This is a short hopefully helpful review to all those who are thinking of getting this much-hyped “mini-communicator” from Nokia. The phone i have has the latest firmware, which was released on June 2nd (thanks Anteuz), and is called 110.48.125.
This was a much anticipated phone, which will, along with the soon-to-be-released N97 replace the current E90 and older series of Communicators. These devices are smaller, slide-out keyboards, and they are generations faster. Memory is greatly increased, as well as the selection of available applications, at least when we compare to the older S80 communicators (9300, 9300i, 9500). S60 is a good platform nowadays, there are loads of apps available, and what with Nokia’s new Ovi store (to compete with the Apple app-store for the iPhone), access and searching is easier than ever.
But down to the nitty-gritty. The phone has an otherways sturdy metal chassis, and weighs in at 139 grams, and is a bit bigger than a standard candybar-format we’re used to. The screen is of high-quality, although i’ve heard a lot of reports that screen is put on too tight or something, and is the number one reason for DOA’s and service-calls. I’ve had no problems so far, and i’ve had it about 2 weeks. The resolution is a common 240×320, and the screen can be flipped to “widescreen”-mode by turning the phone around/pulling out the slide-out keyboard.
This is one of the big caveats of this phone. The slide-spring feels robust, but the slide out part itself (the screen slides out from the rest of the phone, revealing the qwerty), feels very weak and plasticky. You’d expect that with a 469€ phone (verkkokauppa.com price of today), you’d have like.. quality craftmanship. I have no doubt, that with longer use, the spring will become loose, and/or the entire lid will break off as result of some mechanical fatigue. I just don’t trust phones with moving parts.
The software is Symbian S60, version 3.2 FP2 (feature pack). The FP includes the latest version of the flash player for the web browser, and probably the support for the flippable-screen and slide functions.
It has a motion sensor, which allows you to just turn the phone to flip the screen. This can be turned on or off, depending on how you like it. The sensor isn’t perfect, and the software has a few bugs, notably that the screen is left in the wrong position, and you kind of have to tilt it back and forth to get it to wake up. Another feature i haven’t tested with the new firmware is: if you boot the phone lid open, it’ll start in the wrong position by default. I’ll have to try it.
Speed is pretty good for a Symbian phone, which are notoriously slow, overall. The latest firmware (this was the first release since the factory version), improves the speed further, and it’s now at a rather comfortable level, at least if you are used to other, older, symbian phones.
The top numpad, the regular keypad, is really sucky. It’s one of the main reasons not to get the phone. Don’t kid yourself with the qwerty! While it’s good, it doesn’t replace by any means, the regular numpad. You’ll still use it to answer phone calls, and type out numbers and set the keylock on or off. Honestly. If you don’t hit them, spot on, you’ll be clicking like a raving madman just to get the keylock on. I’m not shitting. The buttons are made of hard, slick glossy plastic, that has no feel to it what so ever.
As i mentioned, the qwerty is good, has a good feel, and you have access to the characters easily either through shift or the function button. The only thing i missed was a dedicated å button since i type swedish sometimes. But it’s not a big drawback.
Battery life is standard. I talk a lot, use e-mail, sms and web. I use most features daily, since i need to for work. The battery lasts about two days in this usage, which is average for these phones. I won’t get in to standby, because Nokia always lies, and i’m not able to test it. Battery is a BL-4U.
Connectivity. The phone offers 3.5G (i.e. HSDPA here in europe), WLAN, Bluetooth with the latest profile, and micro-usb connector. It also has a standard 3.5mm plug for headphones and other accessories. MicroSD card, with a 4GB card bundled in Finland at least. Has GPS, FM-radio. The E75 (and other new Symbian phones) now have integrated e-mail with support for Microsoft Exchange, so it integrates fairly effortlessly to your company email system. The only thing which is totally un-intuitive, is syncing anything except email. If you want to sync calendar, tasks or contacts, you have to set that separately (not unlike the regular mail for exchange, which has everything within the one account). Also, you can set the thing in a number of places, and the difference of these has yet to dawn on me. You can either do it inside the E-mail menu-item, or from the applications themselves. For instance, in calendar, there is a setup item called “Associated mailbox”, where you can select your mail account. So what the hell? Which is it? I’m sure the fucking manual has it, but this stuff is supposed to be idiotproof if it’s to hit it big in business environments.
I can say this from experience: users are not smart.
My favorite feature: OTA upgrade of the firmware, and the new UDP feature. UDP, user data preservation, preserves your settings and data as you do the upgrade. No more clumsy backups and worries when updating! OTA allows you to get the firmware patch from nokia’s servers directly to the phone. No more data cables/bluetooth and nokia software update. Makes installing phones here at work a lot faster. The patch i downloaded was only about 6 megs, and didn’t take much longer than 5 minutes to download and install. You can also download, and chose to install later.
Most hated feature: The god damn numpad sucks ass. I might actually consider this without that crappy numpad.
Conclusion Would not buy this or recommend it, because really, a phone this expensive should be a bit better, with more attention to detail. If you get it for free at work, or somehow get used to the numpad, i guess it’s alright. It has just about everything a phone needs today. If you are a gadget-freak like me, you’ll like all the features, but you’ll be ticked off about the minor caveats.