Overcoming the Nokia E72 problems and shortcomings

Buying the Nokia E72 was not my first choice: I rely heavily on Gmail, Google Calendar en Google Apps, so I initially opted for a Google Android smartphone. It turned out to be a dissapointment, so based on the various glowing reviews, I decided to swap it for the E72.

The E72 is certainly not a perfect smartphone. For all its marvels, Nokia seems to have gone out of its way to make sure that many of them are just plain hard to find, hard to use or somewhat buggy/incomplete. This article documents my efforts to overcome the latter issues.

May 2010 update: Nokia has been steadily releasing new firmware for the Nokia E72, adressing not just bugs, but also adressing shortcomings by adding new features. The latest firmware for example adressed common bugs (that I fortunately did not experience myself), added SmartConnect for free (previously a paid third-party app) to overcome Symbian's access point limitation and added streaming internet radio capability to the built-in radio application.

If you are an avid user of Gmail, Google For Domains, Google Calendar and other Google services, you might also be interested in my companion article Google Apps On Your Nokia E72 smartphone.

A more reliable e-mail client

When you purchase your E72, a lifetime subscription to the Nokia Messaging service is included for free. Unfortunately, this is not all that it is cracked up to be. Your results may very, but in my experiences Nokia Messaging proved to be unreliable at best. It would frequently be unable to login for no apparent reason, would not always notify me in time or at all of new e-mail and at some point it simply stopped working completely. It can only use one specific access point for internet access. Additionally, the service requires you to hand over your username and password (which are stored on Nokia's servers), which does not sit well with me.

After several days of tinkering I decided to ditch Nokia Messaging and look for a better alternative. I believe I found it in Lonely Cat's ProfiMail.

The bad news first: unfortunately, the application does not integrate with your E72's home screen. Instead, it shows a small notification in the upper-right corner of the screen with the number of new e-mails for all your accounts combined. It will also blink the optical navi light when you receive a new e-mail. Furthermore, the application does not adhere to the look-and-feel of regular Symbian S60 apps. Although its interface is very practical, it is not the best looking...

Other than that, ProfiMail is a joy to use. It instantly notifies me of new e-mail through IMAP IDLE (push email), supports multiple accounts, HTML e-mail, images & attachments, can use your defined destinations instead of specific access points and keeps IMAP accounts fully synced: giving you access to every single message in every folder with support for syncing sent e-mails as well.

Please note, to preserve battery life, you may want to experiment with fewer mail checks and/or turning IMAP IDLE off. All my mailboxes support IMAP IDLE (push mail), therefore I do not need manual mail checks. This reduces the battery drain quite a bit.

Profimail
http://www.lonelycatgames.com/?app=profimail

Click thumbnail to view full-size
new e-mail notificationoverview of mail accountslist of e-mails from specific accountan e-mail in detail
new e-mail notification
new e-mail notification
overview of mail accounts
overview of mail accounts
list of e-mails from specific account
list of e-mails from specific account
an e-mail in detail
an e-mail in detail
GoogaSync does a manual sync
GoogaSync does a manual sync

Syncing appointments with Google Calendar

I use Google Calendar on my to keep track of my appointments. The built-in calendar on the Nokia E72 is very good, but it does not natively support syncing with Google Calendar. You need a third-party service to add this functionality

Most third-party syncing apps do not currently work on the Nokia E72 or have limited functionality. For example, they may not support multiple calendars. GooSync came highly recommended, but I could not get it set up properly (either it does not work on the E72 or I could not 'guess' the correct settings, as none are provided).

I have tested quite a few of them, the one that works as I expected for me is GoogaSync. It neatly keeps my appointments in sync with an hourly sync and works with multiple calendars, including subscribed ones. I also like the fact that it charges a reasonable one time fee only instead of monthly/yearly subscription. Unfortunately, the sync app does not utilize the E72 destinations, you are limited to chosing one specific access point for its connection.

GoogaSync
http://www.googasync.com

An improved internet browsing experience

Nokia's built-in internet browser is based on the excellent WebKit engine, which is also used by Google Chrome and Apple Safari. It will render websites properly, but... the application is marred by a very clumbsy user interface that simply will not grow on me.

My favourite alternative web browser is Opera Mobile. Opera Mobile's look-and-feel resembles its desktop counterpart, yet is very much optimized for use on the E72. It also retains some of its features, like the speed dial (a visual representation of your 9 preferred websites) and tabbed browsing. The app is very snappy, loads websites quickly and renders them perfectly. Although you could argue that the Nokia E72 is simply not suited for web browsing, given that most websites are 3x as wide as its screen, Opera's auto-zoom functionality works very well to overcome this limitation.

Opera Mobile does not support Adobe Flash. Additionally, Symbian S60 does not allow you to change the default browser into Opera Mobile.

Opera Mobile
http://www.opera.com/mobile/

Click thumbnail to view full-size
the speed diala website in full detailthe familiar opera interface
the speed dial
the speed dial
a website in full detail
a website in full detail
the familiar opera interface
the familiar opera interface
The icon indicates geo-tagging is active
The icon indicates geo-tagging is active

Adding GPS location tagging support

One of the selling points of the Nokia E72 for me was its good 5MP camera, perfect for those moments when you would like to take a shot but forgot to bring your state-of-the-art camera. Although not a major issue, I would have liked the built-in camera app to support geo-tagging, a feature that is becoming quite common on smartphones these days.

Luckily, Nokia provides the experimental Location Tagger, which adds this functionality for free. Once launched, it integrates into the camera app and automatically adds GPS information to pictures taken with the E72.

Location Tagger
http://nokia-location-tagger.en.softonic.com/symbian

Conclusion

The Nokia E72 looks very slick from the outside, whereas the Symbian platform it runs looks a bit dated by today's standards and its competition. At first it was a bit buggy too, but Nokia resolved this with several firmware upgrades.Today it is my trusty companion that is with me 24 hours a day.

As much as I like iPhones, I wouldn't swap my E72 for one and I am definitely convinced that it is inferior to a solid business phone such as a the E72.

In my case, it checks 5 mail accounts, notifies me of new messages instantly, keeps track of all my appointments, makes sures I don't get lost wherever I am on the planet, is great for a quick read on the internet, a YouTube video or a bit of twittering, allows me to make cheap international calls through Skype, takes my snapshots and last but not least... wakes me up in the morning :)

Do yourself a favour and consider buying the Nokia E72.

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Comments 7 comments

AndyB 6 years ago

How to add goosync to Nokia E72

Menu > Ctrl. panel > Phone > Sync

Then Options > new Sync Profile

Fill out all the details:

Sync server URL:http://sync2.goosync.com/

Username:Your GooSync username

Password:Your GooSync password

Calendar database:calendar

Contacts database:contacts

(Calendar includes Tasks)


willvanderberg profile image

willvanderberg 6 years ago Author

Thanks AndyB! I'm sure that will be very helpful for readers of this hub.


Ian 6 years ago

Great article Will as I'm currently looking at switching from the iPhone to the E72. Blogging from the iPhone is so laborious.

A few Q's for you.

What is the max number of Gmail accounts you can set up? I have approx 15 i use daily.

Also can you briefly explain the need to sync calenders with the Phone. I use Google Calender in the UK and all i do is get use the options for it to text me and/or email me my appointments.

Do you essentially get Google Calender to tell your Nokia Calender to inform you/display your appointments?

Thanks

Ian

P.S. Can you not add an email field to the blog comments to give a notification of your or anyone else's response?


willvanderberg profile image

willvanderberg 6 years ago Author

Hi Ian,

Wow... a possible iPhone convert, that's a rare one ;)

1) I use ProfiMail and the number of accounts is unlimited. It works really well with Gmail (which is just an IMAP account afterall). It might drain the battery extremely fast though, if you use IMAP IDLE on all of them (=push mail).

2) If you manage all your appointments in Google Calendar on your browser on your computer and just have Google send out SMS or e-mail notifications, then you have no need to set up syncing on your E72. Obviously it will do just fine reading those mails and receiving the SMSes.

It is not really practical (due to the screen size), but in theory you could also just use the E72's browser to access Google Calendar and manage your calendars.

When do you need syncing? If you would like to use the in-build calendar application on the E72 and want your Google Calendar appointments to appear in that and if you would like the ability to add new appointments on your phone and have them appear in your Google Calendar.

Hope that helps. Oh and since HubPages is not my blog (this is essentially just one article on their website), I don't think I can offer you the ability to be notified of new comments. Sorry.


Ian Daniel 6 years ago

Hi Will,

Thanks for the quick response. Yeah the E72 looks the business. I used to use Blackberry but went for iPhone this time.

Good point and this shows my naivety with regards using sync and the fact that I'm office based when making appointments in the main. So essentially your sync recommendations is for when doing the reverse, making appointments when you're out and about and you are not near the PC, so it syncs the phone calender to the Google Calender. Makes perfect sense if that's what you mean.

Yeah thought you may say that on the Hub pages email option, why they don't offer this fundamental feature is beyond me.

And I don't want to depress your blog too much but the whole Apple marketing machine makes me nauseous. Steve jobs says "Jump" and all his brain washed disciples says "how high and how much hard earned cash do you want Steve", not me I'm afraid.

I bought the iPhone thinking the large screen would be good for blogging and checking the published blog. But for me typing on the touch screen keyboard is totally non-productive. That's being very polite!

Great info Will, straight and simplified, BS free just the way i like it.. keep it coming!


willvanderberg profile image

willvanderberg 6 years ago Author

Hi Ian,

Yup, you got it, that is exactly what I meant.

As for the iPhone and Apple in general, I must admit I do like Apple stuff. For all their limitations, the Mac computer, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad: they just work and work well. It is not just advertising and hysteria. I can give them to my parents and not expect them back with it broken or them unable to use it properly the next week. For some reason Apple is the only one who really 'gets' it most of the time with regards to how a device is supposed to be operated. So far no company has stood up and 'got it' as well: they remain behind in the computer stone age and go for superior specs instead and brag about that, but no one seems to understand that it is the intuitive user-interface that matters and an OS that doesn't keep getting in your way (are you freaking listening, Microsoft?!). Until they do, Apple will dominate every market it sets foot in. And my parents will keep on exploring, loving and finding new ways to use their Apple toys. And buy more.

The iPhone (and the iPad too) however, despite my lacklustre experiences with Android 1.6, has a big opponent in Google Android. Android gives you the same prettiness and features but also choice: you will never see an iPhone with a physical keyboard and without one, it will always be a no-go for me, but Android-phones do. I have not yet seen the perfect Android-phone and Android iPads are just a little around the corner as well, but one will emerge. Or two. It may not become as dominant, but as long as *I* can do anything I ever wanted on my phone, I'm buying that instead for a fraction of the price too. And I think a large minority will do the same thing.

For now, the E72 does all I need it to do. The interface is dated and it takes a little getting used to (a bit like Windows vs Mac, but without Windows overall buggyness), but it works. Hiking in Germany last weekend with Ovi Maps showing me the way and the camera taking excellent snapshots, I am loving it. With e-mail off (due to roaming) my battery easily lasted 5 days without needing a charge. Brilliant.

Good luck with your decision, if you can, try and play with one before you buy it. Just in case :)


neto 6 years ago

for me, e72 bad for battery power, normaly surfing for 2-3 hours before you get weak power. Any idea for this!

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