Review: Nokia E7 Smartphone

By Branko Miletic

So there you are, a crack Nokia phone designer somewhere in the boondocks of Finland, dreaming about when the long northern winter will finally be over and who will win this year’s annual Wife Carrying World Championships, nibbling on some recently marinated reindeer bits with a Rollmop chaser and putting the final touches on the Nokia e7 Smartphone that you have been working on all year. But it does need to be asked- what will you do about the Symbian OS?

That’s not to say that there is anything majorly wrong with the platform- Nokia has said it will continue to develop the OS. The E7 Smartphone is aluminium, it’s smooth, it has a QWERTY keyboard plus touchscreen functionality and can basically be used as your 4TH screen at home and your main screen when on business.

But I’m still unconvinced as to why Nokia persists with Symbian? After all, the Finnish phone maker has said it will go with the Microsoft Windows 7 OS, so why would they release what looks and feels like a great new handset and have it running on an OS that although stable, is at the same time not going to win any races for speed?

Basically if you want to force users to use a platform that only you have rock-solid faith in, maybe you should be renaming yourself Apple?

And the faith that Nokia has in this platform is to say the least, unswerving. But as I said, thanks to Symbian this phone is not a speed demon, especially when using the touchscreen – at times sluggish when accessing the WWW.

Surfing the Net with the E7 is a bit like a test of patience they use for novices in Benedictine monasteries, although to be fair, some of this is also a network issue.

And what about the camera? Nokia knows a thing or two about mobile phone cameras. The N8 from Nokia for example comes with a whopping 12.1 megapixel camera – the E7 has an 8 megapixel snapper – not bad with this fact being one of the E7’s pluses.

This phone has some interesting capabilities like the USB-on-the-go feature, which allows users to play big media files almost instantly, as well as playing Flash unlike certain fruit-flavoured phones. In other words, you can use the E7 almost like a projector for business presentations – you can even plug a mouse into it and use it as a PC.

Nokia’s Ovi Maps totally rocks and is a serious threat to the many GPS devices out there. The HDMI out port along with the respectable 16GB of storage are also points of honorable distinction. The ability to run a HD presentation using the E7 as the engine should appeal to business users.

Then there is the 4-inch AMOLED display, which is supposed to be good in sunlight – if only we had some sunlight when I did the testing – and the Dolby speakers pump out a sound that is second to none.

Nokia has already started down the road with its Microsoft odyssey with features like secure and real-time access to email, calendar, contacts, a lite WORD application called QuickDOCS and tasks through Microsoft Exchange servers, as well as Office Communicator Mobile, developed by Microsoft for Nokia smartphones especially.

But it’s the bad points that annoy me about this handset. Why? Well, if you are under 30 years of age, chances are that you are a ‘Nokia Baby’- your first phone ever was probably from Nokia – a company that basically invented the consumer mobile phone market, and a company that should know how to move with the times.

So when I find things like an iPhone-esque non-removable battery, a micro-sized on/off button and the Ovi App Store whose GUI is looking more like the Apple App store (minus about 80 per cent of Apps) along with a zoom function on the browser that is a bit wonky, I do get a bit annoyed.

Maybe it’s a case of Windows 7 not coming fast enough for Nokia?

Pros: The Dolby speakers and the ability to use the E7 as a HD digital projector were real standouts for me.
Cons: One word- Symbian- that is the cause of most of the E7s sluggishness and any other problem it may have.

3 Shacks out of 5