My 3UK MiFi has arrived

The courier dropped of a small package earlier this evening and my free upgrade from 3UK has turned up. It’s currently charging the 1500mAh battery contained within the smooth small white capsule.

You can see it’s smaller than both the Nokia handsets in the picture and come is the very fashionable white.

I’ve given it a whirl and connected my HTC Hero to it first time, no issues. The only thing I had to do was remove the pin code from the SIM, as there’s no way to enter the pin when you fire up the device.

 

So far all looks good, heading back down south later in the week for another stay over so will be giving the unit a work out then, tethering my hero, laptop and E71 to it, the only worry is the coverage. So first impressions are good, the lights are a little gimmicky but you can’t have everything.

London, Frankfurt and Geneva

The next 10 days or so are going to be pretty full on travelling, Tomorrow is down to Slough, then into London for a trip to a restaurant with the CFO of a major UK telco, then back home on Tuesday.  Thursday it’s the 7am flight out of Manchester to Frankfurt for two days coming back 10pm Friday night. Monday it’s off to Geneva for two days, this time with that hassle free airline easyjet. My Ticket to Geneva and this is return cost £39; in comparison a ticket to London on the train if you just rock up is £186, just nuts.

So the Patagonia MLC is getting more use with the one-bag travel system so much less hassle and worry and my other Christmas present the Fuji travel adaptor with USB charging will also get an outing too. I’ve debating whether to take the Asus as well as the work laptop, but I don’t think I’ll bother, one laptop will do, who do I think I am Jonathan Greene 😉

Truphone will also be coming along too as it always does, I’ve got a new gold number from them which is cool, but it’s not been enabled yet, so looking forward to getting that setup.

Where all this might go wrong is the weather, when I checked the BBC weather it said between 2-5cm’s of snow. Any amount seems to cause the UK to grind to a halt, so we’ll see what happens. Posts on twitter and indicating it’s started to snow in some parts already.

 

E71 new firmware – the camera still poor

Nokia released new firmware for the E71 Euro, v200.21.118 last week, there’s a change log here. The new firmware makes the browser much much faster and adds a couple of new themes which are nice. It looks like a major upgrade and worth the effort of the upgrade.

But there’s still one major flaw with the E71, the camera, it’s shocking, there’s still a purple tint to photo’s and they are still very very grainy in low light. The E71 has a 3.2mp camera just like the N73 had, but the N73s camera was aweome, truly awesome. I read a while back that the 3.2mp unit in the E71 is a much lower spec unit and used to keep the costs down.

My devices must perform three functions well, take calls and not crash and last for 2 days without charging, be good at messaging and emails and replace my point and shoot camera. The N95 still performs all those tasks well, with the battery being the weakest point. The E71 performs the first two requirements really well, but the third requirement of being a decent camera, it just fails.

I’ve just picked up an N95 8gb to address the weaker battery of my N95 classic, so I’ve got 4 devices on the go right now, my N95-1, my E71 and my E61i, but I expect the N95 8gb to be the device that I never put down.

Nokia FM Transmitter CA-300

You may have noticed I’ve been offline a little of late, well it’s been my Birthday so I’ve been taking it easy. One thing I have been testing (besides the E63) is Nokia’s FM Transmitter the CA-300. I already have a Belkin iPod transmitter that I use for my iPod, which I prefer over the built in iPod doc of my car.

Having been recently downloading podcasts to my E71, I thought it’d be great to be able to listen to them in the car and get new podcasts while out and about and away from the desktop with iTunes on.

The CA-300 is a little bigger than the Belkin iPod FM transmitter due to the retractable lead casing at the top of the power connector. The leads are pretty straight forward, one for power, so it’s nice to have a fully charged device when you step out of the car, and the other plugs into the 2.5mm headphones jack, there’s an adapter so it can fit both 2.5mm and 35mm.

It’s a little messier than the simple Belkin device as that just has the phone connector, compared to the CA-300’s two, but it works just the same. The sound quality is fine and setting it up was a breeze, I tend to use 105mhz, seems to work best in most parts of the country.

So if you’re going to pick up a car charger and you listen to podcasts, go one step further and pick up the CA-300 and tune in to podcasts or your music on your car stereo.

E63 your questions answered

Following on from the other E63 posts I’m going to answer the questions in one go…

First up from sarvajeet does the E63 support 8gb, the answer is yes see the photo below.

The next question I was asked was again by sarvajeet and it was related to the speaker on the E63. The speaker is as good as the E71, I wouldn’t say it was an improvement but it works well on speaker phone calls, the voice is loud and clear so now problem there. I wouldn’t less to music through it on the E63, but I wouldn’t listen to music through the speaker on the E71 either.

The final question asked was does the E63 let Nokia email and Jaiku play nicely by Bernie Goldbach. I was interested in this too. What I’ve noticed and its why Bernie was asking was that on the E71 ( and I think Bernie has an E90) Those apps don’t play nicely, they refuse to use the same data connection. What I find is that whilst the two are running on my E71, jaiku won’t update, so when you open the native S60 app it takes some time while it updates itself using the data connection. Alternatively, the Nokia email wont sync even when it’s on the push setting, you notice this when you go to your desktop and there’s new mail in gmail, but it’s not on our phone.

Well, during my testing both apps have played nicely on the E63, I’ve been running both apps full time, Email on push and Jaiku on ‘most up to date’ so both are busy synching at minute intervals, there hasn’t been any issues. Both have worked flawlessly, I never experienced either of the issues I have on the E71.

I can only speculate that the E63 has a slightly different firmware to the E71 which prevents the problem from occurring. The E71 is about to get a new firmware any day now, it’s published but it hasn’t hit the NSU yet, well not for me any way.

So, I’ve answered all the questions left on the blog posts, I still like the device and the keyboard is still a real winner. I’m not having mush fun with wi-fi right now, but i dont know it that’s because it’s a pre-production model or something I dont know. I can’t get Truphone to install either, I really don’t know why, so can’t test the VoIP functionality of the device which is a shame, maybe some one from Truphone will get in touch.

The E71 is the social media device of choice.

I was just reading Glen’s post on his belief that the E71 is the social media users dream. I’d have to agree with him, the keyboard makes messaging and replying on social media sites such as Twitter and Jaiku a breeze. I too had one of the loaner E71’s for the NokiaOpenLabs08 event, which was the second time I’d had the device. The three days or so with the device was enough to convince me that the E71 was the right device for me and I upgraded from my N95-1 to the E71 as soon as I could. I haven’t looked back, I spend most of my time, typing out messages or micro-blog posts and the QWERTY keyboard is a must. Having said that the E71 is a great device and I won’t be giving mine up for a long time, the E63 has an even better keyboard than the E71. It has a softer rubber feel to the keys which grip your fingers and finger nails better than the E71. The extra keys also mean it’s easier to insert brackets, the impact this has on the space bar, i.e. shrinking it is almost unnoticeable.

Nokia E63; The software

The general feel or speed of the device is good, it’s as snappy as the E71, there’s no lag. As any respecting S60 devices tester would do, on went handy Taskman, here’s the screen shot right after boot up.

There’s about 74M of ram left after boot and with screenshot running, 105M of the device itself and there’s not memory card installed.

Nothing too unusual about the software really standard home screen, there’s several softer themes here they are;

 

As I mentioned on my previous post, the camera is the same as the one on the E61i

There’s also an OVi files app in the applications folder too.

The Music store app is there along with share online so no changes to this menu.

The media gallery is still the classic E series media gallery.

And here are some of the other menu’s with the new E series icon’s

The GPS icon and Maps icon is there but when you click it the devices asks whether you want to turn bluetooth on, indicating there’s no GPS but you need an external unit.

The infra-red and modem icons are missing from the Connectivity menu, we noticed the infa-red unit had gone from the side of the device.

E63 The hardware; comparing an E63 to an E71.

First up is the two devices placed side by side, here you can see the differences in the keyboards very clearly. The space bar is smaller on the E63 and had two extra keys along the bottom row allowing for more characters to be directly accessed via the keyboard. This has got to be a good thing as inserting brackets on the E71 is a pain. The keyboard also extends slightly further down the handset making the keys lightly larger, again anything that makes the keys lightly larger has to be good. You can also notice that the microphone socket has moved to the bottom of the handset too. The casing is plastic both front and back. The front is a metallic effect so looks like the E71 but a tap reveals a plastic casing, that’s fine and it looks good.

The surround of the speaker has also changed and there’s no front facing camera on the E63 either.

The wrist strap has also flipped sides too. You can also see the graphic for the phone book key has changed too and those function keys are a little larger too. The red off button of the E71 is gone and the red handset key now doubles as the on/off. But the big one for me here is the extra keys for more characters that an improvement. There’s also a torch function too, hold down the space bar and the flash light comes on, along with a beeping noise, I guess to let you know it’s on an chewing your battery.

In the above pic you can see  the E63 on top off the E71, The E63 is a little thicker and you can see the memory slot and usb connector is smaller and a nicer finish to them, the covers on the E71 keeps catching. So that’s an improvement. You can only see there’s no infra-red port on the E63 and the small round lug of the 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the handset.

The right hand side of the E63 doesn’t have anything on it, the Volume keys are gone, so this picture gives you a clearer view as to how much thicker the E63 is over the E71.

The backs of both devices are different, the E63’s is made of plastic, whilst the E71’s is a more classy metal. The E63 has a small locking catch which is very simple to use. My impression though it that this back makes the device feel cheaper and more of a cheaper handset. It’s OK it works, it’s less of a finger print magnet, but it puts the handset in a certain market which is fine.

A close up of the Camera’s the E71 has an average 3.2mp camera and the E63 has a 2.0mp camera with no mention of AF (Auto Focus). The holding down the T function in the E71 doesn’t work on the E63 and the camera app looks the same as the camera app on my E61i, which is a big step backwards. To it looks like it’s the same camera and same app as the E61i which is a poor camera, so I wouldn’t expect great shots from it, but we’ll run some tests later.

Overall, the changes are good, the bigger keyboard with more keys is good, the better memory card slot is also an improvement over the E71, so there are some good improvements over the E71 in terms of keyboard, but there’s several backward steps, the camera, the thickness and the plastic casing that clearly point to this device being a smaller brother of the E71.

OK, I think that’s it in terms of physical any questions, onto software, Camera and general overview next up.

Nokia E63 – on trial

I just received a nice surprise from WOM world an E63 in rather fetching red.

It’s a little thicker than the E71 first off, but feels nice to hold, a quick flick around the menus look familiar and there are some nice themes too.

So it’s real, there’s no box as yet, but looks very interesting.

Anyway, back to work for me, and more later.

Nokia Open Labs

I’ve just finished packing for tomorrows trip to Finland and Nokia’s Open Labs event. We’re all staying in the same Hotel in Helsinki, which looks very nice indeed.

I’ve also finished packing my kit too, I’m taking my Asus Eeepc 900 as my blogging machine to keep the weight down, the N800 is coming too, as is my N95, E61i and the WoM E71 as well, I think that should cover all blogging needs.

I’ll be using my truphone number whilst out there, so I can witch between phones and still receive calls on the right handset.

I’ll be microblogging on Jaiku too and the odd twitter too I’m sure, so keep reading as I spend the next couple of days in Helsinki, Finland. First up is a 7.30am flight from Manchester to Helsinki..

Leaving on a jet plane…….back soon.