Nokia E7: Beautiful, robust...and slow
The Nokia E7 is a beautifully designed piece of hardware; one would be hard pressed to think that it has anything but metal inside it.
The fantastic keyboard
The QWERTY slider is the latest feature in the Nokia communicator series of phones that began with the Nokia 9000 communicator back in the mid-nineties. This device is different from most Nokia phones in that it's QWERTY keyboard slides out horizontally and not vertically and resembles more or less a small laptop when the flipped out.
The hardware seems sturdy to the touch and the hinge mechanism is so solid that if one applies too much force there is a possibility of the phone slipping out of one’s fingers entirely (as it happened with me). However, after a little use, the hinge gets little loose and one’s fingers also become used to applying pressure at the right points. After that the phone opens with a satisfying thwack and the hinge mechanism seems robust, unlike that which we have seen on phones like the HTC Desire Z (which left much to be desired).
The only issue one may have with the fantastic keyboard is the single column of keys on the right side which requires the one’s thumb to reach over to press buttons. Effectively, the orientation of the keyboard is moved to the left because of this lonesome column of keys.
Other than that, the keyboard seems excellent and one can bang out a paragraph in no time without feeling the usual fatigue that comes with typing things out on touch screen phones and Blackberries.
The screen on this phone is one of those vaunted AMOLED affairs with colours and contrast ratios to die for. There is only one tiny issue however - it lacks the necessary resolution and as a result, things end up pixelating when one takes a close look.
The 640x360 resolution screen is a major issue when we compare it to its competitor's phones, all of which sport 840x480 resolutions for the same price or less.
The phone runs on Nokia's Symbian operating system and if cluttered with widgets to the brim, the phone can slow down to a crawl.
However, if the widgets are removed, one would realise that the phone is pretty fast. Internet browsing is decent, though pinch to zoom is not as smooth as you would be used to, if you have used an Android or an iPhone.
But otherwise, things load pretty fast and the text renders nicely.
Lack of processing power
The phone still spikes at random intervals and a long session of ‘Angry birds’ would start to slow down things, after a while. Also, any tries to leave a few windows or applications open starts slowing things as well because the operating system does not automatically shut down applications that are not in use.
All in all, the phone is an amazing piece of hardware that is sorely let down in part due its lacklustre 680 megahertz processor - which Nokia insists on keeping processor when most phones use gigahertz now – and partly because of its operating system.
Having said that, one can only imagine how good this phone would be if Nokia releases a version that contains Microsoft's Windows Phone Seven.