Nokia E7 is the Finnish company's latest business handset. It has a lot to live up to, following in the footsteps of some fantastic Nokia Communicator devices. It features Symbian ^3, has a large 4-inch touchscreen and a sliding QWERTY keypad. Read on to find out whether that's enough to take on the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S II.
The Nokia E7's screen is one of its best aspects. It can't match the resolution of the latest high-end smartphones – including the Apple iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S II – but it features more impressive colours than most, thanks to Nokia's CBD (ClearBlack Display) technology. Colours are brilliantly vibrant, and blacks surprisingly deep. It's fantastic for displaying photos or playing back films.
The E7 is designed to be a business handset, however, which is where the QWERTY keypad comes in. It tilts and slides in a similar manner to the Nokia N97 Mini, with a keyboard that looks quite similar. The keys sit quite flush to the surround, so it's not the best keypad we've seen, but when it comes to writing large emails or editing documents it's still preferable to a touchscreen.
The build quality is another plus point, with the Nokia E7 sharing the Nokia N8's design. That means anodised aluminium for the casing, and it feels tougher than the vast majority of smartphones currently on sale. The keyboard is also quite well hidden, making it easy to surprise people when you slide it out.
The Nokia E7 suffers from two big flaws. One is the camera, which is the same as the snapper found on the much cheaper Nokia C6-01. We were hoping for Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus – as with the Nokia N8 – but instead the E7 gets Nokia's EDoF technology. This means that everything should be in focus – but unfortunately taking depth away from images – and we also found our snaps were surprisingly blurry.
The other issue is the Symbian ^3 operating system. It's not completely flawed – the battery life is much better than you'll find on Android handsets, for instance, and a great plus point on a business smartphone – but it's just not good enough. It can be laggy, it crashes, Nokia is currently taking too long between updates, and it just can't match the flexibility of Android.
The bottom line
Despite that, we still find ourselves liking the Nokia E7. The excellent build quality and proper keypad make it feel like an old-school business smartphone – a feel further enhanced by the slightly old fashioned operating system. If you can live with Symbian ^3, however, and a decent camera isn't high on your list of priorities, the Nokia E7 is still worth a look.