“Nokia’s E72 has enough features to rival mid-range BlackBerry smartphones. But the E72’s dated user menu system, cramped keyboard and sub-standard wireless web means BlackBerrys still have the edge”
Nokia's E72: metal bodywork and a keypad
The Nokia E72 (compare Nokia E72 deals) is a business-orientated mobile phone that blends a physical Qwerty keypad with stylish metal bodywork and business-grade features, including wireless email access.
Nokia clearly designed the E72 to both resemble and indeed rival BlackBerry smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 (compare BlackBerry Bold 9700 deals). But is the E72 better than a BlackBerry?
I found the E72’s physical keypad too cramped to type quickly and accurately on, though those with nimbler fingers may fair better. The square scrolling navigation button (which sits within a clickable navigation key) was also far too sensitive - thankfully it can be switched off.
Although the E72 lacks the BlackBerry’s classy leather battery cover, the Nokia’s metal bodywork is superb and could make the device harder wearing.
The E72 has a split personality when it comes to features, with the phone able to switch between business and personal modes.
Business mode puts work tools, including office emails and calendars, onto the phone’s homescreen. Personal mode does the opposite, replacing your work email account with, say, your Gmail inbox and private calendar.
I really liked this feature because it let me switch off after work.
The E72 isn't built for wireless web
The E72’s pre-installed email client should have made remotely accessing my work emails easy. But in reality I couldn’t get the app to work and instead downloaded another app - Road Sync - to do the job for me.
This was really disappointing as one of the E72’s key selling points is business email access.
It took several hours to get fully acquainted with the E72’s bland menu, which seemed old-fashioned and stuffed with confusing sub-menus. Although once I’d got the swing of where features and apps were located, using the phone became less arduous.
The E72 can run multiple apps simultaneously and personal information, such as emails and photos, can be encrypted. Both these features should appeal to business users.
Wi-fi and 3G wireless connections are possible on the E72. The phone occasionally switched itself onto 3G when surfing webpages over wi-fi, I should also mention.
Since the E72 was primarily designed for wireless e-mail access, I wasn’t too surprised to find that the phone’s web browser was unfulfilling.
Pushing a cursor around the phone’s screen to browse webpages and select hyperlinks makes the whole process very slow. And, because the E72 lacks a touchscreen, webpages can only be enlarged using dedicated keys - rather than your fingers, as is the case on smartphones like the Apple iPhone 4 (compare iPhone 4 (16GB) deals).
Ovi Store - Nokia’s answer to iTunes - let me download apps onto the E72 and the store’s selection was surprisingly good. It features a Facebook app, some games and various other social networking apps.
One downloadable app - Snaptu - impressed me because it amalgamated apps for Facebook, Twitter, the Guardian’s website, London Tube information and various other everyday tools.
Ovi Maps - a rival to Google Maps (which features on Android smartphones) - also comes pre-installed on the E72. The software gets you from A-B, but isn’t as user-friendly as Google Maps.
The E72’s 5Mp camera is nothing to shout about. In tests the camera’s images were a little washed out and blurred around the edges, though perfectly acceptable for taking snaps of boardroom whiteboards.