Friday, June 26, 2009

Nokia E75 music review

Nokia has been making amends on their E-series of late. No longer recognising that E-series users are only made up of boring business suits, Nokia has finally removed the 2.5mm headphone jack from the newer E-series phones. Here the E75, has a bog-standard 3.5mm headphone socket that allows you to use your favourite headphone with it without the need of adapters. Still it doesn't matter if it comes with a 3.5mm socket, if the sound quality sucks then nobody will use it as a music player.

Thankfully the E75 is a very capable music phone. The bundled 4GB microSDHC card is a good start, but with maps and third party applications, you are only looking at around 2-3GB of viable storage to store your tunes on. 16GB microSDHC cards are not too expensive these days, so that would be my suggestion if you are keen on expanding the storage capacity of the E75. The E75 should support new 32GB microSDHC cards when they become more widely available.

Transferring files is an easy process as the E75 is both UMS and MTP compatible. You can drag and drop or use Windows Media Player or Media Monkey (my personal favourite) to synchronise your music library. Once you have done that, just launch the music player and wait for the application to refresh the library and build its database. The music application is pretty much a standard Series 60 bundled music player, meaning it serves its purpose and lacks the eye candy of dedicated DAP. It supports MP3, WMA, AAC and HE-AAC audio codecs, so pretty much every mainstream codecs out there.

The music player here is pretty basic. The library is sorted by artist, album, genre and composer. It also recognises standard M3U playlist file. There are no dedicated hardware music keys on the E75, so the control is limited to the d-pad (which maps itself to the on-screen keys), and volume keys on the side. The volume control is ridiculous, only allowing ten steps! My ideal listening volume would be somewhere between 30% (too low) and 40% (too loud). A 30-step volume system similar to my Sony Walkman would be ideal (firmware update please, Nokia). The music player is very boring to look at, not something I would complain as it primarily resides inside my pocket.

Because the E75 is based on the music-centric XpressMusic 5730, the E75 has the necessary hardware chipset designed for better sound quality. The SQ here is pretty good actually, easily as good as the XpressMusic 5310 and far better than my trusty E51. They sound best unequalised. I am not too sure if it is a bug, but the E75's 8-band preset graphical equaliser is pretty awful. The bass boost for whatever reason doesn't boost the bass at all, but instead makes the sound all fuzzy and digital. Fortunately you can create your own equaliser preset. Also stereo widening option is available, but I suggest avoiding that. Still, with my Sennheiser IE 8, the E75 is a very good sounding music phone. If you want more bass, create your own custom equaliser and avoid the bass boost feature.

With support for Bluetooth A2DP, the E75 is an overall competent music phone. It is great that Nokia is finally realising that there are business users out there who are as keen on music playback as they are with getting actual work done. With the E75, you get a phone that allows both. The SQ isn't as brilliant as my Walkmans (they sound too digital for my liking - I always like some colour and warmth with my music), but they are miles ahead of other previous E-series phones, and probably not too far behind their N-series phones.

Nothing will ever replace dedicated DAPs, but get a larger capacity card, replace the bundled headphones with something a bit better (check my reviews here for something that may suit your preference), EQ it a bit to suit your personal sound taste and you may just ditch that DAP for those times when travelling light is crucial.

The E75 is available unlocked for around £300 at Amazon UK and US$450 at

My extensive Nokia E75 coverage:
Nokia E75 pictures & first impressions
Nokia E75 camera review
Nokia E75 GPS review


i2ehan said...

Hey Jon,

Thanks for the wonderful review on the E75. I'm expecting my IE8's to arrive very soon, and am looking for a good music phone alternative, strictly speaking in terms of SQ, nothing else! Apart form the iPhone, which phone would you say offers the best SQ, especially coupled with high end earphones such as the IE8's?

Jon said...

The 5800 XpressMusic is said to offer SQ that rivals that of my Walkman S630 series, which is pretty darn impressive. I haven't had the chance to obtain a 5800 for long-term testing, but my initial brief time with it does confirm that it is a pretty darn good sounding phone.

cheap DSi r4 said...

if you don't want touchscreens and if you want a business phone which has other decent qualkty like music quality, nice video capability, awesome build quality and loads of apps, with an awesome qweerty keyboard; then i'll have onlh one thing to say go for it.
I've using it for 7 months no regrets at all. And i bought it by giving up 5800 xm.
So there you go! Hope i helped!