The Media Guru

Sep 15, 2011



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The hardware review of the Nokia E7, the last Qwerty Symbian flagship from Nokia.

 

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Absolutely gorgeous.
I know I said the same thing about the N97, the E72 and the N8, but Nokia is among one of the rare companies that design really good-looking products.

 

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Just look at it. At 176g, it is heavy, but the weight adds to the premium feel.

 

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Unlike the N8, the menu key is perfectly centred.

 

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Remember the N97 with it's keyboard mechanism? It has been refined with a greater tilt angle on the E7.

 

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The screen slides up on the same side at the screen-lock spring-loaded switch. With the Gorilla glass screen and the unibody aluminium, the E7 looks indestructible.

 

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Well, almost. The top & bottom bits are still plastic.
From left to right, the 3.5mm jack, the power button, the HDMI port and the micro USB port with the edge shattered by a previous reviewer.

 

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On the other side of the phone, there are no ports.

 

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On the right hand side of the E7, there’s the camera key (not 2-stage), the volume switch & the SIM card slot.

 

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& at the back, the 8MP camera with LED flash and a rear microphone. The mono speaker at the bottom – it’s loud enough but the sound is muffled when the E7 is laid on its back.

 

Here’s the hands-on video of the E7.

 

E7 vs N8

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It would be wrong to pass off the E7 as simply a keyboard version of the N8. The significant differences between each device clearly outline the targeted users - businessmen & camera enthusiasts.

In terms of internal hardware, the E7 has the same CPU & GPU, plus 16GB of mass storage, but without any microSD slot. A surprising omission for what has been a standard Nokia feature since the past few years.
The E7 also has more internal memory, 350MB of it.

 

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The E7’s biggest asset is its large 4" screen. Bright, crisp & very vivid, as you would expect from any AMOLED display.

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Unlike the 3.5" on the N8, this is a Clear Black Display, with a polarizer layer on the glass to allow better viewing under sunlight.

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One problem I noticed with the E7 is that it has a very narrow colour reproduction angle. View it head-on (perpendicular), colours are fine. Tilt it by 20° to 30° in any direction, you get a blue tint. Apparently it's a manufacturing defect affecting all AMOLED screens manufactured by Samsung.

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Having used only 3.5" devices, the 4" screen is delightful. Bigger is better. I never feel cramped with the UI & it doesn't feel too big requiring extra finger motion. Unfortunately, the 640x360 resolution of Symbian tends to waste much of the screen estate.

Despite the bigger screen, the E7 comes with the same 1200mAh BL-4D battery as the N8. & It's even more non-removable due to the uni-body construction. Battery life is approximately the same as the N8. On normal usage, it will comfortably last 2 days. On heavy gaming, that would be less than 5 hours.

 

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Using the E7's 4-row QWERTY keyboard is an entirely different experience to the N900's 3-row keyboard. (& you can also see the difference between AMOLED & LCD screens.)

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No more cramped keys. The tactile feedback is just perfect. Probably the best keyboard I've ever used.

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The lighting of the keys is like the icing on the cake.
Only downside is that a first-time user would have some difficulty to open the keyboard. There's a precise way to hold it & apply a large amount of force to slide it open...

 

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The most significant difference between the E7 and the N8 is indeed the camera. The N8 is the world's best cameraphone while the E7 only has an Extended Depth of Field sensor... More on that in a later post.

 

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The sales package content. Charger, USB cable, stereo headset, HDMI cable & USB OTG cable.

 

& here’s a demo of me connecting the N900 to the E7 & playing a video from the N900.

 

Wrap-up

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On the hardware front, the E7 has a beautiful design, a wonderful 4" AMOLED screen, a great Qwerty keyboard & decent battery life. However, it’s a flawed product. It has only 16GB of memory with no microSD slot. With a 680Mhz ARM11, it's one of the slowest CPUs on the market. & crucially it has only an EDoF camera with no auto-focus. Definitely, it’s very far from a “N8 with a keyboard.”
Yet, the E7 is being sold in Mauritius at a premium price of around Rs 20,000 ($700). Frankly, it’s not even worth half that price. If you have watched the first video, you’ll know why. It’s because of the software on it, specifically the OS, Symbian.

 

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Mauritius Blog List said...

The striking similarity between the two phones is the zombie OS. How many apps are there on Symbian? The E7 is good looking though, and I like the big screen.

carrotmadman6 said...

That's what I thought... N8 & E7, same Symbian OS, should behave the same... Turns out, I was wrong. Wait for my next post. :)

Astevende said...

Thats a SUPER review..thanks for sharing your knowlegde about E7

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