Posted by: jjarmasz | August 11, 2011

One week with the Nokia E7: Some quick thoughts

So it’s been a week with the E7 from WOMWorld/Nokia and I thought I would share some quick impressions. As I am quite familiar with Symbian (my main phone is a Nokia N8) I will focus mostly on hardware here. I will post a more complete evaluation, including my thoughts on the “should you get this device” question, then.

The things I am really liking so far:
-The 4 inch, Clear Black Display screen. Even though it’s the standard Symbian 640 x 360 resolution, the bigger size really makes a difference compared to the N8, which seems tiny by comparison now. I’m finding I can use smaller fonts and cram more onto the screen quite comfortably, and the visibility under all light conditions is great. The screen also seems somewhat immune to finger prints — maybe it’s oleophobic? And it feels like the screen makes up a proportionally larger area of the “face” of the device than the N8 – it feels like you have more screen, so to speak.

-The keyboard is superb, it really does live up to expectations. Great key spacing, layout, tactile feedback, few mis-types, and it provides some extra functions that make life easier sometimes while writing messages or web browsing, like the ctrl- key functions (e.g. cut-and-paste). I love using it. I’m again writing this post on the E7. Typing for a prolonged time is not a problem with this thing.

-The flip-up screen form factor is great. It makes holding the device in landscape orientation to watch videos or browse the web quite convenient. When I put it down on my desk, the screen is propped up at a good angle, making pecking away at the screen to scroll a page quite nice. I know some people found the hinge stiff, but I’m able to flip the screen open one-handed as I used to do with my N97 – you just have to push down on the edge of the screen as you push it out! I also found the flip-up screen to be nice for game. I don’t play many games, but playing Angry Birds with the screen flipped up is surprisingly confortable.

-Sounds quality: I’m kind of picky with sound quality, and I was impressed by the quality of the music through headphones without resorting to equalizer adjustments (which is harder to do in the “new” Symbian anyway – but that’s a story for another time.) The speaker is quite loud and clear, great for listening to podcasts at home.

Things that are headscratchers but that haven’t been a problem for me:
-The camera: yes, surprisingly perhaps for an N8 owner, I haven’t been too bothered by the E7’s camera’s EDoF optics. But that’s because I haven’t needed to take any macro or low-light shots yet. For most common situations, the E7 does relatively well. And the video capture is great. So not too many complaints so far. It’s something I could maybe live with – maybe…

-The sliding volume button: it’s… different. It took some time to get used to it coming from the more standard volume rocker. It’s easier to use if you have fairly long nails. I found it better than the rocker in one respect: when recording video, it lets you zoom in and out without making the device shake up and down.

-Lack of expandable storage: this device really should have a removable micro SD card. I know the internal 16Gb mass memory will be enough for me on this trial, but normally I would want more space for podcasts, videos and photos. Fortunately, for getting files onto the device, I like to use bluetooth transfer, or a nice cross-platform app called Dukto that lets you transfer files between devices (including desktops) over your home wifi (the Symbian version is available on the Ovi store).

-I miss the FM transmitter from my N97 and N8, for beaming podcasts to my kitchen radio, but the built-in speaker is good enough that I haven’t misssed the transmitter too much.

Things that annoy me:

-The device feels quite heavy and a bit unwieldy in the hand. At least in my small hands. I haven’t had trouble reaching areas of the screen as I thought I might, but the device’s overall heft and weight constantly make me feel like I have to be careful how I hold it. I like the feel of my N8 in the hand better, partly because of the weight and size, but also partly beacuse of the extra straight edges (like at the camera island). I actually find holding the E7 up to my ear for long phone calls a bit uncomfortable.

-I am quite disappointed with the battery life on this phone. I charge it every night and I still have had to top it up at least once before returning home from work, and sometimes a second time before the evening is done if I’ve had to make a few phone calls. I usually have email going all day, listen to some music or a podcast during my commute, browse the web and check twitter a few times a day, a usage pattern that usually sees me through to the evening with my N8. I realize this pattern is not uncommon for smartphones with screens this size, but I don’t like it, and on a device this large and heavy and which suggests so much power with its luxurious build quality, I find this quite unsatisfactory. Nokia should have really found a way to include a bigger battery.

The two points above almost made me put my SIM back into my N8 for the first couple of days with this device! But I stuck it out, and now I am finding that the other features of the device are really growing on me. It is quite a nice device, the hardware and build quality are great, and as I said before, Symbian works for me so I have no complaints to voice about the software at this stage. I am really enjoying the E7 so far – but would I keep it if I could, or buy one? Or recommend one to friends?

Check out my next post, in about one week’s time, to find out…

Picture taken with the E7

Picture taken with the E7

Picture taken with the E7

Picture taken with the E7

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Responses

  1. […] a familiar user of Symbian, jjarmasz from Cucumber Sandstring wanted to give us his initial thoughts on an E7 he has been testing – given he has an N8 and is familiar with the software, it’s the […]

  2. […] less of a negative than I expected. And the keyboard and screen were just great, as I mentioned in my previous post about the E7. What really disappointed me about the E7, as I also said before, were the weight of […]


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