The Nokia E7, or E7-00, caused quite a stir at this year’s Nokia World and is the second device (after the Nokia N8) to be powered by the latest version of the Symbian OS – Symbian^3.
We like the Nokia N8. it has features aplenty and lots of cool connectivity and storage, as well as a 12-megapixel camera. With the Nokia E7, it’s a similar ‘spec-tacular’ story with its 16:9 nHD 640 x 360 pixels AMOLED display, Symbian^3 OS, slide-out Qwerty keyboard and an 8-megapixel snapper.
If you’ve seen any videos or shots of the E7 you’ll know that it is a very similar looking device to the Nokia N8 (113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm). In fact, their anodised aluminium chassis are pretty much identical in terms of style and shape, but the E7, at 123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6 mm, is slightly larger and has that slide-out Qwerty keyboard as well.
On top of the E7 is a MicroUSB port, HDMI port, the power button and a 3.5mm jack input. The battery, like on the Nokia N8, is non-removable so users now have to slot the SIM card into a little iPhone-esque pop-out tray that’s located on the right-hand side of the device. A bit further down the right side is the device’s dedicated camera button, which activates the camera with a single press.
There is a single menu hard key on the E7, which sits on the device’s slidable display. One press of this and you’re taken to a familiar Nokia menu. Because of the location of the hard key, it’s easy to access in both Qwerty and non-Qwerty modes.
The E7, like the N8, is a good-looking device and we have to hand it to Nokia in this respect, it’s really done well on the aesthetics front. That said, it is quite large so users that want a slightly more compact device (HTC Desire or iPhone 4 size) might want to look into the Nokia N8 or the C7, which are both slightly smaller with their more pocket friendly 3.5-inch displays.
We do have one issue, though, with the E7’s design, and that’s the Qwerty keyboard’s sliding mechanism. Put shortly, it’s very difficult to open. During testing we passed it around the office to see if other people experienced similar problems to us. Needless to say, nobody managed to do it first time – it does get a lot easier with practise though, so don’t worry too much about this.
The actual mechanism behind the Qwerty slider is very robust and once you’ve got the hang of sliding it up – in the correct manner – you’ll see just how smoothly the display lifts up and floats backwards into its resting position, which is at a slight (30º-ish) angle from the keyboard.
The E7’s keyboard, as we said, is a full on Qwerty and features ever so slightly raised rubber keys that feel extremely comfortable whilst typing. That said, it isn’t perfect. For starters, typing long emails can become quite awkward after a while as the E7 is quite a long device and doesn’t sit that well in your hands. This means that you’ll occasionally fumble the odd keystroke, which did get a bit annoying.
On the plus side, it’s still a very good keyboard and after a few days of usage you’ll be banging on emails left, right and centre without even looking at keyboard – well, nearly. And even if you don’t take to the physical keyboard, the touchscreen Qwerty is just as good and easily on a par with the majority of high-end Android handsets.
Then there is that display. That 4-inch 16:9 nHD (640 x 360 pixels) AMOLED display, which is every bit as good as it sounds – blacks look intense and the brighter colours simply jump off the page. It makes watching videos and browsing the Internet a gorgeous and completely immersive experience. We have give Nokia credit here: it knows how to do its hardware.
However, the big thing with the Nokia E7 is its operating system which, in case you didn’t know, is Symbian^3 – AKA: Nokia’s latest attempt to realign itself with the likes of iOS and Android. But is it up to the challenge?
This is a difficult one to qualify, especially as lots of people don’t actually have a problem with Symbian per se, which is fair enough.
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