After the unparalleled success of the E71 for Nokia, they knew that they had a recipe for success in their hands. Symbian is still the number one OS for non touch devices, its stable, its fast and there is a plethora of applications for users to choose from. So the task for them was cut out – make a device that’s not too different from the E71, but improved enough that people want to jump on it.
When I bought the E71, I despised its camera and the 2.5mm jack for me was a huge pain. Invariably when I need to a camera or a decent media player, I’d have to switch SIM cards or carry a second device. Not cool. This is what Nokia had to fix, and out came the E72, all runs blazing, a solid marketing campaign behind it. I have been using this device for a solid two months now and its time to ask the question, is it worth the update? Should you consider buying it if you are in the market for a new device?
The E72 packs a 5 Megapixel camera with a LED flash, an AGPS, a 3.5 mm jack for audio out, a ARM 11 600 MHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 2.4″ screen with a 320 x 240 resolution and a full QWERTY keyboard. It runs S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 and comes with an optical navi-wheel which can be turned off if you choose.
Due to the fact that the E72 is the first Nokia device to have an Optical Navi key, here’s a video showing off just how it works. It takes a little getting used to, but you will find it to be pretty convenient at a latter stage.
The E71 was one of the fastest Symbian devices on the market so expectations from its successor were high. But as was the case with most Feature Pack 2 devices that came out prior to the E72, the OS’s animations and eye candy usually pulled the performance back a notch. Thankfully that is not the case with the E72, and the phone screams through animations, open/closing applications and such is the performance level that even turning off the animations will not result in a considerable boost.
The E72 also carries on the 128 MB of RAM from its predecessor, but with optimizations to the OS, it presents no problems. You can still multitask with ease and the phone doesn’t begin to slow down. I’ve put together a video showing off E72’s multitasking skills:
- Being an Eseries device, the build quality on it is good. There is no major creak although the plastic around the Navi pad sometimes becomes a cause for concern but I’d still give it an ‘A’ overall. It feels good in the hand and because of its slim profile and a negligible bulge, it is a great for times when you need to be wearing a suit.
- The keyboard is fantastic to type on and even with large hands you shouldn’t have much problem working up a reasonable speed.
- Battery life with the 1500 mAh battery is nothing short of phenomenal and the device can go upto 2 days with constant email, regular web browsing and an hour of calls. Basically, no matter what you do, if you leave home with a fully charged battery in the morning, you will come back in the evening with some juice still left.
- The E72 is also a recipient of the Nokia’s free Ovi Maps navigation offering and with its well performing inbuilt AGPS you can think about ditching your dedicated GPS unit. Getting a lock usually doesn’t take much time and if you have data support, in most cases you will get it under a minute.
Email at is the core of the Nokia E72 with support for both Nokia Messaging and Mail for Exchange. It has Nokia Messaging pre-installed into the place of the default S60 email client and that’s a huge plus. Devices like the E75 which also had this implementation suffered with slow email loading times, specially when there were a large number of mails in the inbox. The client on the E72 does not suffer from such issues and is pretty speedy.
Setting up your email account is a simple matter of putting in your email address and password and the phone does the rest for you. The following video should give you a better idea of how all of this works:
Feature Pack 2 brings a number of improvements to the E72, but the major plus for me is its impact on the web browser. The default browser on the E71 was unable to download files that the phone did not recognize, so if someone sent you a .rar archive over email, you wouldn’t be able to download it. This and much more is fixed on the E72, you still cannot open a new window through the menu, but once they open up through links, the browser handles them much better. If you have used a higher resolution device earlier, the E72’s limited screen resolution will get in the way of a pleasant browsing experience otherwise, you should be able to get along just fine.
Additionally a few tweaks have been made to the settings that the browser offers, greater scope for customizations being one. The following video should give you a better idea of what to expect.
The 5MP camera on the E72 is surprisingly good and performs reasonably well even in dark conditions. It does not feature a dedicated camera capture button so it uses the optical navi key to focus. Incase you turn it off, pressing the navi pad makes the camera focus and releasing the key captures the shot.
The UI that you see here is identical to the one on Nseries devices and this is great to see. Another awesome addition is the Panorama mode, something which only one Nseries device (N86) has. On the video front, it can capture video at the VGA resolution, but sadly only at 15 frames a second. This was Nokia’s way of perhaps giving the Nseries a slight edge.
In most reviews, talk about call quality often gets left out as we have grown to expect Nokia to deliver on this front. The E72 however deserves a special mention because it takes call clarity to a new level. The ‘active noise cancellation’ technology that Nokia has implemented actually works and going back to another device becomes difficult after talking on the E72.
The E72 also has an FM radio that supports RDS, the reception is good – comparable any Nseries device. In terms of audio output via the 3.5 mm jack, it rivals any Nseries device and seemed to be a little louder than a few other them. It is a great MP3 player, albeit without dedicated media keys.
The E72 does not come with a Podcasting or Internet Radio client out of the box, but if you are willing to work a little these tutorials should help you in getting both the Internet Radio and Podcasting to work.
E71 v/s E72
If you are torn between whether you should get a E71 now that its going cheap, or invest a little more and snag the E72, this comparison should help you out. Have a look at the key improvements as well:
- A 5MP Camera with panorama mode and VGA video capture at 15 FPS.
- Faster 600 Mhz processor but the same amount of RAM although much better optimisation.
- Feature Pack 2.
- Much faster data transfer in the ‘Mass Storage’ mode.
- Accelerometer for turning controls and a built in compass for Navigation.
- 250 MB of internal memory so you can install applications to the phone memory without thinking twice.
- Navi Pad and a reworked keyboard with additional dedicated keys.
- Noise Cancellation in calls
- The ability to use the LED as a flashlight.
Two months and two firmwares later, is it worth the buy?
As you could have probably guessed from the video above and the review in general, I really like the E72. It is one smartphone that can helps me get through a day in office or even outdoors partying with the same amount of ease and this kind of flexibility is rarely found these days. I miss functionality such as an FM transmitter but its a small compromise which I am happy to make.
The E72 with its improved camera and music capability has taken away the need to carry two devices and that is almost priceless. The good part about it is that you need not be a business centric person to pick this device up – music, a decent camera, QWERTY, email and WIFI is all there, its everything an average individual could want.
The Nokia E72 for me, is without a doubt, the best Symbian device on the market today.
Overall Score: 9/10.
Note: You can get the complete E72 spec sheet here.