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.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION - by chrIs choNG

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.

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