Are we there yet? Are…we…there… yet? A refrain made popular by a talking donkey in a popular animation film, its a question weve all asked ourselves one time or the other, especially when youre running late for a dinner engagement with your boss, and cant, for the life of you, figure out why the city administration couldnt number their streets in a more logical fashion. At such times, have you tried… asking your phone?
Now these days, in-phone GPS isnt limited only to premium phone models, but with more and more phones getting kitted with GPS receivers, its now the turn of the extras that each manufacturer adds on that will make the difference. Nokias Navigator series of navigation-oriented mobiles has a successor in the 6210, and it has some interesting tricks up its sleeve.
As a phone, the 6210 handles fairly well, it feels surprisingly light in hand, without any compromises being made in terms of build quality, rather commendable for a slider phone. Its not much of a treat to look at, and the plastic at some places does look a little … plasticky. The keypad unfortunately has the same problem that has plagued many slider phones — the top three keys are hard to access. Fortunately, on the 6210, the keypad is extremely large and the rest of the keys are well-spaced.
The display, which is rather crucial given that this is meant to be used as an in-car navigation device, supports QVGA resolution and upto 16M colours on a 2.4-in diagonal. That means the navigation maps are really visible only if youre holding the phone in your hand, which in my mind limits the utility of the phone to be used on the dash of the car.
It runs on a capable Symbian OS 9.3, with the S60 3.2 user interface included, bringing in both visual and performance upgrades. The accelerometer is a tad sensitive, but works smoothly on the phones 369 MHz processor. The rest of the feature pack is pretty standard for a Nokia phone, with a capable music player and a reasonably sharp camera for daytime casual use. Theres no camera cover, though, so the glass covering the lens is prone to finger smudges.
Obviously, GPS navigation is the essence of the 6210, and how it performs in this department really decides whether it has the smarts to pull ahead of other smartphones which have GPS thrown in for good measure.
Software-wise, its quipped with Nokia Maps 2.0 — the latest version of the Nokia application that provides electronic maps, as well as voice guided turn-by-turn navigation.
Hardware-wise, the Nokia 6210 has got an illuminated GPS key that gives you one-touch access to Maps, as well as lights in blue once the device locks on to a positioning satellite. It has added A-GPS, which connects to the network through the data connection and gets your approximate location by the time GPS gets a lock on the satellites, after which the GPS pinpoints your exact location.
Theres also a built-in compass — a novel feature that comes in handy for pedestrian use — the map view automatically rotates according to where the handset is pointed to, so walking directions become that much more obvious.
The Nokia Maps application can either download maps interactively as you go over a data connection, or you can download all needed maps on a PC and load them to the handset via Nokia Map Loader (All India maps, for instance, is a 28MB download). In either case, turn-by-turn navigation and voice guidance comes at a monthly price, and the 6210 Navigator comes with a complimentary six-month worth licence so you are covered at least in the beginning.
As a GPS device, Nokia 6210 Navigator is doing its job with commendable accuracy — the sensitive GPS receiver will find you practically anywhere, and you will get pretty exact bearings even in crowded financial areas where tall buildings are a norm.
The in-car navigation with Nokia Maps offers turn-by-turn voice and visual guidance with extensive route-planning options and dynamic re-routing. Theres even a trip meter, for calculating trip distances, and the Favourites menu offers extensive options for storing places, routes and collections, along with the history of recent trips.
Sadly, the traffic information option wont work in India, but thats true for any GPS service. The only real downsides were the display size and the lack of autorotation in navigation mode, but for pedestrian purposes, the Nokia 6210 Navigator is an excellent choice.
Now while it is a decent handset with stand-out GPS features and speedy performance, its got a lot of things in common with newer mid-range and top-line Nokia phones, and doesnt differentiate itself enough. A lifetime subscription to turn-by-turn navigation via Nokia Maps would have made the difference, and truly provided a compelling reason to pick up this phone.
Networks: GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 with HSDPA support
Display: 2.4-in QVGA display, 320 x 240 pixel resolution, upto 16 million colours, ambient light sensor and orientation sensor
Operating system/User interface: Symbian OS 9.3, Series 60 3.2 user interface
Navigation: Integrated GPS, A-GPS OMA SUPL and 3GPP assistance, compass for pedestrian usage
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP stereo, USB (2.0 high speed) with micro-USB interface, 2.5 mm AV and 2.0 mm charger connectors, upto 8GB support for memory card
Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera, integrated (LED) flash, 2nd CIF camera for video calls
Memory: 64 MB SDRAM memory, upto 120MB internal user memory, microSD memory card slot
Battery: BL-5F, 950 mAh capacity
Stand-by/ Talk time: Upto 220hr/ 3hr 40min
Dimensions (W x H x D): 49mm x 103mm x 14.9 mm
Price: Rs 18,219
This is fun. The Spyball spy-cam is a remote controlled, Wi-Fi enabled, equipped with wheels for fast, smooth mobility and 360° turns. Perfect for keeping an eye, literally, on the kids, or for peeking into the kitchen before lunch, the Spyball captures video and still images and can broadcast them over Wi-Fi to any Wi-Fi-
enabled device including a PC, laptop, video game console or even a cellphone. Or if you prefer, it can be configured to feed images over the Internet to a browser near you. Mr and Mrs Smith, anyone?
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A juicier Apple
Sweet dreams are made of these. At MacWorld, Apple has unveiled the new flagship of the MacBook Pro line, a 17-
incher with the same unibody goodness that the 15-in MacBook Pro and the MacBook now enjoy. Its claiming to be the worlds thinnest and lightest 17-in laptop, and features a 1900 x 1200 pixels LED backlit display, and finally, an optional matte display. Controversially, Apple chose a
MacBook Air style non-removable battery, with claimed benefits of additional battery life — eight hours of juice on the integrated graphics, seven hours on a discrete graphics card.