Thursday, March 11, 2010

My first time …. using a smart phone (Nokia X6)


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.


Thimbuktu said...

"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..."

hahaha...not 'old die', just 'oldie'.

Thank you, Chun See. The inspiration of you and increasing number of the 'young once' bloggers to us to blog on. Cheers!

PChew said...

An oldie like me is much encouraged by you. I may try a smart phone. Thanks Chun See.

derek tait said...

Hi Chun See,
The technology looks amazing and I think I've let it all get ahead of me. I've never owned a mobile phone or an ipod. I doubt I'll ever get either but reading your blog makes me thing I'm missing something. However, when I see people walking down the street on their mobile phones, texting each other (it's probably worse in England)and oblivious to their surroundings, I think that I could do without one.
I must admit I'm probably a bit behind the times, I don't even own a watch!
Best wishes,

Lam Chun See said...

Derek. If I may, I would just to add my thots to this issue of new media and IT, and its relevance to the older generation.

Firstly I think it is a mistake if you let this thing get too far ahead of you, to the extent that you lose sight of it altogether. I think the time is coming when life would be very difficult if we don't at least keep pace with the basics of this new technology. What happened with the internet will happen also with

For example, here in Spore, the IRS has been persuading people to file their annual income tax returns the 'e' way; i.e. via the internet. I had resisted that for a few years, reasoning that since this was only an annual exercise, it was not worth putting in the effort to learn such an alien way of doing things. Furthermore, the existing manual method was already very efficient; so the additional benefit does not justify it. But today the IRS here in Spore has totally gone 'e', meaning we have no choice. Similarly, many other govt services have taken the 'e' route. For example, if my company wanted to search for an bid for government projects/contract, I have to do it through their internet portal called GeBiz.

Another thing is that the mobile phone has evolved into something that is much more than a telephone. Here in Spore for example, businesses assume you own a mobile phone and many activities required at least that you are able to receive and send SMS's. For example, last year I had to visit the Changi General Hospital regularly for a sinus problem (which by the way, I managed to get 'cured' finally through traditional Chinese medicine) and each time they would message me a reminder about the next appointment - something I found to be very useful.

And then there is the camera function. Recently, my wife asked me to buy some strange facial cleanser with an unpronounceble name for her. Instead of memorizing or jotting down this name, I simply took a photo of the box with my mobile phone and showed it to the staff at the pharmacy.

But I guess over in UK, your govt is not so autocratic (I assume) and thus would not dare to force the population to do things in the way they dictate.

derek tait said...

Hi Chun See, You're absolutely right, of course, that I should move along with technology. I think in the UK, we will all have to file our tax returns in via the internet eventually. I still fill mine in using the old form way but I should really learn how to do it all on the internet. I do find the internet very useful though for things like buying books (not kindle!), paying bills, blogging, keeping in touch, ebaying etc but I've never really got into using mobile phones although the technology today sounds amazing. I love digital photography but just feel that I don't really want anyone to phone me when I'm out for a walk or outside. I can see how they're very handy if the car breaks down or something but, like having a watch, I've never missed it.
It's certainly the way of the future though and, maybe one day, I'll get one!
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Actually, for older folks not familiar with smart phones, the iPhone is about the easiest to use and extremely useful with all the various Apps (applications) available free or for purchase. Its large screen also makes it easy for oldies to read. i can testify to it cos' I'm over 50 and use my iPod Touch (similar to iPhone but no phone or camera) religiously for everything (including as a bible).

army ration packs said...

I just got own nokia X6 as a gift from my father. And can say few things like, Nokia provide high quality products and excellent reputation to keep its large market. Nokia is one of those companies which has worked towards achieving market leadership by doing hard work and heavy research and development.

fr said...

Besides hands-on training, it would be a great help to Nokia if it has someone at their sales booth who could explain the benefits and fun of these phones to older folks as well as Chun See did and tell them using them is not as hard as they imagined.

The younger salesperson usually just highlights the latest functions of the phones. I doubt they could convince older people.

mensajes claro said...

The younger salesperson usually just highlights the latest functions of the phones. I doubt they could convince older people.

mensajes claro said...

Besides hands-on training, it would be a great help to Nokia if it has someone at their sales booth who could explain the benefits and fun of these phones to older folks as well as Chun See did and tell them using them is not as hard as they imagined.

Unknown said...

Smart phone is not very common now, how ever in a few short time it will be very popular. I really like the smart phone because present something different and i think it is very useful to everyone, that is why i prefer to looking for information about this topic or another one like costa rica investment opportunities i think it is very interesting.