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Review: SmartLight – S60 v3 application

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From the very first time I have used a S60 device, to the present day, I always thought that the backlight has a primitive and incomplete way to function. It fails to deliver an effective and satisfactory usability, and is not designed with convenience and cleverness in mind.

The backlight lets the user view with clarity the colors on the screen, and although Nokia has included a light sensor to regulate light intensity, Nokia forgot to make it SMART.

I always complained about the way in which the backlight is designed, the backlight comes configured to turn off after 15 seconds by default and 25 seconds to enter stand-by mode.  It is inconvenient because:

1. The light turns off when you need it to be on.

2.  After a very short distraction, such as saying a simple “hello!” to someone, the phone enters stand-by mode while you’re still using it.

3. When you are showing pictures to someone and give them the phone, the screen goes off while they are looking at the picture, making things more difficult.

4. While browsing, when you read a long article the screen goes off.

5. While playing N-Gage games the screen goes off.

6. The screen goes off while reading E-mails and SMS.

7. The screen goes off while reading documents and notes.

8. While examining the calendar and appointments the screen goes off.

9. The backlight goes off while retrieving mail.

10. The backlight goes off while  watching videos and browsing with SkyFire.

There are more situations and scenarios such as the ones mentioned above in which the light goes off at the wrong moment. And I ask myself, WHY!?  Why would the backlight go off while reading a mail?! Or why does the backlight go off while playing N-Gage?! It is not logical!

To fix this problem I configured the backlight to stay on for longer periods of time, but after some time I realized it is also not convenient, mainly with the battery life which is strongly reduced by unnecessary power consumption of  the backlight. For example, when you finish using your S60 device and let it in the main screen or desktop as most of people do, the backlight stays on until the preset time expires, which is not short due to the problems I mentioned above. Or while doing a minor adjustment to the volume of a song, the backlight goes on again unnecessarily and stays on for a long period of time wasting battery life.

In my opinion the backlight should function like this:

The backlight should increase its expiring time while applications are in the front screen, for example  the backlight is preset to go off after 10 seconds, but while playing N-Gage, browsing the internet or retrieving mail, it automatically increases to 60 seconds until it expires and goes off.  There are exceptions like the music player in which the expiring time should not increase because basically, you are switching songs and listening to them so you don’t need to look at the screen. If the backlight is off whilst in the music player, and the user just wants to adjust the volume, the backlight should stay off because there is nothing to see while adjusting volume.  In the desktop the expiring time should be reduced to save battery life.

In my opinion that is how the backlight should work, to improve and save battery life by just being on when the user really needs it.

After searching and navigating across the internet, I found an application which makes this dream come true, it does not exactly do what I mentioned above, but it improves the user experience. It has now become  the first application I install on every new device use. It is called SmartLight, it improved my S60 device and made my day-to-day use a much pleasing experience.

SmartLigth For S60 Devices

Advantages: Makes S60 devices more comfortable to use, and prevents the backlight to go off at those inconvenient moments.

Disadvantages: The application makes the backlight stay on while you’re in the music player, the user has to change to the desktop so that the light turns off, and then go again to the music player to change songs.

Rating: 9.8/10

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By , International Correspondent on Nov 8th, 2008 GMT +2

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