Getting down to business
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense business phone, the Nokia E5 does the job nicely without hurting your wallet.
For a no-nonsense business phone, the Nokia E5 does the job nicely – without hurting your wallet.
THE Nokia E5 is the latest in the company’s line of monoblock, Qwertyendowed, business smartphones. Though it doesn’t seem that different from its predecessors like the E72 and E63 at a glance, it does have a couple of new tricks up its sleeves.
For starters, the E5 has been tweaked to better suit the needs of today’s hyperconnected users. In plain English, it means more integration with stuff like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and instant messaging — so you can stalk and be stalked by others through your favourite web services anytime, anyplace.
And secondly, it’s built like any other Nokia E-series phone but at a budget price tag of just RM830.
Stay connected to the Web
As mentioned earlier, Nokia made the E5 more suited for stuff like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, coming with pre-installed apps for these services. There are also MySpace and Friendster apps, just in case you’re still living in 2005.
One of the E5’s highlights is that you can even link your phone contacts to their Facebook counterparts and customise the E5’s standby screen to show a continuous feed of Facebook status updates and miscellaneous activity.
But strangely, it’s only updated in 30 minute intervals rather than in real time and you can’t refresh it manually either, which makes it quite pointless if you do want to be updated as often as possible.
The built-in web browser provides a some- what adequate window to the Web. It renders pages properly, but loads pages rather slowly, and can be a pain when navigating sites with more ambitious layouts.
There’s also a built-in instant messaging app, which works with Google Talk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! and Ovi. You can have it running in the background too, which I guess wouldn’t be that annoying if you are trying to be reachable online 24/7.
And like any self-respecting phone, it does e-mail too. So yes, the E5 ticks most of the right boxes when it comes to providing a rich, connected experience. It does have a couple of problems though.
Modern features, old tech
The E5’s social Internet aspirations are hampered by the combination of a low-res 320 x 240-pixel LCD screen with a clunky user interface. With neither anti-aliased fonts, smooth page scrolling nor intuitive gesturebased inputs, the E5 feels five years old.
To make matters worse, the E5 doesn’t even make good use of the limited real estate — most of the apps have status bars and menu bars that don’t auto-hide, or scroll away when you’re scrolling up or down a page.
As a result, using the E5 for any sort of social networking or web usage is a bit like watching TV through a keyhole — you wouldn’t do it, unless you had nothing else to do (i.e. on the bus, in a queue, etc).
This would’ve been fine five years ago, but the game has moved on with iOS, Android and even BlackBerry devices offering less clunky experiences on the Web.
Not all is lost, though.
Hey, it’s a phone too!
On the bright side, the E5 happens to be a rather awesome mobile phone (i.e. for making calls).
Its reception seems pretty good — I had no scientific tests, but calls sounded good even in places where I’d normally have dropped calls on some phones.
Its battery life is pretty awesome too (thanks to an enormous battery) — it’s rated at 18 hours of talk time and 700 hours standby. Seriously, it’ll probably take me a week to talk for 18 hours.
In a completely subjective test, I used the E5 phone for three days (calls, texting, shooting videos, GPS, Internet, etc) without recharging, and I still had more than 50% battery life remaining. How awesome is that?
My only complaint is that the speakerphone could have been a bit louder.
Physically, the E5 feels like it’s hewn from a solid chunk of steel while its rounded edges and clean lines make it a much nicer phone to hold than some of its predecessors.
And if it’s anything like the Nokias we’re all used to, it’ll probably withstand a serious beating, though I don’t think Nokia Malaysia would appreciate it if we returned the E5 in a ziplock bag.
The Qwerty keyboard has a wonderful tactile feel to it, though they’re not as nicely spaced as the ones on some BlackBerry models, which means that typos are a more regular occurance than not.
To top it all off, its keyboard’s spacebar doubles as a torchlight on/off switch. Sweet.