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Nokia E5

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Nokia E5 review

Nokia E5, the new Nokia Eseries S60 smartphone ideally suited for all your business needs

Published on Sep 30, 2010

The new Eseries phone, Nokia E5 is a mid-range Symbian device ideally suited for all your business needs. The BlackBerry-eque smartphone is now available at a price point of Rs.12,699 in India. The phone is designed to connect you seamlessly to the people in your professional and personal lives through instant messaging, email and your favourite online social networks.

Nokia’s E5 is a handset designed to bridge the gap between what we want from a phone when we are at work and what we want from a phone when we aren’t. It has a mini QWERTY keyboard which can come in handy in both scenarios, and a lot of other features that are dual purpose too.

First, it comes equipped with loads of social networking and email features. The QWERTY-enabled smartphone features a 5 megapixel camera, 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Nokia E5 provides direct access to corporate email through Mail for Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes Traveler.

The build is reasonably good with plastic all round except for a metal backplate which helps the handset feel solid and ought to mean it can withstand a fair few knocks and bumps.

The Nokia E5ss key feature, as far as that ‘dual use mode’ goes, is that you can switch between two home screen designs with the merest hold of a button. The idea is that you can set up one wallpaper and set of shortcuts for staid old business use, and another more funky set for when you are let loose.

It is not a new idea for Nokia, but it works really well, and we like it. However, in these days of multiple home screened handsets where you can go mad with widgets to create home, work, holiday, and other dedicated screens, it might feel a bit lacking to some people.

The Nokia E5 doesn’t have a touchscreen, instead sporting a 2.36-inch display with just 320×240 pixels on offer. You can cram a surprising amount of information into the screen including photo contacts, application shortcuts, email and calendar notifications, and lots more. There are several different screen arrangements to choose between and the whole thing is quite flexible.

However, the screen doesn’t rotate when you turn the Nokia E5 in your hand, and this along with its small size makes it less than ideal for web browsing.

At least the * and # keys can be used for quick zooming – and you’ll need them because practically no page is readable when it first loads. Use the 8 key for a page overview and you can mooch around using the D-pad to find the area you want to zoom into, which is handy.

The presence of Wi-Fi is a real boon and it sits alongside the HSDPA support to make this a good handset for data communications. The Wi-Fi sniffer that you can place on the main screen is a plus point too. This will alert you when you are in the presence of a network, and you can hop onto it for web browsing or whatever else you fancy pretty easily.

The QWERTY keyboard is well made and easy to use at a fair old speed. You may find that if you’ve larger hands it is a bit of a squeeze to use comfortably, but that can be said of all mini QWERTY keyboards like this.

We do like the @ key next to the space bar, which makes life easy when you are typing out email addresses. And we also like that holding down the space bar turns the camera light on and off so it can double up as a torch.

Above the keyboard there is the a familiar bank of buttons – Call, End, two softkeys, a D-pad and a couple of shortcut buttons – Home and Messaging.

They are all easy enough to find and hit –Nokia has designed this area of the Nokia E5 with plenty of space. And if you long press the messaging button you go right into the SMS creation screen, while long pressing on the Home button gives you a quick way to switch between open apps.

There’s a bit of social networking integration in that the Nokia E5 can pick up photos for your contacts from Facebook. But it won’t draw down contacts themselves from Facebook, or from Gmail come to that.

Twitter fans may also be miffed that there’s no Twitter app on board. Just a link, hidden away in the Apps folder, that takes you to the Twitter mobile web site. It is better than nothing, we suppose.

A-GPS is built in and you can use Ovi Maps for navigation. There’s a 5 megpixel camera too, with flash, a panorama mode, and a potentially useful sequence shooting mode that has a range of settings that go down to taking one phone every half hour. Potential time-lapse fans might find that fun to try.

Nokia_E5_Sky_BlueHowever images weren’t the best we’ve ever seen being rather washed out and lacklustre. The panorama mode, too, came up with very thin, wide photos that aren’t really all that useful when you transfer them to a computer.

Music playback benefits from a top mounted 3.5mm headset jack, equaliser and FM radio, but you’ve only got 256MB of built in memory to fill with tunes, so you’ll probably need to use a microSD card to add more storage. The handset offers GSM talk time of 13 hours.

Overall we quite like the Symbian S60 toting Nokia E5. If you aren’t a fan of touchscreens and want a messaging friendly handset it is worth a try. The dual home screens system works really well too. But steer clear if you are a regular mobile web user. And above all, the new Nokia E5 is offered at an affordable price tag in India.

Typical price: Rs. 12,699

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Pros:
Good QWERTY keyboard
Flexible dual home screen arrangement
Top mounted 3.5mm headset slot
Camera flash doubles up as a torch

Cons:
Screen is small and not suitable for web browsing
Camera is disappointing
Not much on board memory

Verdict: The Nokia E5 offers two home screens for use at work and at play, and has a good range of features for both situations.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

More info: Nokia India website

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Specifications:

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General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100
Announced 2010, April
Status Available. Released 2010, August
Size Dimensions 115 x 58.9 x 12.8 mm, 75 cc
Weight 126 g
Display Type TFT, 256K colors
Size 320 x 240 pixels, 2.36 inches
– QWERTY keyboard
Sound Alert types Vibration, MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
– 3.5 mm audio jack
Memory Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Detailed, max 30 days
Internal 250 MB; 256MB RAM
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB included
Data GPRS Class 32
EDGE Class 32
3G HSDPA 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA 2.0 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, UPnP & DLNA technology
Bluetooth Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, v2.0 microUSB
Camera Primary 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, fixed-focus, LED flash
Video Yes, VGA@15fps
Secondary No
Features OS Symbian OS v9.3, Series 60 rel. 3.2
CPU ARM 11 600 MHz processor
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Games Downloadable
Colors Carbon Black, Chalk White, Sky Blue, Copper Brown, Silver Grey
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support; Ovi Maps
Java Yes, MIDP 2.0
– Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), PDF viewer
– MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
– MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
– Flash Lite v3.0
– Voice command/dial
– Organizer
– T9
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh (BL-4D)
Stand-by Up to 635 h (2G) / Up to 670 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 12 h 10 min (2G) / Up to 5 h 30 min (3G)
Music play Up to 38 h
Misc SAR US 1.18 W/kg (head)     1.12 W/kg (body)
SAR EU 0.88 W/kg (head)
Price group Rs. 12,000/- to 12,600

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