The retail package of Nokia E52 is quite to the point really but there are a few of things missing compared to the Nokia E66 for example.
For one, the 2GB microSD card is replaced with 1 GB, while the stylish leather carrying case is omitted. The leather carrying strap is also gone missing but we won't hold that against the E52.
At least there is a microUSB cable (unlike the package of E63) and a one-piece handsfree on top of the mandatory charger. There's also a user manual and this time the computer sync software is supplied on the memory card - nice! It's just as easy to download it off the company website anyway.
Nokia E52 stands at 116 x 49 x 9.9 mm and has a volume of 54 cc, which makes it extremely pocketable and remarkably comfortable to handle. Back in its day, the Nokia E71 was the slimmest smartphone on the market but now the E52 claims the top spot, which it shares with the Toshiba TG01 touchscreen monster. The Nokia E55 is also about to hit the sweet 9.9mm any time now.
Even with such a slim body, the Nokia E52 is only 2 grams short of 100 which gives it a really pleasant solid feel. The extensive use of metal is certainly responsible for that and we are pretty happy Nokia chose to continue this trend with yet another Eseries handset.
Eseries seem to always have the first pick from the Nokia selection of outfits. The Arte lineup is of course excluded but we guess Nseries users have every right to envy the special treatment the business smartphones are getting. The Nokia E52 adopts the unmistakable Eseries design language but speaks it with a voice of its own. The purist styling and durable materials on a remarkably slim and solid piece of gear do make the E52 our favorite in the family so far.
The metal accents on the handset's body are a nice thing too see, and they boost both looks and durability. This time even the keys below the display are metal for an extra nice feel to navigating the handset.
The grooved surface of the rear cover has quite a raw and industrial feel which makes the otherwise slim and refined handset even more poised and convincing. The front is keen to reply with a glossy silvery frame enclosing the dark graphite navigation deck and numpad.
The E52 is available in three different colors - Metal Grey Aluminium, Golden Aluminium, Graphite Grey. No doubt the Golden one will have its fans as well, but the Graphite unit we reviewed had us greatly impressed.
The earpiece of Nokia E52 is placed at the top of the front panel, flanked by the ambient light sensor and the video-call camera.
Below is the 2.4" 16M-color QVGA display. Its quality is quite pleasing with great contrast and brightness for a really vibrant image. In QVGA terms that is - the E52 is hardly up to scratch with high-res displays that are becoming more and more common. Yet it's quite hard to find a modern phone bigger, higher-res display in a bar-shaped handset in this segment.
On a positive note, the Nokia E52 screen offers the uncompromised sunlight legibility, which is a company trademark. No matter how bright the sun outside, you can always read the display comfortably.
Continuing our journey down the front of the handset we come upon the metallic D-pad. It's large and comfortable enough to use, just like the 8 keys surrounding it. They all offer nice tactile feedback and the metallic finish on most of them is an added bonus.
Essentially, the D-pad and two rocker-styled controls nicely project over a brushed metallic deck that accommodates the two soft keys and the Call and End buttons. The rockers host the menu key and backspace, along with the two typical Eseries one-touch shortcut keys. The latter can be used as shortcuts to four applications of your choice - two handled by short presses, the other two by a press and hold. Their default function is visualized by an icon.
Next comes the Nokia E52 alphanumeric keypad which easily ranks among the best standard numpads we've used. The keys are large, with distinct borders and great touch orientation. Press feedback levels are also commendable and, while the terraced layout of the E66 still beats it by a small margin, it is an excellent keypad too.
The white backlighting is strong and pleasing to make the E52 perfect to handle in the dark.
The 3.5mm standard audio jack and the power button are at the top of the Nokia E52. This time we are talking a normal button (maybe a bit small but with a distinct press), rather than the unfortunate red knob on the Nokia E71 and E66.
The microUSB port is on the left side of the handset. It has no protective cover (unlike the E71) to prevent it from getting dust in. By the way the audio jack is exposed too.
On the right side of the Nokia E52 we come upon the two volume keys, the voice command key and the dedicated shutter key. They are all a bit small for our taste but the nice press makes up for that. Back in Nokia E51 there was no dedicated camera key at all, so we welcome its addition here.