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Review: Nokia N8

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Symbian^3... better or worse than S60?

by hepresearch    Oct 5, 2010, 12:15 AM

My opinion... worse.

I enjoyed both S80 and S60 immensely. Some of the features that Eric lists as negatives of S60 are actually some of the features I appreciate the most about S60. I love S60 3rd Edition, especially Feature Pack 2. My current phone (a Nokia E75) does not have any issues or insurmountable problems to speak of. It does not crash, it does not pause for long periods of time when the screen rotates, it takes pictures in a snappy manner, and everything works properly (including the browser).

However, S60 5th Edition was, in my opinion, the first departure from decency for Nokia. I finally played with a Nokia 5230 Nuron, and found that I did not like the two-tap interface method. The touch screen was resistive, and reminded me of the old Windows Mobile Pro phones by HTC. I admit that I felt familiar with some of the features of the OS already, and it was a breeze to use, but the software was also overwhelming the hardware at some times, especially when the phone was multitasking. I find that part of the key to good operation is to kill tasks you are not using, but it is still disappointingly easy to overwhelm S60 5th Edition.

Symbian^3, from the description by Eric, sounds like it has a few areas of improvement over S60 5th Edition, such as the elimination of the whole two-tap thing and the step-up to a capacitive touch screen, but at the same time I can see that it suffers from the same software-overloading problem that the S60 5th Edition phones suffer from, and probably has this issue in a worse way. It is still better than Windows Mobile, last time I checked, but it is rapidly approaching the undeniably awful level of Windows Mobile's crashing and unresponsiveness.

Also, why the switch to a non-user-removable battery like the iPhone? This is one of the worst features of the iPhone in my opinion, and now both the N8 and E7 have this hardware feature.

I was excited at first when I heard that the N8 would have Symbian^3, but I am gradually becoming less enthused. Although Symbian^3 looks temptingly like S60 (widgets, active-standby, icons and menus...), I think that if Symbian^4 is just a continuation of the changes that they have made from S60 5th Edition to Symbian^3, then I will be switching to a Series 40 phone when I buy my next Nokia. Series 40, although not a smartphone platform, still syncs with Outlook and other email/calendar programs, has active-standby, has developed into Touch-and-Type, works with Ovi Suite, etc...

Does anyone else have an opinion on this? I would be interested to hear it.

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