A Symbian Anna extravaganza: the software.

My previous post showed you the hardware aspects of Nokia’s first two Anna-enabled handsets, the E6 and X7. Today we’ll be giving the software a once-over.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive review; you can look elsewhere for that. All I’m doing here is highlighting some things that struck me after using both devices for a couple of weeks.

And once again, if you want to know more about the Symbian Anna update this video primer is a good place to start.

Pretty icons aside, my two favourite features of the Anna update probably aren’t even Anna-specific…

Chat

If you use Google Talk, IM for Nokia is about as close as you can get to an official client for that service. It even uses similar (if not identical) alert sounds to what you’d hear in your desktop browser.

Social

It’s nowhere near as good as Gravity, but Nokia’s Social Networking Client is nonetheless a fine app for Twitter (and Facebook), with support for multiple accounts and a nice widget for your home screen.

Browser

The updated web browser for Anna is supposedly much faster than previous versions. I didn’t notice the difference so much on the E6, probably because the entire OS seems much faster than Symbian on my E73.

One thing I didn’t much care for were the browser shortcuts…

… Only because I find the ones on my E73 to be generally more useful. But truth be told, Opera Mini is still, after all these years, my go-to Symbian web browser.

Sync

Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of SyncML — full sync support for calendars, contacts, notes, tasks, browser bookmarks (!) and SMS (!!) was sorely missed during my affair with Android. But here’s another place where Anna came up short…

My old school E73 provides a handy shortcut to my Memotoo sync profile…

… While the E6 and X7 offer no such convenience (unless I’m using Ovi). Instead I have to manually navigate from the main menu to Settings > Connectivity > Data transfer every single time I want to sync my data. Not exactly convenient.

And SMS backup no longer seems to be an available option. That really sucks.

Parting Thoughts

The minor annoyances above don’t really amount to much (there are other ways to back up your texts), but it’s the hardware that makes the E6 and X7 non-starters for me — specifically the EDoF camera that they both share. Upgrading a better camera phone like the N8 would be a no-brainer, though.

It’s probably not enough to convert anyone from Android or iOS, but current Symbian users should feel right at home with the Anna update.