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Friday, August 14, 2009

Travelling with my Nokia 5800

Nokia 5800 Experience - July 2009

I recently travelled in northern Italy and took a Nokia 5800 with me to use as a cell phone with an Italian SIM card, a document “holder”, a GPS mapper and for internet browsing. Here are a few observations that may be of interest if you are considering travelling with one….


Continually amazed that all this is available in one compact unit to carry in your pocket / bag.

Bought a 15Euro, Vodafone-IT SIM card from a local shop in Abano Terme and the nice man installed it for me. (Could not purchase one at Marco Polo Airport as I hoped.) Included 5 Euro of calls. These seemed to disappear inexplicably quickly so I bought a recharge card. Instructions were in Italian so I went to the Vodafone store in Venice. They showed me that it was simply a matter of texting the code number to Vodafone to enable the recharge. Simple when you know how! The Italian SIM card was great for finding each other when we became separated…. As we did. Used up the residual calls by phoning the relatives in Australia while waiting for the flight in Departures. Trick was to dial 00 61 then the landline number (not forgetting the regional code) or mobile number without the leading zero. Other useful number is 404 to determine credit.

As a document viewer, I struggled with the small screen while in the car, but aside from that, the Adobe viewer and Quickoffice worked fine. In a hotel, one could connect to the TV to view an enlarged image. Always knew where my info was!

I did not pay for route guidance using the maps on the Nokia but I did download the free maps of Italy. These were great.
I used a Garmin GPS in the car but the Nokia maps were more finely resolved and easier to use to get an overview, especially when walking. Did have search issues with both systems when trying to locate addresses. Also on at least one occasion both systems told me we had reached a certain address… when it was in fact 500m up the road! So don’t accept the GPS without question!
The phone GPS helped locate our position and the position of our destinations when walking a number of times. Perhaps the most memorable was when we had to find the nearest railway station some 10 minutes away. Also could tell me how long it would take to walk to a destination along a specified route, which was handy.
Sometimes the 5800 was slow to locate the satellites but other times it was very quick and stayed locked on quite well. I avoided paying assisted GPS rates.

Internet browsing was handy although it had limitations. Free wireless internet access was very sporadic. A couple of places we stayed at gave free access with a password and others for a fee. Browser-wise, I could easily check email and Facebook but I had more difficulty accessing iBanking. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. At Dubai and Singapore airports it was very slow to access the Wi-Fi services. I thought I would be able to upload photos from the phone to Flickr or Facebook to document the trip, but I could not work out how to do this so this was disappointing. Nice to get weather updates when available. Generally, a PC was more reliable and gave more options so I would use this if it was available however, I did like having the ultra-portable option with me.

Overall, great travel accessory and half the price of an iphone.
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