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Top Nokia 6680 tips
(Also Nokia 6681 tips, Nokia 6682 tips)

This page is for anyone thinking of migrating to the Nokia 6680/81/82 with a view to using it as their main smartphone and entertainment device.

And see also my short ebook, Smartphones for Beginners.

Nokia 6680 with stereo headphones

The 6680 (and its sisters in the range) has lots to recommend it, from the very latest Symbian OS and Series 60 versions, to a fast processor, from twin cameras to stereo music output. See my full review.

  1. Open up your device
    By default, the 6680 and other modern Series 60 smartphones come 'locked down' in terms of the applications they'll accept, installing only those that have large companies behind them, able to afford the expensive 'signing' process. But there are hundreds of other great applications, many of them free, that are 'unsigned'. Don't worry about this (see my malware article to put your mind at rest). Just go to 'Tools | Manager | Options | Settings' and turn 'Software installation' "On". You can now install any compatible program without being blocked by spurious security warnings!
  2. Bluetooth keyboardTreat Yourself
    If you're in any way serious about using a Nokia 6680 (or any other Symbian smartphone) as a business and productivity tool, treat yourself to a Bluetooth keyboard. The ThinkOutside one works a treat with the built-in Bluetooth keyboard driver and will see you typing at up to 60 words per minute on your smartphone. Go on, you know you want to...
  3. The latest and best (1)
    Make sure you keep up to date with PC Suite. Yes, there's a version on the CD that came with your smartphone, but Nokia are fixing bugs and adding bits and pieces all the time. Most useful is the image archiving function and the way you can explore your smartphone's folders from within Windows Explorer. Very cool. Keep an eye on the PC Suite home page and stay current!
  4. The latest and best (2)
    Perhaps even more important, make sure you keep your device's firmware up to date (i.e. the operating system in flash memory). Previously this would have to mean a trip to your local Nokia Service centre and a wait, but you can now do this at home, yourself, as long as you're on broadband. See Nokia's Phone Software Update page.
  5. Music all day long
    With a suitably large memory card, why not double your music and make the switch from MP3 to Ogg Vorbis format music? 16 hours of stereo music on one 512MB DV RS-MMC (MMC Mobile) card? More details on getting the music on...
  6. Active StandbyThe ones you love the most (1)
    With the Nokia 6680, of course, Series 60 has acquired an 'active' standby 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 five shortcuts in the rather-hidden-away 'Tools | Settings | Phone | Standby mode | Active standby apps' (Phew, you really have to get to know the settings hierarchy on these devices!)
  7. Pump up the brightness
    Make sure you increase the screen from the default brightness to its maximum. Yes, there's a tiny hit on the time between battery recharges, but in the meantime you'll see some glorious colours. Go to 'Tools | Settings | Phone | Display | Brightness' and adjust away. Of course, for night-time use, your smartphone can double as an emergency torch or, if you're actually reading from the screen, you can use the same setting to turn the brightness right down to save being dazzled.
  8. Pump up the brightness (2)
    Another good way to increase the visibility of many screen elements in S60 is to tinker with the 'theme' being used. If, like me, you're not that fond of novelty backdrops that just detract from the clarity of the text and graphic elements from the programs themselves, then download and install this simple white theme (for more themes, if you are into novelties, see Symbian Themes).
  9. Ignore those 'Exit' buttons!
    Yes, the 6680 only has 10MB of execution memory (i.e. RAM), but you can still have most of your Series 60 apps running at the same time, which means no delays while applications are launched. The trick is to ignore those 'Exit' buttons. When you need to switch to a different application, press the Menu ('Applications') button and select it from there, leaving the current app running. Or use the tip below to switch between running programs directly.
    [Caveat: watch out for intensive apps like navigation programs, games or music players, which can eventually drain your battery if left running all the time. For these, you definitely should press Exit!]
  10. FExplorerMust-have managers
    The two utilities every computer user needs are a system task manager (i.e. what's running) and a file manager. The first is easy: just press and hold the 'Menu/Applications' button (for more control, grab DevMan). For a file manager, run, don't walk, and download FExplorer. Yes, there's a basic file manager built into the 6680, but FExplorer lets you get into all the nooks and crannies that Nokia would rather you didn't investigate!
  11. Steer clear of MP4, OK for DVD
    When preparing video clips for playback on the 6630, make sure to use the standard H.263 codec and not a variant of MPEG-4 (as used in some other parts of the Symbian world). If you're not sure, simply stick to using the free Nokia Multimedia Converter 2.0. Did you know that Series 60 on this smartphone includes a full-screen option for video? After starting a video clip playing, press '2'. How cool is that?
    And if your video source is a DVD rather than a home-brewed AVI or MPEG, use DVD-to-Mobile, whose Series 60 version is quite excellent.
  12. Share your photos
    Never mind the Kodak Online (or similar) services usually bundled with your smartphone, why not share your photos with others for free? Apart from GPRS transmission charges, you can moblog very easily from a Symbian OS smartphone. Read on for details.
  13. Keep it secret!
    Yes, there are dozens of Series 60 password/PIN/secret info databases, but I've yet to find one that satisfactorily syncs fully across to the desktop/PC (essential, both for initial input and for accessing your data should you lose or break the phone). My workaround is to keep confidential information in a text file in an encrypted ZIP archive, see here for details. On the 6630, this file opens happily using ZipMan and Notes (or YEdit, if your file is quite large).
  14. Speed launching applications
    On any Menu (applications) screen, you can press any of the numeric keys to instantly launch the application or shortcut in the corresponding position on the 3 by 3 icon grid displayed. For example, pressing '7' actions whatever's in the bottom left grid slot.
  15. Services in action on the mobile webThe mobile Web (1)
    The web browser built into Series 60 is very competent at handling simple HTML sites and you can keep your GPRS bill way down by restricting yourself to mobile-friendly pages. Start your browsing journey at the 3-Lib web guide and all should go well.
  16. The mobile Web (2)
    For maximum access to even full, bloated sites, give Opera Mini a whirl. It's a free proxy-based browser that strips out all the stuff you really don't need. It needs a lot of RAM though, so make sure you close other apps down first.
  17. The mobile Web (3)
    Nokia 6680 owners are entitled to a free copy of the excellent Opera Mobile web browser. If you want to tackle mid-bandwidth sites with maximum readability, make sure you grab your own copy.
  18. Imaging basics
    Within the Camera application, you can use navigator up and down to zoom in or out smoothly, although the zooming is all in software and it does an appalling job of the final capture. Just say no - don't use digital zoom! - you're better off leaving the camera zoomed out and worrying about cropping the image later on.
    Viewing images is a staple function of nearly all Series 60 smartphones, but make sure you know all the shortcuts. With a photo on-screen, press '5' to zoom in by 25% in increments. To zoom out, press '0' in the same way, or press and hold it to zoom out fully. You can rotate the way the photo is viewed anti-clockwise by pressing '1' or clockwise by pressing '3'. And, for impressing friends, '*' will switch to full-screen mode.
  19. Faster numbers
    Whether it's entering a PIN number into a security app or entering a phone number, it's right pain to have to multi-tap each number key to get past the assigned letters and onto the numbers. Much easier is to hold down a number key for half a second or so - you'll find the right number is entered directly.
  20. Customising the Menu screenThe 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.