Nokia E7 Review
The Nokia E7 shares the same 680MHz ARM 11 processor and 256MB of RAM that's found with the N8, but it increases its ROM to 1024MB. For most basic tasks, we found the Nokia E7 powered well enough to move at a swift rate, with very few instances of lag or slowdown.
The phone runs the latest version of the Symbian^3 firmware, which the Nokia N8 was recently updated to as well. We cross fingers the PR 2.0 update hits soon, with its new browser and portrait QWERTY keyboard.
There is a high learning curve with Symbian^3, if you're using the platform for the very first time. However, users of previous versions of Symbian will quickly adapt to its quirks and menu layout structure. There are three homescreens, which can be populated with up to six rectangular widgets, unlike Android, where you can freely move ones of different size and shape around. Meaning, here they're simply blocks that are primarily stacked one on top of each other. Still, it's better than not having any at all.
For a more detailed and comprehensive look at what the platform experience is all about with Symbian^3, you can read about it in our in-depth Nokia N8 Review. Naturally, the E7's outcome experience is mostly identical, save for a few differences. The screensaver when the phone is locked, which shows date and time without draining battery, thanks to the AMOLED technology, is off by default on the Nokia E7, but you can easily call it back from the Themes settings, which are a bit different than what Nokia N8 shipped with, and bring different icons with them.
Other minor differences are brought on by the need for landscape orientation of the UI when the keyboard is open, and the fact that the whole screen is visible, as opposed to being taken by the virtual keyboard in landscape, a welcome change, especially in the browser. Thankfully Symbian^3 has landscape versions of all its apps, which are consistent across the board.
As we've already mentioned, the best messaging experience is found with the handset's fantastic physical keyboard, but Symbian^3 boasts a couple of on-screen options for your pleasure. In portrait, we find the usual looking numeric keypad that offers plenty of room to move around with our fingers, but it can be a painstaking process unless predictive text is enabled.
Conversely, the full QWERTY keyboard found in landscape is a decent offering, but since buttons are slightly smaller, we found ourselves making some mistakes along the way. Nonetheless, both options are still decent in their own regard, but without hesitation, we'd prefer sticking it out with the physical one.
These are mostly cosmetic changes, though; the real software focus has been zoomed on the enterprise-friendly abilities of the Nokia E7. The icon for the Office suite of apps now has a prominent place in the main menu.
Mail for Exchange is Nokia’s feature to help you stay in sync with your corporate email account, and it will also support Lotus Notes Traveler, which is still widespread in the business environment. With the recently announced Microsoft-Nokia alliance, you can bet Nokia devices will receive first dibs in accessing Outlook, SharePoint and other enterprise software connectivity updates.
Speaking of Microsoft Office, we have Quickoffice Premier preinstalled on the Nokia E7, which means you can not only view, but also edit documents on the go now, free of charge.
Overall, if you haven’t been lured to Symbian until now, the Nokia E7’s software is unlikely to change that. For long-time users, though, it provides a familiar working environment, and still remains one of the most functional mobile operating systems out there, under the outdated graphics, font, and navigational concepts it uses. We’ll just mention the real multitasking experience, and leave it at that.
Internet and Connectivity:
Seeing that the Nokia E7 is much like any other GSM phone out there in the market, which means you can place voice calls just about anywhere in the world, its pentaband UMTS radio is a rarity in itself, since you can even manage to get 3G connection through T-Mobile USA's AWS band. Even though it wouldn't be very difficult to find 3G connectivity with this device, it still packs 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi to get you plugged in when you're in a spotty location.
Furthermore, the handset features aGPS, which can be used with Ovi Maps, and Bluetooth 3.0 to get that useful wireless headset connected. The free offline navigation of Ovi Maps is one of the great advantages of Nokia's handsets lately, and it works in almost all countries worldwide, with about 78 of them having the offline navigation voice-guided. The most recent version 3.06 allows you to download country maps directly from the phone, has public transport lines, and check-in with the most popular location-based services, like Facebook’s Places and Foursquare.
The Nokia E7 doesn't have the FM transmitter that the Nokia N8 has, so you can't blast music from it through your car's radio, but it keeps the HDMI port for streaming content to your TV, and also has the USB-on-the-go function to connect USB sticks directly with the phone. This is handy, since it keeps the 16GB storage from the Nokia N8, but disposes of the microSD card slot, so you are stuck with the internal storage size.
The default browser is the same cumbersome affair, present on the Nokia N8, but the next Symbian update is around the corner, so hopefully this browser will be a thing of the past fairly soon, since it is otherwise a joy to browse on a 4” AMOLED display. Additionally, we found some Flash content loading as well, since it has support for Flash Lite 4.0. However, we did experience some slowdown when navigating sites that have heavy Flash content, but aside from that, it's a decent offering on its own.
We noticed that it takes a little bit of time for the phone to render content if you scroll too quickly – but it's nothing that adversely affects the experience. In the end, the web browsing experience with Symbian^3 is improved versus the challenging performance of previous iterations, except for the clunky interface, which, we hope, will be updated very soon.