Nokia has always had outstanding design and build quality with their Eseries devices, so with the E7 tipped as the new Communicator the question is; can it live up to high expectations – especially with all that has gone on recently?
Whilst the E7 doesn’t feature a 1GHz dual-core processor like many devices these days, it isn’t a deal breaker by any means as Nokia has done a great job running the Symbian platform for years on all types of handset, from top of the range Communicators to lower priced smartphones for the masses.
If you look at the E7 as being a N8 with a QWERTY keyboard bolted on, this is certainly not the case. The E7 is a device that stands on its own and as such is being classed as the next Communicator. We’ve not had one of these for a while, but the E90 (and it’s predecessors) have had a massive following over the years.
In a market being overrun with touchscreen devices being at the top, not everyone wants a purely touch-only device. This is where a QWERTY keyboard comes into play and there are not many better keyboards than the one found on the E7. Well spaced keys, good feedback on presses and the white letters on black keys (with a backlight) makes it easy to use any time of the day or night with ease. The only disappointment is that there isn’t a dedicated row for the numbers, as featured on the E90 and earlier Communicators.
The keyboard is very impressive in design, but so is the slider hinge used to access the keys, The N97 Mini had great design and the E7 takes it one step further. The opening of the keys is quite tough at the start but this gives you a feel of a strong design, and something which will not break easily. When the keyboard is open the screen is automatically tilted for the perfect viewing and typing angle, either in the hand or on a desk.
Nokia has taken feedback from their previous QWERTY slider phones and improved on the experience on the E7, for example there is no longer a navigation pad. Instead the touchscreen is used for navigation. They have also made the space bar larger and also in the centre now, with four keys either side making up the full keyboard. This, although simple, is something a lot of feedback was given on and it is good to see Nokia taking this into account.
The large 4-inch touch screen uses Nokia’s new technology called CBD (Clear Black Display) which helps with the screen contrast and also reducing the usual reflections on the screen, giving you blacker blacks which can really be noticed especially outdoors.