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The jewel in Nokia’s crown today was its E7. Introduced at the keynote as an evolution of the Nokia Communicator Series, there was a heavy emphasis on business placed on the E7’S conception and projected end use. Borrowing heavily from the other devices showcased, its aesthetics come straight from the Nokia N8 (anodised aluminium chassis) as well as its HDMI out. The E7 also takes the liberty of adding a few features to those of its counterparts, with 4 inches of AMOLED Clear Black Display covering the fascia, as well as a cavity in the device containing the landscape QWERTY when the screen is flicked out. The mechanism for the screen sliding is reminiscent to that of the N97, but on the whole feels more solid as the device is less plastic than its predecessor, and is better able to support such moving parts. As for the QWERTY keyboard, it is well spaced and sufficiently raised to provide comfortable use for a short time, though a conclusive report will come when we receive our test unit.
The Nokia E7 shouldn’t be a slouch for media either. With 16GB of on-board memory (non-expandable) there will be plenty of room for media, and the ability to upscale to 720p when outputting HD video and imagery through the HDMI, your media will look good off the E7, as well as on it. The music interface is also the same as that of the Nokia N8, so it basically adopts a cover-flow like view and extensive ways of enjoying audio content. Concerns surrounding the device tend to reside around its target market, which Nokia explicitly touts as the business user. We are convinced this could be a very popular smart phone for media hungry users in need of a QWERTY keyboard, however, not so convinced by its business device label. Out of the box, aside from a QWERTY keyboard, the consumer doesn’t appear to get anything more business oriented than a Nokia N8, or even a C6-01 or C7. In fact, while N8 users will get the USB reader – useful in an office environment, E7 users won’t. This lack of differentiation leaves us to assume that users would have to download customizations to ‘business-up’ their phone from OVI, wholly inconveniencing the user, unlike on a BlackBerry for example, where BBM and other business features will be available from the offset.
Overall however, while it is too early to speculate, our first impressions of the Nokia E7 have been positive. Good build quality coupled with a decent all-round spec-sheet and a very usable keyboard make it a promising device for Nokia on the horizon, let’s hope the final unit lives up to the expectation.
With an AMOLED capacitive touch-screen and a resolution of 360x640, the Nokia C7 sports an 8MP snapper on the back with HD video recording and a pair of LED lights. It sits above the C6, and below the N8. As with the entire new line of Nokia touch-screen phones, the screen is capacitive, and the phone has a microUSB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a host of other features in a slim, solid chassis.
The phone feels durable, with a distinct lack of moving parts and a comfortable shape, it sits in the hand well, has curved edges and a nice weighting. With a decent sized screen, it will appeal to those looking for some of the features of the Nokia N8, such as the 3.5” screen and memory (8GB) who aren’t in need of an HDMI out or the 12MP camera.
The Nokia C6-01 sits just below the C7, offering the same key features with two main differences: no internal memory and a smaller screen. Both of these detracting features are somewhat remedied by the fact that the phone will ship with a 2GB microSD card and that the screen retains the same resolution, despite being 3.2”, increasing pixel density. To add to this, Nokia has bestowed its C6-01 and E7 (not the C7 and N8) with a new technology they showcased, CBD, or Clear Black Display. This means that while blacks on the devices would be expected to look fantastic anyway thanks to the screens being AMOLED, on these devices, blacks, colours and detail popped much like Super AMOLED screens found on some of the better Samsung phones. With the CBD display coupled with the C6-01’s pixel-count, for the least feature-filled phone on show, it certainly was a pleasure to gaze at.