Monday, January 11, 2010

Mixed feelings about my new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Well, I have to admit that the decision of buying this phone was a rather impulsive one. That sort of behaviour is certainly not characteristic of me. But the fact is that I haven't had any new gadget to fiddle with for quite a few month. Besides, the included freebies were really tempting: a Sennheiser headset and 100 songs downloadable from Nokia's new Ovi store. Although both of them turned out to be rather disappointing (I'll come to those issues later), I am quite satisfied with the phone.

         The large screen produces crisp colours. Excellent for watching videos. The touch based UI could be a bit better though, occasionally it can't understand whether I want to select something or just scroll through the page. Being an XpressMusic, it is adequately equipped to belt out good quality music. But the Sennheiser PMX-60 headset failed to live up to the expectation (The first thing I did after buying the phone was to check that one out, even before the phone itself!) and the high level of expectation is not to be blamed for that. The sound quality is not  actually bad, but it leaks sound A LOT. Likewise, it allows enough of outside noise to make me reach  for my Creative EP-630 noise isolation earphones ( listening to music on this Nokia/Creative combination is a real pleasure, by the way).
         The Ovi store was an unmitigated disaster. I knew that the website was IE only, but I planned to wiggle out of that one by installing IE on WINE. But lo and behold; the Finnish web designing geniuses did not stop at only making the website incompatible with all the decent browsers over there, but made no provision of directly downloading music from the site at all. The actual job must be done on a software specifically designed for that. And needless to say, that software is windows only. So the only option I have for redeeming that offer is to download the songs directly to my phone.
          To be fair, the phone itself leaves very little to be desired at its price point. Getting both Wi-fi and GPS at this price is really nice. Besides, Symbian being the most popular OS for mobile devices, an unnervingly huge collection of softwares are available on the web.
          But the biggest plus point of this phone is that the symbian platform is extremely python-friendly. The default symbian port of python (made by Nokia itself) even includes the option of setting up a serial connection to a linux box over bluetooth. This one turned out to be a major boredom buster for me, as it enabled me to tinker with the innards of the phone. They even provided a script to create .sis installers from a python script. I haven't checked it out yet but plan to do that as soon as I write any big enough program.
P.S. - I actually started to write the blog with the intention of describing the ordeal I had to go through for syncing the playlists on my computer with the phone, but unfortunately it is almost 7 a.m. So that story will have to wait (In case you are wondering what kind of errand I am up to at 7 a.m. in a January morning, I'm just hoping for a couple of hours of sleep before classes start).


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