Nokia 5800 Thoughts

nokia.gifI have been using the Nokia 5800 for a while now. Whenever I get a new phone for use in development testing it becomes a candidate for being the phone I currently carry around.

I have been particularly impressed with the hardware. It’s small, light, has a great camera and a wide (640 pixel) screen. It’s the antithesis of the T-Mobile G1 I use at the moment that has poor hardware but great software.

It’s not that the S60 software is that bad. Two years ago, I would have wanted a S60 phone like this, However, things have moved on. The iPhone (that I used before the G1) and Android have shown us how easy it can be to consume services on a phone.

First of all, Java applications run on S60 5th use too much of the screen for virtual key controls. Similarly, many applications, when run horizontally, lose much of the screen at the right hand side to virtual hardware keys. Suddenly, the 640 screen size doesn’t seem so large any more! Having used the iPhone and Android for the last year, S60 comes across as having too many steps to most things. To many levels, too many menus. 3rd party applications are buried too deep and aren’t first class citizens like on iPhone and Android. Ironically, they used to be when S60 was first born and Nokia chose to bury them.

However, none of these reasons are why I won’t be using the 5800 day to day. The main problem is sync with Google services (mail, contacts and calendar) which I use extensively. Android keeps everything up to date on the phone without me doing anything. Yes, I could access these via a web browser, use 3rd party solutions to sync occasionally and use the Java GMail client. However, none of these work optimally and all have problems (i.e. Too slow, too manual, poor use of screen estate, too many Java prompts and inability to use shared Google calendars). So, I am keeping the G1 for now until better Android hardware comes along. It would be great to have Android on the 5800 hardware!