Nokia, tech performance abroad , the conclusion
How did it all work out?
So the trip is over, and as I have a long haul flight of over ten hours , I thought I’d write a bit, or maybe even ramble a lot, about how I got on with my mainly Nokia tech whilst away in Thailand.
Firstly a couple of general comments, in as much as roaming charges can be very expensive, and I would highly recommend buying a local sim for data when travelling abroad, may be a bit obvious, but it will save you money, and one thing to note, again, it may be basic, but in Thailand at least , having never used a ‘top up voucher’ anywhere before, as you ring in the code to register the credit, normally dialling *120* followed by a 16 digit code, you need to add a # before sending or it doesn’t register, I learned this after several frustrated attempts and having to consult a local, not always easy due to language issues, at least in my case.One other thing, that I suspect may be Thai specific, although no doubt someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but data works in a different way in Thailand to the UK and EU, in as much as you get time instead of Megabytes, ie you can use the web as much as you like for, 100, 200 minutes etc, depending on how much you pay for, so if you could download a gig in an hour that would be fine, but unfortunately, if anything is running in the background such as MFE, your credit soon runs out, which proved quite expensive for me the first few days, and I had to get into the habbit of exiting everything and setting the E7 to offline whenever I could, I also started buying a couple of small vouchers and keeping one in my wallet, so if the data ‘disappeared’ overnight, I always had some available for emergencies ! Also it’s very useful if you can find free wifi hotspots, and I was lucky that the hotel I stayed in had free wifi, and I took full advantage of it :-)
One other thing before I get onto the point of the post, inform your bank before you leave for a trip that you may be using your cards abroad, and this could save you the embarrassment of having it ‘blocked’ at the most inopportune moment!! (This #idiotabroad failed to do this)
Right, on to how I went on with things whilst I was away, probably the best way to approach it is to start with the thing I used least and move through my kit a piece at a time, I took 3 handsets, a Nokia Booklet 3G, a Panasonic Lumix digital camera and a couple of sets of headphones, plus a Power Monkey travel charger.
So on this trip, the most useless piece of kit I carried half way around the world was my Power Monkey, not that it’s useless as such, just that I never actually used or needed it. The Etihad flights I took provided power points on all the seats, and as such I only actually needed a usb cable to charge any of my phones whilst travelling, or a mains charger as both usb connectivity and a plug for both UK, Euro and US plugs were always available, and I had mains power at the hotel so, basically, the Power Monkey was surplus to requirements.
Second least used was my backup N97, which I really only took for emergencies, and fortunately I didn’t encounter any, the only real use it got , was on the journey out, as I had a payg sim in it that I’d ‘acquired’ at Nokia World and had issues getting on the web on a stopover at Abu Dhabi, and didn’t want to incur large costs, I tried the N97, it performed well enough, but the fact that the remaining £9.75 credit left on the sim disappeared after a couple of tweets and a couple of picture uploads, convinced me that using a local sim was the safest bet, and keeping my main sim in my N9 just for incoming calls and text was the safest way to avoid high roaming charges yet still be available from home ? The local sim I purchased went into my trusty E7, for two reasons really, mainly because it uses a normal ’full fat’ sim card , unlike the N9 which uses a micro sim, and so if required the local sim would work in two of my phones and also my Booklet 3G.
Now the bit’s of kit that kinda fell in the middle, were my headphones, I used both my Nokia BH-111’s and my Sony in ear headphones about the same amount, but neither to excess, maybe the BH-111 headset got slightly more use than the Sony’s as it’s much more convenient not having wires trailing everywhere , and as I was never really in a situation where I needed to particularly conserve power using BT wasn’t really an issue and one other thing, they were charged before I left and after over two weeks standby and three to four hours of use, they are still working !! The sound cancelling in any noisy situation was excellent and I really do prefer in ear audio both for sound cancelling and also the fact they take up such little space.
Getting to the end of the list now and the stuff that had to work to earn it’s living whilst I was away from home, probably more or less even , were my Nokia N9 and my Lumix compact camera, took loads of pictures with both, both performed well, despite my lack of skill, in fact the Lumix was the only piece of kit I passed around , so maybe the fact that people other than me took the majority of pictures on it is the reason some of my best holiday snaps came from a standalone camera :-) Having said that the Nokia N9 camera did produce a good number of decent shots, however in bad light or ‘backlight’ they were of a poorer quality, and maybe if I had a better idea of the correct settings to use or could organise the sun to move to a more convenient position I could produce some better photos ! As a web browser, music player and communications device the N9 far outclassed the Digital camera as a piece of tech, and because it wasn’t getting used heavily as a phone, the battery was actually lasting a couple of days plus, a first for me with any phone and the screen of the N9 was absolutely superb in strong sunlight .
Nokia Booklet 3G
The item that got second place on my holiday useful list is my Nokia Booklet 3G, it’s just been stunning, thanks to the fact I had free wifi in my hotel room ( well everywhere in the Hotel for that matter) and the fact that it’s light and easily portable. The Booklet has given me a real web experience, helped me keep up with things, including podcasts and videos , as well as update my own stuff on the web and upload a few hundred photographs to various places, and the fantastic battery life on it just gives you the confidence to set off on a trip and not even think of it running out of juice, the keyboard is a joy to use and there’s enough memory on board to allow me to offload any amount of video or photo’s from the rest of my toys to clear memory on them for the next day’s events. Also unlike a tablet it will sit there independently on a plane, a desk or basically anywhere without needing a separate stand or falling over with a bit of turbulence
A Number 1
The Winner and Summary
Which brings me to the number one in my holiday tech chart, and it is still the best phone I’ve ever owned, certainly the fact it had a local sim in it increased its use over the N9 whilst on holiday, however I think the Nokia E7 is probably the one item I took with me that I could have managed with as a sole travelling companion. Now it’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, and like every handset, it does have its drawbacks, but to me its versatility and form factor win out against any other handset I’ve used or owned. Certainly it’s not the best camera in the world, but then I’ve proved time and time again that I’m not the best photographer, and yet the E7 has produced some decent shots for me, in fact I’m really pleased with a couple of the Panorama shots I got :-) The web browser and overall speed of the phone are hardly iPhone/Android class, however I can wait two seconds or so, and the CBD display, the tilting action that reveals the Physical QWERTY , the fantastic video codec support it has and the overall build quality just make it a great convergence device, and the one piece of tech I’m glad I didn’t leave at home . And of course, I was able to take full advantage of Nokia Maps, both to find my way around, amnd more importantly to find my way back to my Hotel in both Patong and BKK by ‘Favouriting’ them on maps and using the voice guided navigation and pre-loaded maps, very handy for an #idiotabroad :-D
Overall, I must admit everything performed really well, and I never fail to be amazed at how modern technology can do so much for you today, what people need to remember and appreciate is that the first holiday I went on as a teenager, it took three days to drive to Austria on a coach, I had a Kodak instamatic camera (they had film in and you had to leave it a Boots the Chemist for two weeks to be developed) and never knew what my holiday snaps were going to turn out like until well after I got home, you had to find a phone box and plenty of change to call home, which wasn’t always easy and the nearest thing to a text message was a picture postcard, which you basically needed to send home as soon as you arrived on holiday, or you’d arrive home before the card did. I’ve just travelled almost 7,000 miles in less than a day and apart from not wanting to pay £5 per minute to call from the plane, have virtually never been out of contact for more than a few minutes. IT BLOWS MY MIND!!!
As a post script, I just had a conversation with Alison from The Amazing Collection and have just been informed that Nokia will be letting me have a loan Nokia Lumia-800 so I can be further amazed and hopefully impressed enough to continue my love affair with the company beyond the death of Symbian, and maybe even do a proper review and help a few folk at Nokia Support Discussions ?
Thanks for reading