Apr 8, 2012

Nokia 603, The Software Talk Part 1

The Nokia 603 is a midrange device aimed to first time smartphone users or general consumers with tight budget who wants to enjoy a device that that they could fully maximize in terms of specs and features.

On my hardware review, the Nokia 603 got a fair satisfactory grade. Nokia made it sure that its latest Symbian Belle touch device offerings were exemplary in their own rights. To compare it with the rest of the competing devices from other brands in its bracket, the phone is unsurpassed by a wide mark with its potent combination of style and construction.

The discussion this time, would cover the phones Software and features. Generally, the phone could make a socially well connected user’s happy with its full range of connectivity options, it can make user’s experience satisfying with its simple yet usable interface and it can entertain users to the fullest with its entertainment features among the rest of its feature. It is a phone with no compromise when it comes to usability and experience. Read on to find out.

User Interaction

The phone has the Symbian Belle operating system (OS), the latest software version that offers a smooth, fast, mature, stable and fully customizable interface.

For first time touch phone users, you will get to enjoy one of the best user experiences in the market with a very responsive capacitive touch from the tapping of icons, swiping Homescreens left and right, scrolling kinetically in almost all applications, to the pinch to zoom feature on images and web browser, among the rest of the standard touch features of other competing systems. Lesser of course in terms fluidity of iOS or Windows Phone 7 being the benchmarks but likely the same with Android.

For Symbian^1 or older version upgraders, this is the best that the system offers to date packing all the features that your familiar with, and leveling it up competitively. The version eliminates minor hangs, lags, freezes, bug downs and restarts of the early Symbian^1 versions and with the big boast on the processor, 1Ghz to be exact, it works speedily and flawlessly than ever. Gone were the unresponsive press, double presses and long waits and say hello to single press and fast opening of applications.

I would not advice anybody using Symbian^3 or Symbian Anna though to upgrade to this device since those phones will all be upgraded to Symbian Belle that would work fine even with the lower processors. Nokia 603 though has graphic transitions all around its system, from the changing of wallpapers between Homescreens, to opening, closing and scrolling within the apps itself. If this specific feature matters a lot to you, then this phone is a great and affordable upgrade.


The Homescreen is the overall window of the phone. Widget based and fully customizable, it gives users free hand to decide how it will work for them.

For first time users, this means that you can add your most usable or remove non important icons or widgets on it. In other words, it serves as a shortcut screen, so you won’t need to scroll over to the menu every time you’ll access something, giving a more convenient experience.

For Symbian upgraders, the software versions adds a lot of changes to the existing mechanism. First and foremost, additional screens from a single customizable on Symbian^1 and twice the screens on Symbian^3, from 3 to 6, giving more space for users to express their individuality. Secondly, widgets and icons have been rehashed as they can now be move individually rather than in groups. Then, it ported the pull down Menu originally implemented by Android, a welcome addition to the system bringing more comfort to users.

I could say that these were among the best improvements that happened to the software so far. I’ve been very vocal about wanting to customize my devices every now and then, well, the software continues to give such satisfaction but having used Android, I would say that it’s not the best in the market at the moment, hopefully, Symbian and Nokia will improve this area further by bringing something new and unique to the table. It could be by creating more re-sizable widgets, by bringing live wallpapers, etc. This is also a major feature that users cannot find on iPhone or Windows Phone (yet), so they must fully take this advantaged to used.

Contacts and Messaging

Contacts on Symbian was then the best and still is up to now. For first time users, you can add every possible data into it even to the point of adding unimaginable details such as the Assistant's Name and Number, Spouse's Name, Children, SIP, DTMF, etc. Searching for contacts is easy with it predictive writing feature and complimented with Vlingo application that can search contacts among other application using a voice prompt.

For Symbian upgraders, nothing had changed much, except that there is now a communicator icon on top of the lists. This needs to be set up, if you have a corporate account giving easy access to business contacts.

As much as other interface added a lot more feature on Contacts like the Peoples Hub on Windows phone where it integrates social connectivity to it, I still prefer Contacts on Symbian because its more detailed and complete and its separated socially. I do have this notion that my social connections were only virtual, contacts on my Phonebook were real people and I like to put a distinction to that.

Messaging, SMS in particular, a communication feature that Nokia created and mastered, had been carried by Symbian Belle forward. For first time users, you can manage SMS effortlessly and quickly with its easy messaging mechanism, threaded SMS, group text, copy/paste feature among others. I'm not a big fan of the virtual keyboard though but not to be worried about because Nokia offers SWYPE (still on beta), a virtual keyboard application that offers one continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard. I prefer this more than the built in keyboard and I think I can't stand using an all touch device without this.

Nothing new for Symbian upgraders here, its the same and the best messaging feature you love to enjoy.

Memory, External and Internal

The phone is created to multitask like no other with its 1GB of ROM. As far as I’ve experience and base on my semi-techy usage, I can open the least, 15 apps at a time without noticing any lags or slow down on the system to the point of forgetting to close open apps for days. The phone handles multitasking flawlessly that users can just jump from one open application to another, making it a wonderful social and browsing device.

The phone has a decent internal memory with 512MB of RAM and 2GB storage. For first time Symbian users, the more RAM you have, the more applications can be installed directly within the phone system making them work faster and sleeker than those save and installed on the general storage or external memory card.

For current Symbian users, this is a huge upgrade to be thankful for. I myself get frustrated when my old phones behave erratically when RAM is depleted due to massive installation. I have to reboot the phone to its original factory condition to erased clutters that lags down its performance, but with this phone I can install anything, heavy applications or not with its 512MB. I seriously think though that this must raise this to 1GB for a total worry-less user experience.

The phone 2GB general storage gives users a huge space to save images, music, videos or eBooks. It might be a limited in a way with music files now ballooning to as much as 10MB per file, but the phone has an external memory slot that can handle as much as 32GB of additional memory, so this doesn't pose any problem.

Web and Email

One of the main selling points of Nokia devices that remain visible up to now is its incredible Email set up, users can enjoy push mail service or instant messaging using Nokia Messaging or Mail for Exchange compatible with every possible Email providers. It is still currently one of the best Messaging set up for mobilephone.

For Symbian upgraders, the Nokia Messaging version of Nokia 603 is the most stable and most mature yet. Nokia integrate an E-Series like mechanism on it making it by far the most usable. You can write emails on it easily, it can sync with all email providers flawlessly, read attached files, etc.

The web browser sports a WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, with Adobe Flash Lite and RSS Feeds, another typical feature from Nokia but the web page implementation of this phone was greatly improved offering more speed and better user interface. For first time users, the Nokia Browser opens web pages instantly loading a factory set, mobile web page version, but this can be reset on the settings if you want the computer web version and still preforming without a hitched implementing full web page flawlessly. Then there’s the pinch to zoom feature of the browser, the resizing of web pages as enlarged, the playing of Flash videos directly on the web page, among the rest of the its web browsing convenience.

For Symbian upgraders, the browser now offer more features than ever. For instance, the Homepage, it can now be set to the Most visited pages or Current page rather than the Default or User defined as seen in early versions. Also, the browser menu can now be access through an overlay page rather than on the settings button. It now has a lot of navigation options like Feeds, History, links etc., not to mention of course, the grid buttons bottom which now have Forward and Back buttons, a direct link to Bookmarks and a button for Open windows, making browsing to multiple sites more handy.

I personally love all the updates on both web browser and eMail. It’s on par with the competition and must be improved further of course to give it an edge than the rest.

Calendar and Reminders

For first time users, Nokia calendar and reminders delivers no less than the best set up in the mobilephone world. Adding events, schedules, reminders among others were just a few touch away with users enjoying every possible connectivity options needed to sync files and information’s from any computer to the phone.

For Symbian upgraders, same old, same old! As much as all its features remained very usable, the calendar interface now lags behind the competition visually. It generally looks old and weary that it needs to be modernized. Windows Phone has the best looking calendar page at the moment, Nokia should learn from it or perhaps offer a better one.

Part 1 of the Software review ends here for now, Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. It will cover the rest of the phones software features. Comments are welcome!


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