In a world of touch screen phones, it’s hard for a phone to stand out when there’s more emphasis on the keyboard than the screen, but the Nokia E72 takes up the challenge and found it’s way to me recently from Europe for a review.
Business Design With Style
The most immediate thing you notice about this phone is that it has a smaller (2.36″) 320 x 240 QVGA screen compared to some of the larger touch screens on the more popular smartphones. This is to make room for the full QWERTY keyboard designed to make messaging and email a snap. The phone, itself, is very sleek looking mixing mat black and chrome with accents that let me know that they gave some thought to style. The battery cover on the back, for example, ignored the easy chrome or flat black for a nice stripe design that stands out only as much as it needs to in order to look good. Sandwiched between the screen and the keyboard is a series of navigational buttons, including the Optical Navi Key, which is a button that is sensitive to slight directional movements. The Navi Key is bordered by a squarish ring for more deliberate directional navigation. Each side of this middle section includes two action and selection buttons that sandwich two more buttons for one-touch actions. The left side provides quick access to Home and the calendar while the right wastes no time getting you to your contacts or email.
The right edge of this phone contains three silver volume and selection buttons, which felt a little left-handed to me. In the center of the top edge of the phone lies a recessed power button as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. The left edge of the E72 includes the micro SD slot and micro USB port. As well as the phone’s aesthetics, Nokia gave some attention to the oft overlooked headphones. The headphones accompanying the E72 are stylish by comparison and have their own controls so you can keep the phone in your pocket and still adjust music volume or answer a call. As well as the headphones, this phone came with a wrist strap and a case, although I don’t imagine either getting a lot of use. The case, in particular, doesn’t have a means of attaching it to your belt, making it only useful in scratch prevention and general protection. It’s more than other phones offer in the box, but would better as a full belt-clip case.
All things considered, the E72 comes in a business-stylish, yet slightly daring package worthy of a couple oohs and ahhs, but not flashy enough to disrupt that big client meeting.
Features and Functionality
My favorite thing about this smartphone was the QWERTY keyboard. Beyond just being complete, it was easy to use with the raised keys and it has a few very userful one-touch keys. While looking at the keyboard, I noticed the space bar key has an image of a flashlight on it. Holding the key down for a second confirmed my hopes and on came the camera’s LED light, working as a nice little portable flashlight. That was something I’d not seen on any other phone. The other one-touch keys offered quick access to Bluetooth and muting. The middle keys of the E72′s keyboard double as numeric keys, organized like a telephone keypad, and the center (5) key has a tiny little raised nub on it to help you find it quickly in the dark.
This phone is also media friendly. In addition to the camera and music player, it has Real Player and comes with a built in voice recorder and a Radio. I’m not sure why more manufacturers don’t put radios in their phones, but it’s nice to see it offered here. Voice commands is another feature that should be standard in all phones and was not skipped over in the Nokia E72.
To keep you online, this device has built in WiFi and it’s pretty easy to set up, although it did ask me if I wanted to “connect offline” despite my available WiFi connection in my office and then let me get online anyway. For business users, syncing with a calendar and access to email is a must and is included in the E72, along with a web browser for any research or casual browsing. The whole interface can be changed to another theme to suit your preference and a different sound profile can be applied to suit your environment.
The E72 is ready for a full day of business and being professional and still has enough energy left at the end of the day for a night out with friends. It’s a great phone for anyone looking to stay professional with all the usefulness of a Blackberry (maybe more), but want a little more style. This device isn’t for the iPhone addict who needs all the apps and gizmos, but it is well-suited to the professional on the go.