Handy Shell 2.0 from Epocware was installed in a Nokia 5800 Xpress Music, a Symbian S60 5th edition device.
The Handy Shell .sis binary can be installed via the Nokia Application Installer.
We reviewed Handy Shell here at BestofSymbian way back in September 2008. There has been much improvement since them. Read on to know what Handy Shell 2.0 offers.
Handy Shell 2.0 comes with 4 screens that let you carry out most common operations very quickly. The four screens are Home Screen, Image Screen, Application Screen and Contacts Screen.
The Home Screen has 5 plugins, which is the same as the earlier version. There are 6 application shortcuts (and 5 in the portrait mode) and 6 more shortcuts for phone events pretty much cover all common operations.
A huge Clock plugin is placed at the top. Handy Shell 2.0 also has a Calendar plugin and a Weather plugin. The Clock, Calendar and the Weather plugins can be linked to the native Symbian app or Epocware’s Handy Clock, Handy Calendar or Handy Weather apps.
The new image viewer screen that displays most recent photos is a nice addition. The Application screen and the Contacts screen have been retained without any change. The avoid the double tap / single tap confusion of S60, Handy Shell 2.0 uses the first tap to highlight the selection in bright red so that you know it needs to be tapped again.
The piece de resistance is the new Page Switch option that animates the switching of screens in three ways – Cube, Rotate and Slide. The animation can also be configured to run at Normal speed, Fast and Very Fast.
The Cube page switch, is obviously the most attractive and eye candy but unfortunately, it is also the the option that takes a lot of CPU and RAM.
The older features like configuring the Menu Cycle, Red Key Cycle and Red Key action are retained. Handy Shell can be configured to appear after a few minutes of booting or not appear at all.
Handy Shell 2.0 is easy to configure and is intuitive for the lay user. I didn’t have any problems using Handy Shell 2.0, except the fact that its CPU and RAM intensive when using the Cube option for Page Switch. I recommend the Very Fast, Slide option for best results.
I didn’t find any weaknesses in Handy Shell. 2.0.
Handy Shell 2.0 is a worthy upgrade to the existing application. Its a powerful replacement for the standard Active Standby in the Nokia 5800, which is not really low on features either.
Its a RAM hog sometimes but the utility value far exceeds the limitations due to crippled hardware on the Nokia 5800 in terms of low RAM and an underpowered CPU.
Download a trial or purchase Handy Shell here. Handy Shell is good stuff and I’ll give it 4 of 5.