s a simple piece of software but it works well. I was amazed how easy it was to get my 3UK SIM working, literally put it in, and a connection for ‘3’ appeared in the ‘Network and Sharing Centre’. No need to faff with settings, it just worked. Setting it to ‘Connect Automatically’ gave a fantastic ‘on the road’ experience, I tested it on the train and in the car, was very nice to have a connection so easily. No need to plug-in a dongle, or use 3UK’s noddy software, it just works.

As reported elsewhere the Booklet is certainly lacking in ‘grunt’ – its slower than my Acer Aspire 150, they are similarly specced but the Booklet has 512MB less RAM and at times it shows. I switched off the Aero theme in Windows 7 which helped slightly. I do use AutoCAD and Photoshop on my Acer Netbook, it’s not fast, but it works especially for quick changes to drawings. Both work okay on the Booklet, it’s certainly a bit slower than the Acer, but it’s nice to have the extra screen resolution, my Acer has a 1024 x 600 display, the Booklet is 1280 x 720.

The problem is that the Booklet’s performance can’t be improved by a RAM upgrade, as there are two problems – 1. The metal casing will be a NIGHTMARE to get into and 2. There are no spare RAM slots, and the RAM pre-installed is soldered in any way. One area I was happy with the Booklet’s performance was the battery life. It ran for just over 6 hours from a full charge, this was with me using a SIM to get Internet Connectivity, emailing and tweeting, not bad at all considering I get about 2 hours out of my Acer’s standard battery. The speakers mounted on either side are okay, I’ve not used a Netbook with great speakers and these are pretty much on par with other Netbooks.

 In conclusion the Booklet is a lovely piece of kit, beautifully styled, and very robust. Sadly it’s scrimping on the RAM don’t make it such a nice experience as it COULD have been. Good first effort Nokia.

Now for your questions :-

Q – How well does the GPS work and navigation with Ovi maps works? How about 3G network-based location?

A – It’s ‘okay’, the location shows inside an Maps desktop widget, and that’s about it.. there didn’t appear to be any clever way you could ‘use’ your location. I would guess we’ll see more integration soon.

Q – Is it waterproof? I’d be most interested in boot time (in comparison to Dell Mini laptops ~45 seconds) and the connectivity software – SMS handling etc.
A  – I asked Nokia PR if I could put it in the bath, they said No. 😉 . Boot time on Windows 7  Home Premium is *gets out stop watch* – 1:15 – as I’ve said above SMS is handled by Nokia Social Hub.

Q – I’d like to know if it’s actually worth the additional price over any of the other current lower priced netbooks on the market. Also would really like to know if it runs Ubuntu ok and onboard 3G works etc.

A – It’s all down to personal choice you’re paying for the quality of the built I think, it’s probably one of the nicest looking and feeling Netbooks around. Didn’t have chance to install Ubuntu as I only had it for a very short time.

Q – With built-in 3G do you have to use AT&T or is it unlocked to any SIM? also if you are using AT&T SIM are you still using AT&T communication manager to get online or Nokia PC suite????? And the final question is about actual battery life.

A – My one was a UK model and unlocked, and used Windows own Network and Sharing Centre to manage connection. As I’ve said about battery was about 6 hours on ‘mid’ usage.

A look at the Nokia 5800 – Navigation Edition

4 01 2010

The lovely team at Nokia PR have given me a Nokia 5800 – Navigation Edition to play with. So what’s the difference between the vanilla 5800 and the Navigation Edition? Well you get included in the box (amongst the regular stuff) a car charger and a holder for the car – (which uses a suction cup to stick it to the window). The phone itself is different from the regular 5800 as it has a rather nice silver bezel (instead of the regular blue, red, or grey/black). Also the phone has a ‘lifetime’ Ovi Maps licence, slightly deceptive in that it is based on the lifetime of the device (so two years). Still the licence covers ‘Drive Europe’, ‘City Explorer’ and ‘Traffic and Safety Europe’, so you’re pretty much covered for two years!

Using it in the car with the supplied equipment is a good experience; the holder is sturdy and feels quality. It holds the phone tightly, in my opinion a bit too tightly, I’m worried the silver bezel will be scratched away after extended use; hopefully this won’t be the case! Now that Ovi Maps is maturing nicely it will give you (generally) a very satisfactory navigation experience to rival standalone Sat Nav Units. Although personally there is still some work needed on optimising it more for the touch interface.

The phone experience is identical to the regular Nokia 5800 really, included is a ‘Navigation’ theme which gives a black and grey background with a map on it. My version came with the V 31.0.008 firmware, and Ovi Maps v3.01 09w44 b01, which is very stable although I have found the red arrow, struggles to keep up when you’re driving down a motorway at speed.

Really and truly there is no difference between a regular 5800 and the Navigation Edition, it’s all about the bundled goodies. The retail price of the regular 5800 at time of writing is £229, and the Navigation Edition is £254, so really you need to decide if the 2 year licences, car charger and car holder are worth the extra money, I would say yes!

We’ve got a Nokia Booklet!

18 12 2009

The lovely team at Nokia PR have sent us a Nokia Booklet to play with over the Christmas holidays! Please do let me know if you want me to look at any particular aspects of the unit.

Bye Bye Symbian (on the N-Series at least)

18 11 2009

So last night was the ‘N900 Meet Up’ hosted by Nokia and WOM World. where the great and geek of the Nokia and Maemo world came together to have a play with the N900. We had a quick product demo, and then two developers talk about developing on the N900 / Maemo platform.

The most interesting thing to transpire last night was than Ben Smith (TRMP) and I were told by Tanja Sauvola from the Maemo Marketing Team that Symbian would no longer be the operating system used on Nokia N Series phones by 2012. It would be replaced by Maemo. Symbian would (for now) still have a place in the X and E series phones, but the high end N Series would be powered by Maemo. We were also told the the N900 was aimed at developers / enthusiasts rather than ‘the man in the street’. After the platform has matured slightly (and I would guess there are more apps!) it would become more ‘mainstream’. I suppose this is similar to the way S60 has evolved. Also interesting to hear is than the Ovi Store for Maemo would be running after a software update in ‘a few weeks’.

I must say the N900 really is an impressive phone, I’m genuinely excited by it, which is something Nokia have failed to really do to me recently. Big thanks to Nokia and WOM World for inviting us to the event last night. Also thanks to Ben Smith for squeezing the info out of Tanja – his report on it is here . Gerry is getting his hands on his own N900 soon, and hopefully i’ll blag one of my own too 🙂

Unboxing the Nokia 5800 XM Navigation Edition

4 11 2009

For those of you who like these things, here is the 5800 XM NE coming out of it’s box, in glorious HD too!

Nokia N97 v20 Firmware – Q + A Session

3 11 2009

Tonight I attended the WOM World hosted Q+A session about the N97 v20 Firmware Upgrade, along with a handful of other Nokia bloggers. We were all given chance to ask questions to both Frank Zillikens and Catalin Gheorghiu from Nokia.  Frank headed up the N97 v20 Firmware, and Catalin works on the Firmware Development Team. After the jump are the questions posed and the answers given, it took form of a text based chat so please excuse any errors, I’ve tried to correct them all!

We have been given the opportunity to have more questions answered via e-mail so as we only had time for 2, i’ll compile them all and e-mail them over.  Read the rest of this entry »

N97 v20 Q+A – What do you want to ask?

28 10 2009

Next Tuesday (3rd November) we’ll be attending an online Q+A all about the brand spanking new Nokia N97 Firmware v20. On the panel will be Frank Zillikens, the Lead Firmware Developer and Catalin Gheorghiu, a member of the Technical Team. This is chance to find out more about the new software and hopefully find out what else is coming. We want YOU to tell us what to ask, what you like or dislike about the software, what you want to see!

The best questions will be put forward on your behalf, and as many of them as possible, so get your thinking hats on and comment below with your questions. Please try to avoid the ‘Why isn’t it available on ‘x’ product code yet?’ type questions, we want to dig deeper than that, so come on ‘Team nokiAAddict’ show us what you’re made of!

NOTE: gerrymoth will be getting a N97 with FW v20 pre-installed next week to trial out, so stay tuned for his thoughts on this new firmware.