The 11 best Symbian apps

Advice Oct 01, 2011

Avoid the dross and fill your Symbian smartphone with only the best apps, with our guide to the Ovi Store

Given the myriad of apps out there, it can be difficult sifting the dross from the gems. Follow our comprehensive guide to find out which apps the PC Pro team have decided are a must-have on your Symbian smartphone.

1. SPOTIFY MOBILE (Free - Spotify subscription required)

If avoiding the irritating ads isn’t enough to tempt you to pay £10 per month for a Spotify subscription on your PC, accessing its vast library of music on your mobile could well be. Spotify Mobile streams music over 3G or Wi-Fi, and there’s also the option to store playlists locally for when reception falters – although these have to be re-synched every once in a while. But that’s a small inconvenience for having access to practically any song you can think of wherever you are.

2. FACEBOOK (Free)

Facebook’s range of mobile applications offer most of the features available on the main site, with your newsfeed, friends list and notifications present, alongside smartphone-specific tools, such as the ability to take a photo and upload it directly to the site.  

Chat and messaging are available as separate applications for Symbian and benefit from a slick interface that’s faster and easier to use than the clunky mobile websites.

3. OVI MAPS 3 (Free)
    
Nokia was the first company in Europe to provide free turn-by-turn mapping on its mobile phones, and if you have a suitably recent Nokia then it's a must-have download. Its usefulness in-car is restricted by the size of your phone's screen and the quality of the speakers, but mapping is clear and the voice instructions timely.

Maps 3 also hooks into Michelin and Lonely Planet guides if you're looking for distraction or entertainment. Note that users of older Nokia phones, such as the N96, will have to put up with an older version of the software without turn-by-turn navigation.

4. WAVESECURE (App free, WaveSecure subscription required)
                
WaveSecure offers an innovative range of smartphone security features. Should your handset be stolen and a new SIM inserted, for instance, the handset will be locked, your previously assigned “buddy” will receive a text alert, and the phone’s GPS can be used to track the stolen device.

You can access your backed-up data on WaveSecure’s website and even wipe your phone completely. Our only qualm was reduced battery life but, if security is a concern, that could be an inconsequential price to pay.

5. TUNEWIKI (Free)
               
As well as acting as an intuitive media player, TuneWiki comes with a host of other functions: lyric and video searching, Last.fm and Shoutcast radio directories, the ability to build YouTube libraries, and the TuneWiki community, which creates playlists based on popularity, location and genre. A vital download if your smartphone is your primary music device.

6. SHAZAM (Free)
    
We’ve all been there, listening to the radio or watching the telly and wondering just what the heck that music being played is. At last, there’s an app that saves the embarrassment of attempting to hum it to your wife.

Just hold the phone to the music source and hit the Shazam button, and within 30 seconds it reveals the artist and track being played. Well, 90% of the time anyway, which is impressive enough.

7. REBTEL (Free)

First and foremost this is a service rather than an app. The idea is that, when you’re abroad or want to call international numbers from your mobile, Rebtel will assign a local number that acts as an alias for the real one. You’re then charged local rates plus a small charge per minute depending on the country. We found connections weren’t always 100% reliable, but for the cost savings it’s worthwhile.

8. TRAPSTER (Free)

Trapster takes advantage of the GPS radio in modern smartphones to provide free speed camera alerts, and display them on a special version of Google Maps. The database is user-generated, so as well as alerts, the app provides the facility to report unmarked speed cameras – just tap a button onscreen to mark the spot. The phalanx of user-spotted cameras means Trapster is updated more often than satnav systems, and it marks mobile speed camera sites as well as static ones.

9. SKYPE (Free)

There are a number of third-party apps out there for accessing VoIP services such as Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, but for ease of use, Skype’s own client wins. While we had trouble persuading rival Fring to connect using our fussy office Wi-Fi network, Skype did so without issues, and allowed us to use our existing Skype account along with the pre-paid credit. Sound quality wasn’t great, but it’s a cheap way to phone key contacts when you’re abroad.  

10. WORLDCARD MOBILE (£3.49)

WorldCard takes advantage of the camera on your smartphone to snap a business card and automatically extract the text directly into your contacts list. The app recognises and parses the text to create the contact record, and the phone’s normal sync software then copies the data to your PC.

11. DOCUMENTS TO GO (£5.99)                  
Documents To Go has been a smartphone staple for a decade. The software allows you to view and edit Office documents on the move, as well as read Adobe PDFs. While only a sadist would perform serious document edits, it’s an effective way to take key documents with you.

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