Monday 19 December 2011

Writing for Coolsmartphone

Anyone who is at least vaguely following my blog can surely tell that my interest and passion in closely revolving around mobile phones and devices of various kinds. I write reviews of virtually every device I've got in my hands and I really enjoy it. I am hoping that whoever ends up on this blog reads and enjoys them too. I am not an industry journalist or a professional reviewer by any mean, I just like to use and play with latest mobile gadgets and then write my thoughts about it. Simple as that.

However, my recent review of Archos 80 G9 tablet has been picked up by James Pearce, a member of Coolsmartphone blog team, who asked if I'd agree to publish my review on their website. I knew that blog very well, as I've been following it in my RSS feed reader for years, so I had no objections against James' proposal whatsoever. That way, my Archos review has been republished and out of the sudden I became a fully fledged Coolsmartphone team member

Being a member of high-profile UK technology blog opened the opportunity to reach out for a wider range of mobile gadgets to play with and review, including the Motorola Pro+ recently and Sony Ericsson Xperia pro which I currently have at hand and will review soon. It's like little boy's dream came true - getting gadgets to play with for free and then just blog about them. How cool is that?! :) And, as it turns out, there are people who actually like my reviews, which is a nice bonus.

Having said that, I'd like to say huge thank you not only to Coolsmartphone guys who discovered me and kindly invited to their team, but lots of credit also goes to the great Nokia Connects guys (formerly WOMWorld/Nokia) who were always keen to lend me Nokia stuff to play with, which I'm hoping made this blog a little bit more interesting for past few months.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 review

So here it is, the Nokia Lumia 800 - the first real Windows Phone phone made by Nokia. I've had virtually no experience with Windows Phone 7 before and was looking very much forward to receive Lumia 800 from Nokia Connects (as usual, thanks!) to find out whether WP7 is able to impress me as much as Nokia N9 and MeeGo Harmattan did recently. Frankly, I actually doubted WP7 could stand up to expectations set so high by Harmattan but having solid hands-on experience with both now, I might revise my stance a little bit after all. Let's see...

Thursday 17 November 2011

Nokia N9 - review of the disruptive device

Nokia N9 is very weird kind of beast. It is running MeeGo Harmattan OS and has been released after so-called elopocalypse when Nokia's new CEO Stephen Elop has announced quite sudden and controversial turn towards Windows Phone platform, ditching both homegrown smartphone platforms - Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo - into gloom. Nonetheless, Nokia N9 has received positive reviews from mobile technology blogosphere around the world, which posed the question whether pivotal turn in Nokia's strategy was actually right move? As a former user and fan of Maemo-powered devices, including the latest N900, and also being quite sceptical about Microsoft partnership, I was particularly interested to see N9 myself. Once again, thanks to Nokia Connects I've had a chance to use N9 for past couple of weeks and see how it performs in real life.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Archos 80 G9 review

Despite being declared gadget maniac, somehow I never really got into tablets. When the first iPad came out and whole hype began, I regarded it as overly-expensive gadget having virtually no practical use to me. Yet quite recently I've started changing my mind towards tablets. I thought they could be good use not only for general web browsing but also for reading articles or e-books more comfortably than on 3-inch-odd display of my phone, playing YouTube videos to my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter (excellent WAF bumper, btw) or just checking various stuff on the web quickly without getting a laptop out. Still, I regarded tablets too expensive for my needs and looked for a budget solution. Thankfully, my search for tablet coincided with release of Archos 80 G9 which promised Android Honeycomb on top of fairly good specification within £200 budget. Seemed like perfect match, so I decided to get one straight away.

Friday 26 August 2011

I switched to giffgaff after ~5 years with T-Mobile - here's why

I am generally quite loyal chap when it comes to my technology choices. When I stick to one thing (or brand, for that matter), I hesitate a lot before even considering switch to direct competitor, even if it seems better at first glance. So that was the case with the relationship I've had with T-Mobile UK for over 5 years. There were ups and downs, complaints sent, goodwill gestures received and so on but generally once I settled in with satisfying deal I was quite happy with them and never considered switch. Until one day when I learned about that new giffgaff network which gradually attracted me to the point where my usual hesitation broke completely and I ended up switching all my numbers (2x pay monthly + 2x prepaid) from T-Mobile. This tale is to tell you why.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Nokia X7 review

This is no secret that Nokia is currently undergoing the toughest times in their recent history. Stephen Elop announced sudden switch in strategy which essentially converts Nokia into mere hardware manufacturer for Windows Phone based smartphones. However unpopular that decision was, and no matter how upset people (and stocks) became, we all just need to deal with it. Period.

Nonetheless, since that announcement was made, things at Espoo are getting just worse. Shipments of WP-powered mobiles won't happen immediately, so Nokia has to fill the gap somehow to remain relevant, and that emergency plumbing is done with help of ill-fated Symbian smartphones.

The most recent launches in Symbian territory which were supposed to keep Nokia on track are business-oriented E6 and multimedia-powerhorse X7. I have had a chance to review E6 already and my feelings were quite positive, despite the fact Symbian is no longer attracting me enough to dump Android altogether. Now, once again thanks to WOMWorld/Nokia people I've got X7 in my hands to play with for couple of weeks.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Fixing Picasa for Linux segmentation fault, part 2

In addition to my previous take on this subject 3 years ago, here's a note to self what to do when Google Picasa for Linux spits out nasty segfaults instead of actually launching.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Nokia E6 review, part 2

Having already reviewed Nokia E6 from visual and hardware perspective, I could compare it to the beautiful woman walking down the street and passing you by. She's absolute stunner and you can't resist to turn head around and take extra peek at her. Yet, you wonder how is she like personally? Is she really worthwhile? Or maybe she's just looking good?

Second part of my review is to see whether good-looking and having certain hardware virtues Nokia E6 will be also able to impress from inside. Is Anna - an inspiring name of the latest iteration of Symbian - really worthwhile? Does it have strengths, what are the weaknesses? Or perhaps she's just having a nice name? Let's dive in and see.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Nokia E6 review, part 1

About two-three years ago I was a happy user of Nokia's one of the most successful business smartphones in recent years and that was Nokia E71. In fact, I regarded E71 as my truly perfect device at the time - compact, lightweight, feature-packed yet still sporting full qwerty keyboard in my favourite form-factor. However, time was passing by, various different mobile phones have been landing in my hands since then and I've recently settled down with Android-based HTC Desire Z as my default phone. Yet still Nokia E71 will always be the kind of device I will keep the greatest sentiments about.

So despite making different mobile phone choices recently, once I've learned about the latest Nokia E6 smartphone back in April this year, I've got quite excited again. And now, just before Nokia E6 hits the shelves in the UK, thanks to WOMWorld/Nokia I've got a chance to try it out for couple of weeks. Having said that, the main question today is whether Nokia E6 will live up to expectations of Nokia E71/72 owners/fans and keep up with successful business smartphone series from Nokia? Let's see.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Nokia X7, E6 and Symbian Anna - first impressions

Thanks to the great people at WOMWorld/Nokia (as usual lately ;), I have been lucky enough to get my hands on the latest and greatest Nokia offerings in Symbian world - the new Nokia X7 and E6 which were officially unveiled to the world yesterday morning.

Demonstration was carried out in WOMWorld's headquarters in London by Nokia product managers. They brought few prototype devices to show off and give us to play with. So what are the first impressions?

Sunday 3 April 2011

Changing Android's UI default font

I've been recently tipped by haerwu about Font Changer app for rooted Android devices that lets you change Android's user interface default font. I gave it a try and I must say different font makes huge impact on UI "sexiness". See yourself below.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Nokia BH-905i headphones review

For the past couple of weeks, thanks to great folks at WOMWorldNokia I've had chance to use Nokia BH-905i headphones. That was utterly interesting experience and there's one thing I can say straight away - these are one of the best gadgets I've had in my hands recently! Read on to find out why.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Nokia N8 two weeks hands-on review

Nokia's latest multimedia flagship has been in my hands for almost two weeks now so I've got more thoughts to share about this device in addition to the very first impressions that I posted right on the day when I've got N8.

Firstly, I think any Nokia N8 review has to be split into two parts, describing separately hardware and software aspects of this smartphone. That is because in particular case of N8 it's somewhat difficult to judge it as a whole. Let me explain that further later on.

Friday 11 February 2011

Nokia's towel has been thrown - sad but true

So it happened. Mr Elop decided to make financial geeks happy (hmm, apparently not) and disappoint all devoted Nokia fans at the same time by announcing "strategic partnership" with Microsoft.

What struck me today in the morning, once such bold announcement has been made, is that no earlier than few months ago Mr Elop has been quite positive about future of Nokia in context of MeeGo in one of the interviews he gave. What had to happen in-between to suddenly make him claim Nokia as "burning platform" and need to "join an ecosystem" remains unclear. Yet I suspect his Microsoft roots had some influence here but we'll never know.

Nonetheless, this is it. We will now have MicroNokia (or better NoSoft) with Windows Phone OS rather than MeeGo.

Nokia N8 is in da hauz!

So I'm lucky! Once again I have been given a brand new mobile phone free! This time thanks to Social Media Week event sponsored by Nokia and related Twitter promo action by folks at @WOMWorldNokia, shiny silver Nokia N8 has landed in my hands. :) Many thanks!

In fact I am double lucky, as I was quite fancy to get N8 in my hands pretty much since it has been released. Not necessarily to have it (as it doesn't have hardware qwerty keyboard, for starters) but to get to know it and see how the latest incarnation of Symbian OS works out. Both N8 and S^3 have been receiving mixed press since the release and I feel it was mostly negative. That alone made me more eager to see it myself. Plus, I am looking very forward to see how N8's famous camera performs.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Joining an ecosystem is like throwing a towel, really

There have been a lot of speculation and rumours since Nokia's new CEO, Stephen Elop has chipped in his famous line "[Nokia] must build, catalyse or join a competitive ecosystem". One of the latest and apparently "credible" rumour is that Nokia and Microsoft are going to join forces, leading Nokia to start offering Windows Phone 7 powered devices under their brand, possibly ditching their own platform(s) instead.

Let's say that is actually going to happen and Nokia will really "join a competitive ecosystem". Regardless if it will be WP7 or perhaps Android, it would definitely mean that Nokia will simply become a mainstream follower rather than loosing-but-striking-back innovator. This would be extremely disappointing and effectively would be understood as "sorry people, we surrender and adopt whatever is already on the market just to survive".

C'mon Nokia, you have far too much potential and power at hand to become yet another "MeToo" mass maker of WP7/Android devices just like HTC, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE and zillion others. You can do better than that. You have created a smartphone back a decade ago in the first place, for God's sake! Don't become the victim of own success but win that success back by brilliant and genuine smarthphones that would leave people breathless. That's surely nothing easy nowadays, yet everyone knows that you really are capable of doing that, Nokia.

As I'm not an industry expert, nor the financial analyst and that's all only my wishful thinking really, so I am not going to elaborate on that more than necessary, yet the closer we're getting to the magical date of 11th of February when all would suddenly become clear, the more worrying rumours appear all around the net and suggest the recent Nokia's promising push towards brand new mobile OS (MeeGo) and development (Qt) platforms is doomed anyway.

Let's hope all these crazy gossips are simply not true and Mr Elop would not disappoint his old and faithful Nokia fans.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

5mpix camera shoot-out: HTC Desire Z vs. Nokia N900 vs. Nokia E72

I've been taking quite a lot of photos with Nokia N900 earlier and even if I didn't regard their quality as the best ever, these shots were just fine and perfectly acceptable for less important occasions to me. However, ever since I've got HTC Desire Z in my hands, I was quite baffled with its camera quality. Main thought was along the lines of is this really that bad or is it just bad impression?

So I went and did totally non-scientific and hugely subjective comparison of camera capabilities of the most modern mobile devices I currently have at hand: HTC Desire Z, Nokia N900 and Nokia E72, all of which have 5 megapixel camera sensors. Results were, frankly, quite surprising to me.