Nokia E75 Review

15. June 2009 at 10:46

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The Nokia E75 was launched at the Mobile World Congress 2009 in Barcelona. According to Nokia the E75 is an enlargement of the 9300 and should replace the Nokia E71 as a business-flagship device. In this review we’ll take an in depth look at the E75 and find its advantages and disadvantages.

Main advantages:

  • built quality
  • compact form factor
  • slide out qwerty-keyboard
  • connectivity features

Main disadvantages:

  • heavy
  • small display

Sales package:

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Before you can take a look at the E75 you need to unbox it. The box of the E75 isn’t really big and doesn’t look neither funky nor any special. Indeed it looks like all other E-series boxes with it’s grey shape. In its inside you can find following accessories:

  • Battery with 1000mAh (BL-4U)
  • Charger (AC-8E)
  • microUSB-cable (CA-101)
  • carring case
  • 4GB microSDHC card
  • Stereo-Headset (HS-43)
  • 3 months of free voice guided navigation
  • Bounce activation code
  • User manual & sheets

The box contains almost everything you need – from the battery, a stereo headset to a 4GB memory microSD card and a leather case. This is pretty much all you need.

Size:
Like previous E-Series devices also the E75 is really compact. It measures 111.8 x 50 x 14.4 mm and feels extremely pleasant in your hand. It’s not big and also not too small, actually it’s the a good size. However, as the E75 has a lot metallic details around it’s surface and a stainless steel battery cover it puts 139g on the libra. And indeed, you can also feel it when holding it in your hand. Compared to the 5800 and the N96 it is clearly thinner and not as wide as the two others but also much heavier.

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Keys:

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On the front of the E75 there are 25 almost flat keys. 12 of them belong to the standard numeric keypad. The 13 other keys are:

  • Left soft key
  • Right soft key
  • Red-end key
  • Green-answer key
  • Calendar key (one-touch-key)
  • Messaging key (one-touch-key)
  • Home/Menu key
  • Clear key
  • Up on the d-pad
  • Down on the d-pad
  • Left on the d-pad
  • Right on the d-pad
  • OK, the middle of the d-pad

The keys aren’t separated and the size of the keys isn’t any big but nevertheless typing is easy and fast. The pressure point is clear and you feel a nice click. The red end key works actually also as the powerbutton to turn the device on and also off. Also you can change your current profile by clicking on the red-end key.

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On the right long edge you have the volume toggle to adjust the volume or to zoom in and out. Between this toggle we have the voice command key. This one should be a little bit more raised as it is hard to click it. However, I haven’t used this function during the whole test. Then we have the capture key to record a video, capture a picture or to launch the camera-application by clicking on it for 5 seconds. Actually the positioning of the camera-key isn’t ideal as it is a little bit to much in the very middle. Having the capture button more on the right side, like all standard cameras have it,  would be much better and easier to handle.

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The one-touch-keys, messaging and calender key, are indeed pretty handy and useful. So you can jump immediately to the calendar or your e-mails. But what to do when you don’t use the calendar? No problem, you can edit the entries and personalize the keys. So you can use the calendar key as the ‘music key’ or ‘clock key’. You can even select two functions for one key ( short and long press).

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E75’s main feature is the horizontal slide out full qwerty-keyboard which many won’t expect. The keys aren’t separated and feeling on which key you are is quite hard at the beginning. The keys are compared to other qwerty devices really big and after some days of using them you will fly over the keyboard. Again, the keyboard is completely flat but this isn’t a deal. In total you have four rows. The numbers are on the upper row together with letters. By holding on the numbers for three seconds or clicking on the blue arrow you write numbers instead of letters. Same thing with symbols like €, & etc. All in all the qwerty-keyboard is excellent and writing on it with both your thumbs is easy and fast. So emailing and using twitter is a pleasure. In the middle of the keyboard there is a thing  which looks pretty gallant. This has actually no specific function.

Built quality:

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When buying a Nokia E-Series device everybody expect a high-quality processed product. And indeed, Nokia have fulfilled our wishes of such a devices and they put the E75 into a nice and precious housing.

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The batterycover is built out of stainless steel and the camera is rounded by metallic looking details. The front’s casing has metallic details and the d-pad fits also to the rest of the device. Actually, everybody I showed this phone liked its design as well as the metallic details. The slider works pretty well although the gab between the two parts could be a little bit thinner. Opening and closing it is easy with one hand. The slider is solid like a rock, no wobble at all. There is only one downside. Around the device there is a little light leak. So you can see a little light when the slider is open and when it’s dark. Besides of that there are no more issues. This is one of the best-build devices I’ve ever hold in my hand.

Multimedia:
Although the E75 belongs to the E-series it still has some nice multimedia features to offer. The 2.4” screen displays 16 million colours by a resolution of 240×320 pixel. Indoors it is extremely bright and nice and also outdoors with height sun intensity you can read the display really good. Anyway, looking at the screen you see that there would be enough space for a 2.6” screen which would fit more to that flagship device. The 2.4” display is a little bit to small for viewing videos, websites or word documents. In terms of memory the E75 comes with 50MB built in memory and a 4GB microSD card which is fine for some media.

N-Gage:

As the first E-Series device the E75 supports Nokia’s gaming platform N-Gage. Using N-Gage you can download games, trial them and if you like them you can buy these. Some games are good, others aren’t worth buying. The E75 comes with an activation code for Bounce so that you can start enjoying N-Gage immediately.

Camera:

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On the back of the E75 you can find a 3.2 megapixel (2048 x 1536) with autofocus and 8x digital zoom. As well you can find a little mirror for self portraits and a single LED flash. To open the camera application you just need press and hold the camera key for five seconds.

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Once you opened the camera application you have quite a few preferences to choose from. For example you can choose between different kind of scene modes such as auto, close-up, portrait, landscape, sports, night, night portrait and a user defined mode. This allows you to set the best mode for a certain moment. Close up is ideal for capturing intricate details of small objects between 10 and 60cm. And there is still more, a sequence mode to capture for example every 10 seconds a picture or to capture 6 and more pictures at a time. The quality of taken images is pretty fine. Well, having good light conditions pictures come out relatively well. There is no noise or blur at all and the objects are really sharp. If the light is to strong however, the colours are a little bit watched out. Of course, you cannot expect as good images as from a professional camera. Here some samples taken with the E75:

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Pictures taken at night or with low light aren’t any good. As not enough light can reach the sensor most pictures taken in dark light conditions come out pretty bad. However, using the flash or the night mode some pictures come out okay. Here further image samples:

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More over, the camera records videos in VGA quality (640×480) at 30 frames per seconds. They look fine and the quality is good enough to view them on the TV, PC or to upload them to YouTube. However, the focus is set in infinity so that close objects aren’t sharp.

Music:

The E75 comes with the standard but nevertheless powerful music player. The player is divided into artists, albums, playlist, all songs, podcast, genres and composers. On the top of the E75 you can find a standard 3.5mm audio jack which allows to plug in every headset you like. As already mentioned you have the volume toggle on the right hand side so that you can adjust the volume easily. The music quality with the provided headset is for most users fine but if you want high quality you should use other headsets e.g. a Sennheiser headset. Just like on your Computer you can create easily own playlists of all your favorite music on your E75 and also open an Equaliser to choose from 6 different modes. Than you can edit these predefined modes or even create a new one. The usage of the music-player is really easy. The player shows title, artist and if available the album art. You can also playback the music through the mono loudspeaker sitting on the back. This one isn’t the loudest but loud and good enough for the living room, bath, class room or car. The music player supports following audiofiles: AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, M4A, MIDI Tones (poly 64), MP3, MP4, RealAudio 7,8,10, SP-MIDI, True tones, WAV and WMA.

Also supported is a radio. But not a simple radio, you can choose between a FM-radio which works only with a connected headset or a internet radio with bunch of international channels. However, you should be aware of huge data traffic so ensure you’re using WiFi or you have a good dataplan.

Connectivity:

On the connectivity side of the E75 it has almost everything starting from GSM, GPRS, 3G, HSDPA, WCDMA, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR with A2DP support, WiFI (802.11b/g), GPS to microUSB. Using WiFi isn’t as hard as most might think. On the homescreen you can already search for WiFi hotspots.

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You do get a list with all WLAN networks you can select from. Select a network and you can start using this network. However, you mostly need to know the WEP-key in order to connect to a WLAN network. All other connections such as 3G work all fine. Unfortunately, I had issues connecting the E75 with my bluetooth headsets. With the 5800 and other devices it worked fine but not with the E75. This is really a pitty. Other than that, bluetooth connections to my PC or to other phones worked without any problems. To connect to the PC just use the microSD cable featuring USB 2.0 High Speed which can be used for sync, modem function, data transfer, music transfer and more.

To find always the right way the E75 features GPS (Global Positioning System) as well as A-GPS. Working hand in hand you can find Nokia Maps pre-installed. You can get the maps by downloading it straight on your device or using Nokia Maps Loader. You can navigate for free without voice-instructions. If you want to have voice-guided navigation you will need to purchase a license.
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However, Nokia have included three month of voice guided navigation so that you can test the service for three month. Of course you can also use other navigationsystems such as Route66 without problems. A GPS-fix, so the connection to enough satellites, doesn’t take long and especially with A-GPS (Assisted GPS) you can start within seconds. Nokia Maps offers a bunch of Map modes. So the Map 2D, 3D, satellite, hybrid and terrain give you a good idea of your surroundings. More over, it’s offering special eye candy with 3D landmarks in more than 200 cities in the world. These are showing mostly sights of the cities. Maps are available for more than 200 countries in the world.

Internet:

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Having WiFI, 3G, HSDPA and a full qwerty keyboard the E75 is really optimized for web browsing. The pre-installed browser is based on the same engine kit as the Safari browser on the iPhone. It can handle all sites from simple wap pages, web runtime, XHTML and HTML. Even flash videos such as YouTube aren’t problems for it.  As the screen is to small to view the whole website you can zoom in and out the pages easily and also get a map overview. Everything is displayed as you know it from your desktop computer. However, there are other browser such as Skyfire or Opera available which loads webpages much faster. Nevertheless E75’s browser is powerful even offering a full RSS-reader to subscribe to your favorite websites.

E-Mail:

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One main focus of the E75 is emailing. Coming with Nokia Messaging it will make emailing for everybody as easy as possible. There is no need for pop3 or stmp details. All you need to to is writing your email address as well as your password and everything is done. The biggest providers such as GMX, Hotmail, Google Mail and more are supported. However, if you own a  domain, like symbianworld.org, and you want to set up an email account on the E75, you need know your pop3 and stmp details.

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User of big providers are fine with the email address and password. Receiving or sending emails with attachments like songs, ZIP or office files is no problem.

Business:

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One of the main concern of the E75 is indeed business and office functions. In the menu you can find a whole office folder which contains a calculator, active notes, a dictionary, a file manager, Intranet, converter, Zip manager, Adope PDF and Quickoffice. The most powerful and advanced application is Quickoffice allowing you to read and edit Word, Exel and Powerpoint files.

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Without problems you can open office files and edit them on the go. More over, you can create office files as well.

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The calender, which isn’t in the office folder, shows you all your meetings, memos and anniversaries. You can create a detailed meeting with an alarm prior the event. More over you can choose between different views – month, daily, week, agenda and to-do.

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Switching between modes, like work and private is possible as well. So you can customize each mode with shortcuts, set email notifications of or on and activate it with just one click.

Usage:

The E75 is based on the popular operation system Symbian. It’s running on S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. Thus it’s open to 3rd party application offering you thousands of applications to download. More over, you can personalize the whole device from the homescreen until the whole menu structure. You can decide whether you want to have the homescreen completely blank, with shortcuts or whether you want to have a grid or list view in the menu. Moving around icons and creating new folders is no problem and with themes you can give your phone a final touch. However, for a new user it’s pretty tricky to find into the menu. I’ve seen a lot user pressing the navigation key to get access to the menu which is the wrong way

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After pressing the home key you can find plenty of icons and some folders. For some new users there might be to many folders and applications. The icons already say what they stand for and furthermore you can read the application’s name. Unfortunately, some icons look like application although they are subfolders you need to open to access more applications. So some applications might be hidden for the first time. The E75 has a ARM 11 369 MHz CPU which causes a nice working speed. Nice transitions, which are switched off by default, make the menu even nicer.

Other:

A handy feature to find contacts easily is contact search. The contact search allows you to easily and quickly search your contacts by easily typing the first few letters. If you search for Norman you just need to type in 6. Than you can device whether to call this person, to sent an message, to do a video call or to sent an audio message.

Verdict:

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For about 370€ on Ebay you get a compact business devices in a gentle housing. The full qwerty-keyboard might be one of the key selling points of the E75. You do get pretty much everything  you need. If you need a device, based on messaging, music or business only, you might find a better solution. But if you need an  device putting the most important feature in a compact format you are fine with the E75.