All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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  #1  
Old 02-09-2010, 09:58 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Battle of the Budget Smartphones: The Final Reckoning

And so we come to what we suspect will be the most contentious piece in Ewan's quest in comparing a £100 Android smartphone (the ZTE Racer) with an £80 Symbian smartphone (the Nokia 5230). Third party applications and the final decision, rounding up conclusions from the previous comparison parts. Which will triumph? Read on for the final instalment, plus links to the other parts.

Read on in the full article.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2010, 10:28 AM
Jejoma Jejoma is offline
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How on earth can anyone other than Patrick Troughton be considered?

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:54 AM
Dubito Dubito is offline
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Bah, Patrick Troughton was an annoying little man next to Jon Pertwee. So was Tom Baker, come to that.

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Old 02-09-2010, 11:22 AM
twinpeaked twinpeaked is offline
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There were Doctors before David Tennant?(Joke)

Just to say that I have really enjoyed this series Ewan, it has both been entertaining and informative.

I think that it a battle between the smartphone ethos, and the mobile computer ethos, and I think the smartphone definately wins at this pricepoint (the nokia), and your most important point is battery, the constant chattering with the internet seems to ignore battery limitations and limited bandwidth and signal strength. It's an easier task for Nokia to improve usability (i didn't fall into the trap of calling the UI/OS outdated) than for Apple and Android to change the laws of physics

These articles have given me food for thought, I intend to get an Android in 2011 (waiting for gingerbread, post snapdragon processor etc) and I still do after reading this. But my current solution is an N85 and an iPod touch. I intended it to replace the N85, but with the limitations stated of mobile computing devices, I think I really need my n85 to accompany my 2011 android purchase, for battery, one handed operation, probably a superior camera, and just liberate the android device from making that emergency call

I guess I'm a two box solution guy at heart. One size really doesn't fit all

  #5  
Old 02-09-2010, 11:44 AM
ajck ajck is offline
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As the article says:
"While Symbian and Android both have their roots in the higher end devices, it's Symbian that makes the more successful transition to the low-end. The design decisions made by Android really need a much faster CPU and higher specification device than can be (currently) afforded on a £100 smartphone, and the compromises that have to be made are noticeable.

Nokia have had to compromise as well, but Symbian works at a far better pace on the hardware available. Because of a more direct relationship between the OS and the CPU, with no virtual machines or emulation layers in-between, the difference in battery life is hugely in favour for the 5230. That's almost a reason in itself to go with it.
"

Boom! (As Steve Jobs would say). That's it, right there. That's the visible tip of the iceberg between Symbian and Android. That iceberg (9 tenths of which is invisible) is the years of maturity and engineering and supreme design that have gone in to Symbian that can only be dreamed of by Android. And this, the low end, is one of the real coalfaces where the difference between the two OSes becomes starkly clear. You take away the high-end budget to build an Android phone, and it's desperately scrambling to stay alive, starved of power and memory and battery. Meanwhile, Symbian just shifted into 5th gear and floored the accelerator. The differences would be even more clear between the 5250 (at £50, rather than £80) and other low end Android devices.

And note also that while yes power at a certain price point (e.g. the £100 of the ZTE racer) will increase as hardware costs fall and thus make Android more usable at that price point, remember that the lower priced and powered hardware required by Symbian will also fall - and fall further and further into the bigger and bigger markets for mobile phones (non smartphones) worldwide. The smartphone market is growing rapidly and it is growing at the bottom end and the leading player by a LONG way is Nokia/Symbian.

While Nokia's high end fightback will likely succeed, remember that hundreds of millions of people over the coming years will have basically two choices at lower price points: mobile/non-smart/feature phones, OR a Nokia/Symbian device (and they already love Nokia in many poorer places). So Nokia/Symbian will get all these converts ready to grow into the future with more powerful Nokia/Symbian devices. Where is iPhone there? Nowhere. Where is Android there? Picking up the crumbs from the table I reckon, because it simply can't compete technically when the going gets tough (i.e. cheap underpowered components in the devices that sell hundreds of millions to the masses of the world).

As a side note it's interesting to see how RADICALLY wrong those people are and will be, who have predicted the imminent death of Nokia smartphones and especially Symbian. Including many respectable publications and journos. Shocking really how people jump on bandwagons without any real thought or knowledge.

Last edited by ajck; 02-09-2010 at 11:53 AM.

  #6  
Old 02-09-2010, 05:49 PM
Peter Sulzer Peter Sulzer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsepz_011 View Post
Offcourse the Symbian was going to win,you could see it from the 1st part of these reviews.
Of course Symbian, especially the 5230 wins: Test of "Stiftung Warentest", Germany
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsepz_011 View Post
... ,but the review does show that Symbian belongs in low end,and should let the big boys: iOS, Android, Maemo/Meego, do the high end.
Stiftung Warentest is a non profit organization in Germany, supported (sponsored) officially by Germany and was founded 1964 by the "German Bundestag" (parliament). It sells a monthly magazine (Test), which comes without any advertisements, to be absolutely independent from manufacturers. Quote from the above Link:

"Nokia platziert sich mit dem X6 und dem 5230 knapp vor dem iPhone 4. Damit schlagen Telefone für 380 und 169 Euro das viel teurere Kulthandy von Apple."

Translation by Peter Sulzer:

Nokia places itself with the X6 and the 5230 just before the iPhone 4. So phones for 380 and 169 Euro beat the much more expensive cult mobile from Apple.
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Last edited by Peter Sulzer; 05-11-2015 at 03:18 AM. Reason: government replaced with parliament. Ed2: Added Signature

  #7  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:26 PM
kmmbd kmmbd is offline
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Quote:
'Android does a better job even
in the low end in terms of most
smartphone functions, i'll give
the 5230 better battery life, but
i'd rather have a device thats
fluid, consistent, multitasks with
no need to baby sit RAM'

@Tsepz_011
'Most smartphone functions'? Can you please define/state what smartphone functions actually are? Man, you are calling us fanboys, but you're pathetic. Turning a blind eye towards the limitations is blatant fanboyism. A platform which can't run more than 6 'recently' open apps at a given time, and that's on the android top-dog Galaxy S with 512 MB of RAM, is not a smartphone platform at all. Samsung and LG feature phones support more than that! And I didn't even mention the pseudo multitasking where the apps are actually frozen/hibernated, and even when you exit one app, the process runs in the background 'assuming' it might be important! Resource management? I think Google needs a crash-course. Symbian is resource-friendly. Maybe putting 256 MB of RAM and 600 Mhz cpu could've made things better, but that rant is applicable for N97 or the likes, not this 'down-to-the-earth' smartphone! And also, these are mostly intended for asian countries, and there the name nokia spells magic (with the exception of Japan and a few others). And re not using phones from other manufacturers, Samsung has an age old Galaxy Spica at around 150€, LG has one at 200€, motorola and SE has none beyond 200€ mark. So as you can see, none of the major manufacturers are releasing cheap devices on androiad, simply because they can't. They have to maintain a standard in the lower-end devices that is battery-life, and its not possible for android in that price-point. At least, not now. I guess now you know why 5230 won?

  #8  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsepz_011 View Post
i'll give the 5230 better battery life, but i'd rather have a device thats fluid, consistent, multitasks with no need to baby sit RAM and opens web pages without giving dam memory errors,
Yes so would I, but the review phone was a ZTE Racer.

  #9  
Old 02-09-2010, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tsepz_011 View Post
,what matters is that the phone is fluid,fun and easy to use and being a smartphone; should handle some heavy use now and then.
all of which the ZTE Racer fails on. Hence the 5230 wins. Very simple really.

I have a ZTE racer. It lives in a drawer and it is unlikely to ever come out. Very poor.

  #10  
Old 02-09-2010, 09:14 PM
Dazzy Dazzy is offline
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I'd say 70% of my friends own a Symbian handset, and most recently moved into the smartphone arena from feature phones. 10% are on Iphones with almost all of them just using it for calls and only bought it to see what the fuss was. Probably about 5% have Android devices, and most of those are girls who fell in love with the SE X10 Mini and mini pro devices.

The other 15% is made up of feature phones and one or two are using windows mobile.

Based on my friends very few care what OS is on the phone and are more swayed by value for money. There's only a small percentage of the market want to spend big money on phones.

  #11  
Old 02-09-2010, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tsepz_011 View Post
The 5230 is neither fluid,fun or easy to use,its touch display is awful,often requiring multiple taps like 5800, so no, reviewer did point out androids consistancy and fluidity if im not mistaken,so the ZTE didnt fail on those.
WRT Androids not being able to be cheap, well Symbians with 256mb RAM and 600mhz CPU arent cheaper than the price point here either, just look at the E5. The 5230 paid the price of being cheap with a weak CPU, poor RAM and ROM,no Wi-Fi, weaker 3G/HSDPA radio, weaker camera etc...Nokia had to cut alot to actualy get the 5230 to be so cheap, when you look at the specs.
The 5230 is nicer to use than the Racer. Easily. Anally retentive straw-clutching points like an extra tap here and there are a neglible difference.

The advantage of Symbian is that you CAN cut CPU etc down and still get a usable phone in a well constructed build. The 3G/HSDPA radio is better on the 5230, the two phones side by side on the same network always shows the better signal on the Nokia. The difference between the camera produced images is barely noticeable, in fact in most conditions the Nokia is better. I have both phones and I can honestly say, if the ZTE Racer was as inexpensive as the 5230 (20%) the ZTE Race would still be overpriced.

The crap that is talked about Android "fluidity" is unfulfilled. There is nothing particularly special about Android, it is way behind iPhone and whilst it is better than Symbian ^1/S60V5, it is not much better. Frankly, I was hoping for great things, but Android is a disappointment. Even with the efforts of manufacturers with their SenseUI etc, it's still just quite ordinary. Consistency and fluidity? LOL. Joke.

  #12  
Old 02-09-2010, 11:15 PM
kmmbd kmmbd is offline
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@Tsepz
What I meant by '6 apps' was the task manager of the stock android. Last time I checked it offered only the 6 last accessed running apps. Yes, there are alternative task-switchers, but it's about the stock o.s. And android is more fluid compared to symbian, I agree, but that's apparent only on screen resolution beyond wvga, a qvga screened device is an absolute no brainer if you're looking for fluidity. The only point in favor of android (apart from apps) is snatched here by the 5230. And regarding multi-tasking on 5230, been there, done that (on 5800 though, but it's comparable with 5230). I'll give you the raw amount of consumed ram in each case:
1. Opera mobile, with a M-R review loaded, around 10-11 MB (based on review size),
2. Facebook app- 2 MB (even less for mobile-site),
3. Gravity - 5 MB at most,
4. Music player - ~1.2 MB (it consumes cpu mostly),
5. Gmail app - 4 MB (with auto update on)
6. Jbak taskman running all along, consuming another .5 MB of RAM.
Do the math, it says with this kind of a bit exaggerated usage you're having more than 20 MB of RAM to play with. I never hit that memory error even after loading an Asphalt 4 game while doing all this. The general performance slowed down, but it was usable. If you do away with theme effects, the slowdown is even less apparent. Are you still clueless about the Racer losing? Don't be, it never stood a chance.

  #13  
Old 03-09-2010, 09:37 AM
kmmbd kmmbd is offline
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@Tsepz_011
Actually the reviewer didn't touch upon a lot of points in 5230's favor. Maybe those didn't seem too important to him, or else he tried his best to forgive the racer's shortcomings :-). The biggest gripe I have with racer is its smallish screen with qvga resolution. People bash nokia for using nHD resolution screens, but when an android uses qvga its all sunshine! The 'great' android browser is then rendered as useless as the s60 one. Also, the 5230 has class 32 EDGE opposed to racer's class 10 EDGE. On a 3G network it's pointless, but these phones are mainly intended for developing countries most of which are still on 2.5G, so that counts. Also better multimedia playback on the 5230 (due to screen size and codec support) will check the box for many. Although the racer has Wi-fi, it's rare/not present at most places in the target market (developing countries). And re ever depleting ram in symbian, that problem is much remedied now with firmware updates, and not as annoying as it used to be. I agree it's there, and I've also hit the boundaries numerous times (most annoyingly on n97), but it's less of a bugger in case of normal usage. Two of my friends are almost always on facebook on their 5800, and their phone reboots itself if only used too extensively for 5-7 days. And rebooting your smartphone at least once a week is fundamental. About theme effects, any power user does away with that. All the software technicians I know have disabled all kinds of transitions on their pc as they need every ounce of performance from their cpu. So, why not smartphone power-users? Since now-a-days smartphones are more close to pcs than ever before.

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Old 04-09-2010, 09:32 AM
talhamid talhamid is offline
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"the benefits of third party applications is being overstated. On the Android powered Racer, I've downloaded and been actively using a Twitter client, a Foursquare client, and not much else (okay maybe the Abduction platform game as well). But that's it."

What? Have you even LOOKED at the Android Market? With free apps, Android can pull virtually anything from the internet and place it in scrollable widgets on your homescreen. There is an app to merge Facebook contacts with your contact book. A task scheduler. A complete backup manager (which backs up your phone's image including apps). Let's see... an app to trigger actions based on locations and time (just like Symbian). Google Maps is LIGHT YEARS ahead of Nokia Maps. Plenty of RSS readers, podcast catchers, media players, browsers, gesture search, speech-to-text recongnition, outlook sync, exchange clients - all those are available AND WORKING across various phones having the same Android version. Can you say the same about various phones running the same Symbian version? Man, this is just ridiculous. It is just incredible that you set aside the Android market (messy thought it is) so easily.

And why piss on the poor GTE RAcer? Compare the games available for Desire vs something like N97. EPIC FAIL for NOKIA.

I won't disagree with your choice of choosing 5230 - it is an excellent phone for the money. But GTE Racer? Didn't you know Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC also made Android phones? Granted they are not this cheap but hey.

SYmbian has its merits - it is the only OS that can work on cheap enough phones and provide unparalleled functionality at those price points. ONLY.

But please, don't make it into a world-beater. All these comments above are just ill-informed. There is one guy saying he can't run more than six apps simultaneously on an Android since the task switchers shows only that number. Hello? Can you even read English? Bash Android if you want to but at least come up with some educated arguments.

Just don't use Android phones if you prefer, but at least DO YOUR RESEARCH if you are about to comment on it.

  #15  
Old 04-09-2010, 01:26 PM
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Talhamid,

To address your two main points.

Why the Racer? Because currently it is the ONLY Android phone available, contract free (Pay as you Go in the UK) at the £100 price point. The HTC Desire is about £230 pounds, a huge step up in cash. I was simply comparing like with like, which I thought was a sensible comparison.

Android Store, oh I spent a lot of time in the store, there were a lot of downloads to the Racer. And after a month I stepped back to see what i used in the real world. What apps were making a difference to my life as I reported on the Fringe, interviewed people, kept abreast of the news, and everything else. I’d say 85% of the time on the Racer I was in the native apps, and about 90% of the time on the 5230. You’ve listed a lot of “cute function” apps there, but very few impacted heavily when it came to getting out of a geek vision and into the world at large.

The units weren’t being tested as games machines – if that was the case then I’d hand victory to a Sony PSP ;-)

BTW have you seen the sales figures for the 5230? It’s in the tens of millions. That world class enough for you? And if a regular user can’t unlock Android features (such as the issue taken with the six app feature) then it’s not a feature, it’s a hindrance.
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