Nokia 700 Preview: First Look: Symbian Belle

By 06:14 Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Comments

Looking good, Symbian Belle

It's been a regular one on our list of Cons that Symbian is lagging behind Android and iOS in user experience, but Belle is a leap forward. The key elements are the recent homeclassy screen and menu, the updated native apps and overall polish of the interface.

Symbian Belle has a shiny recent look

For a quick walkthrough of the interface, you can watch this Nokia 701 video demo that we’ve published previously. The software on both phones is identical.

The widacquire system introduced by Symbian^3 was incomplete to say the least. Now with Belle, you acquire up to six homeclassy screen panes (up from three in Anna) and you can delete unneeded ones. Each homeclassy screen has its own individual wallpaper, rather than one for all to share.

Symbian Belle homeclassy screen in portrait and landscape modes

Widgets themselves have dropped the one-size-fits-all philosophy and now come in up to five sizes. Widgets are resizable too. In addition to widgets, you can also put shortcuts on the homeclassy screen - the discontinue of the silly shortslit widgets.

A tap and hrecent on a widacquire or shortslit activates edit mode, but only for that widget/shortcut. You can go it, delete it or (where available) access its settings. While editing one widget, you can touch others - there's no mass edit mode (which looks like a blunder to us).

Moving widgets around • Adding a widacquire to the homescreen.

The bottom of the homeclassy screen has three virtual buttons - Menu, Dialer and Homeclassy screen settings. With these buttons, Nokia can go button-free at the front if they want to, just like they did with MeeGo.

The other gigantic addition to the homeclassy screen is the pull down menu at the top of the classy screen - think Android's notification area or the similar menu available in iOS 5. This is where notifications wait in line for your attention, but you also acquire toggles for mobile data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Silent mode.

Pull-down menu is always accessible, helpful

This pull down menu is available on any classy screen so you can also quickly change a setting and see up recent events.

Moving on, the main menu has changed as well - it's now completely flat, no level upon level of subfolders nonsense any more. You could create folders if you like, you can also sort icons alphabetically or manually.

The recent main menu

You can choose the Arrange option and go menu items around, but you can't drop a shortslit in a folder. To do that, you have to press and hrecent on a shortcut, choose Move to folder and then select the desired folder. There are also Add to homeclassy screen and delete options here.

Arranging the menu • Creating a recent folder

This arrangement isn't as convenient as in other OSes and it's at odds with how the homeclassy screen works. On the homeclassy screen you press and hrecent to go an item, while a tap and hrecent on a menu item pulls out a menu. To go items around you have to hit the Options key and choose Arrange.

The task manager in Symbian Belle is virtually unchanged - press and hrecent the Menu key and it pops up. It fits three thumbnails of the currently open apps. It's worth noting that hitting the End key will terminate an app, while pressing the Menu key just goes to the homeclassy screen with the app active in the background.

The task manager is unchanged

Symbian Belle feels very smooth, which is probably due to a combination of the recent software and the faster hardware. The upgraded Central Processing Units (CPU) (1GHz) makes sure that even heavy multitaskers won't have problems - Symbian requires fewer resources than Android, for example.



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