Nokia E73 Mode Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

T-Mobile is quickly becoming the carrier of choice if you're looking for some decent smartphones from the world's largest cell phone maker. Although we've recently witnessed Nokia's latest endeavor with the Nokia Nuron 5230, for most people, it probably didn't truly showcase the manufacturer's premier offerings. However, now that the Nokia E73 Mode is taking flight, it may prove to be a worthy addition for US consumers to experience. Naturally one would assume that it would be the successor to the Nokia E72 which was released back last year in Europe, but instead it's actually the same handset which has been re-branded for the US market – still, it has the potential to infiltrate a market that's heavily littered with BlackBerry smartphones.

The package contains:
•    Nokia E73 Mode
•    Wall charger
•    Car charger
•    Hands-free headset
•    microUSB cable
•    Leather pouch
•    Safety & Reference Guide

Design:

Aesthetically, the Nokia E73 Mode doesn't stray far from the appealing looking design of its predecessor. Aside from the minor rearrangement of dedicated buttons and color scheme, the handset's dainty design continues to catch our gaze seeing that its construction feels solid and can easily rival some of its contemporaries. Seeing that it wouldn't pose to be much of an issue for some people, we still prefer the lighter contrasting colors found on the E72 as opposed to the E73's copperish looking tones. The choice of using metallic feeling material accentuates its classy appearance especially when you hold it in your hand. Overall, there is some weight (4.5 oz) to the handset that tastefully supplements its premier stature which ultimately cements its stance as a quality handset.



You can compare the Nokia E73 Mode with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Nokia E73 Mode sports a QVGA display that doesn't render it totally useless in direct sunlight - its quality and visibility is more than adequate when you consider its size of 2.4”. Smaller texts are still legible while color tones radiate brightly thanks to its support for 16 million colors.

Some of the physical transformations that the Nokia E73 Mode makes over the E72 is the arrangement of soft keys and dedicated buttons. This time around they're laid out evenly across and flush to the surface which allows your fingers to easily touch them without accidentally pressing another. Even though it might take some time adjusting to, the optical pad is found once again surrounded by the traditional directional pad – plus, you can adjust its sensitivity to better accommodate your needs or altogether disable it.

Fortunately the smartphone retains the same exact QWERTY keyboard found on the E72. Despite their small size and no spacing in between buttons, fingers will be able to easily differentiate them because they're bubbled. Even better is the solid tactile feel you get when pressing down on them, but we'd imagine that most people would resort to using their fingernails instead. Finally, the white back lighting is proper and strong enough to be visible in almost any lighting condition – we especially adore the subtle glow of the optical pad when it's on standby mode.


To the left side, you'll find the microSD card slot and microUSB port, which, thankfully, is now used for both data connection and charging. You'll find the 3.5mm headset jack and dedicated power button on the top edge while the decently sized volume rocker and dedicated voice command button are located on the right side of the phone. On the backside, the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash can be found towards the top portion with the speaker phone next to it. Finally, removing the stainless steel patterned back cover provides you access to the battery compartment and SIM card slot.






Nokia E73 Mode 360 Degrees View:





Software/Features:

With so many similarities with the Nokia E72, the E73 Mode continues its close relationship as it's running S60 3rd Edition with Feature Pack 2 which makes the experience no different. We've gone into depth about the platform with our review of the Nokia E55, but the E73 Mode's biggest feature software-wise is its ability to switch modes so it can fit to your lifestyle – both work and personal. By simply changing modes through the control panel, the home screen and theme automatically changes to each specific style. Even though it's a nice feature, the work mode essentially clutters your home screen with links to access your email while the personal mode eliminates everything completely to make the home screen almost barren. As a whole, the platform runs relatively quick with any rare instances of lag thanks to the peppy 600MHz processor on board.
 

Messaging is a breeze on the handset thanks to the versatile QWERTY keyboard in conjunction with Nokia Messaging which takes out the hassle of setting up and organizing email on the handset. Generic email providers like Yahoo! and Gmail were simple to setup after simply typing in our email address and password while specific ones will require additional information like server addresses before being completely set up. Instant messaging is provided by Oz and allows you to choose from AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and MySpaceIM.


When it comes down to preloaded applications on the Nokia E73 Mode, there's plenty to keep you situated – such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google, YouTube, TeleNav, Where, and Ovi Maps. If you happen to tire with them, the Ovi Store will provide you with third party apps to further the experience on your smartphone.



Camera and Multimedia:

For the most part, the Nokia E73 Mode's 5-megapixel camera takes some pretty decent outdoor shots. Generally, they pack plenty of detail and natural looking colors, although at times images come out somewhat blurry. Indoor or low lit photos tend to be a little overcast. However, this can be remedied using the LED flash which does a good job of illuminating dim conditions – we especially like how it turns on the flash briefly to focus in on the shot before actually taking the image altogether. As an added option, you can use the front-facing VGA camera to take shots, which are best for self portraits, but find it most useful for video chat via Fring.




With its ability to shoot videos in VGA resolution at 15 frames per second, the Nokia E73 Mode leaves a lot to be desired. The clips come out fairly choppy and exhibit some jerky movements, while colors look natural as a whole. All in all, we wouldn't say that it gets the job done, at least considering today's standards.

Nokia E73 Mode sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.

The music player easily suffices in accomplishing most of the basic tasks related to playing music, but its presentation is a bit lax when compared to some of the more modern interfaces like Cover Flow. Audio quality on the phone was tolerable when volume was set to the middle setting as tones were more sharp when louder, however, choosing the appropriate equalizer setting does make it sound better.

Naturally its 2.4” display may be seen as a bit quaint for watching videos, but it doesn't deter from making the experience nonetheless worthwhile. Using two videos for our testing, we did notice that it stuttered slightly when playing a video coded in H.264 at 640 x 272 while another in H.264 at 320 x 136 was smooth and lag-free. We'd imagine the higher resolution could've been the culprit for the slower playback, but its overall performance was still passable.


Packing on 250MB of internal storage might not suffice especially if you're media centric, but thankfully it comes included with a 4GB microSD card.

Data/Connectivity:

Global trotters will feel comfy using the handset for phone calls seeing that it's a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM and tri-band UMTS (900/1700/2100 MHz) device. If there's a lack of 3G connectivity in your area, you could always switch to Wi-Fi for an alternative source of high-speed connectivity.

The Symbian browser handles well considering it doesn't offer the added convenience of a touchscreen, as pages load decently and provide limited Flash support – meaning you can view YouTube within the browser as opposed to launching a separate app. Scrolling was smooth looking for the most part once a page has completely finished loading up – which was pretty quick using T-Mobile's 3G network. Finally, we like how it's able to provide you a small page overview window after you begin to scroll heavily. Although it might not be perfect in every aspect, the experience is uplifting and passable, although some refinements could be made to make it more mobile friendly.





Performance:

In-call quality was a near replica of what we experienced on the Nokia E72 as there were no background noise or static to muddy the experience. On the other hand, voices sound rather metallic to the ear, but are easy to discern. Sound through the speaker phone is sharp in tone when placed on the highest volume, but still quite audible in the middle setting.

It's very few in between when we experience a smartphone that is able to exceed two days when it comes to battery life. Well it so happens that the Nokia E73 Mode managed to put up three consecutive days before requiring a recharge – this comes even after using Ovi Maps for a 60 mile trip as well. We'd imagine we could've extended it even more if we manually set its brightness to the lowest setting. Still, the manufacturer has it rated for 13 hours for talk and 384 hours of standby time.

There was no instance during our testing in the greater Philadelphia area that the phone dropped calls or lost connection to the network.

Conclusion:

T-Mobile's acceptance of Nokia smartphones could be the opportunity that the renowned handset maker needs to capitalize its presence in the US market. Adorning an extremely attractive on-contract price of $69.99, the Nokia E73 Mode has everything going for it to make the competition look with weary eyes. Not only will business professionals gravitate towards the device thanks to its depth of features attuned to their needs, but it still presents itself as a stylish and eye-catching smartphone that anyone wouldn't mind using. With its distinct styling differences compared to other devices available out there, the Nokia E73 Mode nonchalantly cruises into the US market with plenty of fanfare behind it that not only showcases its pristine exterior, but can also be regarded as one of the best non-touchscreen smartphones to hit the market in a while.

Nokia E73 Mode Video Review:





Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Produces decent images with its camera
  • Inexpensive on-contract price

Cons

  • Cramped QWERTY
  • Non-mobile friendly web browser

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

User Rating:

8.1
3 Reviews

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