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Tag / xpressmusic

Thanks to David Lian, I’ve got myself a review unit of the highly anticipated Nokia XpressMusic 5800 phone for a couple weeks to play with. The phone has been returned since and I am currently suffering withdrawal symptoms. I constantly try to touch icons on my N82 and try to move the screens around to scroll web pages.. ahh.

However, I shall not digress, here is my take on the XpressMusic 5800.

Nokia XpressMusic 5800
full screen qwerty keyboard & hand writing recognition

Size and Form Factor:
First off, I really like the fact that the phone is only as big as the N82 and weigh pretty much the same. Most other touch screen phones such as the various Windows Mobile devices are generally much larger and wider, and thus not terribly usable especially when you try to operate it with only one hand. The 5800 fits nicely in the pocket and snugs into my palm comfortably.

On the side of the phone you find 2 volume buttons, a slider for lock/unlock, and a dedicated camera button. A power button can be found on top of the device, and just underneath the screen exists the call button in green, menu button in white, and the hang up button in red. I find the semi-minimalistic approach pretty nifty when it comes to answering calls and adjusting volumes (especially when you are playing music and browsing web pages, not needing to flip applications back and forth is really useful)

Nokia XpressMusic 5800
mini qwerty, simulated keypad, XpressMusic player

As a Media Device:
XpressMusic phones, as the name suggests, is aim at music lovers. In this regard, the 5800 does not disappoint. The device is bundled with an 8gb microSD card, stereo headphones, and very impressive external speakers that can fill up a small room pretty good.

The 640×360 resolution screen (qHD – quarter HD) is a godsend for browsing webpages. If you compare that to the N82’s 240×320 display, it fits exactly 3 times as much information on the screen. Double tap on the screen when viewing a webpage will zoom it to “very large” size, double tap again to restore back to original resolution, very useful. You can also zoom the display of a webpage in and out by percentage.

The 3.2 megapixel camera though, is rather noisy at low light condition and the pictures are miles away from the capability of my trusted N82. Put in the 5MP camera and xenon flash and the phone would be unstoppable.

Input Methods:
As some of you might have already known, the 5800 employs resistive touchscreen technology (instead of capacitive such as the iPhone). The benefit of this technology is that a stylus (and indeed provided), finger, or even nails, can be used. Skin contact is not necessary.

There are actually four different ways to input text. There is the full screen qwerty keyboard, best operate with both thumbs; the mini qwerty that is usually tapped with stylus; the simulated keypad option with T9 support; and handwriting recognition that supports both English and Chinese input. No fancy two finger gestures to zoom in and out of a webpage, but your China-imported girlfriend with nail extension can compose an SMS to you.

Personally I find myself reverting back to the simulated keypad with T9 a lot. As you touch the screen, a very subtle vibration gives you an affirmation of your action. A nice touch.

Overall:
I think Nokia has done it right with their first touch-enabled phone, the UI is rather polished for a review/prototype unit. There is almost no learning curve for Symbian S60 users, everything is pretty intuitive and straight forward, and it is an improvement in many aspects except for the lackluster camera performance.

There are several missing features on my wish list, such as a speed dial screen with more than just 4 numbers and tabbed browsing. I trust that some of these things will be corrected in future firmware releases.

Anyway, I captured a short video of the phone with my N82. Single take and unedited.

By the way, the XpressMusic 5800 is going to be launched on the evening of 9.01.09 at Pavilion. This is going to be a public event with live performances, games with prizes to win, and as David promised, lots of fun. I’m going to be there, are you?

I went to Singapore for a couple days, my first time there in the last 13 years. A short trip for an interesting event, a competition organized by Brand’s that we eventually came up first… running up (which involved only two teams.)

Details of the trip shall come soon, but first, I want to also make you envy by showing you this little toy David sent me a day prior to the Singapore trip for review. A Nokia XpressMusic 5800!

Nokia XpressMusic 5800
Nokia XpressMusic 5800

The phone actually exceed my expectations, very polished touch enabled user interface. Still a few bugs to iron out prior to the full release I bet. Full review on this blog soon, stay tuned.

Singapore MRT station
Singapore MRT

Singapore MRT is a lot busier than I remember, and commuters don’t seem to line up nor actually let passengers get down first prior to barging into the train. I thought that was a little surprising.

Brand's Blogger's Challenge
Brand’s bloggeer’s challenge

The Malaysian team did not win (sorry folks!), but Red Diva, KK, Suanie, Sultan Muzaffar, and I did try our best. It was a pretty close call. More on the event on this blog soon.

Brewerks at Singapore, a micro brewery
Brewerks at Singapore

Suan brought me to Brewerks, a microbrewery along the Singapore river. Good beer, good company, but my alcohol tolerance is still tragically low.

along Singapore River
this reminds me of the Rainbow bridge in Tokyo

The scenery at Clark Quay at night is very nice. The photo above is what you can see from Brewerks. Strangely there are quite a few people jogging along the riverside at 9pm, and they’re almost all whites. We’re still deciding if they were exercising or showing off.

along Singapore River
Singapore River at night

The river cruise looks like something I might want to try in my future visit, Sheryl and I had a pretty good riverboat tour back when we were in Chicago a number of years ago when we were both very much together in the States.

A few weeks ago, David asked if I would like to play with a couple Nokia XpressMusic phones for review. Being somewhat a gadget junky, I take up the offer without any hesitation. He assured me that these stuff come in fantastic “review” package that will impress anyone.

Instead of a paper bag or cardboard box with phones inside, what I received was this mysterious looking briefcase with a very subtle Nokia logo on it. I thought it look more like those used by drug dealers carrying huge amount of cash instead, certainly makes me look a lot more cool than (I already am) if I were to carry this thing and walk around 1-U or something.

nokia xpressmusic 5610 5310
the mysterious briefcase

Inside the briefcase were two pretty cool looking phones, the Nokia 5610 and 5310 in slide and candy bar format. A set of very impressive Panasonic headphones, an Altec Lansing inMotion portable speaker, and the very neat JBL portable sound station for 5310 were included.

nokia xpressmusic 5610 5310
the impressive package design containing the two XpressMusic phones

The package looks great and all, but I was still very skeptical. I mean, what good are these tiny speakers compared with a traditional hifi system or even a boombox? And then I boot up the phones and hook it up to the speakers.

The very small Altec Lansing was actually very impressive, it doesn’t even come with battery and only draws power from the phones yet still able to produce very quality sound to reasonable volume. I can totally see this as a very compact solution for going to picnic or even listening to music in a hotel room when you’re travelling, a very portable solution. In fact, I would buy this now if I know where to find it! (I’ve searched the website to no avail, maybe I should tell David the dog ate it)

nokia xpressmusic 5610 5310
Nokia 5610 and Nokia 5310

The sleek 5310 and the JBL portable sound station combination is just perfect for someone who wants an uncomplicated phone with great music ability. Put the phone on the station and it instantly become both a charger and an impressive boombox solution, and I assume, a very good alarm clock that will surely wake you up in this morning. The station can be made portable by using AA batteries too. This baby can go pretty loud as well.

nokia xpressmusic 5610 5310, JBL portable sound station
I love the 5310’s JBL Portable sound station

I shall not need to repeat the specs of these phones as you can easily find here: Nokia 5610, Nokia 5310. Both are Series40 phones that has a camera, cool design, and very great music functionality. I think they are reasonably priced too, my ex-colleague just bought the 5310 a month ago and is very happy about his phone, kept showing it off (especially to impress girls)