Nokia E7 review: Open for business

GSMArena team, 02 March 2011.

ClearBlack display is impressive

If you have been keeping track you would know we like the Nokia N8 for its design too. With an all-metal unibody, nice curvy lines and large ClearBlack AMOLED screen there’s little that can possibly go wrong with the E7 too.

And even though there’s a full keyboard folding below the display, the Nokia E7 still looks nearly as thin as the N8. We cannot give it anything but excellent marks on exterior.

Much like the N8, the Nokia E7 will be available in a few bright colors, in addition to the regular silver and dark grey versions. With Blue, Orange and Green, Nokia will be looking beyond the usual corporate demand.

The Nokia E7 has a 4” ClearBlackAMOLED display of nHD resolution. The bezel around it is on the wide side, but the screen is still impressive enough to get all the attention.

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The 4” ClearBlack AMOLED screen

Not only does the Nokia E7 4” screen represent a size upgrade over the 3.5” unit on the N8, but it also packs the new ClearBlack technology that we appreciated so much on the Nokia C6-01.

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The ClearBlack technology makes a great display even more impressive

And just as the C6-01, the E7’s CB AMOLED display is keen to impress with image quality. Class-leading black levels, ultra-wide viewing angles and good color rendering are its strongest assets. There’s a noticeable warm cast to the whites, but we can’t say it’s too bothersome. Still thanks to that you won’t see any pure white on the screen – it’s rendered more like beige so if color accuracy matters to you, you’d better scratch E7 from the shopping list.

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The E7 screen even has a slight edge over Super AMOLED in terms of viewing angles and contrast

Sunlight legibility is top-notch so you won’t have any trouble using the Nokia E7 under direct sunlight. It was the last frontier for AMOLED to conquer.

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The Samsung I9003 Super Clear LCD stands no chance against the E7 display

And for Nokia, the last limitation to overcome is screen resolution. Just like the rest of the Symbian^3 gang, the Nokia E7 screen has nHD resolution, 360 x 640 pixels. You won’t notice pixels going around the UI, but the difference to FWVGA droids and the iPhone 4 Retina screen is noticeable when viewing images/documents or browsing the web.

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Nokia N8 vs. Nokia E7 (right)

As we’ve come to expect from a Nokia capacitive screen, the sensitivity and vibration are pretty impressive. Now there are hardly any capacitive units to have response issues, but Nokia has a certain edge over competitors as far as haptics are concerned.

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Samsung I9000 Galaxy S vs. Nokia E7 (right)

The thing is so well tweaked that it brings a notable improvement in user experience. It almost feels as if vibration is always coming from right under your finger, instead of being sourced from the same place every time.

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Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL (left) vs. Nokia E7 (right)

Slider and keyboard

As customers demand slimmer and slimmer phones with every new generation, designing side sliders becomes and increasingly difficult task. In the Nokia E7, you just can’t help but admire the fact that the phone is nearly as slim as the N8.

That and the actual form factor make sliding the Nokia E7 open a tricky task. It’s roughly the same construction used on the N97: the sliding bit has a massive hinge that allows it to pop open, tilted for comfortable use.

You don’t slide up as in most other phones but rather push down the side of the screen. When the upper part lifts up enough, the spring assisted hinge will take over and complete the move.

It takes a pretty strong push and the first few times we tried, we had the feeling that we are going to catapult the phone with our thumbs so be careful here.

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Operating the stiff E7 slider mechanism takes some time getting used to

It’s about the same experience you get with the Desire Z, but the hinge feels a lot more solid and less likely to get damaged with use.

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The hinge seems fit to last

But once you are past the tricky slide-up you get yourself a nice comfy keyboard with four rows of rubbery, tactile and well-spaced keys. The keys have a rather short stroke but that’s probably the only thing to dislike. The backlighting is impressive, so is craftsmanship.

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The QWERTY keyboard is a joy to use

With so much space available it was probably easy for the Nokia designers to create such a good keyboard but that doesn’t take away anything from the E7.

The general build quality of the Nokia E7 is excellent. With reinforced glass on the front and extremely durable aluminum casing the phone is built to last. Numerous tests have proven that getting the thing scratched isn’t an easy thing to do.

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Handling the Nokia E7

The ergonomics of the device are commendable too. The slider takes some time getting used to but the hinge feels durable and the screen tilt is quite comfortable.

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