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Top Sendo X power user tips
(updated April 2005)

"Top Sendo X power user tips" is for anyone thinking of migrating to the Sendo X with a view to using it as their main communicator and entertainment device.

Sendo X

At first glance, the Sendo X has an awful lot going for it:

  • Tiny form factor, cheap to buy (£200 SIM-free, cheaper second-hand) and tough as nuts (no delicate touch-screen needed)
  • Very good GraphiX/SoniX processors, handling screen display and stereo music playback, with a built-in MP3 music player, and standard 2.5mm headphone/audio socket
  • Full Symbian OS multi-tasking, works even better than UIQ smartphones in this respect, as apps stay put, even when in the background
  • Very good connectivity, with infrared, Bluetooth and GPRS
  • Camera with 4x digital zoom (not as useful as it sounds) and a flash (yep, you heard right)
  • Built-in Now! screen, bringing lots of info together and providing a mini-desktop, plus DocView and Opera in ROM
  • User-installable firmware upgrades. They work brilliantly over your standard USB serial cable and don't even wipe any of your settings or files
  • Oodles (32MB) of internal flash memory
  • Very bright colour display (see tip below)
  • Hot-swappable expansion card (no rebooting), and every variety of both SD and MMC are accepted

On the minus side:

Specific to the Sendo X:

  • Being based on Symbian OS 6 and Series 60 version 1.x, it's not compatible with a number of well known commercial Series 60 applications, e.g. Quickoffice Premier. Given the sheer number of 1.x devices (including the upcoming Sendo X2), if you have an interest in one of these 'picky' programs, please get in touch with the developer and complain - after all, it's their own market they're restricting!

In addition, as with all Series 60-based devices:

  • The screen's pretty small, just 176 by 208 pixels, which restricts what can be done. (Actually, it's 220 pixels for the X, but the top 12 are for a special status strip)
  • The built-in applications are cut-down, compared to equivalents on Symbian UIQ or Palm OS. And there are no full Office editing applications.
  • With no touch-screen, input is limited to traditional phone keypad input, T9 on the same keys or via a plug-in Bluetooth wireless keyboard (again, see tips below)

Assuming you decide to go ahead and make the Sendo X your main smartphone, the following power user tips may help:

  1. The latest and greatest
    Make absolutely sure you download and install the latest firmware (i.e. the Operating System and applications in flash ROM) from SendoSmartphones. The update system is easy to use and you really need the latest version of the OS if you want to avoid crashes and problems.
  2. BrightnessPump up the brightness!
    I've lost count of the number of reviews of the Sendo X I've seen complaining about the fairly dim screen. Guys... Sendo turn the backlight down by default to save battery life! You can easily crank it up to the maximum using the (admittedly fairly well hidden) 'Profiles | Personalise | General | Back Light' setting - change it to 'Ultra Bright'!
  3. Treat Yourself
    If you're in any way serious about using a Sendo X (or any other Symbian smartphone) as a business and productivity tool, treat yourself to a Bluetooth keyboard. The ThinkOutside one works a treat and will see you typing at up to 60 words per minute on your Sendo X. Go on, you know you want to... There's a great 'official' Sendo plug-in keyboard, but this won't work with other smartphones in future... your call.
  4. Think large
    Buy the biggest SD or MMC card you can afford, as always, to fit on a reasonable supply of music, apps and video clips. If possible, format these on the Sendo X itself ('Extras | Memory', and note that formatting takes a while!), to avoid problems. The built-in player works well with MP3 files at 128kbps, so you can fit 8 hours of CD-quality music on a cheap 512MB card. See the tip on OggPlay below if you want to get 16 hours instead... 8-)
  5. OggPlayDouble the music
    Why not double the amount of music you take with you? If you store music files in the open source Ogg Vorbis format (.ogg), you'll find that they stay CD quality even at 64kbps, equating to 16 hours of music on a 512MB card. Normally you'd have to resign yourself to mono playback though, but the Sendo X's audio processor means that music files are handled in stereo!
    See the links and tips in Music on the P800 and P900 for how to do this (yes, I know the page talks about UIQ phones, but the idea's identical)
    (You'll need v1.0.7 of OggPlay if you've got the latest X firmware)
  6. Notes and look-ups
    What about reference material? You can't sync Outlook notes over to any Series 80 or Series 60 device, so what's the best approach? Mobipocket Reader is one good solution, being free and supporting both compressed hypertext files (which you can build yourself from Word, text or HTML sources) and plain text. For example, my Trivopaedia works well in this format.
  7. 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.
  8. Keep it secret!
    For secret stuff, you can use ZipMan to incorporate an encrypted document system that's also compatible with your desktop PC. For example, keep that confidential spreadsheet or Word file of passwords safely hidden from prying eyes. Simply put your secret file(s) in an encrypted ZIP file ('compressed folder' in Windows XP speak) and then keep this in your Messaging Inbox on the 'X'. Open it up when needed, to read its contents!
  9. DocViewOutside In
    Quickoffice Premier won't work on the Sendo X because it's version of Series 60 is too 'old', but don't miss the bundled program DocView, a licensed port of Quick View Plus, which does a fair job of viewing (but not editing - sorry!) any Office style document you care to throw at it. It's not fast and it's not that pretty, but it will probably do the job.
  10. The poor man's word processor
    Perhaps you need to enter lots of text, jotting down ideas or perhaps (with the aid of a plug-in or Bluetooth keyboard)? You can't use Quickoffice Premier because it's apparently not compatible with Series 60 v1.x smartphones 8-(. Don't despair though, see my article on using the poor man's word processor.
  11. Satellite navigation? Oh yes!
    It's true that the Sendo X can't run the latest TomTom GPS navigation software. And it doesn't seem to like Wayfinder much. But it works just fine with Route 66's software, so chalk one more sale up for them!
  12. Ignore those 'Exit' buttons!
    Yes, the Sendo X only has 6MB of RAM available to you, the user, 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]
  13. FileExplorerMust-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 'Applications' button (for more control, grab DevMan) and then scroll up and down. For a file manager, run, don't walk, and download FExplorer.
  14. Imaging basics
    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'.
  15. 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. (This only works for the first nine icons in any Menu screen)
  16. 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.
  17. OperaThe mobile Web
    It's great having Opera built-in, but the GPRS data tariff you're on may restrict what you access. So, why not stick to mobile-friendly pages? Start your browsing journey at the 3-Lib web guide and all should go well.
  18. Steer clear of MP4, OK for DVD
    When preparing video clips for playback on the Sendo X, 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. 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.
  19. The ones you love the most
    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.
    Or, of course, use the Now! screen's History and Favourites panes...
  20. When is an X not an X?
    In web forms etc, you'll not always see 'Sendo X' listed. In such cases, try 'Nokia 3650', whose underlying OS is of the same vintage. This has worked well for me.
  21. Oh yes...
    and there are of course lots of good, free Series 60 games and applications available for download, just install them to a corner of your expansion card in the usual Symbian way. Have fun!