I know that some of you think the Nokia 9210 is a big chunk that can stay at home for good - rather than bringing it around and showing it off to family and friends. It’s sad that we can’t have the 9210 anything but smaller. But if this was to be the case, I am sure that it will be a more impractical device than it is right now.
The Nokia 9210 Communicator isn’t just like another Nokia, or any other branded phone. In addition to the typical - but very simple - Nokia menu (there are only like 5 to 6 main menu items, instead of the usual 9 to 11), you will find the remainder of these functions on the Symbian OS-based part of the Communicator.
Remember, when you go through this review, don’t always just think of the size of this thing - but what it can really offer is the real question! :)
Again, the Nokia 9210 Communicator isn’t just another mobile phone - but making and receiving calls is just one of the many features offered. On the “mobile office” side of things, some of the applications offered under Symbian OS include Microsoft Office-like features - including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation viewer and email. The 9210 also supports calendar, contacts and to-do list data from applications such as Lotus Notes/Organiser and Microsoft Outlook/Schedule+.
The high quality, 4096-colour LCD screen and partially-full keyboard makes you want to use the phone more while it’s opened up! Although most of the phone’s functions and features can be accessed through the Symbian OS interface, you can still access simple phone functions from the standard phone interface on the outside.
Other mobile office features include a fax feature (send and receive), the ability to play video clips and listen to wave sound files, and the viewing of photos taken from a compatible digital camera. A speakerphone function is also available when required.
Some of the things that you would have done with the standard numeric keypad can similarly be completed through the Communicator’s interface instead. Examples include the composing/reading and sending/receiving of SMS messages, viewing call register lists, configure phone settings, and using WAP (of course you would want to, since it’s in full colour rather than just black and white!)
The toned silver casing of the 9210 gives off a greater sense of style over simple professionalism that came from its predecessor, the 9110. Remember when we had those black and dark phones (bricks or boxes, whatever you want to call them) back in the early mobile phone days? The 9210 is no exception when it comes to a required level of aesthetics without sacrificing functionality.
It is a fact that the 9210 is quite a big phone to hold in the average hand. Fortunately, it’s not painful to take and receive calls in the normal fashion - having the reverse side of the phone on your ear instead of the front, and be able to hold the phone with the least of difficulties. With the phone buttons on the other side, you may probably need some getting-use-to! :)
Having the outer LCD screen a tad larger would have been a good thing (looks kinda puny relative to the phone’s entirety). But I found the keys right under the screen to have those fine curves that enhanced the phone’s overall design.
The 9210 feels very solid in any situation - having it either opened or closed up. What I found most fascinating was the little clip that held the unit closed, which does a fantastic job! Opening and closing the unit didn’t require a lot of effort and with the unit closed it feels shut really tight.
As with keyboards on such devices, you will find problems trying to type properly compared with your efforts on a standard 101-keyboard on a PC or notebook. Although this is to be expected, the partially-full keyboard is laid out quite well considering the amount of space it can utilise. Again, it will take a bit of getting-use-to.
"The built-in speaker is used instead of the earpiece."
The Symbian OS graphical user interface (GUI) isn’t all that different to your average Windows one. With the biggest difference being no mouse to point and click, sufficient buttons are located on the keyboard and on the right-hand side of the screen for you to make necessary command and shortcut selections. Quick access buttons above the top row of numbers bring up frequently-used applications and/or groups. The top menu bar, usually hidden, can be activated by simply tapping on the ‘Menu’ key on the right of the space bar.
A 4-way navigational key is also available on the lower right-hand side of the phone for moving around menus and selecting items.
Something that I’ve found useful with the interface is that it has the ability to display dialogs while you are either doing something in an application or just simply have the phone opened up. Information such as a caller’s name after a missed call, the receipt of an SMS message, and so on. You can sometimes choose to further investigate the information from these dialogs, and come back to what you’re doing after that, or simply ignore them - all through simply tapping a few buttons.
On the outside of the 9210, accessing the phone’s menu from the small LCD screen is pretty much the same as to any other Nokia that you may have used.
Making and receiving calls
There are three ways you can conduct a phone conversation on the 9210 - through the earpiece whilst holding the phone, the headset method, or through the built-in speakerphone feature.
Talking with the phone in your hand is like holding a standard phone’s handset from home or the office. As the earpiece is located at the back of the phone, you may find the area a bit flat to actually rest on your ear comfortably. I would have preferred something more comfortable - but it’ll suffice.
Using the headset method is pretty standard - plugging in the adaptor at the base of the phone and talk as you would.
The speakerphone feature is activated by opening up the phone where the built-in speaker is used instead of the earpiece. Leaving it in front of you on a desk or table and talking normally yields pretty good call quality.
Calls made through the 9210 are logged similarly to other Nokia phones - but have the difference of being able to display a detailed list of calls dialled, missed and received. Incoming and outgoing SMS and faxes are also logged too.
One would usually do SMS messaging on the 9210 through the Communicator’s interface, where you at least have a QWERTY keyboard to type with. I would have also preferred it if they had implemented the T9 predictive input system as well when I chose to write messages through the outside numeric keypad, as I found it difficult to type on this keyboard because of its size.
Concatenated (long) SMS sending is supported on the 9210 - where a message of up to 1,500 characters can be sent (equivalent of around 9 to 10 standard SMS messages).
On a full charge and average use of the Communicator interface, I was able to get around 2-3 days out of the phone. If you decide to use the phone’s Symbian OS-based functions a bit more than making and/or receiving calls, you will need to charge your phone more frequently - as the colour LCD and its backlight is sure going to drain a bit of battery. Considering the level of functionality of the phone in an overall sense, being able to get 2-3 days’ worth of use can be said as good battery performance.