If you don't know what to look for, it's not easy to spot the differences between the latest version of Nokia's fave mobile software, Symbian 3, compared to older phones. But the tweaks seen on the Nokia N8, the first Symbian 3 phone, have silenced some of the OS' most screaming irritations -- or at least muted them to a dull hum. Some, like multi-touch zoom and a redesigned music player, are long overdue, while others, like HDMI support, are just icing on the cake.
We've pitted the N8 against a Nokia X6 -- which runs Symbian S60 5th edition -- to highlight the differences. Although both are sleek phones with capacitive touchscreens, we're not trying to imply that the X6 is competition for the brand-new N8 -- it's just a good place to see where Nokia has made changes to the phone's brains. If you're upgrading from another Nokia, it's very likely to be a Symbian S60 phone, so these are the changes you can look forward to.
Take a walk through our photo gallery to see how the biggest new features of Symbian 3 stack up. Let's start with the picture above. The N8 may look familiar to anyone who's used the Nokia N97, but now there are three home screens you can flick between with the swipe of a finger, instead of one. These can be filled up with slightly boxy-looking widgets, which can deliver live updates of everything from your inbox to the weather.
In our tests, we weren't happy with some of the widgets -- the social-networking one, for example, is terrible. It shows your Facebook and Twitter updates one at a time, and then only a few words of each, leading to a ridiculous amount of scrolling. We're counting on developers to rush some better options into the Ovi Store.