Always have a Backup

Only fifteen years ago, it would be fairly rare to have a mobile phone. My first was a Nokia nk402 on Orange (I’ve still got it, its currently stored in the loft) which was an Orange-branded version of the 5110 which I got for the special offer of £99. Nowadays, mobiles, smartphones and connected devices are everywhere and its ‘unusual’ to be out without such a device. However, there are some instances where you don’t want to be taking your 5 inch Lumia 830 out with you (eg. if you like sports) and its impractical to keep the phone on you or use it where it could get knocked about.

I’ve kept a few of my old phones and have a PAYG mobile SIM that I can use between devices. I’ve been grateful for having a backup – I’ve had to send my C7-00 back to Nokia for a chassis replacement because it was starting to split at two screw fixing points and I swapped back onto my Nokia 6680. Most recently, I used the C7-00 whilst the Lumia 830 was away for replacement, for the problem with the screen coming loose.

I’m going to do a couple of articles on the merits of keeping an old phone usable so you can drop back on such a device, if you’re planning on going yomping over the moors one weekend.

However, what if you don’t already have an old phone that you don’t mind getting knocked about? Microsoft are still releasing this style of phone under the Nokia brand name and for such a knockdown price they are hard to ignore. The one that has caught my eye is the Nokia 215 – a monoblock device based on the Series 30+ operating system. It sports a 2.4 inch QVGA 240×320 screen in 18bit colour, supports 32Gb MicroSD cards and has a 1100MaH battery with 29 days standby time. 

You can take a look at the device spec’s in more detail by clicking the link below:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/mobile/phone/215/

Amongst other features such as an FM radio, torch and durable outer shell, but should be noted it only supports 2G networks – there are no 3G speeds here. In some ways, this is to an advantage of the device; the are parts of the rural UK that only have 2G network coverage and running it in 3G mode could have a detrimental effect on the battery life by hunting for a non-existent signal.

The device is pitched with internet-capable apps for accessing services such as Twitter or Facebook, Opera Mini browser, Messenger, Bing Search and MSN Weather. In my experience, 2G speeds are fine for getting this sort of information from the internet, you just have to set expectations that its not going to be instantaneous.

It also supports Bluetooth audio devices, so this would be great connected to a Nokia MD-12 portable speaker (though the speaker will run out of juice before the phone!)

There isn’t an official release date set yet though it can be bought on Amazon for £39.99. If anyone from Microsoft / Nokia wants me to trial / review one of these devices when they’re out I’ll gladly give it a shot!

In the meantime, I’ll take a look at the C7-00 and 6680 as backup phones in some coming posts.

Lumia Satellite Navigation Practicalities

One of the key things that I needed from a New smartphone when I decided to move from Symbian was good satellite navigation. I looked at alternatives such as the Apple iPhone and it’s Satnav solutions, reading the reviews carefully, but unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anything that hit the mark and everything was a compromise. When I looked at HERE maps (or Nokia Maps as it was then), I didn’t have to make any major changes and it was something I was familiar with. When I bought the Lumia 820, I eventually settled on a Nokia car mount (the model escapes me – CP-115 I think) which I had to modify by cutting the rubber grip with a scalpel knife as it was such a tight squeeze. Other third party Satnav mounts never seemed to stick to the screen, so this worked for me for a good while.

Because the Lumia 830 has a 5 inch display, I would need a brand new mount. Thankfully the Microsoft / Nokia website has clear specifications which includes the dimensions of the device, I was able to compare this to the available jaw grip specs of the CP-123, which confirmed that it would do the job. So I ordered one for Christmas and tested it in the New Year once my Lumia 830 was back from being replaced due to the manufacturing fault.

The mount itself is huge – a large plastic arm with the sucker grip at one end and the phone holder at the end, connected via a universal joint. The phone holder clamps can be adjusted by moving the clip at the bottom of the holder, so that the phone is firmly held in place. There is one big disadvantage in using the CP-123 with a large Lumia phone such as the 830 or 820, is that one of the grips presses the camera shutter button. The only way I’ve found to get around this is to clamp the phone into place, the camera app starts, press backspace to exit it and then start HERE navigation and there isn’t any further problem. I tried different orientations including where the volume button gets pressed, but this was more than the phone could cope with so I went back to gripping the camera button instead.

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To secure the mount in place, there is a lever which when pushed into place, clamps it to the windscreen – and it really does hold it into place. I’ve driven up and down side roads and motorways and the phone is reassuringly secure – no chance of it falling off the screen because the sucker loses grip. In addition, there is a tab on the rubber sucker to help the release of the mount from with windscreen.

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There is a small hole where the MicroUSB charging cable can be plugged into the bottom of the phone (Lumia 820), in the centre phone clamp. A useful tip if you are using a Lumia phone for Satnav for any sort of distance navigation, is don’t bother with any of the third-party 12 volt chargers, such as ones designed for the iPhone, because they don’t provide a Lumia with enough charge to offset the discharge rate when using the phone for navigation. Typical third-party chargers only supply about half the one ampere needed to keep the phone topped up. I went through a number of these before I finally ended up with an Nokia DC-20 dual USB port charger (supplied with MicroUSB and 2mm coiled cables) which does the job perfectly. I bought my DC-20 from Amazon, as it doesn’t seem to be listed on the Microsoft / Nokia website.

I now have my perfect satnav system using my phone and my old TomTom PND has been retired to the bottom of the study drawer.

Overall, both the CP-123 and DC-20 are excellent products and well worth seeking out if you want to use your Lumia for satellite navigation.