It’s been long since I got the the almighty, Nokia Oro and I know all of you have been very patient and waiting for Layman’s Take on the Nokia Oro. It’s just been the life and health that kept me away from the blogging for a while, but I’m back to this world now.
July 01, 2011.. It was a crazy night for me! The same night, when I was going to my hometown in the train to spend some well earned holidays, the journey during which twitter was my only companion to entertain me, happened to be one of the most memorable journeys so far.
Thank God I was not a heart patient otherwise God knows what could have happened in that train. I mean, I might have been close to winning something in past, but never really made it for a phone and when the prize is a Nokia Oro ….. You can guess that what I would have said at that moment…
Sorry co-passengers, shut the fuck up, I won a Nokia oro #18k
Though many of you might already be aware about the Nokia Oro, let me tell you that Oro means Gold in Italian and Spanish. And when we talk about Nokia Oro, then we are talking about the real 18 carat Gold.
Yes! Yes! Yes! The phone and the Bluetooth Nokia J headset, provided in the package are both made of real 18 carat gold plating. Not only that, but the back is smooth and made of the finest bridge of Weir leather and the home key is made of sapphire crystal. Both of the materials are timeless and very durable.
Wanna see it in action? Better to watch the official video, and I really wanna thank @NokiaDeveloper once again, especially for sending me the black model for the keeps.
And while you might be already jealous of me, let me tell you a little more about it. Nokia Oro will be shipped and sold in only four of the following mentioned regions (India not included in the same and that makes me the only one owning a unit here!)
The big wait and arrival
While the result was announced on the first of July, it would have been a little high on expectations to expect the shipment to arrive within a week’s time like @WomWorldNokia’s trial packages, but still I’d been really impatient on that and even enquired with Jason @NokiaDeveloper a couple of times.
Finally the day was July 20, 2011, when I got the mail about the shipment and thanks to DHL and my presence in a metropolitan city like Delhi, it was in my hands the very next day, the 21st.
The timing couldn’t have been more lovely for me as July 23, 2011 was my wife’s birthday and I was on a train back to my hometown just on July 19th and came back to Delhi on the morning of July 21st only. A mobile phone junkie couldn’t have given his wife a better gift than a Nokia Oro.
I used to think how I can gift someone a chain of 25-30k when I can buy a well worth phone in that price comfortably? And see what I got … I got a chance to gift my wife a phone made of Gold.. now that’s something.
Note the coincidence, I got the news of winning the Oro and again got the news of shipment in train only… when is the next train journey of mine?
Nokia Oro : The Unboxing
Nokia Oro has been a lovely thing to unbox not because it was a precious thing, but also because of the fact that I’d never come across such a premium level of packaging recently.
The first box was safely wrapped into more than square meter of bubble wrap and then inside it was an another box.
Also after going into descriptions, I think this one is shipped via Russia though it totally supports India frequencies as most of the Nokia devices are Penta Band devices.
After pulling up the box, the Golden box comes out..
I would say, the moment I was opening this box was really breath taking for me as I was secretly wishing that the outcome may be a Black model and finally the wishes paid off (I am not a fan of the white Nokia Oro model)
Yes! as you can see the Gold made Nokia J (BH-806) was included in the package as well. While the video in the next will display the rest of the contents of the package, I would like to post a Nokia Oro family pic here for the people browsing through lesser bandwidth connections.
And now a time for video unboxing via Nokia Oro done by Pooja (who already cleared me that this device not gonna swap with anything else and I may keep Nokia N8/SGS but don’t even think about eyeing this one.)
Nokia Oro : The contents of the box
As you can see from the above pics, there wasn’t much inside the box to steal the show from Nokia Oro and Nokia J. It was strange to see a 1300 mAh printed on this device which was fitted with usual BL-5K battery (even the official website says 1200 mAh), but that’s a good news if true, certainly.
Also I was happy to see a data cable of sane length rather than going for that CA-101D as on Nokia C7-00.
The contents of the box were:
- Nokia Oro mobile phone
- Nokia Battery BL-5K
- Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179
- Nokia J Bluetooth Mono Headset (includes a holder and five extra sets of ear pads in different sizes)
- Nokia Fast Micro-USB Charger AC-10
- Quick start guide
- Materials booklet
- Headset user guide
- Legal leaflet
- Cleaning cloth
I would say, Nokia J Bluetooth headset along with its metallic finish, noise cancellation, multi-connect feature and voice guidance should deserve a separate review than this one.
Do you know Nokia J can operate up to 2.5 hours with just 15 mins of charging with Nokia Fast Micro-USB Charger AC-10?
What I missed in the box
The presence of an USB-OTG cable.
They’re easily available at around 500rs, but it would have been better to ship the same with a premium priced device like Nokia Oro. (Not an issue for me being though, being a proud owner of a N8).
- A wired headset in the package.
Though Nokia J is here and the sound quality is much better than what I experienced with a similarly designed Nokia BH-217, but being a mono headset and one ear only, it just doesn’t match a wired one.. … Am I being over-demanding? 😛
Nokia Oro : The Exteriors
Nokia Oro has been all about the exteriors first. It’s such a beauty that I am constantly getting queries from even unknown girls of my office about it. Though my wife has already declared that no exchange shall be allowed this time…. Girls and Gold, you know!
I was first required to remove the plastic screen guard from Nokia Oro as that wasn’t doing any justice with the underlying Gorilla Glass.
While rest of exteriors are similar to Nokia C7-00 (Of course, I am not talking about the 18 carat gold as of now), except the absence of the 2mm charging port on the left side of the handset.
The right portion of Nokia Oro had the similar outfit as Nokia C7-00, though this time, the buttons were made of real Gold in place of plastic.
The next attraction apart from Gold was the home key made of Sapphire crystal. Those who don’t know about it, let me tell you, Sapphire crystals are known for their magnificent colors and transparency (red one is known as Ruby) and usually find their use in jewelries. Not only this, but this crystal also possesses a durability second to diamonds.. and we were talking about the Gold only all this while.. 🙂
If you thought that we might have been finished about the premium materials used in Nokia Oro, then one more aspect remains to be discussed, the premium bridge of Weir™ leather.
The hand wrapped leather back is not only gives you a soft feel of the handset that is comparably a little thicker than Nokia C7-00 now, but also is a bold statement of timeless, tactile and a luxurious feel.
While both of Nokia C7-00 and Nokia Oro possess the same 8 MP Fixed Focus Camera unit on the back, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that Nokia Oro finally records the videos at 30 fps rather 25 fps. So, one might be assured that 30 fps soon coming to our beloved Nokia N8 as well.
The camera unit is a little different from Nokia E6-00 due to different aperture (f2.8 in place of f2.4) and focal length (4.3mm in place of 28mm) but is exactly same with other member of family like C7/C7-01/E7/X7.
I am still confused that what we see on the back are two separate speakers or one dummy and one real. What fueled my doubts is the protector screen covering the right side of speaker grills while leaving the left side.
The SIM card slot and memory card slot are exactly in the same pattern as Nokia C7-00 and so is the same old complaint, why not a hot-swappable memory card slot rather than a non-hot-swappable SIM Card slot out there?
The upper portion of the device is the same with same placement of Proximity sensor, Ambient Light Sensor and front camera.
On the top, the power button is circular now, rather than square-ish one on Nokia C7-00. Usual Mini USB slot cover like every other device, which sure is a better one over Nokia E6-00 like setup, but I would have loved if Nokia starts working over a slider kind of a setup as in the Samsung Galaxy S.
Nokia Oro : The Interiors
Looking at the tech specs of the Nokia Oro, the handset is exactly similar to Nokia C7-00 or Nokia C7-01 Astound, the USA version of the C7. So, you might want to check out my review of Nokia C7-00 for the specific details or Forum Nokia’s Official page if you’d wanna dig deeper into specs. But still, I would like to mention some of the differences of Nokia Oro from its sibling, the Nokia C7-00 (though many of the differences are due to Symbian Anna).
Nokia Oro (117.3 x 57.5 x 12.2 mm) is a bit thicker from Nokia C7-00 (117.3 x 56.8 x 10.5 mm). Obviously, that’d directly attribute to the hand wrapped leather. This increased thickness has also increased the weight by 2gm.
Nokia Oro doesn’t support WCDMA Band II (1900) while Nokia C7-00 does. And this totally makes sense because of the selected market availability of the exclusive device.
As already mentioned earlier, Symbian Anna on the Oro has enabled video recording at 30 fps via its 8MP lens.
Nokia Oro has 512 MB of ROM in comparison to a whole 1GB on the original Nokia C7-00. Strange.
And everything else is basically just the same, as we’re already aware, there’s the 680 MHz ARM 11 processor, Broadcom’s BCM2727 GPU, 256 MB of RAM, 350 MB of internal memory, 8 GB of mass memory and microSD card support upto 32GB. Also, the small-yet-premium features like FM Transmitter and Active noise cancellation via two microphones (for uplink in calls only) are exactly the same as they are in the Nokia C7-00.
Though it sports a Gorilla Glass and an AMOLED screen like rest of Symbian^3, do not expect a CBD AMOLED on this one on Nokia E7 and C6-01’s lines. Though that would have indeed meant something more, I think we are yet to see the CBD screens on slimmer devices till date, maybe the tech isn’t ready yet for a slim form factor.
Nokia Oro: My first encounter with full touch Symbian Anna
I will not call it my first encounter with Symbian Anna as I was blessed by @WomworldNokia to have got a chance for reviewing the Nokia E6 much before most of the other bloggers could have their hands on it. So, I had seen Symbian Anna a little, but the encounter was always incomplete due to smaller screen and physical portrait QWERTY on the E6-00 as the split portrait input was something that I’d always wished to see and finally that moment came in a pretty grand way, the Nokia Oro.
Let’s see Symbian Anna in the way, you might wanna see it from me, by comparing with Nokia N8 step by step.
Let’s watch a little video overview of Symbian Anna on Nokia Oro first (some of the previews, you already seen in Unboxing video).
Nokia Oro: What do we see new in Symbian Anna?
Well! We kept on hearing about those 50+ changes and were wondering that what changes are those. One also needs to remember the fact that we were told about some 250+ changes to Symbian^3 over Symbian^1, how many of those have you actually seen?
All the changes are not meant to be visible. Many of them might be background changes, API changes and in the way things work. Some of things, as we’ve been discussing already via leaked firmwares, we already know a lot about Symbian Anna already. Here, I can’t promise to list down all the 50+ changes, but will try to figure out as many as I can.
1. New Iconography: As I wrote earlier in my E6 post, the new iconography might be just like some new theme, but it has a lot more to do. Uneven size of icons has always been a trouble on many platforms.
I was used to arrange the icons on home screen in specific orders either it be Android or Symbian just because one icon is some transparent shape, other is round and the other one is square. A standardization was really needed and Symbian Anna does it.
When for the first time I’d switched on the Nokia Oro, I wasn’t greeted with Symbian Anna Icons as Nokia Oro comes with two pre-installed Gold themes and only one Midnight theme with the original Anna icons.
Now, the above screen shots may give you quite an idea that what actually changed about the iconography. Prominently seen.
While it’s not even at all the places (due to third party developers, who are yet to adopt the Anna guidelines), you can see that the iconography goes deeper into the roots of the OS.
Notice the latest Symbian Anna 022.014 is on Nokia Oro that out of box, while Nokia X7/E6-00 are receiving the same update only now.
2. Draggable home screen:
Draggable home screen finally has arrives with Symbian Anna though rather than serving any usable purpose, it stands as a mere gimmick as one still can’t drag one widget from one home screen to another.
There is no 5-6 home screens in Symbian Anna. Nokia E6-00 was different due to presence of less widgets per home screen.
3. New Calendar:
I have already covered the new Symbian Anna calendar in detail in the E6’s review, so not much to write much about the internals here, but will surely post some of the comparison pics (alongside a Nokia N8).
You can notice the new “Tap to create entry” space, that brings portrait QWERTY for input when you tap on it and helps in creating the entries in the most simple way.
In the same way, there are many other minor changes that enhance the already well built Symbian Calendar.
4. The new contacts:
For me and many other users, it’s always been horrible to go through the “super-intelligent” contact search app built within the contacts app. Maybe it’s a personal preference, but I never liked the idea of covering the whole screen with big characters to find just one simple contact.
But now, it is totally changed with the arrival of portrait QWERTY.
Not only this, but we see some changes in the way we mark the contacts for selection. Its exactly similar behavior to what we will find in the email application in next.
5. New Email App:
I already covered the Symbian Anna Email App in little detail in my Nokia E6-00 review, so will make it short and visual only here.
I would say that even though Nokia Email service is not in great shape, the Email Client on Symbian^3 was always a good one and the recent improvements are adding into its goodness. We already had pinch to zoom and HTML view in mails while the new look adds easy selection of mails for various operations.
Though split portrait qwerty is still not available in all Qt apps and most of the third party apps, but Emails and SMS are some official apps, where Nokia didn’t miss to make the point.
6. New Input System (Split/ Portrait QWERTY)
The input system was probably the biggest pain with Symbian and that’s been the main reason why people have been waiting this desperately for Symbian Anna.
As you can see, the split input on Symbian came late, but it’s not any lesser over any other platform. Though smaller keys will be a complaint for people who didn’t get used to Gravity like keyboard, but having the themeable split keyboard for portrait and landscape both would sure grow over people in sometime, only if Nokia’d push the things on a timely basis. (not happening as of now).
From the above screenshots, you can easily get an idea how it would be easing usability for an end user.
Though even apps like Nokia Social seem to be supporting Split input, but it was horrible to see Ovi Store like core apps are still away from portrait qwerty and split input love. Sometimes, it feels like Nokia really want to kill themselves, otherwise wouldn’t anyone with a sane mind not cared from the core point, which is expected to drive some sales.
There was some news about Swype being included into the input system of Symbian Anna though the same seems not to be true as of now, but installing the old Swype files, tells you that Swype always had a portrait QWERTY support (though wasn’t activated till Anna firmware). Hope Swype Inc. will understand that keeping it on a non-split input method like how it is now is ruining the whole cause. Also changing between Swype and native input is tiresome and needs reboot. Hope it will change soon.
By the way, did I tell you the good news? Nokia messaging, Nokia Chat and Gravity, all can make use of split portrait QWERTY on Symbian Anna, so at least the essentials are here.
7. New Browser
Like the input system of Symbian, the browser on Symbian also had been always avoided in the past. Even though the old browser had an edge over other browsers due to flash support etc, but right from the from the UI to HTML5, there’s been a lot of things to worry about.
I will not say that Nokia is back on track with the new Anna Browser, but this sure is a step in the right direction.
I know many of you might be interested in the HTML5 test of the browsers before and after Symbian Anna, so I thought I’d just try that out and see how much of a difference the update brings. Sadly, it still misses a lot of features and the score is pretty less if we compare with Android or iOS scores. But yeah, it’s a step in right direction anyway.
While the native browser sees a drastic update about HTML5 score, we find a minor improvement in performance of third party apps like Opera as well. More than double the score shows how long the original one needs to travel in order to compete with the existing browsers in the mobile industry. You might have a good laugh, but the native browser cannot run the HTML5 version of Ovi Maps as it can not detect the GPS location via the browser. (that HTML5 feature is not implemented yet).
8. New Camera interface
Lookwise, I felt both the camera interfaces to be almost the same (in contrast with my impressions from E6) , but the mention of 30 fps recording on Forum Nokia Page gives me hope that we will see something worth waiting in Nokia N8’s Symbian Anna.
Meanwhile, I would say, we will be more pleased when we’d see Symbian Belle’s Camera interface.
9. New Photo Gallery
The photo gallery has seen a little bit usability change in Symbian Anna. No more double tap to reach your photos like the older version that was taking you into the album mode first. You can notice that now a single tap will take you to photos directly.
Though on the wrong side, the media refresh seems same awkward at times, which felt a little strange as in rest of the part Symbian Anna came significantly faster over PR1.2.
10. New Intranet option added into connections
I am not sure but this was used to a separate app installation earlier and seems to have been integrated with Symbian Anna now. Though still doesn’t support the connection over 3G/EDGE and also no support for raw PPTP VPNs. The option can be utilized with standard certificate based VPNs only.
11. New NFC option in connectivity and a nice widget
It shouldn’t be called as a Symbian Anna specific change, but even if some of Nokia phones had NFC chip inside, it wasn’t publicly acknowledged via an App/Setting. Though only options provided are to set it on or off as Nokia intends make NFC interactions easy as a pie.
If you closely follow the video given above, then you will find that how NFC is implemented in a manner that is just one touch away from the other device (rather than Bluetooth way of searching the other device). If you are new to NFC tech, you might want to check out one of my earlier posts here, as I’d covered it in a bit more detail.
And yeah, for demonstrating or fueling the interest in the NFC technology, Nokia Oro ships with a special Angry Bird Lite version named Angry Bird Magic. Wanna know more about it? Check this out:
12. New search application included
I already discussed a little about this app in my Nokia E6 post, though I was also waiting to see this app in action with a portrait QWERTY on Symbian Anna. Sure, it has its own share of flaws like it’s still kind of local+web and doesn’t seem to be searching in Ovi Store, which would have been better. Yeah widget is also the same old one, but with the portrait split QWERTY now.
Not sure, but the app from Nokia Beta Labs seems to be doing a little better job over this.
13. Same maps but with split portrait QWERTY enabled search now
Symbian Anna has the same maps as on other Symbian^3 devices as of now via Betalabs, the in-app animations and split portrait QWERTY are the only new additions to the app.
14. Premium apps bundled with Nokia Oro
While you will find inclusion of Angry Bird, Shazam, Adobe Reader and Quick Office as good news, it comes with a non-licensed version of QuickOffice, unlike the one on the Nokia N8.
It means that I can read the Word/Excel documents on my Nokia Oro but can’t edit them, unless I purchase Quick Office. Not sure if it’s a glitch or the Nokia Oro doesn’t come with a license out of the box.
15. Standby screen improvement
While I’d already covered this in Nokia E6 post, I’m re-posting the same words again.
Along with the LED notifications, we now receive notifications on standby screens as well (there’s no need to install sleep screen etc). After pressing the navigation button, we will be back on the second standby screen as seen below.
16. Little cosmetics here and there
FM transmitter is renamed to Play via Radio and is much integrated with the Operating system itself. The FM Radio app got a small and neat upgrade with Anna styled icons.
17. A definite improvement in speed and battery life
This is something one can always say about a new phone, that it’s speedier than earlier ones and also has more battery life as the new phone is not facing the same load and usages as you would have been torturing your old one to. But I’ve really given enough time and apps usage to the Nokia Oro before evaluating it on these terms.
Definitely speedier than my Nokia N8 in anything it does and its been the same with whatever I throw upo on this. And this sure makes me more impatient about August end, that’s when Symbian Anna is supposed to reach old Nokia N8’s as well.
As about the battery, improvements aren’t that drastic and maybe I’d claim an improvement of about 25%, but I found it lasting around two-three hours more than the Nokia N8 on the almost the same usage pattern. (apart from camera usages).
Things that are still not improved with Symbian Anna
1. Inconsistency in Split input
A lot of you would have noticed it from the videos or the application screenshots posted above, Split input, which is the main attraction of Symbian Anna is apparently missing from a lot of places. It makes you feel that things are still half baked and this inconsistency annoys you. Especially when you try to check out shiny Qt apps like LinkedIn, fMobi, TwimGo etc, it really gets on one’s nerves. Doesn’t Nokia want to learn from their mistakes ever?
And here’s my guess why this behavior still persists in Symbian C++ first …
Split input has been inside Symbian^3, since day one via the EAknEditorFlagEnablePartialScreen flag defined in eikon.hrh, though being an experiment feature, a part of non-SDK files and no separate API for it have been the reasons behind not taking forward this feature systematically.
Symbian is not one thing, there are many applications inside it. Messaging is a different app, Calendar is different, Chat is different and Contacts are different. Moreover, split input is just not about enabling a flag like I wrote above, but also the application needs to adopt the same change.
And as you can see, here’s a snapshot comparison of Nokia Chat alongside the native Messaging application. Both adopt to split input and shift the input box on top of the QWERTY but while Nokia Chat also pushes the send etc option up, Messaging app misses out on that. So, it’s prominent that changing something deep within the core is never that easy and if you’d want to update something, then the update goes all the way deep into the coding in all of these applications.
Obviously, Nokia is changing the things by taking priorities. One would need split in contacts, messaging, IM, mails, calendar etc and they made that first, though missing the same Ovi Store still remains a huge complaint.
And now about, why no split screen in Qt …
The reasons again go into the same issue as I tried to explained a bit above. While the mentioned flag in Symbian C++ can make the application aware of split input and so shift the input field above, its not yet possible with Qt because of the split input support being still under development (though coming with Qt4.7.4). Even though there might be some possible workarounds, there are limitations with Qt support till the Qt official comes up with a solution, which is again, not very far and most likely will come to Qt by the same time Symbian Anna would reach rest of the Symbian^3 lineup.
2. One click connectivity is still annoying with weak\WAP connections
You might be typing in Gravity and suddenly triggered by GPS lock, a connection notification pops up trying to connect settings of SIM, you might have used earlier in device or some some wifi registered with you. Obviously, it seems that connectivity inside maps and web apps not behaving in the way, OCC was expected to.
I already wrote about this in my first ever walkthrough of Symbian^3 while reviewing Nokia N8. While One click connectivity (OCC) might be a savior for n00bs with stable connections, it might irritate hell out of you when on some weak\WAP links. Really wanted it to get fixed with Symbian Anna and the complaint still continues.
3. Notification System
Actually the issue no. 2 is part of issues due to notification system only. But adding it later as my comments are more about bugs rather than feature requests (if we talk about feature requests then the list would be rather long).
There might be some if’s and but’s, but even if you not compare with others, there are serious issues with Symbian notification systems. Notifications should be meant to notify you of events without interrupting you in whatever you were doing at the moment. Sadly, its still not the case with Symbian. Not only issues like OCC annoys you, push messages or things like that also ruins the experience at time (like your operator message telling you about the data usages after any single connection closes).
While we know that Symbian Belle will be out soon to fix this behaviour (even though it copies Android just like how Apple did it with iOS 5), its still remain as overdue.
Why one should buy a Nokia Oro?
Definitely it’s a non-question from a layman;s point of view, as some of my tweeps like Prashant asked me:
How many of the common people even know of Vertu like premium mobile phone makers, whose product prices range from 2-3 lacs to 10-12 lacs? Obviously buying a phone made of gold and other premium materials is not at all affordable for many. And that’s the same reason Nokia Oro was a limited edition product for limited markets only.
Nokia already mentioned in their post that “someone who chooses the Nokia Oro won’t be making a hard spec vs. price comparison. They’ll be more concerned about the build quality and materials” and same was differently told to me by Timo in humor, when I was enquiring about next firmware update for Nokia Oro.
Definitely layman or normal Indian buyers can’t be the target market for Nokia Oro. The Nokia Oro is a device that’s clearly intended for someone who doesn’t want their mobile device to look the same as other people’s.
The main markets for this sort of a niche device are the Middle East and Russia markets, where they’ve been best-sellers for quite sometime, but still, it costs around a very reasonable 800 Euro or 50, 000 INR rather than going as high as a few lac rupees (market price should be even more less). And that might be quite a reasonable deal considering the special interest it generates in females.
From a techie point of view, Nokia Oro like phones might be a much better gift to your girlfriend or wife rather than gifting some diamond ring, precious stone or a heavy chain. At least, you personally feel that you’ve invested in a thing that will do much much more than just a show off. Timeless and ageless design, 8MP camera, HD Recording, multiple Codec support, USB OTG, Lifetime free Ovi Maps etc are just to count a few of advantages over a dumb stone or jewel.
So, those are my thoughts about the Nokia Oro..I know you might have some different viewpoints. So, it’s about time, when you need to speak up what you think about it? Share them in the comments below!