*Spark for Symbian review: *Spark for Symbian

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Intuitive, finger-friendly interface;. Attractive design.

The Bad Only goes skin-deep;. Hard to get back to;. doesn't work with the home button.

The Bottom Line *Spark adds some much-needed sparkle to the Symbian 3 user interface found on the Nokia N8, but it doesn't go far enough to be truly useful.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

We're huge fans of the Nokia N8's slick aluminium case and awesome 12-megapixel camera, but the user interface leaves us flat. Happily, *Spark is here to slap a fresh face on Symbian. *Spark aims to replace your default home screen completely, with a new user interface that reminds us of what you'd see on an HTC Sense phone like the HTC Legend .

Symbian facelift

After you've installed *Spark from the Ovi Store, it runs automatically when you turn on your phone. On a phone like the N8, which runs Symbian 3, you'll lose the option of having three home screens that you can swipe between. Instead, you'll see one home screen with a handful of configurable widgets that deliver news, weather and Facebook and Twitter updates, as well as a couple of shortcuts. Scrolling down reveals the latest updates from your friends, and space to update your own status.

*Spark's weather widget demonstrated on the new Nokia N8.

You also get a new menu button, which brings up a long, swipe-capable menu of shortcut icons to the phone's apps and features. We much prefer this menu to the N8's default menu, where options are often nested within options, and can be hard to find.

Sparks fly

*Spark has a simple, intuitive touch interface that we enjoyed using. The news app is particularly fun, thanks to the ability to swipe through the news stories, which are divided into sections. Unfortunately, if you leave *Spark, you get kicked out into the cold world of the normal Nokia interface. Tapping on a Facebook update, for example, opens a Web browser window with the mobile version of Facebook, rather than the Facebook app installed on the phone. It's no use if you're not online, and we would have liked to have seen *Spark's functionality go much deeper -- into its own Facebook app, perhaps.

This gets especially bad on the N8 because there's no 'back' button, so once you're out of *Spark's walled garden, it's not easy to get back in. You have to hold down the home button to view all your open apps, and select *Spark from the list. *Spark also renders the home button a liability most of the time -- if you press it, you end up at the default Nokia home screen, not the *Spark home screen.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • YouTube (iOS)

    5 stars

    New picture-in-picture video features in the latest version of the YouTube app make browsing...

  • Instagram (iOS)

    4.5 stars

    With the addition of 15-second video clips, Instagram is tough to beat for photo and video...

  • Netflix (iOS)

    4.5 stars

    If you don't mind the limited streaming library, the Netflix app is a great way to watch...

  • Google Search (iOS)

    4 stars

    The Google Search app for iOS brings quick and accurate voice searches, new Google Now...


Discuss *Spark for Symbian

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

*Spark for Symbian

Part Number: CNET*Spark for Symbian
Pricing is currently unavailable.