I am 58 and have never used a smart phone before. Although I am proud of the fact that I was one of the first oldies (pronounced ‘oldeee’ not ‘old die’) in Singapore to start a blog, and have in fact been roped in by the folks at Infocomm123 to be their Silver Ambassador last year, the thought of myself doing all those ‘cool stuff’ on a tiny handphone, where I need to put on my reading glasses just to read the text, isn’t exactly my idea of entertainment. However, recently I had the opportunity to witness the amazing prowess of these little gizmos and it changed my mind.
I was at a Chinese New Year family dinner. As I chatted with my son and nephew by the koi pond, we spotted a huge, rather unusual-looking catfish. “That’s a red tail catfish”, declared my son, the ‘David Attenborough’ of the Lam clan. Not convinced, my nephew whipped out his mobile phone and within a minute was able to access a website displaying photos and details of this beautiful creature. He went on to demonstrate some other nifty things that you can do with a smart phone, like looking up a map.
“But it must be very hard to learn; especially for older folks like us”, I said. “No, it’s very easy one.” Sure, I thought to myself, that was exactly what I said to my retiree friend who said; “Chun See is very good. He can blog. So can teach us how to blog or not?”
And thus I jumped on the opportunity to review the Nokia X6 when approached by Nuffnang and I am happy to report that it wasn’t that difficult to learn after all. However, I have to admit that for an oldie like me, it was a rather long learning process. I think if Nokia wants to market the X6 at seniors, they had better provide some hands-on training.
Anyway, here are some of my impressions of the Nokia X6 (pardon the long introduction … I did tell you I was 57 going on 58 didn’t I?).
Comes with Music
Whilst I enjoy music, you simply won’t see me on an MRT train or running around the parks with wires sticking out of my ears. The only time I listen to music is when I am in my car, or behind my keyboard at my work station. Hence, I never took to MP3 players or downloading music onto a mobile phone. And the only time I listen to music on my mobile phone is when I have to wait for my kids. I would tune in to my favourite radio station; Gold 90.5 FM.
But Nokia’s Comes With Music is different. It allows you unlimited access to millions of tracks which you can download onto your PC. For those who prefer your music to be mobile, the X6’s 32GB on board memory allows you to store 11,000 tracks onto the device itself. And what’s more, you get to keep everything you have downloaded on your registered PC or Nokia handphone.
Now I shall have many more songs to listen to as I work, in addition to the limited number that I had ripped from my CD collection. Best part is, there are lots of ‘oldies but goodies’ music to suit my taste. And the sound quality is really good. Even the ring tone sounds good.
I read in the March 3 edition of Digital Life that Nokia is giving away its navigation software Ovi Maps for use on its new phones. Once installed, the phone becomes a full-fledged PND (personal navigation device) which enables you to see where you are, find the places you need, put discoveries on the map, and it even comes complete with voice prompts. I am afraid I did not check out these advanced features, but I did explore the Singapore maps and I think it certainly beats the tattered street directory which I keep in my car’s glove compartment.
The Touch Screen
This is the first time I used a touch screen and I really liked it. The screen is so sensitive and responsive I could key in my messages, and make corrections (which is very often), much more quickly. With the scrolling function, it was also much easier to find a name in the address book.
Also I find that the images on the screen very bright and clear, and big. I like to take photos and videos of the fishes in my fish tank to show to Matthew, my friend’s adorable five-year-old son. With the 3.2” widescreen, the poor kid needn’t strain his little eyes anymore.
For me this is the most important function of all. I will reject any mobile phone that does not take reasonably sharp photos. This is because I take a lot of photos for my blog when I am moving about and I don’t like to carry an additional camera. I was surprised at the high quality of the images taken on the X6’s 5 mp camera even under low-light conditions. Likewise the video quality was better than expected.
This shot of the Ulu Pandan Canal was taken with the Nokia X6
I am afraid, I just did not have time to try out many of the other features that the X6 boasts; such as creating playlists and downloading games from the Ovi Store. Neither did I try updating my blog or Twitter (I don’t have an account) or Facebook (which I seldom access even from my pc). There are simply too many things to learn in such a short time. Even though I have been telling my friends that I embrace the new media because learning all the new stuff is supposed to be good for the brain and helps keep mental problems like dementia and Alzheimers at bay, I will have to do this another time.
My biggest disappointment with this mobile phone was the messaging function. I don’t know, I just found it very difficult to get used to the functions and menus; and in fact I had to enlist my daughter’s help to send out my SMS’s the first time. But I guess the problem is with the user and not the product. But this was more than made up for by the really cool Contacts Bar which features thumbnail images for up to 20 close friends directly on the home screen.
Generally, I was quite happy and impressed by the Nokia X6 and I think many seniors would take to it. But I repeat, if Nokia wants to target the seniors market, they must provide some hands-on training.
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