Two weeks with the Nokia E7-00

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First, I’d like to thank Jade and Lenny for their contributions to this article. -JL

I still remember like  it was just yesterday when I arrived at the ExCel after  taking the wrong metro/light rail twice.  Everyone was at the big auditorium listening to the keynote speech when I received my batch, and dropped off my small luggage for my 3-day trip. First phone I noticed was the Nokia N8, which wasn’t something I was really interested in, because  of it not having a physical keyboard. I remember walking into the demo/meet/greet area and first thing that caught my eyes was this sexy looking device.  Not knowing what it was, I was drawn to it.  It was a device with a physical keyboard that slides like an N97, larger screen size than my N900 that I was using at that time, and the colors (blue, dark grey, green, silver) were very appealing. That was the first time I saw the Nokia E7-00.  Later on during the day, I received a Nokia N8 and secretly I still wanted the E7-00.

 

In the Fall of 2010 N8 got much attention when it got released and many were anticipating the E7 that missed the December 2010 release date.  During the week of Feb 21, Nokia had a competition where 7 people could win an E7 over a 7-day period. 7-7-7 is like winning jackpot, and the theme of this competition is ‘Success’.  I was the first person who tweeted the Ovi location of the Nokia House to #SearchFor7 hash tag on Monday 21, which was the President’s day holiday in the US. On Thursday I received my package from @womworldnokia and have written an unboxing article for this site.  Our newest contributor, another Jade Noureddine (@JadeNoureddine), won the E7 in Lebanon and has given his first impression of the E7.  On the last day of the competition NokiaInnovation’s own Jade Bryan (@jadejavu) won an E7 also, he will be the last to give you his thoughts on this magnificent device. I hope you are excited as me to read his article when it becomes available, please check back.

I wanted to give an end user review of the E7 after two weeks  of on an off use.

I never really held or played with the E7 during Nokia World last year, so when I took it out of the box, I thought this is a solid device, a lot heavier than the N8.

It was hard to slide out the keyboard because my initial thought were that I had to be careful not to scratch or drop the phone while figuring the best way to open the device.  The trick is to hold the phone on the left hand and use your thumb to push the E7 to slide open.  Until today, I am still worried that I might accidentally drop the phone while sliding out the keyboard.

I am amazed how big the screen is coming from a N8, and the clear black display technology sure makes the screen looks a lot better many other phones out there.

In my opinion, the 4″ AMOLED CBD screen should become standard for all the higher end Nokia models. The Anodized aluminum casing gives the E7 the elegance of what the Nokia 8890 possessed when it was a sought after last decade.  I really like the shiny metal trim around home button, lock/unlock button and volume button.  First few days, I had issues adjusting to the location of the E7’s centered menu button, because the N8’s menu button is placed on the bottom left and my thumb would automatically move to that position.  The QWERTY keyboard is nice an spacious compared to the keyboards on N97 or the N900 and it took me a few days to switch over from the virtual to the physical keyboard and getting used to the new layout.  E7 comes with PR1.0, which is equivalent to N8’s PR1.1, but oddly, Qt 4.6 came installed with the mobile and I was advised to install Nokia Bubbles, which replaces the older Qt version with Qt version 4.7.

The battery life can last up to a day without needing to charge.

In the phone settings there is an option for the user to customize the Slide handling, and the options are: ‘Transfer Audio’,’activate keyguard’, ‘Go to home screen’ or ‘Home screen action’. When you run software update the first time, you will get prompted to install Microsoft Communicator. I haven’t gotten Communicator to work with my work’s credential, and the IT person said it only works within their local network.  E7 also comes with Nokia VPN, premium version of Quickoffice, which makes this mobile device a true business centric device.

Onto what bothers me with the E7.  I believe the microphone is placed on the bottom of the E7 and by the you are holding it, the person on the other end of the line might not even hear you.  When I enable the speakerphone option, the person with whom I am talking to is having a real hard time understanding me.  The camera on the E7 is 8MP and can record 720p 25 fps HD video, which sounds very impressive, but not having auto focus and macro mode for high quality close up pictures is unacceptable.  Another feature that is missing is the FM transmitter, which I use at least 2-3 times a week during my daily 45 miles commute.  Not having a micro SD card slot sure makes the E7 less attractive than its counterparts but 16 GB onboard enough for my use, since I know I won’t be taking a lot of pictures on this device.

Email on Symbian S^3 is just something I don’t even care about anymore.  Probably because N900 Nokia Messaging that wasn’t perfect spoiled me, but it is definitely light years ahead of what I have been using on N8 or E7.  I miss the descriptive email notification, and my email would appear on my N900 way before I get a notification on my PC or Macbook.

Here’s list of compatible apps with review that I currently have installed on the E7:

Sugarsync

Free version gives the user 5 GB to start to for storing whatever they desire, and there’s even gives them opportunity to refer friends for additional bonus storage.  I use this to upload my mp3s, docs, work related stuff and it can be accessed on mobile, desktop and even the web.

 

Fring

I love @fring video chat functionality and I use it to communicate with other non Symbian users on iOS or Android platform.

 

Swype

Using swype for Thai and Dutch dictionary and keyboard layout.  Some have questioned why I need Swype when the E7 has a physical keyboard.  Many non-English, French, Portuguese, Spanish mobile users need to be able to type in the native language and Swype allows you to install a handful of the foreign (non English) keyboard/dictionaries.  Using this method surely beats changing the product code yourself and you risk the chance to void your warranty.

 

Ovi Maps v3.06 Beta

This version can be found on Betalabs and it totally rocks, it works great offline as online. I even found a 2-month-old new development on the map, which means that they are continuously updating the maps.  I don’t think I will ever go back to the traditional GPS (SatNavs) after seeing what Ovi Maps is providing.

 

And last but not least:

Gravity

As many of you know from my Symbian S60v5 compatible apps for N8 post, first app I installed after receiving the N8 at Nokia World was Gravity.  This time around, I tried to use alternatives like Socially, HipTweet, Nokia Social, Twimgo, even Hahlo through web browser, but after a week of living w/o Gravity on my E7, I contacted @janole to transfer my N8 license to my E7.  It almost felt like the N900 days where I was looking for a decent twitter client (for 9 months).

 

Final word:

I believe I will definitely be using the E7 for a long time, same as the N8, this mobile grew on me and there’s a lot of improvement coming for S^3 that will only enhance the users experience.  Although E7 doesn’t have a superior camera, or a xenon flash like the N8, it still takes nice picture as long as they are not close up ones.  The physical keyboard and big 4″ AMOLED screen are factors that stand out but not having micro SD card slot will definitely turn potential buyers away from considering this sexy eye candy.

Hope you enjoyed this article.  If you have any questions regarding anything in this article, feel free to contact any of the NokiaInnovation contributors.

Below are a few pics of the E7 compared to some other devices.

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