Well, I don’t think they’re not that bad, but after being a Series 60 phones user since the beginning (I was a tester for the original Nokia 7650, “Calypso”), and having used that very same platform since then, I’m seriously considering a change.
I fell in love with the 7650 the same day it fell in my hands: it was the first camera phone in Europe (that wasn’t imported), and had a really nice color screen. It was a bulky phone, but the overall experience with it was really nice. It had a proximity sensor (so it would switch from speaker mode to normal mode if your ear got too close), and a light sensor. The phone was very responsive and quite stable.
After a while, I changed to a Nokia 6600 (”Calimero”) phone… In theory, it had a lot better specifications: based on a more modern Symbian version, it added important features, for instance themes and J2ME 2.0. However, the phone felt so slow. Applications took longer to start, and the overall feel was more sluggish. Also, Java support was buggy, and I lost all my information… twice!
Recently, a friend of mine bought a N70… I liked the phone aspect, but my good impression disappeared once I used the phone. Not only felt as slow as the 6600, but also it introduced some kind of weird “gallery mode”. The traditional “gallery” from older Series 60 phones always seemed fine to me, and the mode introduced in N70 was, in my opinion, a lot worse. Instead of a list of the files in the folder, with small previews of the photos, you get some kind of roulette of multimedia files. It’s so slow and pointless, and that feature should have never left the drawing board. Also, the software was, again, buggy, and that phone “died” after a month of use.
That same person got a Nokia E50, and the experience was a lot better in this case. Perhaps Nokia tries to push the “N series” multimedia features too much, and forgets about the basics: software should be fast and stable. Something that is slower and more unstable is worse, even if it includes more “multimedia features”. I hope they take that in account, and instead of adding features like crazy and produce “multimedia computers”, they produce more “usable phones”.