Nokia E90 Communicator Review4
Although we’ve seen that Nokia tries to differentiate its series one from another, the E90 features the camera options of the multimedia-targeted N95. This makes us happy and we definitely prefer it to the striped down interface of the E65 for example.
The interface is displayed in landscape mode and the phone is intended to be held with both hands. The right one is used for pressing the shoot button. The various options are displayed in small icons arranged vertically to the right of the screen, so that there's as much space left on the display as possible for the viewfinder. Interesting options are a few scene modes including night photo, night portrait, Sports, Close-up. There's an option for more than one color scenes and white balance, but the latter still lacks manual tuning. The ISO (sensitivity) level can be controlled, but it is not showed in value (50/100/200) but as “low-high”.
The image quality is very impressive for such device! Our sample shots were very close to what we say N95 could accomplish, with the difference being the lower resolution. Overall, the colors a oversaturated making them more vivid. For comparison, the Windows Mobile top of the line model TYTN II which employs camera with the same resolution offers images with times worse quality.
Indoors as long as the light is strong the images will be usable even in full size, but when it is dark the noise is too much. The Flash may help for this, but then the colors are not reproduced correctly.
The built-in camcorder is one of the best found on cameraphone. It is the same as the one of the N95 and the N93(i) and captures in VGA (640x480 pixels) resolution and 30fps. Although the compression makes the quality lower than on any stand-alone camcorder, compared to other phone-videos, these look superb and are definitely usable for online blogging for example.
Nokia E90 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution
You can view photos from the memory in the gallery where the files are visualized as a vertical list with small thumbnails. The 3D gallery of the N-series phones is missing here, too, like in E65. The video-clips are viewed in a RealPlayer which has a fullscreen option.
We are disappointed that WMV format is not supported straight out of the box and a video we had didn’t play. Converting it into Real Video 9 (.rmvb file) also didn’t bring us success with 840x496 pixels video. We would like to fill this display resolution but it is hard without third party applications.
music player is not the one we know from the N-series phones with Symbian 9.2 either, but is quite similar. In the Now Playing interface you can navigate the directions of the d-pad, while information on the played track is visualized below. An image, if any to the music file, is visualized on the left. You have 4 equalizers, bass boost, reverb and stereo widening.
If the internal display is used, the information is slightly rearranged and thanks to the bigger size, the Album Art Cover is much bigger.
You can sort your music by Artists/Albums/Genres/Composers, as well as by Track lists, including most played tracks, Recent tracks, Recent additions.
During music playback, we left the phone opened, sitting on a table. The volume is high and the sound is good for phone speakers but still this is not a portable stereo system. You can enjoy the music in higher quality by attaching headphones to the 2.5mm jack (or a converter to 3.5mm and then standard headphones) or via Bluetooth.
Once it acquires its positions, the GPS offers decent performance during our in-town tests.
Preloaded E90 Communicator comes with the free version of the Nokia’s own software for navigation. Still, it may be used with other applications. An up-to-date version of Route 66 can be used with the device: it works with the built-in GPS and visualizes correctly on the large internal display. Unfortunately it is not the case with the popular TomTom6 – even its latest version doesn’t support the built-in GPS. An upgrade that will fix this issue is expected soon, but in order to be really used with the E90, the new version should also be optimized for various screen resolutions, as at the moment when the phone is opened (the big screen is used) the applications is unusable, due to totally incorrect visualization.
The Nokia Maps software is based on smart2go and it has versions both for Symbian S60 phones and for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs. This full-features software allows both localizing and route planning and searching for Points of Interest. All maps for the 150 supported countries are free, while only turn-by-turn directions and extended Point of Interest information called City Guides are paid. The Turn by Turn navigation is purchased only once, while you can order City Guides for different cities.
If for example you go to Dallas, TX and you didn't pre-install Texas map, the E90 will connect via an available data connection and will download only the area where you are traveling in Dallas and not Houston, El Paso etc. This way you only download what you need, and not the full Texas map which could be larger and would take time to download.