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Review GSM communicator Nokia 9300. Part II
Screen. Let's open the device in a horizontal line and we'll see its inner screen. It is 65K TFT and has the resolution of 640x200 pixels. The displays of Nokia 9300/Nokia 9500 are the best among similar devices. You may view text files, tables only using vertical scroll. The screen resolution should be referred to advantages of the phone, in other models the manufacturers compromise and as a result that's hard to view files not formatted specially for the device.
Unfortunately the comfort is not the same when viewing graphics. Photos usually have a portrait format and are decreased in size to suit the height of the Nokia 9300 display (200 pixels) and the result doesn't impress. Picture icons look well but full-size pictures are much worse. The communicator is mostly intended for working with texts and graphics is not as important here (the non-typical geometry of the screen tells upon).
The screen is well readable in the sun and no any cavils appear.
Keypad is comfortable and may be compared only with similar products by Nokia because there are no any communicators with similar keyboard in the market (the size of the keys is meant but not the layout). When looking at the keypad for the first time (especially if you get to know new models by pictures) you'll see the keys are so close to each other and that may cause problems. But the manufacturers decreased the motion and made it minimum in the device. That means that when typing you won't feel the pressure at all and your finger rests on the utmost confinement. To tell the truth, I got used to the keypads with soft back motion (that is in the majority of notebooks) and found it hard to switch on the Nokia 9300 keyboard. The process of getting accustomed takes not so long and then you'll never pay any attention to this trifle. Comparing the quality of the realization with Nokia 9210i I may surely say the manufacturers improved the ergonomics of the device and decreased its size.
The upper row of the keys is responsible for the most frequently used applications (Desk, Telephone, Messaging, Web, Contacts, Documents, Calendar, My Own). The last key is to access any application you assign to it either it is preinstalled or installed by you.
There is a row of keys with double functionality and it is distinguished with blue color. Having pressed the Chr button with additional one you may increase or decrease font-size fast, adjust contrast (4 levels), turn the IrDA, Bluetooth on, start synchronizing.
Due to the absence of a touchscreen the device needed a way for fast navigation when surfing in the Internet. A joystick implements this function. It is placed in the right of the keypad. In contrast to Nokia 9210i the joystick here has 9 positions and thus supports diagonal moving in addition to processing pressures. The joystick is medium in comfort and can't be called comfortable, it rouses compound feelings. And if one gets used to the keypad with time the experience of the colleagues shows the joystick is not the same. A user either accepts it at once or refuses at all.
Processor, memory. The ARM9 processor with the operating speed of 150 MHz is used in the device; also there are 80 MB of ROM, 64 MB of RAM and an expansion connector for MMC-cards. Hot card change is supported but the connector is hidden behind the back cover. Due to the absence of any independent instruments for measuring the productivity of the device we have to describe subjective impressions. Nokia 9300 is not a champion in the working speed, the installed applications start not at once but in 1-2 seconds.That's not too much but not as little. In general the device may be called "thoughtful". When working with small files you have no any problems but an attempt to do everything at once will lead to slow work. Due to the absence of any straight rivals in its class that will e incorrect to say the device is inferior to some device in operating speed. In some kind the speed is similar to the majority of the modern Pocket PC handhelds and thus will satisfy the majority of users.
Interface working principle. Everything is rather plain and intuitively obvious, you run a necessary application and start working with it. The joystick allows selecting text fragments from the main menu and also key combination is responsible for copying and pasting texts to necessary places. Soft keys to the right of the screen have different assignment in different cases.
Every communicator menu offers a possibility to switch a current profile. The second variant to switch it is to use an outer button (phone mode). The menu also has functions duplicating the ones of the keypad.The screen shows the desktop by default and tags connected with folders and applications on it. Your files may be also disposed here. The ideology is really the same as in a usual PC. Let's consider standard functions and their realization.
Various applications may be divided into groups (bookmarks) and that's comfortable if you use extra programs. Icons or lists may be chosen for representing the items of the graphical menu.
Contacts. The number of the name sis not limited and practically any set of numbers may be entered for a name (extra fields are available from the editing menu). There is an own picture for fields; synchronization with MS Outlook rouses no problems. We won't describe all the capabilities; they are maximum just as it should be in a communicator.
Alarm clock. The alarm clock may be set once or recurrent for special days of the week. You may turn several alarm clocks at the same time.
Calendar. All the possible fields and reminders are supported, calendar view - monthly, weekly and daily. An event may have a period, personal alarm signal, a text note and the period time is set if necessary. Distinguishing the status of the events with color is an advantage.
Call lists. Three standard lists have no restrictions on the number of entries; you may view bookmarks for every call type (incoming, outgoing and missed) and apply filters to the lists.
File manager. A plain application that allows managing all the files in the internal memory and MMC-card one.
Documents, Sheet, Presentations. You may create files compatible with MS Word, Excel and apply any format texts without any third party programs. Presentations menu as it is clear from the name you may create own presentation or view the ones loaded from a PC. There are restrictions put on the file size and integrated into the presentations objects. At first sight the program seems to be good for a pocket device.
Calculator. A usual or engineering calculator may be used and everything is rather simple.
Messages. The device supports SMS, concatenated messages and Nokia Smart Messaging. Everything is plain and clear. The same organization is in usual phones by the company and working with a text is more comfortable here due to the presence of the keypad.
MMS are easy to create and send, no any peculiarities.
E-mail Several text codings are supported; there is no an automatic mail delivery on time but authorization for SMTP appeared.
Music Player. Allows reproducing the majority of standards and a standard output provides stereo sound. A disadvantage is that it's possible to work only with one selected folder (and an advantage is that a list of last viewed folders is available from the menu). Nokia 9300 may be used as an mp3 player but it's not reasonable.
Real Player. This player used for viewing the majority of multimedia formats has nothing special to say about.
Opera. This browser has recommended itself well and has no rivals in mobile phones for today, this is a de-facto standard. That's curious the company refused it in its usual smartphone line because fo politic reasons and thus Nokia 9700 will be equipped with another browser.
Connection possibilities. There is an IrDA and Bluetooth support (all the possible profiles, but we haven't checked any exotic ones). Any file may be transmitted on and from the phone. The device supports EDGE but that's not actual for today. In the second half of 2005 the technology may get popular in many countries.
The reception quality is average for Nokia phones and rouses no cavils. The volume level is not enough sometimes because of the dimensions of the phone and the fact it's better to carry it in a case but not a pocket. Manu users consider 9300 as a cut version of Nokia 9500. And this perception of the younger model makes it look duller than 9500. As for me, if comparing the devices in the ergonomics and the possibilities the customer gets for his money Nokia 9300 will surely beaten the elder model. The advantages are its form-factor, less price and a basic set of the same characteristics. The dimensions of Nokia 9300 are at the edge of comfort, a bit more and the device will get to the portable but not mobile segment just like it happened to Nokia 9500 (it may be called subportable but not mobile).
There are no any rivals equipped with a QWERTY-keypad in the market (similar device like Treo have rather small buttons and a vertical screen orientation). So, Nokia 9300 may be recommended to those who need to work with texts, comparatively plain electronic tables but have no need in an everyday use of a notebook. The device will surely suit those who make short business trips often, it's comfortable to check e-mail box and answer on letters while traveling. Nevertheless the potential audience for the solution is not big. We see stable sales of these devices every year bit the audience doesn't grow. Nokia 9300 and 9500 are not worth buying considering the price and prestige factors, you'll get tired of carrying the devices and will soon buy something new and also there are many expensive and smaller devices besides. Nokia 9300 shouldn't be bought if you don't need entering text because this is the main strength of the device distinguishing it from others. And if so you may have a closer look at Nokia 6630. The price of Nokia 9300 will be about 800-850 USD in January 2005 and that is acceptable for a niche device with a steady target group. The company intends to develop communicator line and we'll finally see touchscreens in the next devices (Nokia 9300 might have had it but there were too many problems). Nokia 9300/9500 will remain the main offers in a communicator segment by the company till the middle of 2006.
P.S. Psion worshipers feeling sorry the line "died" may feel glad now, because Nokia 9300 is a straight descendant of the last models. The ideology is the same here (by the way Psion formats are supported from the beginning). And in some way this will attract more customers to the device.
Published 30 December 2004
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