This is the
most difficult product review of my life because Nokia
9500 Communicator is almost like 2 or 3 digital products combined
into one. It has features of PDA, Phone, and Laptop like functionality.
I got Nokia
9500 Communicator two week back for trying it out and reviewing
it. I was not very optimistic about it since it was Nokia product
trying to grab market share of expensive phone which traditionally
is Sony-Ericsson turf. But After 2 weeks of intense use I believe
Nokia has got winner here and it can bring it market share not only
from competing mobile manufacturer but also from many notebook/laptop
users. This product will do almost any function you expect to do
when toting around 3kg to 6kg laptop. It wont play DVD but
otherwise it will do everything an enterprise user needs to do.
Q: Why should
one go for such a bulky and expensive phone when phones much smaller
and cheaper are out there in market?
A: This phone
is not positioned as PDA phone like other smaller more pocketable
cheaper phone out there but it is more of laptop phone. This phone
features Symbian 7.0S Series 80 platform operating system which
never crashed in 2 weeks of my use. This phone has full QWERTY keyboard
with form factor of laptop so that you can put it on table and type
with two fingers and still see screen in front of you. You can send
and receive fax; you can print via many HP printers with inbuilt
printer drivers for same. You can hook it up to your office or home
or any open Wi-Fi connection when on road, When outside Wi-Fi (IEEE
802.11b) coverage, you can use EGPRS (EDGE) which can be many times
faster then ordinary GPRS Class 10. I used it with Orange EDGE network
and it didnt make me miss my desktop PC with internet connection.
For 2 weeks I surfed on net using only Nokia 9500 communicator,
its browser rendered most website quickly; it crashed only 3 times
when I was accessing bank websites with HTTPS protocol. It also
lets you connect to other devices and PC with Class 2 10 meter range
Bluetooth which paired perfectly with Belkin Bluetooth Adapter,
Zoom Bluetooth Adapter, Jabra FreeSpeak 250, Plantronics M3000,
M2500 and M3500 headsets. When you play music it plays thru speaker
or headset. When phone rings, if you are wearing Bluetooth headset
it rings using ring tones selected on phone and not default headset
tone. Display is 640x200 and bright with 65,536 colors, 80MB memory
plus free 128mb MMC card. You will never run out of space for your
address book. You can access your corporate network to check email
or access web or other applications via VPN. One can open any Microsoft
Office documents in this phone, edit it, save it, email it, print
it or fax it.
Nokia has studied
enterprise market in-depth and designed this phone for their convenience.
This phone can be very useful for small business owner or professionals
too who need to constantly check emails or surf web for their work.
Q: What are
special feature of this phone?
and connectivity is keyword. It uses all possible connectivity options
like IRDA, Bluetooth 1.1 Class 2, Wi-Fi 802.11b, EDGE GPRS. It is
very convenient from user point of view. Its setting wizard helps
you do many of functions like email or roaming gprs which used to
be very frustrating in past with other phones. Now you can add any
email account by selecting country, selecting name from major ISPs
listed and entering username/password. If your ISP is not listed,
you can just use any existing and change server details. First time
you insert any SIM card in phone, it takes 3 minute to boot phone,
and sets up phone with all settings for that operator so you dont
have to call up and find GPRS or SMS settings. When you are traveling,
you can go to Roaming wizard, select country and operator and it
will make GPRS settings for same. Till now most users traveling
to foreign language countries found it very frustrating to find
out APN gateway settings for local operator, Nokia has added full
database of all GSM operators on planet.
Q: How was
A: For two weeks
I used this phone to check my emails from various pop3 account,
surf net, read news/articles, listen to mp3 music and take few pictures
at 640x480 resolution using this camera. It worked beautifully.
Phone is 230gram but fits well in trouser pocket or shirt pocket.
I carried it in hand in train for 2 days on my way to work, and
no ticket checker dared to ask me to show ticket. This phone commands
respect just like BMW or Merc does on road. I was always lazy about
replying SMS messages on regular phones with T9 dictionary but on
this phone my SMS usage jumped 10 times daily since it was as easy
as typing email on full keypad. If you spend 20 or 30 minute every
day on reading/answering email when you reach your work, you gain
that much time daily by doing it on your way to work. Web surfing
was not very fast but workable. Salon.com, nytimes.com front pages
took more then 1 min to download. Browser seems slow as scrolling
up and down can be very slow and you may wish for real laptop for
same. Camera is standard 640x480 but takes very good clear pictures
without any flash. Battery is largest available 1300mAh which lasted
me whole day of surfing, talk, sms, and emails and still some battery
juice was left at end of day. It takes slightly more then hour to
fully charge empty battery. About manual, I didnt need to
touch manual for my entire usage as like other Nokia products one
can easily figure out most functions. Manual is detailed but I dont
think many would need to refer it.
I open my wallet what do I need to know?
Office documents open in this phone, but Microsoft Office 2003 couldnt
open files created on this phone. This is tri-band phone where as
most other phones costing more then US$400 are quad band. It lacks
touch screen and stylus so you cant quickly move from one
part of screen to other part and it takes forever to move pointer
using its scroll keys especially when in browser. T9 dictionary
is missing on front keypad but it is not needed since one can simply
open phone and use full keypad. QWERTY keypad is not backlit so
at nights when surfing while in bed can be difficult as with more
then 90 degree screen angle light from screen doesnt reflect
on keypad. Bluetooth profiles like OBEX Synchronization is missing
so unless you use Nokia PC Suit you cant sync phone address
book with computer. If you use Mac or Linux you are out of luck.
Removing battery for changing sim card is difficult; one always
needed some sharp object to lift one side of battery before you
can flip it out. Processor is definitely underpowered and you will
notice it when using email or web. Phone I tested was made in Finland
but one available in many markets is made in China.
Q: What is
price? Is it worth it?
A: Price is
US$940 in India, and approximately US$200 more in Dubai and elsewhere.
It is very much worth it, I would say if you can afford this phone,
just go for it. As of now there is no product in market which can
offer all Nokia 9500 Communicator has to offer. Just imagine not
having to carry laptop around. XDA IIs and HP iPaq 6315 offers many
of features but it lacks EDGE connectivity which can be crucial
in mobile internet connectivity. Also I dont know many phones
which can receive fax. Many of problems mentioned above would be
resolved by firmware update. In case you cant afford this
phone, wait for its smaller sibling Nokia
9300 Communicator which lacks Wi-Fi and camera and has smaller
battery. Go for XDA IIs or HP iPaq 6315 only if you can live without
Q: What is
wish list for next Nokia communicator?
A: Nokia should
come up with one more model say 9500i or 9700 with touch screen,
quad band and faster processor and then just laugh all the way to