Review: Nokia E7

The E7 may be one of Nokia's last Symbian-based smartphones, with a top-shelf price - but does it have top-notch performance to match?

NameSmartphone: Nokia E7
At a glance:Aimed squarely at business users,Symbian^3 operating system,Extremely long battery life
Summary:Great battery life and slide-out keyboard, but way too flawed to justify the price tag.
Rating:2/5
RRP:$999
Contact:nokia.co.nz

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If there’s one thing we like about a smartphone, it’s the reassuring click of a keyboard sliding out from underneath. We can practically hear the angels sing about tactile, responsive buttons. The Nokia E7 actually has the screen slide up to reveal the keyboard, but the effect is the same.

The E7 is very obviously designed with business users in mind, who travel a lot and need a full QWERTY keyboard and big screen to tap out lengthy emails and documents. As such, it comes with a bunch of office apps installed, including Adobe PDF, the Quickoffice suite, a file manager, and even a dictionary. We’ve used Quickoffice for Android before, and on the Symbian operating system – Nokia’s own OS which it has recently abandoned* in favour of Windows Phone 7 – the office suite is just as intuitive.

The AMOLED screen isn’t the biggest we’ve seen, but it’s still pretty large at four inches. It has a resolution of 360 x 640, which is high-ish for a smartphone. Between the resolution and lacklustre font smoothing, reading on the E7 just isn’t that great. You certainly wouldn’t want to be reading long financial reports on it, although Nokia seems to think you would – there’s a Bloomberg app to keep track of business news and stocks.

Since high-flying business folks are always on the run, there are a host of travel apps – including some travel-related games – and the phone has an exceptionally long battery life. If you’re likely to be on the road for days at a time without much of a hope of charging your phone, the E7 can go the distance.

We’ve expressed some grievances with Symbian before, and nothing much has changed there. In short, it’s the most unintuitive smartphone operating system we’ve used. The E7’s version, Symbian^3, has a home screen, a regular menu and an applications menu, rather than integrating them into one. Worse than that, the only way we could access the regular menu was by going into the applications menu from the home screen and then hitting the ‘back’ button.

The Ovi store also leaves a lot to be desired, both in terms of its interface and available apps. Even some apps that we would consider near-necessities don’t show up in the Ovi market - there’s no IMDB app, no Kindle, and no official YouTube app. The selection really is abysmal.

It’s not just the software that lets the E7 down, though. While its hardware is solid as a rock – it’s aluminium all the way – the 8MP camera just isn’t that great, even with flash. The colours aren’t true and images were often blurry even in good light.

It also has just a 680MHz processor, and lags well behind other phones in the same price range. Though it launched at a staggering RRP of $1,299, the price dropped to $999 in June, to match competitors such as the Galaxy S II and LG Optimus 2X.

In actual fact, we found the $399 Samsung Galaxy Mini to be more user friendly and faster performing than the Nokia E7. Why anyone would pay more than twice the price just for a keyboard is beyond us.

* While newer phones will feature Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform, Nokia assures us that it is "fully committed to the Symbian platform through 2016, which means ongoing software support." and that "Anyone buying a Symbian phone can be confident they will be supported for the lifecycle of their product."

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Tags smartphoneE7symbianNokiasliderkeyboard

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Siobhan Keogh

Unknown Publication

9 Comments

Us

1

It's beyond us that a PCWorld reporter compares mobile phones prices by the RRP. For the information of those readers who need to use their own money to buy their mobile phones, Nokia E7's street price is currently $537 which is $234 lower than Galaxy S II's or LG Optimus 2X's street prices.

It is also beyond us that the reporter at the end of the article compares Nokia E7 with 360 x 640 resolution to a cheap toy with 240 x 320 resolution.

Based on the image in the article it is also obvious that the reporter didn't bother to update the operating system to the latest version, Symbian Anna. It is a very easy over the air update.

It's quite disappointing to realise that PCWorld no longer has any quality controls in place before releasing their articles.

Anna Belle

2

The article mentions "the Symbian operating system - Nokia's own OS which it has recently abandoned in favour of Windows Phone 7".

About three weeks ago Nokia released to distribution new version of Symbian, Anna, and last week they announced the next release after that, Symbian Belle, which will be available before the end of the year. At the same time Nokia also announced 3 new phone models which will run Symbian Belle. All existing Symbian^3 mobiles can be easily upgraded with Anna (now) and with Belle when it becomes available. Both Anna and Belle contain major improvements to the OS. And Nokia has also promised to support Symbian at least until 2016. I find this quite a strange way to "abandon" an OS. Compare it to the way how a certain other mobile OS abandons the old models every time, even when releasing just a point release.

Instead of informing the readers about the relevant facts PCWorld rather have us thinking that Nokia has abandoned Symbian. The obvious question is whether PCWorld wants to mislead us deliberately or whether it is just another case of utterly incompetent reporting. If I performed my day job as incompetently as the reporter who wrote this article, I would be out job very quickly.

Rick

3

I love the slams by everyone these days against Nokia. Why would anyone prefer a well made quality product over a cheaper one?

Years before I have been through phones from Motorola, LG, etc... and each time prayed for my contract to end. Yet now, I can scroll through my Nokia 8801 and look at pictures from my son's fourth birthday, which I bought well before that. He's nine and a half now. I can also go through my Nokia N95 8GB and look at pictures, play videos, listen to music from 2007. Oh, and not to mention, I can scroll through my contacts from 4 - 5 years ago too and call them on the phone.

Of all the phones I have had before, the lifespan of these two phones are more than twice the lifespan of any of my others. So while others might opt for a Samsung Galaxy, I hope they learn to back up their contacts often, because I am willing to bet that phone won't last more than one or two years.

As for me, I am going to purchase a E-7. I want a phone that prevents me from posting "HELP!!!! MY PHONE CRASHED AND I LOST ALL MY DATA AND CONTACTS!!!" on Facebook and Twitter. After all, if you are in business, your contacts are quite valuable and odds are your'e not going to be depending on a backup plan through Facebook and Twitter.

I'll leave the games and app toys to the children, along with the cheaper phones (both in monetary terms and quality) they can afford along with two year commitments. Odds are they will be buying a new model after that! Doesn't make much business sense to me though.

Oeo

4

Nokia flogging is fashion of the day. The only flaw in this phone is sub-par mail for exchange. All other features are rock-solid. From my bush walks experience, I can say Nokia phones always prove life savers as they remain connected while other phones including the much hyped iphone start flashing no signal signs. Don't where the price of $1299 is from. Vodafone web site quotes a price of $999. Parallel import outlets are selling this phone for $700. I am keen to learn how a Samsung Galaxy Mini is faster performing whereas user-friendly aspect is purely subjective.

arnuxii

5

Amazing all these Nokia fans, I guess they haven't tried anything else.
I had a n73 then a samsung omnia running symbian.
The whole user experience with these phones is just terrible.
I now have a xperia x10i running android and and I would never be silly enough to go back to Nokia.
The user interface, product support, the apps store. Everything is much much better.
You don't have to take my word for it, just look at what is happening to the smart phone market..who is winning and who is losing. Nokia is losing for a reason.

Anonymous

6

For phone reviews, there are better places out there to find them, with more comprehensive and objective commentory.

Pcworld is the last place you should look for them. The E7 was annouced in Sep 2010 and available shortly after. Why wait 1 year later to review a product? Is this the lag that we should expect from pcworld?

Disappointed

8

This is such a poor review. Having got fed up with work iphones and my LG Android I bought one of these recently for NZ$550, new with warranty - no-one would imagine paying the price you quote. Symbian bashers you seem to be - there is nothing wrong with the OS - the OS is fine, the OS is actually good - remember, depends what you buy it for - for messaging and mail, this is superb, and the keyboard is great - I don't have dainty fingers and find most phones a total pain. Having office/PDF/zip/security etc work right out of the box is what I wanted. As a phone, it is without doubt the best I have ever used - call quality and signal retention where I am is comparatively brilliant. Updated to Anna in a flash and the browser etc is great. I don't care about the camera (although its fine, and actually really good for video) or about apps/widgets. The screen is superb - clearblack trumps all I've tried, when viewed in the real world outdoors etc - plus, free offline Nav and maps for everywhere that actually works well! - you've been mean to this phone!

anna

9

well is right nokia is slow as snails and bit unfinished but i paid the price for keyborad and well cant even say that is Nokia world quality had to send it afte 2 months using to repair !!!!

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