Nokia E72 review: The business of messaging

GSMArena team, 28 November 2009.
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GPS will lead the way

The Nokia E72 comes complete with a built-in GPS receiver, A-GPS and Ovi Maps preinstalled. Voice-guided navigation comes at a price, however, you get 10 1-day drive licenses that come with the phone (must be used within 3 months after purchasing the handset) and walk navigation is completely free for the owners of E72.

The preinstalled version of the Ovi Maps is 3.0 and as usual it's pretty nice to work with. It has really detailed map coverage of a huge number of countries and a lot of extras such as traffic information, city guides and so on. Sadly, the extra features need to be purchased separately, as must the voice-guidance after the trial period has expired.

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Nokia maps has four different view modes

The app also has very decent looks and easily customizable route planning algorithms. Our favorite feature is the 3D view mode, which unfortunately has to be turned on every time you restart Maps - that's an odd one, no doubt about that.

Ovi Maps is also usable for pedestrian navigation or you can switch the GPS receiver off and simply use the phone as an electronic map. The nice thing about it is that you can actually preload the map content, so you don't need to access the wireless network to download that on the go.

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Overview of the route • Navigating • The Nokia E72 features a digital compass

Nokia E72 also features a digital compass. In order for it to work, you need the map zoomed on your current GPS position. The compass (a magnetometer sensor) is turned on by default, but it doesn't work while turn-by-turn navigation is engaged. It's quite useful while making your way around on foot though, as it rotates the map to match even your slightest change of direction.

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Ovi Maps features extensive settings for the route planning algorithm

If you don't fancy using Nokia Maps, you can opt for any of the numerous third-party applications available on the market, there's no shortage of those.

The overall impression of the Nokia E72 GPS functionality is very positive, with the chip sensitivity being very good. It takes about a minute to get a lock form cold start and about 10 seconds on AGPS. The whole experience out of the box is good enough for most users' needs and won't make too many people look for alternatives.

Two classic timewasters

The Nokia E72 comes with two games preinstalled, both pastime classics.

The first one, called Block Cascade Fusion is a variety of Tetris, in which color also comes into play - instead of just making lines, you have to line up 5 or more blocks of the same color horizontally or vertically. The changes in the rules take some time getting used to - the lines of 5 or more same-color blocks disappear only during the fusion… blocks are dropping frantically, while you're trying to figure out what the point is. It is part of the fun, so we won't spoil it.

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Block Cascade Fusion

The other option is Top Hit Solitaires bringing 15 types of solitaire, with classics such as Klondike and Freecell (if you ever owned a PC you've played them).

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Top Hits Solitaires

Final words

There was a time when phones had cords and mail was delivered by hand. In comparison, the Nokia E72 seems like a space craft communicator. It handles just about every means of communication available today - from voice calls, through video calls, VoIP to texting, email and IM.

So do a lot of other phones but there's a key difference. Most phones can handle email, but it's not necessarily an enjoyable experience. For the E72 email is second nature, as easy to use as making calls. It's not just the software or just the hardware, it's how they work together that makes for the excellent experience.

Speaking of hardware, the "cheap plastic syndrome" is the curse of some of the most capable smartphones. Blazing fast wireless connectivity won't make up for the cheapish looking plastic. But the Nokia E72 has the cure - metal - and it looks as good as it performs.

So, the Nokia E72 is king of the Eseries but whether it's the best choice for you is another matter. The Nokia E71 is still something to be reckoned with, though E72 brings a few important improvements, the chief of which is the upgraded camera (and probably the 600MHz CPU).

The Nokia E55 offers just about the same software and the half-QWERTY doesn't lag too far behind the full keyboard of the E72 once you get used to it. But while the two phones are a match at build quality and centimeter-thin bodies, the E55 is compact and - more importantly - cheaper.

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Nokia E71 • Nokia E55

Those who don't like Symbian will perhaps want to check out the WinMo alternatives by Samsung B7320 OmniaPRO and B7330 OmniaPRO duo. The B7330 especially is trying to come across as a Nokia E72 equal, so it will probably boil down to whether your current phone is running Symbian or Windows Mobile.

We're talking QWERTY messengers and there's always a BlackBerry Bold to try and spoil the day for Nokia. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is sure hoping to be the E72 nemesis, just like the Bold 9000 was dogging the E71. Despite their recent dabbling in the popular phone market, BlackBerry phones are still the epitome of a business phone. And that sets them on a collision course with the Eseries.

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Samsung B7320 OmniaPRO • Samsung B7330 OmniaPRO • BlackBerry Bold 9700

So, the Eseries have done it again. You can help yourself to another messenger of steel. The Nokia E72 won't be just the next in line though; it's keen to take the lead. It will be a while perhaps before Nokia decide to retire the E71, but they are making sure there won't be an empty space after it.

For the time being the E71 takes one step down the rank and continues to do its job. The E72 sees to it that the lineup is up to date. Nokia is betting on two horses in the QWERTY messenger race and everyone is happy. That includes us - users. Business as usual in the Eseries.

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