Apps,Comparison,Symbian

Quickoffice vs Smart Office – Nokia Belle office suite comparison

4 Jul , 2012  

Today we’re featuring a battle of office suites and we get to see which suite is better and for whom. I was planning to do a three way comparison between QuickOffice, Smart Office and Microsoft Office Mobile, but the Nokia Belle variant of MS Office is just below par and cannot be compared with the other two, so including it in the review would have been a waste of time. Plus MS Office has only SkyDrive integration which means no Google Docs or Dropbox and that for me is a buzz kill. This review will be centered mostly on Word document editing and a little Excel part too. Why? Because any way you look at it, PowerPoint presentations are painful to work with on such small screens(yes even a 4 incher is small for PowerPoint).

QuickOffice vs Smart Office

Let’s start with the initial impressions.

Smart Office

Smart Office is quick. I mean really quick. It opens document files faster than your email client opens a mail. It’s that quick. The user interface is very fast and very intuitive with advanced options hidden away. Everything about Smart Office is about touch and gestures. It was born for touchscreens. Viewing a document is a breeze. Zooming in and out it very fast and sharp. The text reflow option available for the document viewer is a must for every editor out there. Besides being a very quick editor viewer, Smart Office is also well connected. It integrates Google Docs and Dropbox directly into the Smart Office file browser.

Quickoffice

Quickoffice does not impress with blazing speeds or very intuitive interface, but there is something about it that screams professionalism. The user interface is a bit sluggish at times, but that is because it is at the same time a viewer and an editor. I’ll get back to that later. Quick office is also very well connected, supporting Google Docs, Dropbox, Box and SugaSync. As far as documents in the cloud goes Quick office wins the day. Quickoffice also has text reflow on the editor which comes in handy on a small mobile display. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t see the entire print preview, that option being available in the context menu.

File support


Excel file view: Left – Quickoffice, Right – Smart Office

Smart Office supports Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files while Quickoffice supports only Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However Quickoffice can be complemented by Adobe LE Reader developed by the same company. I was able to open most office files with both suites with a few exceptions. Quickoffice was not able to open some Excel files created by Microsoft Mobile Office while Smart Office did and Smart Office was not able to open any Excel files from Google Docs while Quickoffice did.

Viewer and Editor


Smart Office default view, toolbar on top, one on the bottom

I for one prefer to open PDF files with Smart Office because it displays them faster. On the documents side I prefer Quickoffice because of the ease of writing documents. Both apps offer text reflow for documents. You no longer have to zoom in and out to properly see the contents of your document, instead it gets reformatted to fit your screen. This is a technique mostly used in modern web browsers to help people experience web sites on the go. The same principle applies here but with documents.


Quickoffice default view, text reflow, context menu

When it comes to viewing office files people have their own preferences. Some like to see the full print layout while others prefer the readable view that text reflow allows. Both apps allow both views but have different defaults. For example Smart Office opens all documents by default in the print layout view allowing reflow after the document is opened, while Quickoffice works the other way around, first opening the reflow layout and later seeing a print preview. It’s really about what you prefer.

When you need to edit your documents with Smart Office you have to place you cursor where you want to insert text and then press the Edit button in order to insert new text. A full screen edit box is then opened and you can insert your text there, but you do not see the rest of the document, just the new text you are inserting. That can be a bit frustrating for people who use hardware QWERTY phones such as the E7 or the E6. With Smart Office you have to format your text after you insert it. The text reflow function of Smart Office works very well, even when zooming in and out, but I would have liked to see an option to use the reflow by default. Instead you have to activate the function every time you open a different document and that’s just silly.

Quickoffice takes a completely different alternative by placing a keyboard button in the middle of the Belle toolbar. Place your cursor anywhere inside the document, press the keyboard button and just start typing. This way you see your document as you change it. This is why I like editing files with Quickoffice way better than with Smart Office.

Conclusion

If you need a office software suite that can view files perfectly and need little to no editing of your files then Smart Office will surely meet your needs. The price can also be a factor here since Smart Office costs a quarter of what Quickoffice will set you back. However, if you need serious document editing on the go, then Quickoffice is the clear winner here. On a side note, users of N-series and E-series phones will already have Quickoffice installed, all the need is an update to the latest version.

I like Quickoffice better because it is optimized for mobile use. Starting with the big buttons welcoming screen, continuing with the large list items file explorer list and on to the default mobile(reflow) view of the documents, Quickoffice is designed to be used on the go. With Quickoffice’s user interface you can check your documents even when you are behind the wheel(not driving of course) since the UI elements are large enough to use with one hand. On the other hand Smart Office’s browser displays smaller text and thinner fonts and the default view is print view, which makes it unusable in your car. If that’s one of the decision factors in a purchase think about that one too.

Some people asked me how I can edit documents on my N8 touch screen without smashing my phone to the ground in frustration. Well you can’t with the default Belle keyboard, but once you use the Nokia Beta Labs version of the Swype keyboard things change. I used to think that I needed a physical keyboard to properly write reviews, but I was turned by the progress that Swype made in the last period. Remember that you need to download the Swype version from Beta Labs, the one existing in the Nokia Store is a pain to use. Who said the N8 can’t be a great business phone? 🙂

News,Symbian

[Video] Nokia Belle FP2 ?

30 Jun , 2012  

@ctrohin wrote a blog post on Nokia Belle FP2 – What’s new and what it means for the Nokia N8 couple of weeks ago showing screenshots of Nokia Belle FP2. Today, SymbianTweet spotted a video of Nokia Belle FP2 on YouTube which is probably the leaked video of Nokia Belle FP2.

Video demonstrated few updates in Nokia Belle FP2  which is pre-release of Nokia Belle FP2 on Nokia Developer’s RDA (Remote Device Access). It shows new transition effects, new gallery, new keyboard, etc.

It also show new camera UI, Nokia 808 PureView like camera UI. As it shows resolution upto 8 MP, it may be possible that it’s not Nokia 808.

Check out the video:

According to uploader, Nokia Belle FP2 has following updates:

Video of nokia belle Fp2 leaked pre-release on RDA (Remote Device Acces).
This is the reason of the lag in the video, is an OS emulator by nokia for developers. Some of the new things to come on Fp2 are on the video. Is a quick review of it.

+On Fp2 We’ll see:
-New swipe-unlock.
-New transition effects.
-New camera UI.
-New navbar.
-New widgets.
-New qwerty keyboard (predictive).
-New image editor.
-New web browser.
-New galery.
-New music player (pause/resume button on notification bar).
Etc…

 What’s your thought on FP2?

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Apps,Review,Symbian

Tweetian for Symbian Review

29 Jun , 2012  

Twitter just got a new client on Belle. After the classic Gravity the shaky TwimGo and the AMOLED killer Tweeties, it’s time for Qt to deliver it’s best Twitter client yet. Don’t get me wrong, it can’t hold a candle to Gravity, but it’s biggest advantage? It’s free. If Tweeties was meant to help you migrate to a new OS, Tweetian is here to make you stay.

Tweetian is very easy to navigate and use. It has three homescreens for your Timeline, Mentions and Messages. Swipe to the left to reveal each of them. I would have liked Tweetian to include loop scrolling here so I could reach the first screen from the last easier.

Tweetian offers pull-down to refresh, cached images and tweets which is good to have in order to keep your Twitter API rate up. The user interface is as quick as it gets with Qt apps but I have to say that the author used a paining system similar to Gravity’s, meaning that while you scroll trough your tweets, the images are no loading. When you take you finger off the screen they start loading. That means no more chunky scrolling. It’s actually a very impressive app.

You can add photos and location to your tweets easily and the tweet editor integrates well with both the default Belle keyboard and Swype. Retweeting, replying and adding a tweet to your favorites is a breeze and can be done from the bottom toolbar.

In the user profile panel you can see practically everything about that user, the Bio, the tweets, the followers, the following, the lists, the favorites by swiping trough them.

The settings are comprise of three tabs. In the General tab you can switch the theme, enable the option to include hashtags in replies and a sign out button in case you want to switch the account. It is good to know that unlike Gravity, Tweetian does not offer support for multiple Twitter accounts, so enterprise users need to look elsewhere. The second tab is called Refresh and there you can set the automatic refresh timings for various items. By default auto refresh is off. The third tab called API Limit does exactly what it tells. It shows you your Twitter API limits. It’s just a status panel that you can check after using Tweetian heavily.

That being said I can honestly tell you that this app is going places. It can easily replace your Nokia Social client when it comes to Twitter. The app is very fast and I like it. Usually with Qt apps the scrolling and loading of panels is chunky and slow but somehow Tweetian works around those issues making it very fast and clean.

Download:Tweetian at Nokia Store

Apps,Symbian

Ananlytics for Nokia Belle review – Google Analytics

28 Jun , 2012  

I was getting tired to receive those daily mails from Google Analytics with an attached PDF file that I had to open and then wouldn’t see much of anything about by website visits. So yesterday I decided to do a search(again) for the keyword “analytics” on Nokia Store. I did so before but no results popped up. I was thinking to myself “well if no one has done an GA app so far, maybe I’ll code one myself”. But as it turns out, I don’t have to anymore. It looks like somehow the author of this app, called simply “Analytics”, read my mind. So I install the free version, I login and then I see those simple screens that tell me exactly what I want to know. The app is so simple to use that I’m not sure why I’m writing this review.

Here’s how it works.

After you’ve logged in you are greeted with your Google Analytics profiles panel. Select one of your accounts and you’ll be taken to the profile overview panel where you’ll see the three vital metrics of you Google Analytics account along with an evolution chart containing a line for each of them: Visits, Unique Visiors and Pageviews. By default the app uses a one month period for reporting, but you can change that from the two date buttons one the left and right.

Once you select one of the metrics you’ll be taken in the details panel where you’ll see a chart with the evolution of that metric over the selected time interval, and a breakdown of that metric for each day in the interval.

That’s it! As simple as that. 5 panels that do everything. Some of you may say “But it doesn’t have segments, goals! Where is metric X? Where are my keywords?”. This app is not for that. I don’t think you should take your analytics to that level on you phone. This app is meant to keep an eye on your analytics data and when a flag is raised(you visits drop, or go up) then you log in to your computer and do whatever analysis you want.

The app has a free version too that is Ad supported. It offers the same functionality without any restrictions. I however preferred the paid one to get rid of the Ads.

Download

Analytics Free Version

Analytics Paid Version

Symbian,Tips/Tricks

Nokia 808 PureView Tips (Part 3): How to capture low light pictures

26 Jun , 2012  

Nokia just shared 3rd video of its series of Nokia 808 PureView Photography Tips. The video shows how to take best images in low light condition. Have a look at the video

In Creative mode, you can select the ISO setting to be anything from 50 to 1600. The higher the ISO setting, the brighter the picture is under low-light conditions. It is also possible to set the ISO on automatic.

The best possible low-light performance is achieved when the camera is in PureView mode at 2/3, 5 or 8 megapixels. To allow exposure times of up to 2.7 seconds and to take “noise free” pictures in low light conditions, you can manually set the ISO low (e.g. 50). For the best results, it is recommended to use a tripod or similar support, or to select Auto ISO or Night mode.

Have you got your hands on PureView yet? 😀

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Recap,Review,Symbian

Six months with the Nokia N8

26 Jun , 2012  

Six months have passed since the Nokia N8 has been my main phone and now it’s time to take a look back and see how it has serverd me these past months. This post is not only about the N8, it’s also about the evolution of Nokia Store during that period and about what will be coming to the N8 in the near future.

The beginnings

When I got the N8 back in December 2011 it was equiped with Symbian Anna. The phone was fast and reliable with Anna, but I was eagerly waiting for the announced Belle update that eventually came in February. The Nokia Store app repository was growing at the time and more and more Qt apps, some of great quality and others of questionable one were emerging in the Store. Some apps were just released and later evolved into mature apps, reliable apps.

More…