Nokia E7 review: Open for business
Organizer is great
The E7 is Nokia’s business flagship and they’ve made sure that the phone comes with a very capable organizer out of the box.
The calendar has four different view modes - monthly, weekly, daily and a to-do list, which allows you to check all your To-Do entries regardless of their date. There are three types of events available for setting up - Meeting, Anniversary and To-do. Each event has some specific fields of its own, and some of them allow an alarm to be activated at a preset time to act as a reminder.
The Nokia E7 comes with a Zip Manager and a mobile antivirus program (F-Secure) preinstalled, which along with the Office package make for a very well-rounded productivity suite.
The calculator application is very familiar but it lacks the functionality of some of its competitors. The square root is the most advanced function it handles and this is hardly an achievement. If all you do with it is split the bill at the bar though, you're more than good to go.
The organizer package also includes a dictionary, voice recorder, as well as the Notes application. The good unit converter we’ve come to know from Symbian^1 is strangely gone but you can grab one yourselves from the Ovi store.
The alarm application allows you to set up as many alarms as you want, each with its own name, set-off day and repeat pattern. As we already mentioned, thanks to the built-in accelerometer you can also snooze the alarm by simply flipping your phone over.
Ovi Store for Symbian
Symbian is in a tough spot – now that Microsoft and Nokia have partnered up, Symbian devs are pretty unhappy. It just may be that the Ovi Store will never catch up to the Android Market and the Apple App Store, at least as far as its Symbian section is concerned.
Still, there are already a few thousand apps in the store and big companies have enough resources to publish their apps for Symbian along with the other platforms. But smaller companies and indie devs might decide it’s not worth the extra effort to port their apps and games to Symbian – and if that happens, new content in the Ovi Store will be pretty limited.
Anyway, with the refreshed UI the Ovi Store looks quite good. You can browse the apps available in the Ovi Store by categories – Applications, Games, Audio and Video content, Personalization; or by collections – Go Green, Tools for Professionals, Homescreen Apps, Highly Addictive Games and Web TV.
Your account profile keeps record of all the apps you have installed under My stuff. You can now also select where games and apps should be installed and where audio and video should go. That’s nice – we wish Android had that right from the start.
Free navigation with Ovi Maps and just the screen for the job
The Nokia E7 comes with a built-in GPS receiver, which managed to get a satellite lock from a cold start (A-GPS turned off) in a little under two minutes. You also have A-GPS for getting a faster lock or use Cell-ID/Wi-Fi positioning if you don’t need the accuracy.
That along with the large 4” screen with excellent sunlight legibility makes the Nokia E7 a great alternative to dedicated SatNav units.
As you probably know since the start of the year Nokia made their Ovi Maps navigation free for all their smartphones, which naturally includes the E7. The voice guidance is currently available in over 70 countries and over 40 different languages, with even traffic information for more than 10 of those.
In addition, Nokia did a pretty decent job of the Ovi Maps application itself, blessing it with a cool, touch-friendly interface, as well as nice features such as the Lonely Planet city guide, HRS hotels and the Michelin restaurant guide. There's also an Event guide that lists all that’s happening within a 3km range of your position.
With Ovi Maps 3.04 you get three different view modes including satellite and terrain maps. Those however do need an internet connection. The more regular 2D and 3D view modes are also at hand and can be used with preloaded maps. What version 3.04 lacks is pinch zoom, but that’s available in v3.06 (that one can download maps straight on the phone too, no need for Ovi Suite).
Updating Ovi Maps if it doesn’t come with the latest version out of the box is quite worthwhile.
The route planning algorithm is also rather easy to customize to best suit your preferences. Toll roads and motorways can be avoided and so can tunnels and ferries. Routes can be set to either fastest or shortest.
Ovi Maps is also usable for pedestrian navigation or you can switch the GPS receiver off and use the phone as a hand-held map.