By December 31, 2009

Nokia E72 Review

Back in June 2008 Nokia released the E71 which has been a massive success in most parts of the world. Will the new and improved version, the E72, continue that success? Read on to find out what I thought of it and more importantly if you think you will like it.

Is it a good alternative to a BlackBerry or the other front facing QWERTY devices?

E72-angled-left

Nokia E72

 

What’s in the box:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Plastic Case/pouch (non belt clip)
  • Headphones
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Wrist Strap

Please check out Matt’s unboxing video  to see the Nokia E72 in action.

 

The ten second review:

Device: Nokia E72

Price: £399.99

Summary: A hardcore messaging device with a superb QWERTY keyboard.

Best of: 3G, Wi-Fi, Keyboard, GPS< Camera.

Worst of: Symbian OS, Web Browser

 

 

Nokia E72 Specification:

  • Dimensions: 114 x 59.5 x 10.1mm
  • Weight: 128g
  • Battery: Capacity: 1500 mAh
  • Talk Time: 12.5 hrs
  • Standby Time: 576 hrs
  • Display: 320 x 240 pixels/2.36 inch
  • 2G: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
  • 3G: 900/1900/2100 (Tri-Band)
  • Camera: 5 mega-pixels (auto-focus)
  • LED Flash
  • FM Stereo Radio (RDS)
  • Visual Radio
  • Nokia Music Store
  • SMS / MMS (with video)
  • E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange)
  • Memory: 250MB (internal)
  • microSDHC (external)
  • microUSB
  • Nokia 3.5mm AV connector
  • Bluetooth (2.0)
  • Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
  • AGPS
  • Electronic Compass
  • Nokia Maps

 

 

 

General:

The top of the Nokia E72 houses the 3.5mm headset jack as well as the power button.

E72-top

Nokia E72 Top

 

On the left side is the MicroUSB slot and also the MicroSD card. Both are covered with plastic doors.

E72-left

Nokia E72 Left Side

 

The right contains the up/down volume rocker and also a voice command button.

E72-right 

Nokia E72 Right Side

On the back of the device you will find the camera lens and flash and also a speaker grill.

E72-back

Nokia E72 Rear

The front of the Nokia E72 is how you would expect a messaging device to look. Jam packed with buttons.

E72-front

Nokia E72 from the front.

 

 

Highlights:

  • Connectivity
  • QWERTY Keyboard
  • GPS
  • Design

 

Lowlights:

  • Operating System
  • Web Browser

 

Review:

 

Without doubt the Nokia E72 is a nice looking handset. I have always been a big fan of front facing QWERTY devices and this one is no exception. The combination of black plastic and shiny metal really give the Nokia E72 a quality look. The metal battery cover is quite unique as its silver and not black like on most phones. The Nokia E72 is a business tool and its snazzy design will be well suited to business professionals. The device feels very well built. It feels fairly heavy in the hand but sturdy and robust. It almost feels a bit odd as its so thin at only 10.1mm but that odd feeling is a good thing.

As well as the full QWERTY keyboard, the Nokia E72 has a further eight hardware keys under the screen.

E72-keyboard

Nokia E72 Keyboard

 

These comprise of two soft keys directly under the screen which select the onscreen options. Under these are four shortcut buttons. These are home, calendar, contacts and email. Finally under the shortcut keys are the call send and end. The buttons themselves are a softer plastic than the QWERTY keyboard keys and require very little pressure to press. They feel nice to use. Between all these keys is the optical track pad. I was pleasantly surprised by this as to look at it I just thought it was a D-pad which would allow for up/down/left & right with a select button in the middle. I was wrong. The centre is a proper optical track pad so you have two options for navigating the screen. You can either click up/down/left/right on the hard outer rim of the pad or use the inner optical part like a mouse so this will allow for diagonal movement. Handy in the web browser me thinks. Nice work Nokia.

Most users of the Nokia E72 will be getting the device for the QWERTY keyboard. Any what a nice keyboard it is. The keys are very similar in size to the ones found on the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The plastic keys are softer and require less pressure to make them click, however typing on the BlackBerry 9700 feels a wee bit easier and I think this is due to two features. The first of these is that the keys on the Nokia seem to be flat where as on the BlackBerry 9700 each key has a slight divit giving the feel that there is a bit more space between each key. The second difference I noticed is the materials used. As the keys on the Nokia E72 are a softer plastic they are not as shiny and for this reason I find that my thumbs seem to glide a bit better on the BlackBerry. Small differences I know but that’s what we are here for, to help highlight the small differences between devices.

Comparisons aside I cant actually fault the keyboard on the Nokia and I was able to use it as easily and mistake free as on my other devices. I have not used the Nokia E71 so its hard for me to say if its better or worse but what I can say is its real sweet!

 

The Nokia E72 runs Symbian Series S60 third addition and although extremely popular I really don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, it works but I just find it a bit dated compared to other operating systems out there at the moment. One of the reasons its so popular is that a lot of users don’t even know they are using Symbian. They just think they are using a Nokia!

The home screen on the device gives quick access to a lot of features.

E72 HS

Nokia E72 Home screen

 

As you will see in the picture above this home screen is not bad in terms of how easy it is to scroll and access these features but cosmetically it is really not nice. If you compare this screen to Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone and even BlackBerry it really is not as attractive to look at. Such a shame as the device itself is so snazzy to look at yet it is let down by the home screen.

So lets now have a look at the Nokia E72s main features and see if they are good as they should be?

Within the main menu of the E72 is the media tab. Entering gives you a list of a further ten tabs. These are radio, media player, music store, recorder, gallery, camera, share online, realplayer, video centre and music search.

The media player is where you can listen to music. The music interface is straight forward and nothing special. I was expecting a decent sound quality from the Nokia E72 and I was not wrong. The headphones supplied with the device are really good and the “Metallica test” was a big success. It was loud, crisp and bassy, just the way I like it. There is also an equalizer so you can tweak the sound settings to your liking. Good job Nokia!

The added bonus with the music player is that you can use your own headphones if you want. The Nokia E72 comes with a 3.5mm headset jack. Cool!

The gallery option allows you to view photos and video clips. Again this was a decent area for the E72. Although not the biggest screen the images were crisp and bright and scrolling between them was simple with the optical pad. Watching video was also pretty good. The screen is vibrant and radiant producing a respectable viewing experience. Out of the box you will be limited to the video formats you can watch but a different video player can be downloaded which will allow for DivX support.

 

Its great having the Nokia Music store at your fingertips. I had not tried it before but it looks pretty good. Its easy to use and the prices are reasonable, on par with iTunes. In addition if you do have a large music collection on the device then the music search feature will be handy. Once launched you just say the name of the artist or track and the device finds it for you. Clever.

 

Onto the web browser. Browsing on a non touch screen device is never my favourite experience but I will give the Nokia E72 a fare crack of the whip.

I found the browser on the E72 to have good bits and bad. The positive bits were that the pages seemed to load quickly and scrolling down the page was extremely fast therefore allowing you to get to the bit you want. The device comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi so you can have the best download speeds available. On the downside, i could not get the browser to display the web page so I could see the whole of the page from left to right. This meant if i was reading something I would have to keep scrolling to the right to get to the end of the sentence. I could not put up with that on a daily basis. The browser overall performed well though and people that have not used a touch screen device will most likely not be as frustrated with it as I was.  I actually prefer browsing on my BlackBerry Bold 9700 to the E72. Sorry Nokia!

 

Business users of the device will be pleased that their is an Office section within the menu. Here you can create notes, view PDFs, use a dictionary and calculator but the best bit is QuickOffice. On previous Symbian handsets I have reviewed it has required a paid upgrade to create word and excel documents and I was expecting the same on the E72. How wrong I was. I opened the app and straight away created both a word doc and excel. A worthy bonus all round. 

 

With that nice QWERTY keyboard, messaging is one of the main things I would imagine is top of the list of features that prospective buyers of the Nokia E72 will be looking at. Its easy peasy to use on the E72. SMS is obviously straight forward but so is email. When you first start the device it will prompt you to input an email account and once that’s done you are up and running.

How does messaging on the Nokia E72 compare with other platforms?

Windows: Its certainly on par with Windows Mobile although I do prefer the interface on WinMo.

Android: Android is better and not only with Gmail.

iPhone: iPhone is better again but no option here for hardware keyboard.

BlackBerry: Silly question. The BlackBerry wins hands down!

 

So overall messaging on the Nokia E72 is adequate but certainly not the best. It works flawlessly but its not as simple to use as some of the other platforms.

 

Nokia normally do a reasonable job with the cameras on there devices and the 5MP camera on the E72 was pretty good. It was dead easy to use and the settings and options were simple. It was really just a case of point and shoot. It does not have the nicest camera interface but the sample shots I took were of decent quality (please bare in mind I had no sunshine to test it out with!) For indoor and low light shots the Nokia E72 comes with a LED flash which did a respectable job.

09112009013 09112009010

Nokia E72 camera test. With flash on the right image.

 

Conclusion:

The Nokia E72 is a nice phone. It could be a lot better if it was not running Symbian but that’s just my opinion. If you are a Nokia user already you will love the E72 and be very happy. Is it as good as the other front facing QWERTY devices out there at the moment? I would probably say so, apart from the BlackBerry smart phones. I think if you want the ultimate messaging device the the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is still the best, but not everyone will agree with me!

 

Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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