All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped
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Old 29-07-2006, 10:01 AM
dez_borders dez_borders is offline
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Article Mini-Review of the N73

Hi all,

Thought I would post a mini review of the N73, after 24 hours use...

In no order of importance...



1. The screen
The screen is very impressive. It's approx double the resolution (pixels) of the N70, and is the same resolution as the N80. However where it beats it's predecessors is in the physical dimensions of the screen. The N73 screen is the same physical width as both N70 and N80 but is 1cm taller than both of them. The icons and images are bright and sharp, text is very clear and not pixellated.

Two minor gripes on the screen (sort of)...
(a) The clear film screen protector supplied with all Nokia Handsets is no longer clear. It has a Nokia logo and the handset model printed across the centre in quite large font. This means you MUST remove the screen protector to use the phone. Maybe it's just me but I prefer to leave the clear film on the screen for a few months to keep the screen free from scratches.

(b) There's a very faint horizontal line showing on the screen, parallel to the bottom of the battery and signal meters. This is almost certainly part of the Nokia Standard Theme, but at first glance it looks like a line of faulty pixels. Don't panic though, when applications or images are displayed the line disappears. This is just me being picky!




2. Symbian O/S 3rd Generation
Near enough identical to the N80 Symbian as far as I can tell. The plus sides are a more secure environment than 1st and 2nd Editions of Symbian OS.

One downside of the improved security is that system and hidden folders are protected from viewing or editing contents of these folders, therefore programs like FEXPLORER will not offer the same level of functionality on the N73 and N80 as they did on previous models of Nokia Symbian phones.

Possibly the single most annoying (short term) downside of 3rd Edition is that almost all existing Symbian applications do not work, and the developers of these applications need to rewrite & recompile them for Symbian 3rd. Currently - as far as I know - there is no GPS Sat-Nav application that works properly on either the N80 or N73.

However I have to point out that the improvements to the Symbian OS 3rd edition far outweigh any short-term problems - progress is never easy. The N73 is going to be far too popular for commercial software companies to ignore, so expect to see compatible versions of TomTom 5 Mobile, and many other well known Symbian apps in the very near future.




3. Camera
Like the N80, the N73 has a 3.2 Megapixel camera.

Unlike the N80, the N73 has Carl Zeiss Optics, auto focus and a host of other features added. (for those who don't know, Carl Zeiss optics are used on many high quality Digital Cameras such as the Sony Cybershot range).

I haven't had enough time to play fully with the 3MP camera functions but I can say one thing - in low light (I was in a pub in Edinburgh last night) the picture quality is grainy and the colours are washed out and blotchy. ALL Nokia camera phones seem to suffer this problem - as do many other manufacturers of mobile phones - and Nokia need to realise that the LED FLASH just isn't powerful enough to compensate for low lighting, in my view.

The resolution and features of camera phones is now rivalling the mid range Digital Cameras so a proper flash unit needs be included in the future range.




4. Memory
SHOCK! HORROR! and DISGUST! Nokia do not bundle a free Mini-SD card with the N73. As far as i know, this is the first Nokia Smartphone since the 7650 which did not have a free memory expansion card bundled with the handset. WHY!!!!! Nokia have saved £5 or less by not incliding a 128Mb or 256Mb Mini SD Card.

On the plus side, I removed my SanDisk 1Gb Mini-SD card from a Nokia N80, and inserted it into the N73's memory slot - now on the base of the phone instead of the side - and all my N80 installed applications were recognised and automatically installed. The 3 or 4 UnTrusted Applications which did not automatically install were easily installed manually from the Application Manager tool.




5. SIM-Locking, Tarrif and Firmware
My handset came from Vodafone Online Shop, on a monthly contract and the handset is UNLOCKED - which was a major surprise as I thought only O2 supplied their contract handsets unlocked.

You now have 2 choices for a cheap(ish) N73.

O2 Online - £19 per month (12 month contract).
50 mins XNET Anytime, 300 SMS per month. Handset price TBA, but my guess is £70-£99. Delivery FREE
Total cost for handset and contract: estimated £327
Average monthly cost for comparison = £27.25

Vodafone Online - £25 per month (18 month contract),
200 mins XNET ANYIME, 250SMS. Handset is FREE and first 6 months is half price. Delivery £2.95
Total cost for handset and contract: estimated £378.
Average monthly cost for comparison = £21

Note the Vodafone is more expensive overall, but the longer contract makes the monthly outlay smaller than O2. Vodafone is also offering the significantly better inclisive minutes in their tarrif.

I admit that I could (and possibly should) have compared the O2 Online £25 18 month deal with the Vodafone one, but today I am aiming to compare the two CHEAPEST tarrif's from O2 and Vodafone. I believe the Vodafone tarrif would still have worked out better value for money than an 18 month O2 one, over the entire life of the contract. As always though, I am more than happy to be corrected!


Firmware on my Vodafone N73 handset is as follows:-
*#0000#
V2.0628.0.0.1
10-07-2006
RM-133
Nokia N73 (39.01)

I have not discovered any bugs so far, but please note that www.r66.com have recently withdrawn the Nokia N80 from their Route66 compatibility list, and the N73 isn't listed as compatible either.

www.r66.com recently emailed me stating that Firmware problems in the N80 are the cause of problems with their product, not the Route66 software.

There's 2 ways to interpret the r66 statement in relation to the date shown for the N73 firmware.

(a) Bugs present in the latest N80 Firmware could be present in the N73. There could even be additional bugs in the N73 firware as it's a new model just released.

(b) The current N73 firmware is almost 2 months more up-to-date than the N80 FW, and they both run on the 3rd-Edition of Symbian O/S and have very similar features, therefore most of the N80 FW bugs might have been fixed in the N73 FW.




6. N80 versus N73?
Always a topic for heated discussion but here's my view...

Simple Question: Do you want or need Wi-Fi ? If YES, then buy an N80, otherwise buy the Nokia N73.




Please feel free to discuss and dispute what I have said in this mini-review. I am keen to find out what other new N73 owners think of their latest handset.

Cheers,
Dez

Last edited by dez_borders; 29-07-2006 at 10:18 AM.
 

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