My new baby: the Nokia E5

Nokia E5 mobile phone

Worth the wait: the Nokia E5


****UPDATE: I WROTE THIS SHORTLY AFTER I’D PURCHASED THE NOKIA E5. IT TURNED OUT TO BE A PIECE OF CRAP AND STOPPED WORKING COMPLETELY A COUPLE OF MONTHS AFTER I BOUGHT IT. I ABSOLUTELY DO *NOT* RECOMMEND THIS PHONE TO ANYONE. I HAVE NOW HAD A SAMSUNG GALAXY MINI FOR MONTHS AND IT TRULY IS A GOOD PHONE***

Late last year I decided it was time to move on from my beloved Nokia E63 – the phone I’ve written about on this site more than once – and trade up to something faster and something with a bit more “oomph.” The old E63 was beginning to slow down and the lack of HSDPA internet access was beginning to drive me nuts. Not even a complete firmware update could resurrect the springy performance I first enjoyed when I got the E63 way back in 2009.

My phone company, 3 Mobile, had promised, on their blog, that they would be releasing the Nokia E5 towards the end of 2010 and I was considering paying out the remainder of my contract and upgrading. Well, talk about “blink and you missed it”, the Nokia E5 was available for five days and then 3 stopped selling it. Bizarre. Of course there are many bizarre things happening with 3 Mobile since they were taken over by Vodaphone  – or Vodafail as it has become known in Australia.

3 Mobile is winding down and eventually – like all the other 3 customers – I’ll be pushed off and forced to go on Vodafone’s network. A prospect I am not looking forward to. Telstra’s plans are still too expensive for me to seriously consider so basically I am staying with 3 until (a) I get kicked off or (b) the service becomes so bad it is unusable. I’ve been relatively happy with 3 over the last 5 years and I’ve become used to their “My 3” and “Email on 3” services. But I didn’t want to be stuck with my trusty Nokia E63 forever.

The range of handsets that 3 now offers is drastically reduced as they wind down. And many of them simply show as “out of stock.” In fact, most of them are out of stock/sold out. Nothing they had really yanked my chain. I’m not a “touchscreen” kind of guy – I need a keyboard. I spent a couple of hours on Yoda’s Samsung Jet last night and it drove me nuts. More than ever, I’m convinced I’ll always be more comfortable with a keyboard.

I’m also very comfortable with Nokia’s Symbian operating system. That’s not a fashionable thing to say – every review of Nokia phones slags off the Symbian system. It’s almost a pathological hatred by the techno media. I feel the opposite – yes, maybe it could be a bit slicker but generally it does what I want and I like it. There’s also Nokia email to consider – it allows you to have up to 10 email accounts pushed to your device. Email on 3 does a similar job but they’re not adapting that for new handsets now…thanks to the awful Vodafail takeover.

I never really wanted a “smart phone” until the Nokia E63 took my fancy. And once I got used to the idea of being able to do email, web browsing and twitter on a mobile phone, I realised I was a Nokia boy. Which means my options were really quite limited. I sound like an advert for Nokia but I’m just not that excited by Android and positively loathe Apple’s iFag,…er, I mean, iPhone.

So I was really pissed off when the E5 disappeared without a trace from 3. Flash forward 5 months and, out of the blue, a web search revealed the E5 was back on 3 and being marketed as their “new phone.” This was after advising that they wouldn’t be bringing any new handsets to 3. And not only was it available on 3, I could get it as a second handset for a small monthly payment. It took me about 2 seconds to make up my mind and last Friday I popped down to the Vodafail store and signed up for a shiny new Nokia E5…on 3 (NOT Vodafail).

I spent half the weekend setting it up and playing with it. Yoda’s comment was “why don’t you just kiss it!” My verdict? I love it!

It’s sleek and sexy with a very comfortable keyboard and much faster than the E63. Surfing the web, downloading applications, jumping through the menus – all much faster. The interface improvements (this is a later version of Symbian S60) are really useful. The screen is fine – I was worried because it is nowhere near the E63 in terms of screen quality – but I’ve barely noticed the difference in day-to-day use.

Loved the ability to bluetooth over my contacts, sms’s and calendar bits and pieces from the E63. It went very smoothly. Terrific not having to load all that guff into the phone. I’ve downloaded a few things from the Ovi Store like the Opera Mini browser, Snaptu for twitter etc. All went very smoothly and installed without a problem. The phone comes pre-loaded with Nokia maps but I’ve not had the need to use it yet.

Battery life is not as good as the E63 – both because it has a lesser capacity battery I believe and, for me, because I think Nokia Email is chewing up the juice with all that push email. Unfortunately – and frustratingly – 3 are not going to make the E5 compatible with Email on 3. I found Email on 3 a really good application/service with the E63 and it didn’t seem to eat up the battery power. Still, this isn’t a big consideration – it isn’t as if the Nokia E5 is like an iPhone or HTC Desire where you have to recharge every day.

And finally, of course, the E5 makes and receives telephone calls! Amazing! But yeah, the phone side of things is rock solid – as you’d expect from Nokia. It has the torch feature too – I can’t believe how much I came to rely on that bloody torch thing with the E63! Hold down the space bar and voila! – your phone becomes a pretty good torch.

Oops, one negative I almost forgot about….the camera is shit. Absolutely bollocks. 5 megapixels which sounds impressive but, in reality, it’s not. Quality of the pics actually seems a little worse than the 2 megapixel E63. Not a deal breaker for me as I use a “real” camera and just use the mobile for odd shots here and there. But if you need a fab camera as part of your mobile phone experience, you won’t be happy with the E5.

So here I am with a brand new E5- after 5 months frustrating wait – and all is well. If money was no object, I might have gone with the swish new E7 – but with a retail price close to $1000, that was never going to happen!

Nokia E5 box contents

Inside the Nokia E5's blue box

The Nokia E5 is a great phone – and if you don’t believe me, listen to this guy – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Nokia e63 – a year later. And what’s next?

Nokia e63

Nokia e63...glorious red!

I’ve had my dream phone – the Nokia e63 – for 1 year and 4 months. Almost to the day. I lusted after the phone for about 6 months prior that. It is strange to think that I’m now ready to move on to the next big thing. Whatever that may be. (Probably the Nokia e5 for me) 

When I signed up for the e63 I had no intention of using even half the features and capabilities of the phone. I was happy with making and receiving calls and text messages along with being able to view my various email accounts. I still do all that and the phone still does it well. The 3 Mobile push email program is quite flaky from time to time but that’s not the e63’s fault.

Over the last year, the things that I want to use the phone for have greatly expanded. I now have Snaptu installed so I can send and read Twitter entries. I’ve downloaded bus timetable PDFs which I frequently refer to. I now surf the web on the e63 and read news stories, look up the weather etc. etc. I’ve been using the built in camera to take photos including products and prices at shops so that I can refer back to them. I hadn’t imagined doing all this stuff back in mid-2009 when I excitedly unboxed my e63.

I suppose you could say that I’ve grown into the phone’s capabilities and then realised that I’ve begun to outgrow them. Make no mistake, the Nokia e63 is still a fabulous smart phone – but I’ve begun to brush up against some of its limitations.

Chief amongst the limitations that are frustrating me is the lack of HSDPA. I had imagined this might have been short for Homo Sexual Direct Penis Access but no, it actually stands for High Speed Downlink Packet Access. Basically, it makes the internet access faster than regular 3G. The e63 doesn’t have it and I knew that when I signed up for the phone. It didn’t bother me because I wasn’t interested in using it for web surfing back then. However, times change!

3 Mobile’s mobile broadband connection and speed is erratic at the best of times – the lack of HSDPA in my e63 just magnifies the slowness from time to time. I’m ready for a phone that has HSDPA and can whoosh me around the word wide web without delay! The e63’s inbuilt web browser is also kind of clunky. I get a bit frustrated with it – I know I could download Opera (or is that Oprah?) and install it for free. But I haven’t bothered.

Next up is a slowness I’ve noticed in the responsiveness of particular menu functions. Sometimes you’ll select something and there’ll be a few seconds before the phone responds. As a now frequent user of PDFs on the phone, the slowness of getting into a PDF is driving me nuts. The phone also finds it difficult to draw and redraw PDFs (timetables being a perfect example) with any real speed. Zooming in also takes what seems like an eternity (but which, in reality, is probably only a few seconds).

While I’d never expect a phone like this to be a primary camera – I have my own digital camera – it would be nice if the e63’s camera was a little bit better in terms of picture quality. I guess my expectations of the phone’s camera quality have actually changed and increased and I now find it another limitation instead of being a benefit.

Those are the main areas where I’m a little annoyed with the e63 but they should in no way be taken as a ‘don’t buy this phone’ diatribe. Quite the contrary, I love this phone – it was the phone I always wanted, I got it and I’ve made really good use of it. Things like call quality and the keyboard are just fantastic. For people who – like me a year or so ago – want a smart phone but don’t want to pay a fortune, the Nokia e63 is a stunner. Not everyone needs to have the latest fandangled uber-high specced amoled-shmamoled 42″ screen mobile monstrosity. Lots of people just want a good, reliable, attractive phone with a real keyboard that can do a smart functions. The e63 is that phone. And some of the prices I’ve seen for the e63 lately – like $149 on pre-paid – well, it’s virtually a give away!

But here I am in mid-October 2010 and I’m ready to move on up and move on out (as M People might have once sung!) What’s next for me? Now that I’m finally ready to break off my love affair with the Nokia e63, who should I start dating now?

Nokia e5

Nokia e5 - is it the next big thing?

The obvious answer seems to be the Nokia e5. It’s kinda like the e63 but faster, smarter and slicker. Plus it is reasonably priced. Not all of us can afford to either stump up $800+ for a mobile phone or get locked in to a $80 a month contract for 2 years just to have the latest iFag or Andwoid megatronic devices. Some of us are on a tight budget but would still like to have a phone that’s a bit sexy, a bit speedy and that still has a real keyboard.

The only trouble with the Nokia e5 is that it may be a little TOO much like the e63. While the e5 does have some new and nifty features, it is possibly not as an ambitious upgrade from Nokia as I would have liked. The screen size, for example, is exactly the same as the e63 and apparently the screen resolution is a downgrade compared to the e71 (the e63’s big brother). To be fair, Nokia have priced the e5 at a very competitive level so maybe the lack of “wow!” features is a trade off for the price point. Oh, and you can’t get it in bright red or deep blue like the e63 so that’s a downer. The e5’s colour schemes – apart from basic black – are all quite hideous.

I’ve got a lot of thinking and research to do over the coming weeks. I want a new mobile phone and I’m not yet locked into any particular brand or model. I do have an affection for Nokia and I guess some brand loyalty because of my satisfaction with the e63. I would prefer a phone with a keyboard – touch screens really annoy me. Whenever I see someone fingering, caressing, stroking, pinching or tweaking the screen of their iFag, part of me just wants to scream out “WANKER!!!” 😉

To Nokia e5 or not….that is the question!

Pictures from a mobile phone

All images can be clicked on to see the full sized versions.

Yoda & IgglePiggle

About 5 years too late

They sell cuddly toys and gifts.

I may have added a line to this poster in the toilet

Need some good advice?

Matthew Mitcham is not circumcised

Matthew Mitcham is not circumcised

Nope, I'm not cut - satisfied now?

The things people search for on the internet……….

I’ve been having a look at the statistics for visitors to thebestjudge.com recently and have noticed some really interesting ways people find this site. The things people type into search engines never fail to bemuse me. Still, I suppose I’ve done the same thing so I shouldn’t be that surprised.

I’ve decided to answer some of the questions / search terms that frequently crop up and that somehow end up landing on http://www.thebestjudge.com.

First up – Matthew Mitcham. Australian Olympic Diver, prominent and fabulous out and proud Gay man. No, he is not circumcised. Yes, disappointing of course but, well, modern life in Australia and all that. Apparently his partner Lachlan is very, very well endowed.

That’s as much as I know and I hope that clears it up for all you curious Matt Mitcham fans.

Tom & Alex from TripleJ Breakfast

Tom & Alex from TripleJ's Breakfast Show

On a completely irrelevant side note…and this could just be a ruse to mention them again..and also an excuse to put a picture up of them… Australian radio network TripleJ’s breakfast DJs, Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson, are both uncircumcised.

Interestingly, Alex’s father made sure Alex knew about cleaning underneath his foreskin from a very early age. Good for Alex’s dad. Wish more Australian parents did the same.

Most Australian guys born in the last 30 years are uncut – prior to that the opposite was true.

Okay, what’s next on the list??

Well, we’re still on everyone’s favourite search term – circumcision. People want to know if they are, can they get it done, how to tell if someone else is  etc. etc. (Note to friends: See, it’s not just me!)

How do you know if you’re circumcised
Well, circumcision is one of my “special topics”as I’m sure my friends would tell you. To answer this question I have included a composite photograph showing an uncut penis on the left and a cut one on the right. I think it makes it pretty clear. You can click on the photo to see a bigger version of it.

Uncut penis on the left, cut penis on the right

Uncircumcised penis on the left, circumcised penis on the right

As far as the uncut/uncircumcised penis is concerned, please note that the skin that partially covers the head – the foreskin – can, in many cases, cover the complete head of the penis. The foreskin should retract when the penis becomes erect. If you are uncircumcised and you are having trouble or pain with the foreskin – perhaps it doesn’t retract at all etc. – you need to see your doctor. Yes it might be a little embarrassing but you don’t need to live with the problem and there are lots of ways your doctor can fix it.

Can I get circumcised? aka Can I get circumcised even though I’m older/an adult?
Yes you can. Some doctors specialise in it. You’ll possibly need to spend a bit of time wading through all the anti-circumcision hysteria – both on the internet and from much of the medicial profession. But a bit of research should help you find a sympathetic doctor. If your local doctor says no, then ask him to refer you to another doctor who will help you.

If you want to avoid all the psycho-anti-circ lobby and get some unbiased, clear information about circumcision, go to this link http://www.circlist.com/circhome.html which is a terrific resource.

How to tell if a guy is circumcised (at a bar for example)?
You can’t of course. Many American guys are, nearly all Jewish guys are, quite a few Muslim guys are….but there’s no definite way to tell upfront. You actually have to ask! Embarrassing, I know but that’s life all over, isn’t it?

Nokia E63 Mobile Phone

Nokia E63 Mobile Phone - Red

Nokia E63 Battery Life
Well, I’ve already done a few posts about my beloved Nokia E63 but in short….

The battery life is terrific. Yes, it does reduce after about 6 months of continual use but it is still good compared to many other phones. I’m still getting a few days between recharges even though I’m using it also for emails, twittering and taking photos here and there.

After the first few charges – where I let the battery completely drain and then fully charged it – I normally let it get down to about two bars before charging. If you’re on two bars then you actually still have quite a bit of juice left so there’s no need to panic.

The good thing also is that the battery included is a common Nokia battery and, if necessary, it’s pretty easy to buy a replacement one if you really, really need to.

Samsung 32lb350
Nope, there’s not a lot of English language information about this Samsung 32″/81cm LCD television on the internet. A few weeks ago I helped pick out this one for a friend who needed to buy a new TV quickly.

What I can tell you is this: it was easy to set up apart from attaching the stand (which isn’t mentioned until later in the book of instructions). The quality of the picture and sound is very good and my friend is extremely happy with it and would recommend it. The price was $699 as it is a Series 3 TV and has been superceded by Series 4, 5, 6 etc. You might even getter a better price if you can negotiate with someone who isn’t an arsehole like the guy who served me at Bing Lee Marrickville!

Saddle Bar Logo

The Saddle Bar, upstairs from the Midnight Shift

The Saddle Bar
This is a big one…lots of searches for this. The Saddle Bar being the new “men’s bar” upstairs at the Midnight Shift. I wrote a positive review because I really liked it as did my friend James. One person who has commented on this site has had a bad experience which he is having difficulty letting go of.

I think the Saddle Bar is a great addition to the Sydney Gay scene and I believe the management is good and positive and that the staff themselves are terrific. This, of course, is being written in January 2010 – if you’re reading this in 6 months time the story could be different.

The Midnight Shift have a website which covers both their downstairs bar and the Saddle Bar – but the information on the Saddle Bar is pretty sketchy – hopefully they’ll update it soon.

Right now I believe the Saddle Bar is a good place to be – it is a low-attitude, well run establishment and it’s the only one of its kind in Sydney.

So, there you go! (As Molly Meldrum would say)

And that’s the end of this little segment – I might delve into more unusual bestjudge.com search terms at a later point in time.