I live on email. Literally. Whether its concerning my responsibilities at Alireta, here at Mobility Nigeria, or elsewhere, I depend extensively on email for notifications and communications. As such, for me to take up any smartphone as my primary connected device, it must deliver on the email front.
In the days of Symbian 3rd Edition and 5th Edition, I kept running into email issues, especially with regards Gmail-based services – email IMAP, and contacts and calendar syncing See: Smartphone blues: S60 and Gmail. I had some of those same issues with the Maemo-based Nokia N900.
I was delighted to find that email setup on the N8 was smooth. I had my Google contacts and calendar syncing by setting up an Exchange account for that purpose. This syncs once a day to keep my details in loop. Fixing this to once a day also helps conserve battery life.
***I was reading up an article and its follow-up comments on a popular mobile site and the impression was given that the Nokia N8 does not handle synchronisation with Google calendar and contacts. Honestly, I don’t know what they are talking about. My N8 syncs my Google contacts and calendars without issues as well as the Android-powered X10 Mini Pro did and as well as the iOS-powered iPhone 3GS did.
Then I setup another email account just for my Google-based personal mail and set this one to sync every 15 minutes. Receiving and sending of mails work just fine.
HTML Email? Check.
Finally, we get HTML email support from Symbian. This means that you get to see and read HTML-formatted emails sent to you in all their glory.
Symbian has been traditionally good with handling attachments, and the N8 does not break this tradition. Attachments can be sent easilly and when received in an incoming mail can also be directly or saved to the device. Whether its a Word document, PDF file or an image file, the N8 handles attachments well.
There’s email forwarding. You can fix a signature for your outgoing mails too. You can mark mails as read/unread, mark, move to folders and flag mail items for your attention at a later time.
You can set detailed retrieval info – days of the week, hours of the day, and frequency. There’s PUSH service too if you want it – and it gets my mails to me faster than my PC does. You can also opt for mails to be downloaded in full or just headers.
There is also a useful homescreen email widget for easy access to your incoming mails.
In all, I have found the email app intuitive, and the improvements in the Symbian user interface are here as well. Subtle (not loud) transitions and effects, and consistent tap actions are also accounted for.
The interface delivers more advanced functionality in a user-friendly way too. For example, press and hold to bring up a drop-down (or is it pop-up?) menu. For example, if you press and hold on a link, you get the options to open the link, add it to bookmarks, or copy the address.
There’s more in there, but the summary of this is that for the first time in a couple of years, I am really satisfied with email on a Symbian device.