Nokia E7 is the successor to the famed communicator series of business phones, which first started shipping in 1996 with the Nokia 9000 and culminated with the Nokia E90.
But, is Nokia E7 worthy of being the successor to the famed series? Well, if we look at the phone in isolation, it has better hardware better software and better features than any of the communicators ever.
But phones don’t exist in isolation, it has to face competition. While earlier communicator series phones were the best in the industry during their time, this is not the case with E7. It is at par with most of the phones available in market.
E7 offers brilliant build quality. The design of the phone is almost the same as the Nokia N8. Though it is a bit bulkier but looks good nevertheless. Quality of material and choice of hardware is also of good quality.
The slider function of the phone works with a reassuring click and the hinge mechanism exudes confidence too. However, the slider function is a bit hard and requires quite a lot of effort. And aluminium body of the phone makes it slippery and doesn’t help the matter while opening the slider.
The phone, which weighs 176 gram, is lighter than the HTC Desire Z that weighs 180 gram despite having a smaller screen.
The phone comes with 3.5 mm jack placed on top of the phone along with a mini HDMI port, power key, and a micro USB slot with a charge indicator. At the bottom, E7 has a microphone and a single speaker.
The speaker quality is good, with no sound distortion even at the highest volume levels. However, due to the placement of the speaker, the sound gets muffled when you keep the phone on a flat surface.
On the right hand side is a SIM tray. As the there is no removable battery cover, the SIM has been placed outside the normal placement in the battery compartment.
On the same side, there is a volume slider (normal buttons would have been better), which is not really comfortable, and an ergonomically placed camera button.
On the left side of the phone there is a lone screen-locking slider, which is placed in the dead centre of the side and has excellent spring. It is easily accessible even when using the physical keyboard.
The keyboard of the E7 is really good with a nice tactile feedback which is fantastic despite the short key travel. The key spacing is also spot on.
The 4 inch AMOLED touchscreen is bright and beautiful, even in bright sun. Even though it has a mere 640 x 360 pixels resolution (what Nokia calls nHD), the images on the screen look nice and colourful. A sheet of Gorilla Glass protects the touchscreen and houses the proximity and light sensors, the earpiece, and a front-facing camera (VGA).
The E7 features almost the exact internals as the N8 including a mere 680MHz ARM 11 CPU that spoils the otherwise powerful spec sheet, a Broadcom BCM2727 GPU, 256MB of RAM, about 350MB of phone storage, and 16GB of internal mass storage. However, there is no MicroSD slot for expanding the storage capacity.
On the connectivity front you get a full list of features with 3G HSPA (7.2 Mbps), WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, and AGPS. There’s even an FM receiver. There is no Nokia 2mm charging port for legacy power sources.
The E7 also shares USB On-The-Go with its sibling, which allows it to host a number of common USB devices such as flash drives, self-powered hard drives, keyboards, and even optional accessories.
In the box you will get an USB On-The-Go adapter, HDMI adapter, stereo headset, micro-USB cable, and micro-USB charger. However, HDMI cabal has not been provided.
In our review piece, the charger was of USA standard and did not fit into our Indian standard socket (you will need an adaptor for it to fit).
The phone comes with a 1200 mAH battery, which provides close to 48 hours of battery back, when using the phone for taking some pictures, couple of hours of talking on 2G network and push mail service active and a couple of downloads. This is decent for a smartphone with similar capabilities.
E7 comes equipped with an 8 megapixel camera with Dual-LED flash. The quality of the lense and the sensor is of top notch quality. The pictures come with vivid colour, excellent exposure and minimal noise. But there is a problem, and it is the EDoF (Extended Depth of Field) lens, which keeps everything in focus all the time, making it very difficult to take close up shots.
Having a LED flash helps in taking videos as well, as you can keep it switched on continuously (which is not possible in a Zenon flash). The LED flash is powerful enough to take photos in very dimly lit places. E7 captures smooth 720p HD content at 25fps with great results. EDoF actually helps here as it supports continuous autofocus during video recording, which most phones don’t.
The Symbian v3 operating system of the phone uses is one of the biggest sore points of the phone especially when you look at it in comparison to the ever growing Android and newby Windows phone 7 (which Nokia has now adopted for its future handsets). It’s a platform which is being scrapped and if you are investing Rs 30,000, you better invest it in something which has a longer life.
There have been many upgrades to the Symbian which are both visual and functional of which the homescreen is the most evident change. It consists of three panes, which you can fill up with widgets and reshuffle as you see fit. You can delete panes you don’t need but you can’t add more than three.
When you to go to the menu screen you only get limited number of Menu buttons, which you open to access more options. This is in contrast to Android and iOS which has a scrollable menu from where you can access all the apps in a single page. It does allow you to rearrange the icons the way you please. There is also a list view of applications but Grid view is better.
The task manager shows screenshots of the running apps, instead of just icons. You need only a single click to kill them this time. As a downside, the task manager manages to fit only three apps on the screen and you often have to scroll to the one you want.
Browser of the phone is not so great, with lot of lag and is buggy. You can switch to Opera or some other browser for better experience. The contacts function of the phone is full function, searching contacts is breeze, syncing contacts with Microsoft exchange is easy too, the contact storage is virtually unlimited too.
Nokia E7 consumers can get 6 months of live access to UTV Bloomberg, CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz. Nokia has also introduced over 10,000 pieces of locally relevant content on the Ovi Store, optimized for the Nokia E7.
The Business TV App works on 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi as well and can be downloaded directly via mobile just by clicking here.
Nokia E7 is a decent phone, but for its price it doesn’t offer enough bang for your buck. While the hardware and design (looks only) is top notch, the phone feels slippery and the physical buttons like lock and volume slider are not really nice. Also, its slider mechanism, though good in quality, is hard.
The phone feels very heavy. The camera is good in quality but lacks the finesse that you expect from a phone of this price.
Symbian, being an orphaned OS after Nokia’s decision to ditch it for Windows Phone 7, doesn’t have much to lure consumers. A mere 680Mhz processor doesn’t help the matters either.
The good part about the phone is its touchscreen which is responsive and offers very clear and bright pictures even in bright sun light. The latest version of the Symbian has some remarkable improvements (its still not the best OS). The hardware also feels rock solid, with latest assortment of features and connectivity options thrown in.
If you want a Nokia only, then go for it, else there are better choices available in the market. HTC Desire, Motorola Droid, and Blackberry Torch are some of the option you have.