The blog might be called Two Laptops, but that’s not to discriminate against my mobile phones. They can be as valuable to the traveling IT guy as any laptop, so here’s their due.
|2G Bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Bands||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100|
|Processor||680 MHz ARM11|
|Memory||16 GB storage / 1GB ROM|
|Screen||360 x 640 pixel / 4.0 inches|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||v3.0 with A2DP|
|Talk Time||Up to 9 hours|
|Standby Time||Up to 42 hours|
That’s right, I rock a Nokia E7. Is it a hand-me-down? Nope? Did I buy it used? Nope. I bought a brand-new Nokia E7, after Nokia had announced it’s new partnership with Microsoft, as well as it’s closing of the Symbian Foundation and subsequently relegation of Symbian^3 to bastard-child status. Some of you may be thinking, “This guy really isn’t defending his own common sense very well,” and to that I respond, “I have my reasons.
- I hate vendor lock-in. Though Nokia Ovi Suite, the proprietary and preferred syncing solution, is effectively a Windows-only beast, the device itself is very standards-friendly, and I like standards. It has standard Mass Storage USB mode, Modem USB mode and MTP Media Device mode. But better yet, you never have to sync this thing with a computer anyways. It is a completely standalone product.
- The product line is dead. The smart-phone market at the moment is highly volatile, in almost all aspects, including hardware, software and even legality. The last thing I want is for my phone to stop working for reasons outside of my control. What I need is stability on my phone. I have no problem breaking my computers, but my phone must be a rock solid platform. It is this stability that Symbian^3 provides, but with enough flexibility in terms of applications that it is not a completely stagnant platform.
- I prefer high-quality manufacturing. My E7 is probably one of the most durable gadgets I have ever purchased. And this includes its keyboard/screen flip-hinge. The body is a high-quality, durable metal structure, and the keyboard is fantastic. The touch screen does not feel fragile and the buttons are all properly flush and responsive. Yes, there are other phones with good build quality, but the E7 easily ranks amongst the top.
What is a smartphone these days without applications? Below are my favorite apps. My criteria for using and app and considering it a top pick is that it must be free, it must integrate well into the underlying OS, and it must provide an explicit functionality that enhances usability or desireabiltiy of the device without forcing me into completely new use-paradigms. Best yet, they are all available through the Ovi Store or Nokia Beta Labs
- Opera Mobile – The world’s best mobile browser as far as I am concerned.
- Sleeping Screen – The least functional of my favorite apps, but so passively awesome you just have to have it.
- Solitaire QT – A no-nonsense implementation of Klondike. A must have.
- Foursquare – If you Fourquare, this first-party app is a first-class Symbian^3 citizen. Homescreen widget and Facebook/Twitter integration. Sounds good to me.
- dTack – A unique and engaging approach to Twitter user-interfaces. Makes me care about my twitter stream again, and I can’t quite explain why. If you Twitter on Symbian^3, use this app.
- Mail – That’s right, I use the default Mail Client. My only gripe is how long it can take for Gmail deleted messages to delete on my device, but I have a feeling Gmail is to blame on this one. Otherwise, Exchange integration is a necessary evil and everything else is well-done.
- IM for Nokia – That’s right, I have also forgone Nimbuzz, Snaptu and eBuddy to use the integrated solution. It’s got great connectivity and push notification, though I wouldn’t mind AIM and Facebook Chat support.
- Borg – I am excited for this one. It seems like a good third-party Facebook client, with some nice integration, such as with the Photo Gallery. It’s also fairly responsive and indicative of what it’s doing (so you aren’t left wondering if it’s loading content or just hung up on something).
- Dropian – I admit, I haven’t tested all the Dropbox clients for Symbian, but I was immediately impressed with the usefulness of Dropian, so I stuck with it.
- QuickOffice – Another slight exception, QuickOffice is included in the cost of the Nokia Business-class E-series phones, so it’s “free” for me, but others may have to pay. It’s good if you need mobile documents on your phone though.
- Skype – It’s Skype, on your phone. Until Microsoft ruins it, this one is a no-brainer.
- CNN Intl – I fully admit, I am a BBC reader when it comes to news on the web, but the CNN app is a true first-class Symbian^3 citizen and worth a look for your multimedia international news experience
- Maps – Truly cached maps are awesome. Why use anything else?
- Favorite Apps – A great utility for getting more functionality out of a single home screen. A good blend between the previous Nokia Shortcuts widget and the increasingly-common full screen of apps paradigm.