Hands on with the T-Mobile Nokia Nuron, a very nice inexpensive smartphone
I was happy to see Nokia and T-Mobile USA announce the Nokia Nuron since we rarely see an official carrier S60 smartphone here in the US. As I wrote last week, Engadget was one of the first sites to get a chance to try the device and they were not overly impressed. I was sent an evaluation unit a couple of days ago and honestly have to say I am quite impressed with the device and think it is actually a very good choice for people looking for a lower end smartphone. You can buy one for just $69.99 with an Even More plan and only $179.99 with an Even More Plus (non-subsidized) plan. $180 for a S60 5th Edition device with full Ovi Maps navigation and maps of the world for free seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.
Let’s start off my first impressions post here with a look at the specs of the Nokia 5230 Nuron:
- 3.2 inch 640×360 pixel resolution touchscreen display with support for 16 million colors
- T-Mobile 7.2 Mbps 3.5G data network support
- Quad-band World GSM radios
- Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support
- FM radio
- GPS receiver with free for life Nokia Ovi Maps
- Symbian S60 5th Edition software
- microSD card slot
- 2 megapixel camera
Honestly, the only lower end specs we see here are the rather limited camera resolution and the lack of WiFi. I highly doubt many new smartphone owners even use WiFi (I actually rarely use it on my 3G phones) so that may not be a big concern. I would have like to have seen a 3.2 megapixel camera though.
One other difference between this device and the Nokia 5800 XM is that there is no stylus on the Nuron. It still has the excellent slider lock switch, XpressMusic button (I love this functionality), physical camera button, and externally accessible microSD card slot. There is also only one speaker, compared with two on the 5800 XM.
I opened the fairly standard T-Mobile packaging and saw a white Nokia device in the compartment that looked an awful lot like my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device. I really like that device and have to say this one looks better to me with the silver frame, red and green bottom buttons, slick pearl back. The display looks fantastic with the high resolution and smaller size.
Interestingly there is a myFaves icon on there, which is funny since T-Mobile no longer offers this service to new customers. I still have a grandfathered myFaves account because it works well for my family’s needs and am happy to see it still supported on the Nokia Nuron.
I tested out Ovi Maps navigation and it was excellent on the Nokia Nuron. You will also find that TeleNav has their application loaded on the device for navigation. This services costs $10/month and honestly I see no need for it with Ovi Maps on board.
Taking a look through the software I was very disappointed that Nokia Messaging was not preinstalled on the device. This should be on every S60 device and Nokia needs to do a better job of making sure that happens since the older email client is pretty bad. I tried visiting the Nokia Messaging site to download the application and it seemed to work. However, ever single time I went through the setup it just created an email account in the lame default S60 application and would not work. I will talk to the Nokia Messaging team and try to figure out what the problem is here. While Mail for Exchange is not loaded by default, through the standard email setup process you will get to the point where it is downloaded and installed to the device.
I did see the Nokia Podcasting application on board and the E72 doesn’t even have this application. Other applications I liked seeing on board include voice recorder, FM radio, YouTube, S60 browser, Facebook, and Ovi Store.
T-Mobile also included some of their applications, including Visual Voicemail, My Account, Instant Messenger powered by Oz, Audio Postcards, and a few trial games (Guitar Hero, Pac-Man, Need for Speed, Brain Challenge, Bowling, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). I personally like the IM client since it uses text messaging rather than data and I can give this to my daughter to use who does not have data, but has unlimited text messaging service.
Would I buy one?
I am more of a power user, but am seriously thinking about buying one of these for my daughter who turns 16 soon. She is very bad with directions and needs a GPS navigation solution before she can get her license and be out on her own. For $180 I can get her this with no data service requirement and she can have full voice-guided GPS navigation, text messaging IM, and even a full PIM PDA in her hand. I may actually have her use this evaluation device for a bit to see if she can get used to text messaging on it.
It feels very durable in your hand, has a responsive touchscreen display, has a beautiful display, and has a ton of capability with S60 5th Edition on board.