Handy Shell & Handy Weather Review

Here's a review of Handy Shell 3.02 and Handy Weather 6.05 running on the E71 with original factory firmware v100.07.76. I only include the versions and firmware release because there are a few niggles I have with it, that stop me from using it daily which may be fixed on newer versions. Anyways, let's go!

After an install of Handy Weather and Handy Shell, configuration and executing - which is rather long I might add, you are presented with a new screen.

Lots of information compared to Active Standby. Let's break it down;

These are the plugins you can manipulate.

You can move them up and down and set the order. You can customize which applications are show in your shortcuts and what is launched when you select one of the plugins.

In addition to the 5 shortcuts on the main screen, you have an 'Applications' page. Pushing the right soft key will move you to a new page and display 12 applications that you can select and execute.

You can pick from every third party application that you have installed to your device and has an proper menu entry accessible as regular. To quickly change an item, simply select it and push your backspace button.

You'll see a blank space, select it and you will be prompted for a new entry that is searchable. Neato.

Click on the right soft key will take you to your 'Contacts' page. You have 12 contacts just like the previous one, changing contacts is a breeze. Pictures show up if you have any stored. Nice touch.

From here you can select a contact by using the d-pad. Pushing the center d-pad button will bring up a menu to Dial or Create Message, while directly pushing the Green Call key will initiate a call to the default number stored.

You also have the ability to disable these pages should you not want to see Contacts or Applications.

You can also set key behaviors for Active Standby and Handy Shell. These are annoying. There is no way to completely shut Handy Shell down without uninstalling it.

One of the reasons I liked Handy Shell, was the ability to view a FULL incoming text message directly from the main screen...

AND the ability to mark it as read by pressing the backspace key. The same goes for incoming e-mails.

Now for the bugs/issues I had with it.

1). It took ridiculously long to initialize my device after a reboot.

2). While it has a very small footprint, my device feels a tad slower with it running.

3). I can't background sending a text message with Conversation, and return to the main shell screen. I can with Active Standby.

If those things changed, I would be using it. The only thing I can recommend or hope for in future changes would be;

1). More plugin customization. Especially with listing what is shown in the "Phone ind./settings" section. More plugins as well, one for Music Player should have been included.

2). A page for Gallery/Pictures. More pages for applications and contacts if wanted. The ability to switch pages by "edging" the cursor. When at the end of the plugin row, moving left or right will move left or right into the next page.

3). The ability to show more depth of upcoming appointments. Let's see a week in advance - I have a feeling this is a restriction of S60.

So, there you have it. Is it worth $44.95 for the suite? I wouldn't recommend is as it currently sits, once they add the ability to set multiple pages and more customizations to the plugins, it will definitely be worth investing some money in.


Overhaul Your E71 Homescreen With Handy Shell | nokianewphone said...

[...] Click here to read the full review by Series60.com and click here to buy the product. [...]

Brad Barbaza said...

Thanks for writing this. I've been searching and searching for a weather app just like this and never found a result. The Calendar feature is a bonus too!

Rayaz said...

Tried this software out but ended up removing it. A big negative was the HandyShell is that when you get a call and want to switch to loudspeaker, you cannot do that and have to switch back to the standard screen (pressing home 1-2 times depending on how you setup Handyshell). Now this is really annoying as you cannot do that if you are driving with a single press of a button.

Agree with the review that this app also makes your phone "laggy" and takes away the gains with the faster CPU in the E71 compared to th e61i, etc.

A very nice feature which i wish Nokia would do is to support a smaller font on the active standby screen as the E71 definitely can display more data, and the small font is very sharp. The HandyShell does have a small font which truly brings out the E71's landscape display, but unfortunately it does not have a configuration to setup how many todo's or tasks have to be shown, and seems limited to showing just one from each :( (Please correct me if i am wrong on this)

oddsocks said...

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it. There is a way to get a smaller font on the screen. I use Psiloc Font Magnified. I will post up a how to on it sometime coming. I've got some other stuff to review soon.


- Simon

Rob said...

First of all, Handy software is ridiculously priced. All told, Handy is asking for $125 for their entire suite - PLUS ANNUAL SERVICE FEES for their weather app. (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. That's funny pricing! Sell a lot of software, Handy?)

But hey, I like good software and gave it an install. For that price, it better be 100% integrated into the phone UI. And just as the reviewer says, it just doesn't work.

Sure some things work, but there are always little issues here and there that you bump into.

I used to have a Windows Mobile phone and bought a UI update called SPB Shell ($30, plus much more functionality than Handy offers.) And you know what, I never could tell where the UI ended and SPB began. That just isn't the case with Handy software.

payshum said...

Symbian software is massively overpriced compared to ipod touch/iphone apps. this one costs a bomb and you can't even change the indicators (such as bluetooth, mail, messaging.

I say roll on Apple just to show up these Symbian gougers.

I don't have an iphone but it's something i'm seriously toying with, even though i love the smartphone aspect of my phone

Miss37 said...

The opportunity to ask questions is equally shared amongst the members of the house, excluding ministers. ,

nokeiro said...

Please, my NOKIA E63 don't working with handy shell v2.0, why?

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