We first saw the Nokia E7 last September at Nokia World and it has taken around six months for the phone to finally appear, during which time there's been an annoucement that Nokia will be using Windows Phone 7 within a year.
If that's the case Nokia E7 may well be be among its last Symbian-powered phones. Don’t get too emotional, now…
Nokia E7: Build
This handset combines all of Nokia’s current strengths and weaknesses. Made from anodised aluminium, it’s a well-constructed, chunky, slider. Those elements have a reassuringly old-fashioned feel to them. Although the slider is exceptionally stiff to fold out.
When you do there’s a full QWERTY and although the keys are a little flat, they are a good size and well spaced. You really need to hold the E7 with two hands though, and even then the phone feels oversized for long periods
The outside of the phone includes HDMI, a 3.5mm jack and a very uncomfortable volume control. The sum card slides into the side of the phone and there’s 16GB internal memory
Nokia E7: Symbian v3
Giving less of a warm, nostalgic glow d an operating system that feels archaic next to Android, iOS or WP7. Symbian is not a pleasure to use.
Like the N8 it runs Symbian v3, which while superior to previous versions, is still far less intuitive than others. Press the main control button once to return to the menu or hold it down to view tabs showing all open applications, but it could really do with a back button, sometimes just trying to do simple things like going back in the browser or get the web navigation bar up takes several clicks.
There are three homescreens you can customise with widgets and apps, but it lacks the free-for-all customisation of Android and Apple OS, so you have to put apps in specific positions. Social networking is handled via the Social Live widget, which pulls together your Twitter and Facebook feeds, which is adequate, but less user-friendly than HTC Sense on Motoblur
The range of apps at the Ovi Store remains of lower quality and quantity than at Android Market or the Apple App Store, although the Store itself is simple enough to use and integrates well. We should mention Nokia Maps though; this free turn-by-turn GPS option is a bonus for Nokia users.
Nokia E7: Performance
Unlike the 1GHz processor on the N8, the E7 runs a 680MHz processor that’s noticeably slower than rivals. We loaded a series of websites over our home WiFi on this, the Apple iPhone 4, HTC Incredible S and Blackberry Bold 9780 and it was the slowest by a long way, loading T3.com in 32 seconds – a full 19 seconds slower than the HTC Incredible S.
Multi-touch isn’t particularly good either, its not terrible, but lacks the responsiveness of the HTC Incredible S.
Nokia E7: Screen
The four-inch screen’s resolution is only 640x360, so movies lack the detail of the Incredible S or iPhone 4. However being AMOLED, it does produce excellent contrast areas and off-angle viewing is excellent.
Video sound is loud and clear too, although when playing back music there’s distortion at high volumes and our preference was to use Loudness and Stereo Widening On. Connect to a HD TV and you can also benefit from Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.
Nokia E7: Camera
The E7 does have one killer feature and that is its eight-meg/720p camera. It’s only phone with a dedicated shutter, use the defaults colours are a bit saturated, but a quick tap of the Settings icon to quickly access a good selection of scene modes, Face detection, White balance, sharpness, ISO and Contrast. Disappointingly the flash is LED, which is adequate, but not as powerful as the HTC Incredible S.
Video is excellent; at maximum 1280x720 resolution quality is excellent, detailed, sharp and colourful, and smooth.
Nokia E7: Battery
With WiFi for some of the day, moderate browsing and some texting and calls we had to charge the E7 every evening.
Nokia E7: Verdict
We’re disappointed by the E7, it feels like a phone from a few years ago. Elements that are good- like the screen, build and camera – are negated by the less-than powerful processor. The E7 is hard to recommend to anyone other than die-hard Nokia fans and even then we’d say go for the N8 instead, which is £200 cheaper, faster and more powerful, with a Xenon flash and XVID support.
Nokia E7 launch date: Out April 2011, link Nokia
Nokie E7 price: £499 sim free