Nokia E75 vs N86 8MP

8. September 2009 at 07:00

Recently I was lucky enough to receive a trial for the Nokia E75 messaging device, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, along with a few comparison shots with the Nokia N86 8MP. The Nokia E-series range is slowly becoming more and more popular, with recent figures demonstrating more sales in comparison to the N-series, an iconic achievement indeed.

The Nokia E75 is an extremely well built device, common with all Eseries handsets. The hybrid QWERTY messenger is very compact, loaded with all the latest smartphoneware and powerful enough to see you through more than a couple of days of ‘normal’ usage. The slide out QWERTY thumb-board is very pleasurable to use. As with any device it does take a short while getting used to, but once you’ve got going, your thumbs naturally feel right at home. The E75 has 65MB of internal storage free after start-up, which allows plenty of room for installing applications and themes, and with over 62MB of free RAM, the Eseries trend setter should not be underestimated.


The T9 keypad on the front of the E75 has the same layout as the one on the N86, with the latter having more independent keys with room around each one. The E75 keys are nicely flushed to the device with line breaks to separate the keys. I had a few problems when trying to lock the keypad on the E75, I kept pressing the ‘number 7’ key instead, which did get a little annoying. The N86 has an isolated keylock switch which eliminates this issue, but the unintentional key presses don’t stop there. The shortcut keys around the dpad are not particularly user friendly either. You need to press right on the edge of the selection keys to make sure you get the application you want otherwise it will just open one of the shortcut applications.

The ‘end call’ key also doubles up as the power on/off key on the E75. A single press will bring you to the homescreen, and an additional press will open up the power menu, allowing you to switch profiles or turn the device off. It does make quite a lot of sense removing unnecessary buttons from around the device and it gives the casing a much sleeker look. The ‘*’ key has also received a bluetooth icon, allowing you  to switch bluetooth on/off with a long press.

Finally the dpad, which is very comfortable to use on both devices and provides a good satisfying feel. The E75 has a breathing light which can be used to notify missed alerts however the dpad on the N86 does not support this. Only the new S60 menu key on the N86 allows the breathing light effect.


Both devices have the slide form factor, with the N86 being a dual-slider and the E75 a side-slider. I found the slider of the N86 very solid, however, that is until I snapped the E75 open. From a nice thud on the N86 to a solid snap on the E75, the best slider I have personally experienced. It leaves a very satisfying feel, and the premium materials used to build the device give it an invincible impression.

Nokia Messaging

Nokia Messaging is an excellent service, but without going too much into the capabilities of this feature, I’ll stick to comparing the experience on the two devices. Currently I own the E71, which is a very reliable device. Email on there is handled extremely well, however the E75 manages to make the experience even better, and as it is the first device to come with Nokia Messaging pre-installed, it doesn’t take up any of the memory allocated on the device.

The full QWERTY thumboard and the mature software makes the E75 a great messaging device. Setting up your email couldn’t get any easier, simply enter the email and password and your on your way. With support for over 1000 providers, the email client on the E75 also supports a wide range of corporate email standards, such as IBM, Lotus Notes Traveller and Microsoft Exchange. Encryption is also on board, as well as mobile VPN support for connecting to a secure corporate Intranet. You can also use the service in offline mode via W-Lan which is a great added feature.

The N86 posed a few problems on initial start-up. I couldn’t get the application to work immediately, which requires an operator connection in order to initiate the service. You can only place one email service on the homescreen too, and with the current cyber-lifestyle this is simply not enough. Predictive text and error correction is done much better on the E75 too, making it a clear winner in this department.


Applications in the ‘office’ folder are the same on both devices, with the exception of active notes and the intranet, which are not present on the N86. The E75 has Quickoffice with read/write capabilities, but rumor has it that soon Eseries will not have this exclusivity and all S60 devices will get the full edit suite pre-installed.

The ‘Tools’ folder has been renamed to ‘Control Panel’, in the hope of giving the device a more computerised feel. In there is now a ‘Phone’ folder containing all the applications relevant to the core functioning of the device, including a software checker, which can periodically check for new firmwares. The folder and application re-arrangement is much better on the E75, but this is a very minor issue, as all folders and applications can be renamed and moved to any location within the menu anyway.


The Music Player of the E75 is pretty decent, even though it is one of the less anticipated features of a business device. The 3.5mm headphone jack is much welcomed allowing you to use your favorite headphones, however there is still no TV Out support, which is quite disappointing. The slick dpad compensates for the lack of dedicated multimedia keys and the support for a wide range of music formats clearly brings it into contention with the latest Nokia devices. The functionalities of the music player are similar in both devices, which also allow you to filter tracks simply by typing the song title.

Transferring media to both devices is very easy, with the options of using either bluetooth, the microUSB cable, or by ‘drag and drop’ straight onto the microSD memory card. The individual applications; Music, Photos and Video Centre are not present on the E75, instead the gallery allows you to access all media from one place. You can view images seamlessly on the E75 with a thumbnail view similar to the Ovi Share application. The E75 does not support DivX and XviD codecs, however it is not difficult to find 3rd party applications to cater for this format.

Ovi services are well integrated into the E75 too, including Share Online and Ovi Files. However, surprisingly there is no Ovi Store, and instead lies the Download application in the main menu. N-Gage is pre-installed on the E75, and its nice to see the E-series get a decent gaming platform. The application does need to be updated to the new ‘games’ before you can get anything to work properly. Despite the Nokia N86 sporting dedicated gaming keys, I must say the configured buttons were better to press on the E75, and holding the device was more comfortable too.


The Nokia N86 8MP sports an incredible 2.6″ AMOLED screen with a resolution of 240 x 360 pixels. Although the E75 has a slightly smaller 2.4″ display, the AMOLED is no match for the dated TFT.

The significance of the AMOLED display can be seen in the photos above. The colors are more vibrant and the blacks are truly black. You can also see the difference when viewing the screen from a slight angle. The N86 remains extremely vivid, while the E75’s TFT becomes washed out, making it difficult to view the content on the screen.

Final Thoughts

Both devices are excellent and cater for different markets. If you take a lot of pictures and use your device for gaming, then the 8MP camera and AMOLED screen will create a better experience for you. But if you’re not too fussed about all the eye candy and just want a device to do its job and do it well, then the E75 should not be overlooked.

So there you have it. Which device is best for you? Are you a media consumer? Or do you just like getting things done on the go?? Leave some comments and let us know what you think. Below are a few more photos of the two astounding devices and there will be more on the E75 coming soon, so stay tuned!