LONDON, England – The first Nokia I used for any length of time was the ubiquitous 5110. However the first Nokia I had fresh out-of-the-box was the 3650. Thinking about the bright yellow fascia and retro-style circular keypad still brings a smile to my face. Of course, the real highlight was the MMC memory card slot, which let you expand the 4MB of internal memory… Subsequently I moved on to the more conventional Nokia 6670, which had a ‘proper’ camera and captured the first couple of hundred or so photos in my digital library. In the intervening years I’ve used many mobile phones and picking out three favourite Nokias has been extremely difficult.
The N95 (2006) is an obvious choice, but I just couldn’t help myself. Attending the launch event in New York I can remember being rendered almost speechless by the spec sheet. With its five megapixel camera, integrated GPS and dual-slider form factor it felt like convergence had finally come of age. It was my primary device for more than a year and relegated my standalone digital camera to the desk drawer. It is testament to its ground-breaking nature that even now, three years later, its basic specifications still measure up well to today’s high-end devices.
I was tempted to pick the 5800 as a favourite, partly to be a little controversial, but then I remembered an older Nokia touchscreen device. The Nokia 7710 (2004) was a big device and its user interface was a little quirky. However decent email, PIM, music and camera functionality made it a powerful tool, but what really stood out, thanks to its big screen, was the web browser. Its direct descendents are the touch enabled Maemo and Symbian Foundation devices of today. The Nokia 7710 was under-rated and under-appreciated – born too soon. Looking at its fundamentals it seems that, at least in part, the more things change the more they stay the same. Picking it as a favourite is one part hindsight and one part admiration.
I often carry around more than once device, especially when traveling. Over the last five years one of these has almost always been an Eseries device, so I knew something from the range had to be one of my picks, but which one? The E61 has a special place in my heart as my first Eseries, but design wise it didn’t quite feel finished. The E51, in a time when the majority of smartphones were still big beasts, was hard to beat for its pocketability and robustness. However, having to choose just one means I’m going to opt for the E72 (2009). I’m might be falling prey to the ‘latest is the greatest’ trap, but for me the E72 marries business practicality, great battery life and multimedia convergence into a beautiful and elegant design. We’ve only been together for a short while, but I think it’s going to a long and beautiful friendship!
* Rafe Blandford is the editor and guy behind All About Symbian, one of the world’s most-read and best respected independent sites dedicated to exploring and commentating on the world of Symbian-powered smartphones.