NB: The original device-specific tips pages have now
been replaced by the following general tips that apply (in varying
degrees) to all S60 and Symbian-powered phones.
- Firmware, firmware
It's vital to stay up to date in terms of firmware, i.e. the software
inside the smartphone. Use Nokia
Software Updater or check over the air with *#0000# and then 'Check
for updates'. Upgrading is usually well worth it, in terms of extra
features and fewer bugs.
- Preserving battery life
Even with the power improvements given by the use of 'demand paging',
battery life can be an issue on some devices, especially considering
the amount of high-tech goodies they've got to power. Here are a few
tips to last longer on your daily charge:
- Firstly, make damn sure you do charge the
phone each night, so at least it's starting the day on 'full'
- Unless you're in a strong 3G area, go into
Settings/Network and set your phone to 'GSM'. otherwise the circuits
will waste a lot of power looking for weak 3G signals
- The Camera is the single biggest power drain.
While waiting to take shots or shoot a video clip, don't keep the
camera with a 'live' viewfinder - better to close it down and then open
it again just before you actually need to take the shot/clip. And if
you're going to an event where you know you'll be using the
camera/camcorder a lot, consider taking along a spare battery
or portable charger
- Keep the standby screen WLAN scanning off, you
can always scan manually if needed, or turn it back on
- Watch what applications you leave running in the
background - some games and Java applications are especially processor
hungry, even when paused! If things are chugging along in the
background, you'll know because the device will start to get quite warm
to the touch!
- When using the phone as a navigator in car, with
display and GPS both active, do yourself a favour and buy a $10 12V
adapter/charger, so that instead of draining the battery at a rate of
knots you're actually gaining extra charge.
- Camcorder tips
The excellent video capture is one of the unique selling points of most
S60 and Symbian phones, so make sure you make the most of it.
- Make sure you use a top-spec, high performance
microSD card. At 20MB/min you're going to need it. A SanDisk Ultra II
is ideal. Don't buy a cheap copy off eBay, get
one from a genuine
- Don't use digital zoom - you're simply throwing
away quality. If you need to get closer to your subject then get
closer! (Unless you have a Nokia N86 or N8, both of which have
intelligent full-sensor digital zoom, up to 3x!)
- Don't try and film too close to the phone, as
there's no auto-focus in video mode. Stick to subjects more than a
- As with still photos, film only in good light;
you'll be very disappointed by anything shot in dim conditions.
- Don't pan around a scene too fast. Despite the
spec of shooting at 30fps, the phone's video will appear slightly jerky.
- The ones you love the most
With S60, there's the 'active' standby/home screen. Don't just take the
shortcuts given, I'm sure you have ideas of your own as to your most
used applications. You can change any of the shortcuts in the
rather-hidden-away 'Tools | Settings | General | Personalisation |
Standby mode | Active standby apps' (Phew, you really have to get to
know the settings hierarchy on these devices!)
- Calendar shortcuts
In Calendar, '#' moves you immediately to the current day, while '*'
toggles between the different views. And if you need to start a new
'meeting' entry at any point, just start entering text...
- The latest and best (1)
Make sure you keep up to date with PC/Ovi Suite. Yes, there's a version
the CD that came with your smartphone, but Nokia are fixing bugs and
adding bits and pieces all the time. Most useful is the way you can
explore your smartphone's folders (including your text Inbox) from
within Windows Explorer. Very cool. Keep an eye on the PC Suite home page
and stay current!
- Pump up the brightness
Consider increasing the screen from the default brightness to its
maximum. Yes, there's a hit on the time between battery recharges, but
in the meantime you'll see some glorious colours. Go to 'Tools |
Settings | General | Personalisation | Display | Light sensor' and
adjust away. At night-time, if you're actually reading from the screen,
you can use the same setting to turn the brightness right down to save
- Hangup = Exit
Don't keep switching back to the Standby screen using the Hangup
button. This was OK on old versions of S60/Symbian, but in almost every
instance it closes the current application on the modern phone - in
it acts as 'Exit'. If you want to keep the current program running in
the background, press Menu/Apps instead, twice if you want to get to
- What's running?
The one utility every computer user needs is a system task manager
(i.e. what's running). Luckily, the basics are built-in. Just press and
hold the 'Menu/Applications' button. For more control, grab the trial
version of Best TaskMan.
- The ones you love the most (2)
If you get fed up scrolling down the Menu screen lookng for your
favourite applications again, why not shuffle things round so
that the apps you use the most are clustered right at the top?
Highlight an icon and use 'Move', and you'll find you can re-insert it
anywhere in the list. If you have lots of favourites, make the most of
the folder system (e.g. 'Games') and then put these folders near the
top of the list, for speedy access.
- Quicker removal
In the previous tip, you'll have noticed that App Mgr is a very slow
application - don't use it to remove applications from your device. A
much quicker way is simply to highlight the program you want to zap and
press the 'C' key. Cool, eh?