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Nokia E72 Review: Quirky QWERTY Smartphone

May 12, 2010
The E72 is a little rough around the edges.

The E72 is a little rough around the edges.

I picked up a Nokia E72 for an upcoming trip to Japan. Here are my thoughts on this Blackberry-ish smartphone.

As you might have noticed, the E72 is a QWERTY-packing smartphone in the same vein as the Blackberry. It’s not as wide as a Blackberry, but it’s super sleek and definitely thinner. It doesn’t feel cheap, either: like the E71, its predecessor, the back plate is entirely metal. But unlike the E71, the E72 has some nice brushed-steel accents that give it a trendy look.

Software

OS and UI

The Nokia E72 runs Symbian v3, an operating system that has been fairly rock solid over the ages but is a little dated now. The E72 is not, however, as rock solid as I would have liked. I’m currently using the latest firmware for my region (22.007), yet I’ve had a decent number of random reboots ever since I got the phone. And they always crop up at the worst times, too.

Performance

Under the E72′s hood, there’s a 600 mhz ARM11 processor. It’s quick, and the phone handles multiple applications and transitions well. Lag is rare.

Hardware

Keyboard

The E72′s keyboard is, like most Nokia keyboards, hit and miss. It has some of the best feeling (tactile) buttons that I’ve used, and typing on it can be extremely quick. But the buttons are small – really small, and I find myself accidentally hitting multiple keys or the wrong keys, and generally making far more mistakes because of it. I have about average size hands. If your hands are larger, I wouldn’t even consider the E72. Sorry, it’s just not going to work out.

The key layout isn’t as much of an issue, it’s just a little different. Nokia dropped the backspace key directly underneath the P key, and the Enter key under that. It takes a little getting used to.

I find that I hit the one-touch keys (the Home, Calendar, Contacts, and Messaging buttons) by mistake when hitting either of the two soft keys. Might just be me.

Battery Life

Pretty amazing. The battery (1500 mAh lithium-ion) is one tough cookie. During the past two weeks, I’ve pushed my E72 to its limits, with the GPS/phone/browser/ZXreader on constantly. I’ve also had to reboot the phone a couple of times a day (more on this later). The E72 eats all of this for breakfast, and the battery is the phone’s ace-in-the-hole.

Conclusion

Overall, I have to say I really like the Nokia E72. It’s thin, very pocketable, does everything I need it to do, and lasts longer than any other phone out there. I always used to say that I would never carry around a Blackberry (or Blackberry-ish device in this case), but the E72′s made me change my mind.

Best of all, the price is very reasonable – one recent deal at Dell pegged the price at $245 shipped for a new E72. For a smartphone of this caliber, I’d say that’s pretty damn good.

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