Nokia E72 review: The business of messaging
Camera: very good 5 megapixel snapper
The Nokia E72 means business even in the imaging department. While 5 megapixels are no longer high-end, it's more than enough for casual use, even for prints. The camera captures photos up to 2592 x 1944 pixels resolution and sports autofocus and an LED flash, which can be used as a video light too.
The camera uses a nice tabbed interface and offers extensive settings: from manual white balance and ISO sensitivity to exposure compensation, sharpness and contrast settings, as well as various effects, which are labeled color tones.
There are some changes to accommodate the optical trackpad and lack of a dedicated shutter key - touching the trackpad serves as a half-press, while pressing it all the way down actually takes the photo.
The tabs on the right can be displayed and hidden by pressing left or right on the D-pad. But while the tabs are visible you can't take a photo because pressing the center key activates the selected item in the tabbed menu. You get used to it, but it's annoying nonetheless.
A gridline can also be applied to the viewfinder to assist you in framing you photos using the photographic rule of thirds. Using it to align your subjects and place points of interest on or near the lines and their intersecting points makes your photos more professional and aesthetic.
The sequence mode and self-timer are nothing new. The flash can be set to four positions: automatic, always on, red-eye reduction and always off.
Small font tooltips are displayed to help you understand what the phone is doing at each specific moment (processing image, for example). You can also customize the toolbar deciding on shortcuts to display for which settings and in what order.
Strangely, the option to activate geotagging is missing. It could be a Nokia 5800 type of deal, where geotagging was enabled through a firmware update.
The image quality of the Nokia E72 is among the best 5MP snappers we've seen. The noise reduction is dialed back, which makes images a little noisy but the amount of captured detail is uncompromised. Contrast and color rendering are good, though images show a somewhat yellowish tint. This generally makes the colors warmer and more appealing though. The dynamic range is often not wide enough, which leads to loss of detail in the highlights and shadows.
Here are some image samples so you can judge for yourself:
We also snapped our resolution chart with the Nokia E72. You can check out what that test is all about here.
Video recording on the E72 is not very impressive. The business-minded handset manages VGA videos at 15 fps, which is far from stellar but is certainly better than what E71 and E66 offered.
The quality of the recorded video is not very good and even if 15 fps is acceptable to you, the E72 is not a camcorder. The image quality is inadequate, mainly due to the heavy compression. Other than that, it renders some nice colors.
Here is a sample video for you to check out.
Connectivity: A-list stuff
The E72 is truly on fire where data transfer is in question - it just has it all: from Bluetooth v2.0 and USB v2.0 to Wi-Fi and 3G. Furthermore, the 3G comes with HSPA support for the fastest network data transfers - up to 10.2Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink. That's the most recent Nokia radio module, which allows the E72 to as much as triple the data speeds of the E71.
VoIP is a great addition to the call functionality of the E72, it even lets you make emergency calls if there's a Wi-Fi connection available and the cell network is down.
A microSD card slot is also on board, and easily accessible at the side of the phone. Because it's hot swappable, it might just be the quickest and most convenient way of transferring data.
The standard 3.5mm audio jack is also there and the only thing missing that we can think of is TV-out functionality.
Web browser agrees with YouTube
Browsing the internet on a Nokia smartphone is definitely a positive experience. The E72 is no exception with its excellent page rendering - most web pages look like they do on a desktop computer. The landscape orientation of the screen makes it much better at viewing pages not specifically designed for mobile devices.
The virtual mouse cursor is easy to control and generally works well. The D-pad control here is enhanced by the optical trackpad, though it's not as good as we would have liked. Using the optical trackpad, the cursor jumps just as it does if you were using the D-pad, instead of moving smoothly. The jumps are equal in length too, so it's not very useful for scrolling either.
A mini-map can be activated and it even appears automatically when you scroll longer, which helps you navigate complex websites without excessive scrolling. The zoom level is also easily adjustable at the expense of only a few key presses. The web browser also offers fullscreen view mode.
Along with the usual key shortcuts, the browser in E72 offers a toolbar, which can be launched by pressing 1 or pressing and holding the center key on an empty area of the page. You can customize which shortcuts are on the toolbar - up to seven shortcuts like "Subscribe to feeds" or "Bookmark manager".
The Nokia E72 browser features full Flash support. It handled many of the Flash sites we threw at it, but chocked on others (games most often).
Flash video is mostly not a problem for the E72 web browser - you can watch video on the full-featured version of YouTube, which worked without a hitch. With other video hosting sites though it's a hit or miss affair - for example, some of the videos on DailyMotion worked, but not all. Of the ones that worked, some lagged. Anyway, YouTube is guaranteed to work.
The browser is very zippy - panning is very fast, it easily loads pages over 1MB. One thing though - only the numeric keys are used as hardware shortcuts, but they are only a third of the whole keyboard. An option for assigning shortcuts to some of the letter keys would have sped things up a bit.