Nokia E72 Review: Business on the go

4. January 2010 at 19:40

Nokia E72 Review

The Nokia E72 is the successor of the award winning Nokia E71, which has been sold more than 10 million times globally. However, does the E72 have the potential to be a worthy successor to the Nokia E71? What are the pros on cons of upgrading to this device? Well sit back and lets take a look.

Main advantages:

  • Build quality
  • Battery life
  • GPS
  • WiFi
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • Compact QWERTY Keyboard
  • Form Factor
  • Active noise cancellation

Main disadvantages:

  • No dedicated camera key
  • Small QVGA screen
  • No TV-Out feature
  • Poor single LED flash

Built Quality, Size and Feel:

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The E72’s appearance is surprisingly good. Caused by the high quality materials such as the stainless steel battery cover, the chrome rim and the home keys area which is made out of black stainless steel. This fits perfect to a business smartphone like the E72 is. It measures only 11.4 x 58.3 x 10.1cm which is very compact for a fully capable smartphone and especially thin indeed. I must say though that the plastic parts of the device do make the device look a little cheap, compared to the plastic materials used on the E71, but the overall feel is pleasant and the E72 is pretty solid in the hand. So a thumbs up in this department.

QWERTY Keys:

E72 keyboard

The E72 has a full QWERTY keyboard with four rows. Due to the little amount of space available the QWERTY keys are rather small. At first it may be a little bit frustrating writing the first e-mail or text message, but after  a few days you’ll get used to them and find it strange how you coped otherwise. If you’re upgrading from the E71, you will notice that the keys have a better physical travel, and less pressure is needed to press the keys. The arched keys also have a very clear pressure point and give a good feedback. Almost each key has a second function being a symbol or a number which you can activate with either a long press or the FN button (next to the shift-key). Compared to the E71 the keyboard has been slightly remapped in order to make functions easier and more convenient for the user. The space bar has been given a torch function and the ctrl key has been situated better. Copy and pasting text is as easy as before and the clipboard will remember your copied text throughout the OS and in pretty much every application.

A few notes: Copy and paste is still not supported in web pages. Also previously on the E71 you had the ability to press the ctrl key and then c to copy, a to select all, etc. However on the Nokia E72, these functions require you to keep a hold of the ctrl key while pressing ‘C’, ‘A’, etc, and can get pretty annoying during single-handed interaction.

Navigational Keys:

Above the full QWERTY keys you have the directional-pad, left and right selection keys, the send and end keys as well as the home key and three one-touch-keys which are now a standard on all Eseries devices. The actual size of the keys is good, and there is no problem pressing them as the pressure point is well situated. For the first time, Nokia has introduced an optical navi key in the centre of the d-pad. This means that it is touch sensitive and that you can select and navigate just as well with the optical navi key. This is a great addition and gives this non-touch device the cheeky pleasure of swiping around the UI. However, you cannot scroll fast and that easily with the optical pad as you need to scroll over and over again. Instead, what Nokia could implement is the ability to scroll faster by either holding the shift key down during scrolling or by simply holding the optical navi key in the direction required. Of course, the standard d-pad can also be used in the traditional manner which works great or even better. In case you don’t like the optical navi key you can switch if of or even change its sensitivity through the options menu. Personally I would deactivate the optical navi key as it may annoy one after some time.

Nokia E72

As already mentioned the three one-touch keys allow you fast access to your calendar, contact book and your e-mail account. More over you can access even more function with a long press of each key. It’s also possible to change the function and to assign two other function to each key. This is extremely handy for serial multitaskers, as you have even more keys to start up your favourite applications from anywhere or during any application. A long press on the home key brings up all open application. For the particular ones amongst us, I would just like to mention that there is a slight light leak under the Home key. Besides this the device looks pretty sealed and refined. Finally to keylock the device, the method has been changed to right selection key plus left selection key, and is not the same method used on the Nokia E71.

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On the top of the device you have a silver power button which can also be used to change the current profile. You also have the option of switching to power saving mode, which is a great added touch. A volume rocker on the right hand side also has a voice recognition button between it that can recognise practically every application and contact with ease.

Multimedia:

E72 camera

The multimedia functionalities of the Nokia E72 are much improved from its predecessor, and in fact, bring it almost up to par with the latest Nseries handsets. The E72 is the first of the Eseries range to come strapped with a 5 megapixel camera, and although there’s no Carl Zeiss lens, the quality of the images is decent. As you hover your thumb over the trackpad, the autofocus instantly initiates and pressing the centre button will then capture your image. I did experience a few blurs to begin with, but the key here is to make sure you continue to hold the camera still until the captured image is displayed on the screen.

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The flash is also a big improvement from the E71 and the single LED is pretty powerful. Nonetheless it’s just one LED and not as bright as a Xenon flash or a DUAL LED flash. Video recording is done using a 640 x 480 resolution at 15 fps, this may sound slow compared to the current standards, but in my opinion it’s enough, especially for a business orientated mobile phone. To ensure that you have enough memory for images, videos and music you can expand the memory with microSD cards to up to 16GB.

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The speaker is now situated on the back of the device, next to the camera. I’m not sure how this will affect you guys, but for me this drastically reduced the volume of the ringtone, as many times I have my device resting on a desk. I can’t say I have missed many calls but I have missed the odd few. On top of the E72 there is a standard 3.5mm audio jack for regular headsets. The E72 also sports a Home Media Server application, which is great for showing off all your media to friends and family over WiFi onto a PC display or a TV. Note that you need to have a home media setup currently in operation with your home network, I personally use the Playstation 3 as my home media server, and it works great with this device. I can seamlessly browse photos and videos off my device onto my large TV display. However, the classic way, TV-out, isn’t supported despite a 3.5mm audio jack. We would like to see this feature implemented as this would be nice to show not only media but also word, exel, power point and PDF files on a large TV-set.

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The Nokia E72 has a 320 x 240 resolution 2.36″ TFT display, which isn’t groundbreaking to say the least, as these days 3.5″ capacitive touch-screens are available with AMOLED technologies and with WVGA resolution. However as the device is a candybar QWERTY the 2.36″ screen is ideal. I must say though, I would have loved to see the AMOLED display from the Nokia N86 here, it would have added a great touch. Nonetheless, for style or feature oriented people this is rather a no go. We hope to see a better solution with the successor of the E72.

Connectivity:

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Also in terms of connectivity is the E72 state of the art. So you can go online with either WiFi, GPRS, UMTS and also HSDPA for fast internet access on the go. The five megapixel pictures can be uploaded to Ovi or Flickr immediately and with HSUPA which will not take long. Bluetooth is of course also on board which you can use for connecting with bluetooth accessories, phones or your pc. Also you can use the microUSB cable to transfer data from the E72 to the PC or versa.

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Default E72 Browser on the left and Opera Mobile on the right. Note the header is not displayed correctly in the default browser. I tried many things but could not rectify this issue.

However, when it comes to the browser Nokia seems to be still in 2008. Although the browser shows the web pages like you know them from your desktop, it still spoils the web-experience on it. This is mainly caused by the small 2.36″ screen which also causes that one need to scroll a lot.  The browser sports some features to help the navigation such as a mini map that shows you the whole web page and marks the area you’re currently in. Other than that you can subscribe to RSS feeds and watch flash videos. Overall we consider the E72’s browser to be fine for fast web searches and for checking the latest news but not for spending lot of time browsing the web. An alternative for faster and smoother web browsing could be Opera Mobile, a  free browser.

Navigation:

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Navigating using Ovi Maps on the Nokia E72 is a very good experience. The E72 sports a built  in compass  which enable automatic screen rotation for the direction in which you are facing. This is a great feature, especially when navigating on foot, and the Nokia E72 comes with a lifetime subscription of City Explorer allowing you to use walk navigation absolutely free (may differ from country to country). Besides the regular GPS the E72 supports also A-GPS that accelerates the GPS fix. Ovi Maps is much improved with the new version 3.0 and it has some great optimizations in terms of battery life. Driving navigation is precise, and automatically adjusts the route instead of constantly telling you to turn around like it used to before. Overall the experience is good and I would happily use Ovi Maps as my main navigation tool. However as its a charged service I will continue to use alternative free solutions, and I cannot understand why, after paying hundreds of Euros for a device, this service is not free.

Business:

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Like all the other Eseries devices, the Nokia E72 comes with a full license of Quickoffice suite, allowing you to create, edit as well as read your documents on the go. It only comes with v5 not the new Quickoffice 6, but this can easily be upgraded for free by accessing the ‘updates and upgrades’ section. The Adobe PDF reader is also present along with a comprehensive dictionary, multiscanner and a zip tool. Two new additions come in the form of a WiPresenter and Font Magnifier, the latter allowing you to change the size of the default font throughout the UI, a great addition for those that find the screen small. The Psiloc WiPresenter utilizes either Bluetooth or WiFi to manage a Power Point presentation from a distance, while simultaneously displaying notes on the smartphone screen. I personally haven’t used this application yet but note that it is only compatible with Microsoft and Widcomm Bluetooth drivers.

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The E72 uses Nokia Messaging for sending and retrieving emails. Nokia Messaging helps you to set up a new email account in just a few steps. There is no need to know the IMAP server any longer but just the username and the passwort.  Lotus Notes Traveller as well as Mail for Exchange are supported by this power horse. Unfortunately, Nokia Messaging doesn’t automatically displays e-mails  in the proper HTML format. However, it gives you the option of viewing emails in  HTML format with one further click..

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With Modes you can also change between two modes, e.g work- and homemode. That means that you can customize two modes with each different surfaces with different themes, backgrounds, shortcuts and enabled applications. So you can switch between two modes with just one click and leave the work behind.

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The contact search allows you to easily and quickly search your contacts by easily typing the first letters on the homescreen. So for example if you search for Womworld, you just need to type in ‘Wo’, saving you time and the need to jump into the phonebook.

Power Management:Nokia E72 battery

The Nokia E72 comes with the same BP-4l 1500 mAh battery as the Nokia E71, however with the optimizations of S60 3rd Edition FP2, the E72 boasts 12.5 hours of talk time and a whopping 20+ days of standby. It can also play music for 37.5 hours before refueling.

The Nokia E72 comes with an environmentally friendly multi-voltage charger that helps you make a big energy savings. If you forget to unplug, this green performer uses just 10% of the standby power used by conventional chargers. With the High Efficiency AC-8 Charger you can use a charger that surpasses Energy Star v.1.1 standards and make the most of the power during charging. The E72 can utilize both the MicroUSB port and the proprietary 2 mm port to charge the device, which is a great plus, especially considering the various charging accessories you may have already purchased for your mobile handset.

Verdict:

The Nokia E72 is a strong business device with a strong battery life. It has almost every relevant business application in a very professional and classy outfit. Moreover, it sports some great multimedia features such as the five megapixel camera and Home Media Server, creating the bridge where ‘E’ meets ‘N’. Nonetheless, we are left feeling slightly disappointed of the rather old and clunky web-browser. But would we recommend this device? In short YES! If you are looking for a compact QWERTY candybar, this is by far the best device on the market today. Remember this device not only gives you that QWERTY keyboard, 5 mp camera and full Quickoffice license, but it packs it all into a device that’s only 1 cm thick, half the thickness on the N95. The E72 is currently availble for about 340€, depending on where you buy it.