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Friday, August 24, 2007


Two new gadgets that I can't help talking about. First of all, I picked up my new Nokia N95 the day before I left for the States. Those kind people at O2 gave it to me for nothing -- well, when I say nothing I mean "extending my contract for another year" -- and it arrived bang on time. I could even read the manual on the plane, which is ideal for a nerd like me, so by the time we touched down I had already configured it the way I wanted. It's an outstanding piece of kit. The good points:

  • I love the 2-way slide: open it one way and it's a phone, open it the other way and it's a media player.
  • Nice clear screen, bright and easy to read even for my ageing eyes.
  • It's pretty convenient having satnav built in. The first time I used it -- getting lost in Austin, Texas -- it worked perfectly guiding me to my destination.
  • Good web browser.
  • Mail client works, and it has an Exchange client as well (not tested yet).

The bad points, which it would be remiss of me not to mention:

  • The GPS takes a long time to lock, so if you're in the car and you're lost, you have to pull over and wait a few minutes for it to get a fix. Incidentally, if you want to avoid crippling data charges when using the satnav, you need to download the relevant maps to the memory card in advance. This will quickly mean using up the 1Gb on the microSD card enclosed, so I'd order a 4Gb ASAP.
  • Wifi doesn't work properly. There's a bug which means that some WPA connections don't work.
  • The USB cable does not charge the phone, unlike on my old K800i, which means you need to take the charger with you.
  • It's not really a criticism, but be aware that if you switch on wifi, bluetooth, GPS and 3G, you will need to remember to plug it in for recharging every night!

So will the N95 replace both my old K800i, Palm and iPod. It has already replaced my K800i and Palm, but it's not going to replace the iPod. The iPod just works, beautifully, and the N95 is nowhere near as simple to use. And the Nokia iTunes integration is hopeless on my MacBook Pro. It worked once, but hasn't worked since. So 7/10, must try harder.

The second gadget is US satellite radio. The car I rented has an XM satellite radio. It's wonderful. For anyone who has ever driven down a freeway in the U.S., constantly fiddling with the radio to switch between local FM stations or desperately poor (both in audio quality and content) AM stations, this will be a revelation. You scan first by genres -- comedy, rock, news, whatever -- and then scan for channels within the genre. The reception is excellent, it has been crystal clear throughout the whole trip here: I can't recommend it highly enough.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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