Archive for July, 2009

Review: BodyGuardZ protector for the Nokia N97

The first thing I do with most all of my mobile phones is cover them some kind of plastic casing, primarily because I need to keep them in pristine condition for resell value. My plastic case of choice over the last couple of years has been the BodyGuardz skins. A new set was just recently made available for the Nokia N97 so I immediately ordered the full body set for my device. One great thing about the BodyGuardz skins is that you get 2 sets with each order (priced about the same as others charge for one set) so if you have multiple devices or want to share one you can. I have only had to remove them in the past when a device goes back to the store for repair or replacement so you shouldn’t really have to remove them once you install them on your device.

BodyGuardz are clear film durable plastic skins that come in either a full body option ($24.95) or screen only option ($14.95). I think you could probably easily go with a screen only solution for the N97, but if I would have had the full body set on my device when I dropped it the first week I owned it then I wouldn’t have that one scratch on the silver frame. The plastic material used on these protectors is used to protect the front of automobiles from stones and other abrasive elements. Since I rarely ever use cases now I went with the full body one to be able to carry the N97 in any pocket without worry.

In the box

The BodyGuardz package is about the size of a rather thin paperback book and contains the BodyGuardz application solution, squeegee card, application instructions, and 2 sets of cases that you ordered. You should also know that there is a 30-day money back guarantee on the case and lifetime replacement policy in case you need a new set for a newly purchased device.

Installing the BodyGuardz skin

I took a look at the pieces for the Nokia N97 and was surprised to see there were 5 pieces of plastic for the front and 8 pieces of plastic for the back. BodyGuardz gives you enough pieces to cover

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 26 July 2009

The biggest stories from you favorite team of Smartphone sites – it’s the best of SPE!

Hands-on impressions of the AT&T Nokia Surge

956bb_nokia_surgeAs you know this site is primarily focused on Nokia devices that I use in the United States. Thankfully, we had the Nokia E71x launched by AT&T a couple of months ago (check out our Nokia E71x Starter Guide. AT&T has launched another Symbian S60 smartphone, the Nokia Surge and I was able to get an evaluation unit to try out for a while. I may add a Nokia Surge Starter Guide page eventually if it seems like readers are interested in it. So far I am pretty pleased with the device and may have to soon pick one up for myself.

The Nokia Surge (6790) is a device with a rather interesting form factor. It has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and quite a compact shell. There is no keypad or anything in the closed position, but there are some handy shortcut buttons. The Surge launched on AT&T for $79.99 after $50 mail-in rebate with a 2-year contract. The full, no-commitment price is $279.99. This device is $20 less than the E71x. I am sure we will soon see this available for free through Amazon as well.


You may not think much of the Nokia Surge when you first see it on the AT&T site (the form factor is a bit unique), but it really is a pretty powerful Symbian-powered S60 device. Check out the specs:

  • Unknown processor speed
  • Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • 850/1900 MHz 3.5G support
  • 120 MB internal storage memory
  • MicroSD card slot
  • S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
  • 2.4 inch QVGA (320×240 pixels) display with support for up to 16.7 million colors
  • BP-4L 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery (Yes, you read this right!)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Integrated GPS receiver
  • 2.5mm headset jack
  • MicroUSB port for syncing
  • Standard Nokia charging port
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • FM radio with RDS support
  • Accelerometer

There is no WiFi radio and the camera is not as good as we are used to on Nokia devices. However, it looks to be targeted to the teen messaging crowd where such a functional QWERTY may be the most important factor.

In the box

Inside the AT&T retail packaging you will find the Nokia Surge, 1500 mAh battery, standard 2.0 mm Nokia wall charger, CD with User Guide, Getting Started Guide, and warranty card. There is no headset or microSD card included in the package, which may have helped reduce the cost.


After opening up the slim AT&T retail box and pulling out the Nokia Surge, I have to say there is a significant difference in the

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S60 browser 7.1 found in N86 8MP and N97 help it excel

We all saw in Rafe’s recent browser comparison that the Nokia N86 8MP led all other S60 devices in most cases. It turns out there is a perfectly valid reason for this and that is that the S60 browser in this device is version 7.1. This version is available now on selected S60 5th Edition and 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2 devices and is based on WebKit 525. It is available now on the Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6730 classic, Nokia N86 8MP device, Nokia E52 messaging device, Nokia E55 messaging device, and Nokia E72 devices. I never thought about checking the browser version on my N97, but see it listed at 7.1.13841 so it seems the N97 also has the latest web browser.

Features highlighted in this version include full page rendering, Adobe Flash Lite 3 support, page overview, visual history (one of my favorite features in the S60 browser), and more.

AT&T Navigator E71x contest; we have a winner!

AT&T Navigator E71x contest; we have a winner!

There were 28 valid entries for the AT&T Navigator E71x year subscription contest (most in the comments and some via the comment form). The lucky winner was Emily and here is her contest entry for your information:

I am a Realtor here in SC and while trying to help people find the home of their dreams you tend to see a lot of houses. I could plug in the addresses of the houses and off we go! In this day and age it is essential for a Realtor to always have their phone on them 24/7 and it would be WONDERFUL to have navigation on my new E71x wherever I am at. Also, when traveling with my husband to San Diego soon it would be great to have navigation to get around to see all the sites, restaurants, and have it in the rental car since all of them don’t come with GPS. So for business and personal it can work in all aspects of my life!!! Thanks so much.

Congratulations Emily, enjoy the navigation solution and please do let me know what you think of it as you start traveling around.

S60 browser still provides a good user experience

My buddy Rafe posted a good page load comparison over on All About Symbian that shows the S60 browser is no slouch in the mobile browser market. He said I could add to his data with some of my own testing and I added in the iPhone 3GS and Opera Mobile 9.7 over in a ZDNet article that you might want to check out too. Almost three years ago I wrote that the S60 browser was the best available on mobile devices and even though not a ton has changed in the look and feel of the browser it stands on its own three years later. I still love the visual history found in the S60 browser and am still surprised no one else has added anything like this to their web browser.

Those of us who are Nokia smartphone fans can be proud that the S60 browser set the bar three years ago. Now, let’s encourage Nokia and the Symbian Foundation to continue to innovate and bring us even more power and functionality in the mobile browser.

I did find Rafe’s results interesting when looking at the Nokia 5800 compared to the Nokia N97. It seems to me that Nokia can further optimize the N97 for browser performance with some more firmware updates. The N86 was very impressive and with it coming soon to the US in a NAM variant that may be a device for you to consider if you want the fastest S60 browser experience.

Possible 5800 XM update to add kinetic scrolling and more

Possible 5800XM update to add kinetic scrolling and moreBefore I purchased my Nokia N97, I was really enjoying the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device. I have to say that both of these devices are the type that you really need to use for a week or two to find out if it works for you or not and after this couple of weeks with each I have come to enjoy both of them. I just read over on Cell Addict Blog that some very cool updates may be coming to the 5800 XM in possible future firmware update. It seems there was some kind of meet and greet where Nokia said some things about what was being worked on.

The rumored updates and features in the 5800 XM are:

  • Kinetic scrolling
  • Enhanced home screen
  • Improved camera performance
  • Improved response time

Keep in mind this is just a rumored update and has not been officially confirmed yet.

Nokia E72 clears FCC, when can we expect the NAM model?

Nokia announced the E72 back on June 15th and now we are seeing FCC documentation that the E72 NAM version is coming. Even though I have been primarily using my N97 lately, I keep going back to the E71x because of the fantastic form factor and sheer speed. The E72 is the upgrade all of us E71/E71x fans have been waiting for and I will have a VERY TOUGH time resisting this device.

e72_black_01_lowres e72_black_02_lowres

The major improvements I look forward to include the 3.5mm headset jack, 5 megapixel camera, and S60 Feature Pack 2.

Best of Smartphone Experts, 19 July 2009

We know, it’s summer: here’s what you missed in the smartphone world while you were relaxing at the beach.

Nokia N86 8MP coming soon to US with NAM 3.5G support

I have a Euro Nokia N86 8MP to evaluate for a while (see my first impressions) and am still discovering all the great features of the device. I was pleased to read over on Mobile Tech Review that the North American version of the N86 is coming to the US in the near future. It will launch on and at the Nokia Flagship stores for $558. As we have seen with other recent Nokia devices though I am sure that price will drop soon or there will be great sales to get the device out the door so you may not want to be too quick to order the device.

Nokia N86 8MP coming soon to US with NAM 3.5G support

Remember, the Nokia N86 8MP has an 8 megapixel digital camera with dual LED. It has a 2.6 inch Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED) display, internal 8GB of storage with a microSD card slot for more memory expansion, and S60 Feature Pack 2. IMHO, this is the best Nokia dual slider Nseries I have ever tried with a solid slider, well defined keypad and multimedia buttons, and a great case design and feel.

Nokia N8 Guide

Nokia E73 Mode Guide
Nokia N900 Guide