Friday, July 23, 2010

Nokia E72 mini-review

The E71 released two years ago was one of the best mobile winners of all time. It was classed as a business phone but looked sexy, was thin and productive. Naturally its successor, the E72 had plenty to do if it was to ever match it.

The E72 retains the same overall dimensions of the E71. The look has changed slightly. I still prefer the overall bold design of the E71, but grew to appreciate the more conservative look of the E72. The use of stainless steel in most parts are a huge welcomed and the E72 has the same robust feel as the E71 and N97 Mini. At 128g (including battery), the E72 is satisfyingly hefty.

Naturally the E72 is powered by Symbian OS 9.3 Series 60 Third Edition (with feature pack 2) interface. Say what you like about this now dated UI, it works well for a none touch phone. Name me one single none-touchscreen smartphone UI that works just as good as this? Everything felt fast and accessible within a couple of face buttons away.

If there is one regret with the E72's software, I wished Nokia had ported some of the new cool features from their other S60 phones like the new contact bar. This may be a business phone, but that does not mean it is only used by boring people. It also lacks any social media applications out of the box, which is frankly a shame in the year 2009 when it was released.

Inside the E72 runs a 600Mhz processor, far quicker than the one on the N97 Mini, which proves more than adequate for S60. I am able to run multiple applications concurrently with hardly any slowdowns. 71MB of RAM is made available on boot, about 25MB more than my E55. This should be enough for most serious multi-taskers.

Other hardware features include built-in GPS receiver (with Assisted technology), accelerometer, magnetometer, digital compass, active noise cancellation (this works extremely well at cancelling noise out based on my tests), WiFi 802.11b/g, HSDPA 10.2Mbps and a new 5 MP camera.

I can't say I liked the optical trackpad much. It was a nuisance to use on my old Samsung Omnia and on Blackberry devices, and it was a nuisance to use here. But then again I even find trackpads to be unusable on notebooks (I am more of a trackpoint kind of guy). Fortunately turning it off is easy and you can use it like any good normal d-pad. Mind you the trackpad does have its one great use, as a camera shutter button for focusing. It works great. Shame it doesn't work just as well on others.

The four row QWERTY keypad on the other hand is a joy to use. Tactile feedback is good enough and the keys are well spaced and sized. Naturally if you have larger fingers you may beg to differ, but it works well in my palm. I still dislike the unnatural method of accessing numbers and symbols, but there is only so much space available on the E72 that a compromise had to be made. Still it is easily one of the better keypads around, and one I actually enjoyed using far more than the one on the N97/N97 Mini and even the five row keypad on the Touch Pro 2.

The battery life was impressive on the E72, not surprising considering it is powered by Nokia's hero battery, the 1500mAh BP-4L. We got about 2-3 days of average use per charge or almost one full day with it connected continuously to 3.5G (Gravity in the background refreshing every couple of minutes).

The 5 Megapixel camera performs well when there is good light. The lens support both auto-focusing and macro and is light years ahead of the primitive 'EDoF' (fancy word for fixed focus) lens on my E55. The web browser is good but the lack of high resolution screen lets it down. It is best to install the free Opera Mini 5 or Mobile 10. Ovi Maps is free on the E72, but the GPS receiver isn't the most sensitive out there. Turn on A-GPS and it takes seconds to get a fix, turn it off and it takes tens of minutes! The music player on the other hand is as good as it gets on the E-series, that is it has great sonic output capable of replacing your average DAP.

All in all, we liked the E72. Jennifer has had it longer than me (I was happy with my E55), and she loved the compactness and speed of it far more than her Symbian touchscreen phone. S60 may be showing its age, but it is still a robust quick OS with plenty to offer. Sure it doesn't have eye candy icons or other silly stuff, but it works well. E71 users may find very little reasons to upgrade, but if you are in the market for a none-touchscreen QWERTY phone with a similar form factor to a classic Blackberry, the E72 may just be the phone for you.

Thanks to WOMWorld/Nokia for the trial.

If you have any questions, please ask.


Avi said...

simple and nice review
good work ;)

Jon said...