12 aprilie, 2011

Nokia E7 Review: The business man’s choice

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Some of you may already know this but I while ago I was the lucky winner of a Nokia E7 mobile phone from Womworld after I entered the “Behind the E7” contest. It was before the E7 was officially available on sale so I was one of the first to get their hands on an E7 in Romania but only now I found the time to write about it. So the following will be my personal thoughts about the device.

The box

Nokia_E7 Nokia_E7 (4)

The E7 comes in the new blue box that Nokia is using lately to package almost all its devices and in it you will find the micro-USB charger, data cable, good quality hands-free in-ear headphones with spare ear pads and the mini HDMI and USB-on-the-go cables. Unfortunately Nokia decided to not include the 2mm charger port on the E7 like on the N8 so you will not be able to charge your E7 with a standard Nokia charger that you can find practically anywhere these days. But you will be able to charge the phone via the data cable by connecting it to a PC.

The USB-on-the-go is a new feature found on the premium Symbian^3 devices from Nokia that allows you to connect a USB stick, external hard-disk or even a mouse to the device. Being able to access the memory of an external device in this easy way or to use a mouse or external keyboard to control the device is a killer feature in my opinion. This is a feature unique to Nokia and it deserves more publicity as their competitors iOS or Android lack this feature at the moment of the writing of this article.

Another cool feature is the possibility to connect the E7 to an external HDTV by using the mini HDMI port and the cable supplied in the box. In this way you will be able to enjoy the 720p videos captured with the device on a big screen and share your adventures with family and friends.

Design and construction

Nokia_E7 (3)DSC04137 DSC04138Nokia_E7 (2)DSC04132 DSC04134 DSC04135 DSC04136

The Nokia engineers have managed to prove yet again that the Finnish are the masters of mobile engineering by delivering a product that is well built, using great materials and that feel like a high quality device in your hand.
The device is a bit on the heavy side by weighting around 180 grams but by keeping it so thin, measuring only 13,6mm in thickness, it doesn’t feel a big and heavy phone. But dont expect to fit in your blue jeans pocket very well either. You realize that you are using a premium device especially when you touch it and feel the high quality anodized aluminum case in your hand that makes you instantly realize that your are holding a business oriented phone.

Display and qwerty sliding keyboard

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The display is absolutely gorgeous! It is a real pleasure to look at the 4 inch clear black display indoors and also when you are out in the sun. The E7 uses the same display that we just found today that it will be used on the soon to be released Nokia X7-00. This scratch resistant Gorilla glass display is in my opinion one of the strong selling points of the device along with the qwerty keyboard.

The slide mechanism is very well built and the screen slides easily once you get used to the area that you have to push in order to reveal the qwerty keyboard. The keyboard itself is one of the best I've used and the one thing that bothered me is that the device being so big it was sometimes hard for me to press some keys by using my thumb because I was not able to reach the desired key, but again this might be only my problem as I don’t have very big hands :)

Camera

The camera is the big disappointment of the E7 and I still don’t understand what were Nokia engineers thinking when they fitted the E7 with a non-branded fixed focus camera. I can understand that the thickness of the device made it difficult to put in a more advanced camera and I can understand also the argument that this is a business device and it doesn’t serve the purpose to have a great camera in it, but I am still disappointed and maybe you will understand me when you’ll see the photos bellow. And not to mention that is practically impossible to take a close-up macro photo with this camera.
To make my point you have bellow on the left the photos taken with the E7 and on the right with my old X6 that has auto focus and a 5MP camera. You will see for your self the huge difference in color and detail.

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And another two photos taken with the E7, indoors and outdoors:

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Ok, I think I made my point. I will say thou that the 720p video captured with the E7 is surprisingly rather good and usable, despite the photos not being so great.

Later edit: More about EDoF vs Autofocus cameras you can read on All About Symbian.

Conclusion

I have not talked in this review about the UI as Symbian^3 has been discussed in more detail all over the internet already and the point of my review was more to express my thoughts about the hardware.
What I want to discuss in the final part of this review is the competition of the E7, and the only device that is able to take on the E7 at the moment is in my opinion the Nokia N8. Even if you may argue that the two are marketed for different sets of people, business people and media consumers, I cannot stop thinking that the two big selling points of the E7: the qwerty keyboard and 4” screen cannot make up for the lower price of the N8 and the other fextra eatures that the N8 has like: better camera, the FM transmitter and the microSD slot.

To conclude I think the Nokia E7 should be the obvious choice for business oriented people that need to use the device for productivity and work tasks and it deserves the place in the hall of fame of Nokia communicators.

These were my personal opinions about the E7, for more objective and in-depth reviews please check AllAboutSymbian and GsmArena reviews.

I leave you with two more photos that compare the E7 with the X6 and my first Smartphone the Siemens SX1.

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