// Internet Duct Tape

Nokia 6682 Review Part 3 of 5: Contacts, Camera, Headset

Posted in Gadgets, Technology by engtech on August 07, 2006

This is part three of a series. I will be talking about

  • text entry,
  • editing contacts,
  • synchronizing contacts,
  • using the camera for photos and video
          • (including sample photos and videos),
  • image quality,
  • and connecting a Bluetooth headset.

 

Text Entry

There has been a major change to the text input feature that makes it less functional for North American users (but more functional for non-English / international). On my older Nokia phone there was a special menu for entering an accent / non-alphanumeric characters. It reserved the 2-9 keys for at most 3-4 alphabetical characters and the digit. If you hit the key too many times you only had to press it at most four more times to get the correct letter/digit.

With my Nokia 6682 the number 2 key is mapped to 12 characters instead of 4. You will have to press the same key 13 times to fix a correction. All of the text input keys are like that now. It is possibly better for anyone who is inputting accented text, but horrible if you will only be using English.

If there is a setting to turn this off, I haven’t found it yet.

 

Editing Contacts

Editing your contacts is the most essential feature on a cell phone, especially if you are importing your contacts via SIM card from an older phone. The options menu when viewing a contact is overwhelming:

  1. Open
  2. Call
  3. Create Message (Text or Multimedia)
  4. New contact
  5. Open conversation
  6. Edit
  7. Delete
  8. Duplicate
  9. Add to groups (If you have groups defined)
  10. Belongs to groups
  11. Mark/unmark (for global actions affecting multi-contacts)
  12. Copy (to SIM directory, to memory card, from memory card)
  13. SIM Contacts
  14. Send (to another person via text message, multimedia, or Bluetooth)
  15. Contacts info (memory, voice tags)
  16. Settings (Last name first or First name first)
  17. Help
  18. Exit

18 menu items! I recommend editing your contacts using the PC Suite instead.

Editing on the computer will bring up a Windows Explorer-like interface where you can sort by name, mobile number, phone number, or email address. We changed to 9 digit dialing in my area and I had to add the area code prefix to a lot of numbers, so sorting by numbers was very useful. It is also good for finding duplicates that will prevent your caller ID feature from working properly. Having the +1 in front of the number has no impact on your caller ID feature.

Each contact can have extra details associated with it. I strongly recommend adding thumbnails for your contacts. I recommend pre-crop the images before adding thumbnails because the Contacts Editor does not have image cropping.

It is also very useful to create groups for your most often called contacts, family members, work related contacts, etc. Unfortunately, you will have to use the phone to create/edit groups and add contacts to groups since the PC Suite is missing any options for that feature.

Major annoyance: after any change to contacts it prompts you if you “Do you want to update your contacts to the phone now?” EVERY TIME. There is no setting to disable this. I found the Contact Editor user interface lacking a lot of polish. They could have made the assumption to read in the phone contacts when opening the PC Suite Contacts Editor and then write them out when closing the program. Instead, they continually prompt the user for every little thing. Not user friendly at all and it makes batch editing much more of a hassle than it needs to be.

I am very disappointed that there is not an option for using the PC Suite to synchronize your contacts to an “open” format such as CSV/XML. It can only synchronize between Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Lotus Notes or Lotus Organizer.

What is doubly damning is that the Nokia 6682 supports the open SyncML standard. If you don’t use the PC as an intermediary you are able to directly sync to most contact/calendar applications over the wireless provider’s network using SyncML.

This is the best option to use for synchronization, and I would whole-heartedly go after it if it wasn’t for Rogers’ insane pricing schemes. They charge $15 CDN for 1.5 MB a month. That’s correct, $15 for the equivalent to a floppy disk’s worth of data. Cingular in the US is offering $5 US for 5 MB a month and people still think it is high. A grad student at the University of Syracuse did an analysis and he would use around 1 MB a month synching with Google Calendar.

Rogers: It’s 2006. I’m not going to spend $15/month just to synchronize my calendar application with my phone.

Synching alternative?

It may be possible to run your own SyncML server on your PC and have your phone sync to the PC using Bluetooth.

  • Funambol / Sync4j is an open sourced certified SyncML server.
  • Funambol / Sync4j has plugins for synchronizing Mozilla applications and Evolution.
  • There are also SyncML servers written for Perl and PHP with MySQL.

There are a couple of “free” SyncML servers that will sync your phone over the internet. ScheduleWorld looks really good with their Google-esque site design.

Mac users have the nice iSync application for synching with their phone.

UPDATE 2006/09/09: ScheduleWorld works quite nicely. See my guide here.

 

Adding Voice Commands / Setting 1 Touch Dial

The voice button on the upper left side of the phone maps voice tags/commands to call specific contacts or run a Nokia application.

To add a voice command to a contact:

Contacts >> [Select contact] >> Options >> Open >> Options >> Add voice tag

To add a voice command for an application:

Menu >> Tools >> Voice com. >> Options >> New application >> [Select app]

It is limited only to running the default Nokia applications that come with the phone. It only opens the application, you can not set up a command to “take a picture now”.

To activate a voice command, press the voice button and wait for the prompt to speak the command.

Voice commands are neat, but it is much more efficient to use 1-Touch Dial for your most commonly dialed numbers.

Menu >> Tools >> 1-Touch >> [Select Number] >> Assign >> [Select contact] >> [Select detail]

Number 1 will always be set to your voice mail. You can change your voice mail number at:

Menu >> Tools >> Voice mail >> Options >> Change number

 

Camera Phone Cover

The camera phone cover is starting to feel a little loose after only a week. This was a big problem with my Olympus Stylus 300 digital camera. The good news is you can full replace the phone casing for around $20.

 

Camera – Photos

The Nokia 6682 takes 1.3 mega-pixel photos. This is still too small to print. You need around 3 mega-pixels to do a 4×6 print quality photograph. It is foolish to expect a smart-phone to be able to replace a dedicated digital camera/video camera/MP3 player. What it is good for is the convenience of having a reduced functionality camera / music player / email / web/ IM / games always with you.

The camera application opens as soon as the cover is slid back, regardless of if you are running another application. Good. If you are going to be doing any kind of low-light photography, you’ll have to turn the brightness levels on the phone to maximum to be able to see the display.

Tools >> Settings >> Phone >> Display >> Brightness

Flash can be on/off/automatic. The night mode is ESSENTIAL to use for any low-light photos. The phone’s LED flash has a lot of trouble in non-daylight. I found that photos of friends in low lighting (bars, house parties) looked grainy and washed out. Or maybe my friends are all vampires.

There is a 10/20/30 second self-timer. It doesn’t have presets for different lighting conditions / types of photos, but it does have manual sliders for changing brightness, contrast, white balance, and color tone. You too can have ultra contrast MySpace photos.

There is a sequence drive mode that will take 6 photos in a row. The number of sequenced photos isn’t configurable. I ran into issues taking photos at night of an intense rain storm (one of those ones where you step in a puddle and lose your shoe). The size of each image was around 600kb (the max size for 1.3 MP) and the phone ran out of memory while it was trying to save the photos.

I was pretty surprised at this because the phone memory had 6 MB free, my MMC had 250 MB free and there wasn’t any applications running other than the camera. The memory error prevented the photos from being saved. Too bad there isn’t a workaround by changing the number of sequenced photos to a lower number.

There are hotkeys for toggling the various camera settings:

  • 1 – night mode
  • 4 – drive/sequence mode
  • 3 – brightness
  • 6 – contrast

Unfortunately, there isn’t a hotkey for toggling the flash settings (why not?). Every time you enter/exit the camera application the flash/night/sequence/brightness/contrast are reset to defaults. Same behaviour as a digital camera that doesn’t have an external settings toggle-wheel.

Under the camera settings there is an option for toggling if the image taken is displayed afterwards or if it immediately ready to capture another photo. There is no option for having it display for X seconds like most digital cameras. It is nice that pressing Clear on the displayed photo will delete it.

Image quality is ok for natural lighting but degrades quickly in low lighting conditions. What else do you expect from LED flash camera phones? One annoyance is that it makes a very loud shutter noise when taking pictures. Upskirt fanatics should skip over the Nokia 6682.

I really like that images are named by date, but I hate how slow it is to navigate through the image gallery as it generates thumbnails. Why not generate the 3 Kb thumbnails while saving the photo or generate them while the phone is idle? The Image Manager application is still slow at generating thumbnails but offers a better interface for viewing images.

Menu >> Imaging >> Image mgr. >> [Select phone or MMC] >> Options >> Image show

Below are some photos taken during the first week I had the camera.

 

 

 

07282006(001) 07282006(007) 07282006(011) 07282006(019)
07292006(011) 07292006(009) 07292006(012) 07292006(016)
07292006(017) 07292006(018) 07292006(021) 07292006(025_2)
07292006(026) 07292006(027) 07292006(035) 07302006(005)
07302006(010) 08012006(007_2) 08012006(007_6) 08012006(018_4)
08012006(020) 08022006(005) 20060729 - New Nokia phone P8010010

PC Suite Image Store

 

The PC Suite Image Store application has a great feature for automatically syncing your photos from your camera to your PC when it is plugged in. This is very handy.

PC Suite >> Image Store >> Settings >> [Select "Images" and "Video"]
>> Next >> [Select folder for storing and "Use shooting date"]
>> Next >> [Select "Erase images and video", "View images and video with program", "Start image storing automatically when I connect my phone"]
>> Next >> [Select "Store images when I click finish"]

 

Camera – Video

The default video setting limits you to 45 seconds, but you can change it so that it uses the full size of the memory card. Video resolution is 128×96 or 176×144. There is a 45 second limitation for videos used as multimedia attachments. 45 seconds of video is around 300 kb, which is HALF the size a single 1.3 MP image.

Video quality is very poor compared to that of digital cameras. Files are saved in the .3gp format which is a simplified version of MPEG-4 for mobile phones. The good news is that you can upload them to YouTube without any conversion required. The bad news is that they look like crap.

The original video quality did not look any better before sending it to YouTube.

These are the last videos I’m going to try to take with my Nokia 6682. It is better as a camera than a video camera.

 

Sounds

 

If you want to capture speech you are better off using the Sound Recorder than making a video. Sounds are limited to 1 minute. Good for leaving yourself notes, not so good for trying to tape a lecture or a concert.

Office >> Recorder

There are applications for sale that will allow you to use your 6682 as a dictaphone.

 

Bluetooth Wireless Headset

It’s too bad that the headset requires a different adapter than the phone. Less adapters is better for traveling.

To set up your headset with the Nokia 6682:

Menu >> Tools >> Settings >> Enhancement Settings >> Enhancement in use >> Headset

Turn headset on by holding down the power button for 3 seconds

Menu >> Connect. >> Bluetooth >> [Select Bluetooth On] >> Right Button >> Options >> New paired device >> [Select Nokia HS-26W headset] >> [Passcode of 0000] >> [Authorize to make connections automatically]

Holding down the Answer/End key allows you to enter voice commands the same as if you pressed the voice key on the phone. Make sure that you try out voice tags/commands with the headset when you are not rushed. Many of my voice tags were not understood when using them through the headset.

The workaround I found was to hold the phone in around the same position as the headset while recording voice tags.

After making a call or timing out the phone will automatically disconnect from the Bluetooth headset. Power cycle the headset to reconnect it to the phone. I really like how after the initial setup the Bluetooth headset connects directly to the phone as soon as it powers up. Great for use in the car.

VERDICT

People Who Should Get Raises (Cumulative)

  • Nokia Headphone Developers
  • Image Store auto-sync developer
  • SyncML initiative.

People Who Should Get Reprimanded (Cumulative)

  • People who developed the PC Suite Contacts Editor. It’s not finished!
  • Person who changed text entry to support accents without having an option to restrict it to only English character.

People Who Should Get Fired (Cumulative)

  • Person(s) at Rogers responsible for their data rate costs.
  • Person who decided to call a non-blog-centric application Lifeblog. *Everyone* thinks it should be used for moblogging from your phone. Manage expectations and change the name to “Lifelog”.
  • Person who designed (I use the term loosely) the wrist strap.
  • “1 Trial Use” bundled software.
  • Person who decided to only include the extra applications on the MMC card and not on the CD-ROM.
  • Person who developed the half-sized MMC card adapter that I can never, ever detach.
  • Person who decided the PC Suite application would only support Microsoft/Lotus.

Other posts in this series

Related posts

Full disclosure: I’m reviewing a new mobile phone I got for free from a marketing company in Toronto called matchstick.ca. They gave me a sweet package as well:

  • Nokia 6682 Phone with USB connector and charger
  • 512 MB memory upgrade
  • Bluetooth Headset
  • Extra headphones

10 Responses

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  1. William said, on August 08, 2006 at 10:13 am

    I am my Self not happy with some of the 6680 features.

    1) The battery life is not more than 18 hours; talk time even lesser than my old 6220

    2) some times the phone freezes and is unusable until you do a restart or wait ages for it to restart.

    also i synchronized my phone with http://zyb.com/ so far its kinda cool.

    Thanks for the good article

  2. [...] Part 3: Contacts, Camera, Headset [...]

  3. Itai Kaitano said, on September 13, 2006 at 2:03 am

    the video you took looks like it was running in night mode. I take decent video in the daylight, nothing like an N93 but decent enough to remember the event.

  4. engtech said, on September 13, 2006 at 2:35 am

    The videos were taken indoors with lights turned on. In one case it was normal kitchen lighting, in the other case it was halogen spotlights.

  5. [...] Pingback by //engtech » Nokia 6682 Review Part 3 of 5: Contacts, Camera, Headset — 2006/08/11 @ [...]

  6. Mweshi Ng'andwe said, on December 20, 2006 at 5:38 am

    This is a very good resource. I like my new Nokia 6682 such a great phone, can’t stop playing with it I added 1GB of memory, But once in a while I tend to run out of phone memory, usually when someone sends me a text message. Is there an easy & faster way to clear my memory cach?

  7. Frustrated in FL said, on August 03, 2008 at 5:40 am

    HELP!!!

    i love my nokia 6682 to DEATH but all of a sudden it is saying my headset is connected WHEN IT IS NOT!!!!! i can’t make or receive any type of call and it is interfering WITH MY LIFE!!!

    HELP HELP HELP!

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