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Nokia E5 Review

Nokia’s E5 is a handset designed to bridge the gap between what we want from a phone when we are at work and what we want from a phone when we aren’t. It has a mini qwerty keyboard which can come in handy in both scenarios, and a lot of other features that are dual purpose too.

The build is reasonably good with plastic all round except for a metal backplate which helps the handset feel solid and ought to mean it can withstand a fair few knocks and bumps.

The E5’s key feature, as far as that ‘dual use mode’ goes, is that you can switch between two home screen designs with the merest hold of a button. The idea is that you can set up one wallpaper and set of shortcuts for staid old business use, and another more funky set for when you are let loose.

It is not a new idea for Nokia, but it works really well, and we like it. However, in these days of multiple home screened handsets where you can go mad with widgets to create home, work, holiday, and other dedicated screens, it might feel a bit lacking to some people.

The Nokia E5 doesn’t have a touchscreen, instead sporting a 2.36-inch display with just 320x240 pixels on offer. You can cram a surprising amount of information into the screen including photo contacts, application shortcuts, email and calendar notifications, and lots more. There are several different screen arrangements to choose between and the whole thing is quite flexible.

However, the screen doesn’t rotate when you turn the E5 in your hand, and this along with its small size makes it less than ideal for web browsing.

At least the * and # keys can be used for quick zooming – and you’ll need them because practically no page is readable when it first loads. Use the 8 key for a page overview and you can mooch around using the D-pad to find the area you want to zoom into, which is handy.

The presence of Wi-Fi is a real boon and it sits alongside the HSDPA support to make this a good handset for data communications. The Wi-Fi sniffer that you can place on the main screen is a plus point too. This will alert you when you are in the presence of a network, and you can hop onto it for web browsing or whatever else you fancy pretty easily.

The qwerty keyboard is well made and easy to use at a fair old speed. You may find that if you’ve larger hands it is a bit of a squeeze to use comfortably, but that can be said of all mini Qwerty keyboards like this.

We do like the @ key next to the space bar, which makes life easy when you are typing out email addresses. And we also like that holding down the space bar turns the camera light on and off so it can double up as a torch.

Above the keyboard there is the a familiar bank of buttons – Call, End, two softkeys, a D-pad and a couple of shortcut buttons – Home and Messaging.

They are all easy enough to find and hit –Nokia has designed this area of the E5 with plenty of space. And if you long press the messaging button you go right into the SMS creation screen, while long pressing on the Home button gives you a quick way to switch between open apps.

There’s a bit of social networking integration in that the E5 can pick up photos for your contacts from Facebook. But it won’t draw down contacts themselves from Facebook, or from Gmail come to that.

Twitter fans may also be miffed that there’s no Twitter app on board. Just a link, hidden away in the Apps folder, that takes you to the Twitter mobile web site. It is better than nothing, we suppose.

A-GPS is built in and you can use Ovi Maps for navigation. There’s a 5 megpixel camera too, with flash, a panorama mode, and a potentially useful sequence shooting mode that has a range of settings that go down to taking one phone every half hour. Potential time-lapse fans might find that fun to try.

However images weren’t the best we’ve ever seen being rather washed out and lacklustre. The panorama mode, too, came up with very thin, wide photos that aren’t really all that useful when you transfer them to a computer.

Music playback benefits from a top mounted 3.5mm headset jack, equaliser and FM radio, but you’ve only got 256MB of built in memory to fill with tunes, so you’ll probably need to use a microSD card to add more storage.

Overall we quite like the Symbian S60 toting Nokia E5. If you aren’t a fan of touchscreens and want a messaging friendly handset it is worth a try. The dual home screens system works really well too. But steer clear if you are a regular mobile web user.

Price: Rp. 2,200,000  -  Second: Rp. 2,000,000


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