A few random thoughts and impressions after a couple days with the Nokia 5800. In no particular order:
- The touch screen works quite nicely. Since the iPhone comparison on this point is inevitable, I might as well get it out of the way up-front: I don’t find its responsiveness or sensitivity different enough to make a significant difference. The phone comes with a stylus, although you don’t need to use it. But it’s a nice option to have, and if you use the handwriting recognition, then you’ll obviously need it. The phone also comes with a plectrum attached to a wrist strap, so if you’re inclined to use something stylus-esque, you may find that a little more convenient. I had it attached for a while, but removed it since it was a little too tempting to the cats.
- I’m not a huge fan of the S60 UI, but compared to previous iterations, it feels like it’s been cleaned up/organized a little better. I no longer feel like I have to click around amongst a half-dozen menu items to find the specific thing I’m looking for.
- That said, you do get the impression that the touch interface has been grafted onto the S60 UI, and that it’s not a perfect fit. For example, I’ve noticed that in some menus you need to double-tap on an item to start it, but in other menus only a single tap is required. I’m not sure if this is the actual reason why, but my impression is that in some instances the item has an associated ‘Options’ menu that you can navigate, so the double-tap lets you set options without actually starting the item. I’d prefer some consistency here.
- Another example: create a new SMS, add a recipient, and the cursor is placed in the text entry field, presumably because you actually want to add some text to your text message. But you still have to tap to bring up the keyboard. This is perhaps a holdover from phones with keypads, where you could just start hitting keys to type your message.
- The home screen: with one theme, you can have shortcuts to up to four contacts - press the button for that contact and bring up a little menu to call/text/etc. that person. Or you can have a theme that gives you four shortcuts to applications. But from what I can tell you can’t have shortcuts to both applications and contacts at the same time (you can have a shortcut to the contacts application, but that’s not the same thing). Perhaps this will come down the road, or it’s possible now and I just haven’t figured out how!
- The screen is lovely. Great, crisp images. Seems like a nice screen for watching movies when on the road. Haven’t tested this yet, so I don’t know what effect this has on the battery life.
- The web browser works quite nicely, and since FL3 supports up to Flash 8 content, you get more of the web than you get with certain other touch-screen phones. I haven’t checked out very many sites with Flash content yet, but the ones that I have looked at work pretty well. Personally, I think this is a pretty good reason to keep using AS2 for the more ‘lightweight’ Flash elements of a site (navigation, animations - all the Flash stuff that annoys the standardistas, basically!). As long as your pages contain alternate content for browsers without Flash, then everybody’s happy.
And of course it has FL3 installed. More on that in subsequent posts.