Possibly the last E series device based on the Symbian platform.
The Nokia Communicator could arguably be referred to as the Granddaddy of the Smartphones. I remember being the proud owner of the 9110 and the 9210 that, if not a smartphone, certainly made other phones around it feel a bit dumb. Nokia transitioned the communicator into what we know today as the E series.With us today, we have the latest and probably the last symbian based handset the E series will see before Nokia moves on to the Windows platform.
I received the E7 from Nokia in a slightly different manner than I have gotten their previous handsets. Instead of the PR agency shipping the product to me, Nokia invited me to their office and gave a short 15 minute one-on-one session describing some of the qualities and features of the E7. Since I had already reviewed the N8 some time back, there wasn’t much that was new to me in Nokia’s briefing.
Packaged in the very familiar blue box that is somewhat associated with Nokia now, the E7 comes with a USB host and and HDMI cable along with the charger and the headset, which, like the one bundled with the N8, is better than the average crap that most vendors ship their handsets with. A standard USB cable is also provided to connect the E7 to your computer. Two things that you generally see bundled in Nokia devices but lacking on the E7 are a microSD card and battery. The E7, like the iPhone, comes with a non user replaceable battery and a built-in non-upgradeable storage.
The Nokia E7 is a pretty big device that, at least in my hands, feels a bit uncomfortable. At 123.7×62.4×13.6mm and weighing 176g, its even larger than the HTC Desire Z that I had recently reviewed and complained about as far as the size is concerned. I would like to point out that the E7 does have a slightly larger screen 4” screen compared to the Desire Z’s 3.7” screen. Like the N8, the front of the E7 only has one button at the bottom although conveniently centered instead of being on the side. Above the screen is a front facing camera.
The top of the device, when held in a portrait mode has the USB connector, HDMI output, a power button and the 3.5mm audio connector. I don’t think this is the ideal location for t heUSB port and I’ll explain why just a tad bit later. On the right side, you have the SIM car tray that slides out and below it you have an extremely uncomfortable volume rocker. Not sure why Nokia simply didn’t use volume buttons like every other device. Lastly, you have a single step camera button on this side as well. Nokia kept the bottom side free of connectors and there’s only one on the left side- a switch to lock and unlock the device.
Construction quality on the E7 is the same as the N8 which means its pretty well built. The anodized aluminum casing that Nokia uses gives the phone and extremely slick and solid feel. The biggest difference between the E7 and the N8, as far as the form factor is concerned, is the slide out keyboard. You pop the the keyboard out by pressing upward from your two thumbs positioned on the center of the device. I found mechanism of opening the keyboard not as smooth and easy as I would have liked. In fact, I had to struggle quite a few times but that could possibly be me just trying to get used to it or simply because its a brand new phone that might loosen up a bit. Still, it’s not as effortless as it should be.
Sliding the keyboard also makes the screen slide up and tilt- very much like Nokia’s N97 from a couple of years back. I liked the tilt screen on the N97 and I like the one the E7. The only complain is that you cant change the viewing angle of the screen which could make it a bit uncomfortable for some people of certain heights.