reviewed the phone and main pros and cons generally, and I will update that post soon to take account of the new firmware.
How to check your firmware versionGo to the phone and enter *#0000# to check your firmware version and date.
When to upgradeASAP! It's well worth updating your firmware, see below, but it'll cost you if you're out of your warranty period, so it's best to do it before your (typically) one year after the date of purchase is up, if possible.
Before you upgradeMake sure you've backed up your 7710. It gets wiped completely when they "flash" your phone (i.e. update your firmware). I personally find it easiest to backup to MMC card (in the File Manager the Tools, Backup/Restore menu) - and I backup everything including system settings, then copy the files from MMC to my PC for luck.
I'd recommend taking out the MMC and SIM cards (maybe even battery) and just giving them just the bare 7710. Or if you leave stuff in your phone when you hand in your mobile make sure you get a receipt for it.
How and where to upgradeYou can't update the firmware yourself, unfortunately - you have to take it to a Nokia service center. If you're in London, the London Nokia return & repair centers listed include two Carphone Warehouse service centers which can flash your phone on the same day (if you bring the mobile in early enough):
- 272 - 274 Oxford Street (same side as John Lewis, and before you get to John Lewis from Oxford Circus tube, opens at the weekend and some evenings)
- 146 Marylebone Road (just by Baker Street tube, open weekdays daytime only).
Before you leave the service centerSwitch on the 7710 and check the upgrade has taken, see above on checking the version of firmware on your 7710. (Obviously if you've left your SIM or MMC in there before, check they're still there and you have the right mobile back!). It's easier to raise any problems while you're still there. But be warned that you'll have to re-calibrate the phone's screen (touch the four dots in turn) and set the date/time etc first, as with a brand new 7710, so best to go pick it up when you're not rushing on to something else after.
After the updateRestore your backup from card or PC. It seems to be OK if you say Yes to overwriting newer system files with older - it didn't affect my firmware. However, oddly enough, though I OK'd all that, my preferences and settings didn't get restored though my data/files did. For instance my ringtone remained the default one, the screen brightness was the default, etc. Maybe I did something wrong for the restore, I don't know. However, my Gmail settings did at least get restored, which saved me some laborious re-inputting.
Also, download the latest manual - the UK site's manual, at the date of this post still doesn't reflect the latest firmware, so you're better off getting the Asian manual which reflects the new firmware.
If you haven't upgraded to the latest version of Nokia PC Suite (PC software as you can tell from the title), then it's worth doing that too - version 6.7 was released in December 2005.
Why upgrade? What's are the differences?[Updated 25 March 2006:] Being an A type kinda person, as I couldn't find anything else official summarising the changes I did a software comparison of the new manual against the old to find out exactly what the changes are, and more importantly the instructions on the use of the new features - to avoid lengthening this post (and the load time for my main blog page!) I have posted a comparison table with just the key changes in a backdated post: Nokia 7710: 4.0.1 firmware vs. 4.10.0 firmware upgrade. The full comparison table is massive (3 MB).
Here's a summary, based on the helpful My-Symbian forums official log of changes from the 4.01.0 firmware (but edited for organisation etc):
- Software performance (speed) improvements (Note: Software speeds will vary depending on language variant, number of contacts, images or messages stored, and other factors).
- Contacts Opening: 19% Improvement.
- Contact search using Search Field: 43% improvement
- Opening of Images Application (Time for all thumbnails to display, with 300 images in memory): 58% improvement. (Note: User can now open an image without waiting for all thumbnails to display)
- Startup of Messaging application: 29% improvement.
- Opening of received SMS Message: 52% improvement.
- Opening of received Email Message: 22% improvement.
- Opening of received MMS Message: 20% improvement.
- Create SMS Message (Open Message Editor): 40% improvement
- Create Email Message (Open Message Editor): 40% improvement
- Create MMS Message (Open Message Editor): 27% improvement
- Camera ‘Shutter’ activation time reduced from 2.5 seconds to less than 1.0 second.
- Playlist opening time 75% faster. (Actual time depends on number of tracks)
- One-handed usage
- Portrait-mode dialer UI, with contacts list, has been added.
- One-hand muting (long press of ‘A’ key) has been added.
- Managing track lists (playlists)
- The user can now create and edit Track Lists (Playlists) directly in the Music Player.
- NAM (Nokia Audio Manager) user guidance
- The User Guide has added sections to help user with copying tracks from a CD, transferring MP3s from a PC and managing playlists. (Previously, NAM user instructions had to be downloaded from web when user installed PC Suite)
- PC Suite
- PC Suite is upgraded to version 6.6, with improved usability.
- Application management
- A long press of the ‘C’ key will close all applications except the currently used (visible) application. (Previously, long press of ‘C’ key closed all applications).
- When an SMS is selected but not opened, a window displays the first part (up to 60 characters) of the message. (User can turn SMS preview on/off via Messaging settings)
- Old SMS messages in the ‘Sent’ box can be automatically deleted at user’s option. Auto-delete options include: User can select maximum number of messages to be kept in ‘sent messages’ box, or the number of days after which messages will be deleted.
- By tap+hold user can activate context-sensitive pop-up menu with following options: Back, Forward, Reload, Stop, Open Web Page,
- Copy, paste, Full Screen, Enable flash, copy link, open link in new window (options vary, depending on context, ie: some options only available in full-screen mode)
- Improved usability of web page zooming function. (Use of ‘A’ key brings up menu of zooming options)
- User option to turn off flash animation
- The Macromedia Flash function is turned OFF as a default setting, to speed up (and make more reliable) browsing of flash-intensive sites.
- The user has the option to turn the Flash function on or off within the web page or via settings in the control panel.
- User option to turn off images
- The user has the option to have the images in a web page displayed or turned off via tap+hold (or via browser menu), in order to speed up browsing.
- User customization – wallpaper
- When an image is open, the user can directly make that image the new wallpaper image. Previously, the user’s only option was to go to Desk/Display/Set background image, and then find the desired image from the list (or thumbnails view) of all images in the Images folder.
- When setting a selected image as the wallpaper image, the user also has the option of cropping the image.
- ‘My view’ alternate home page
- User has option to set the ‘Desk’ icon or key so that alternate taps on the icon or key bring up either the ‘Desk’ view or a user-preselected application. The default setting is to have only the desk view appear when the desk key or icon is selected.
- ‘Active standby’ alternate home page
- One of the ‘My View’ options is to have the ‘Active Standby’ page appear with alternate taps of the desk key or icon. The ‘Active Standby’ page features a selection of four user-defined application icons, and displays the currently active profile, date and time on a user-defined background image. The user can also change the active profile directly from the ‘Active Standby’ view.
- New accessories supported
- HS-11W Wireless headset
- HS-21W Clip-on Headset
- HS-36W Wireless Headset
- HS-37W Wireless Headset
- Nokia Music Pack. (Contents include 256 MB MMC, AD-15 Audio Adapter, DD-10 MMC/SD card reader, CA-72U Audio Cable)
- Mobile TV support
- Approximately 30-40% improvement to channel opening time.
- Improved handling of low DVB-H network coverage situations.
- Mobile TV streaming is suspended when user switches to other application (frees up processor memory for open application).
- Frame-freezing occurrences reduced.
And the "Active Standby" (you can change the wallpaper and the four apps shortcuts but it's little different from a group in Desk):
Further thoughts - mobile TV?I had thought (see my previous review) that Nokia would abandon the 7710 as it's the first and last series 90 phone, so their bringing out an update was a pleasant surprise - and the speed boosts, while still not quite good enough for me, are a definite improvement, and well worth upgrading your firmware for that alone. (Switching to the voice recorder though is still excruciatingly slow even when it's already open, and crashes don't seem to be any less frequent.) Some people have found that pen input is slower with the 4.10.0 firmware, but personally I've not noticed any difference. The other changes are all for the better.
I suspect the release of the update was driven mainly by the planned use of the 7710, with its lovely screen, for trials of mobile TV, which seems to be increasingly topical lately (e.g. the recent O2 trials in Oxford in September 2005 involved 7710s - see the pic in the BBC report - the timing of the upgrade, including mobile TV enhancements, can't be coincidental surely?). It's a pity then that while the O2 trials indicated there was strong demand, trials by BT and Virgin Mobile suggested there was more demand for digital radio and consumers weren't willing to pay as much for mobile TV as operators wanted - see e.g. the FT report and this summary. Worldwide, at least, it seems there is generally appetite for mobile TV so let's hope that Nokia continue to produce more firmware upgrades for the 7710.
Trivia now - in Hotel Babylon, shown on TV (BBC 1) on Thursday 2 February, I noticed that the Russian billionaire father at one point uses - you got it - a 7710!
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