The biggest problems with first generation Symbian^3 phones is the not the CPU, it’s the RAM. Belle is much faster than Anna when you use apps, but when it comes to loading them, it’s a little slower than Anna used to be. So how do you fix that? How do you keep your RAM under control? Well, there are a few tricks you could do to get your precious RAM back.
Everyone loves customizing their user interface in the most personal way possible. On Belle people do that with backgrounds and themes. While backgrounds are processed by the OS and get optimized for low memory consumption, not the same thing can be said about themes. Lots of themes are bloated with all kind buttons, icons and background images that eat up our precious RAM and slow down your phone. The fastest theme you can get is the Nokia Evolve theme, which is the default theme. Using a different theme will not only slow down your phone, but will also create a gap between native applications, which adopt the selected theme, and Qt apps(and there are lots of those) that use the Evolve look. For example, your calendar app will use the theme, while Nokia Store will look like Evolve.
The theme effects are nice to see, but not everyone knows they eat a decent amount of RAM to look that nice. What basically happens(and I’m talking from a developer perspective now) is parts of both applications(the one you switch from, and the one you switch to) have to be loaded in RAM in order for that transition to happen. Disabling the theme effects will improve your load time by at least half a second. To disable the theme effects go to Menu->Settings->Themes->General and in the menu choose Theme effects->Off.
The flat menu works pretty well on new generation 1GHz Belle phones, but on the first generation it does lag here and there. That’s because the GPU unit on first generation is slower than the one on the 1GHz phones. In order to give your GPU a hand, and give yourself a hand too, you can create folders. The folders will help keep the menu layout under control. For example, you can put the apps you use once every 3 months and put them in a folder called “Rarely used”. You can put all your games in a “Games” folder, your social apps in the “Social” folder, you get the idea.
The homescreen is the most important update Belle got, alongside the pulldown notification area. But the homescreen can speed up, or slow down your phone. Having all those great widgets on your phone may turn it into a looker, but can slow it down considerably. So my advice is keep it as simple as possible. After some intensive testing I figured out a setup that keeps the memory under control and all my apps now start as fast as they did on Anna.
With Anna the homescreen had the 6 rows of widgets layout, but Belle introduced different size widgets, and some of them are really useful. So, here is what you need to get your homescreen looking like this:
First of all, you need a decent calendar widget, because the one on Belle doesn’t show much, and is pretty much a waste of space. I found a free gorgeous widget in Nokia Store called Calendar events. This widget takes up a full row, just like the default calendar widget, but it offers a shortcut to the calendar app and displays the next 4 events in your calendar. You can download it from here: Calendar events. There is one thing you need to know before adding the widget to your screen: run the app first, and add the widget after that.
The mail widget on Belle got a revamp, but honestly, I liked the Anna one better. The new widget eats up half a screen and it’s a no go for me. Fortunately there is something you can do to get a smaller email widget. For that, you need to install the Microsoft business apps on your phone. After you installed it, a new widget will appear, called “Mail, new arrivals”. This widget has the size of a shortcut and it shows a badge notification when you have unread mail.
Instead of adding tens of shortcuts on your homescreen, you can add shortcuts to your folders, and solve the shortcuts issue too. In the above screenshot you can see that my folders have special icons, that show the content of the folder. You can do that too with another free app from Nokia store. The app is called Thumbnail Folder and you can get it here: Thumbnail Folder.
So there it is, one homescreen with everything you need on it.