Nokia E7 review: Open for business

GSMArena team, 02 March 2011.

Well-stuffed box

Nokia made it a habit of delivering their high-end smartphones in well stuffed boxes and we were happy to find that the E7 is no exception. All the cables you might possibly need are supplied so you will need to spend on nothing extra, except perhaps a carrying case.

You have the mandatory charger, manual and data cable, which can also be used for charging.

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The box is brimming with content

Next on the list is the cable to use the USB-on-the-go feature on your Nokia N8. It’s a slightly modified microUSB jack on one end and a regular female USB port on the other. By the way Nokia has widely improved the range of supported devices compared to the N8, but more on that later.

You also get a miniHDMI cable, which you can plug directly into your HDTV and start streaming content from your E7.

Finally, there’s the one-piece headset and some leaflets. There’s no microSD card, of course as the E7 has no memory slot.

Nokia E7 360-degree spin

The E7 is a big phone and no one ever tried to keep it secret. Even Nokia chose to be casual and relaxed about it in their official announcement. In our books, 123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6 mm and 104.9 cc of volume is certainly big but in the communicator form factor actual handling is more important than size. And the E7 has nothing to be ashamed of in that department.

Big is big but thin is thin. The slim waistline is remarkable for a side slider and a boost to pocketability.

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The Nokia E7 sized up against the Nokia N8 and the Apple iPhone 4

Quite understandably, the Nokia E7 is also a pretty heavy device, at 176 g, but that’s a price we’d gladly pay for the metal chassis and excellent build quality.

Design and construction

Above the display is a centrally placed earpiece, with a video-call camera on its right side. On the left are the ambient light and the proximity sensors.

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The video-call camera and a bunch of sensors above the display

Below the display is the solitary menu key. There was no room for hardware call keys and a back button here, which is a bit of a pity. A proper back key is a great boost to usability, especially given the multi-layer UI of Symbian^3. We guess, you get used to that eventually.

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The menu key is the only button on the front

The top of the Nokia E7 features the power key, which also handles screen lock and the ringing profiles. The HDMI port, the charging microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack are here too. Of the three apertures only the HDMI port is hidden under a small plastic lid to keep dust and dirt away.

The microUSB on the other hand is complemented by a tiny LED that indicates charging.

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There are three jacks on the Nokia E7 top

The Nokia E7 HDMI port supports 720p TV-output which – combined with DivX and XviD support and the Nokia big screen app - allow the E7 to rival your home media entertainment center.

The Nokia E7 left-hand side packs the screen lock/unlock slider, which is reasonably large and comfortable to use.

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The screen lock slider is pretty decent

However, we can’t say the same about the slider on the right that’s supposed to replace the volume rocker. We found that way too small and generally pretty uncomfortable to use.

The dedicated camera key and the SIM card slot are also on the right.

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The SIM card slot, the camera key and the awkward volume slider are on the right

The bottom of the Nokia E7 features nothing but the mouthpiece. Unlike the N8, there’s no support for legacy Nokia chargers on this one.

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There’s not much to see on the bottom

The back panel of the E7 is where most of the downgrade took place. The 12 megapixel autofocus camera had to go in exchange for an 8 megapixel fixed-focus unit and the powerful xenon flash was replaced by a far less impressive dual LED.

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The E7 8 megapixel fixed focus camera lens and dual LED flash

The sacrifice seems justified. It’s the Eseries flagship meaning it’s targeting a different set of users. And Nokia didn’t obviously want two of their finest killing each other.

The loudspeaker is also at the back, along with the second microphone used for active noise cancelation and stereo sound recording.

The Nokia E7 has the same 1200 mAh LI-Ion BL-4D battery as the N8. However the quoted battery times are different here: you get up to 480 hours (compared to 400 hours) of standby and up to 9 hours of talk time (vs 12h 30 min). Real-life performance is actually lower than what the N8 offers. The E7 lasted only two days of fairly heavy use.

In our dedicated video playback test, the Nokia E7 lasted 5:40h of constant video playback in our dedicated battery life test. The N8 managed 6:20h but the E7 battery has a bigger screen to worry about.

Once again, the battery isn’t user-replaceable (well, not easily, anyway) so carrying a second one in your pocket for longer spells without a charger is not an option.

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