All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

  #1  
Old 23-05-2011, 08:55 AM
malcolmlau malcolmlau is offline
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My Nokia E7 mini review

To all those who are considering this phone.....

I had a choice of the following phones and I managed to get my hands on them to try:
Milestone 2 - about 290 Pounds
Desire Z - about 300 pounds
E7 - about 390 pounds

I reside in Hong Kong, and the norm is to buy phones at full price and get a contract separately. This works for me as I change phones regularly and I get bored easily, so i don't have to wait for my contract end.

I already have a Dell Streak for personal use, which uses Android 2.2, and I needed a new work phone to replace my E5 (which i was bored of after 8 months). Previously, I had owned the E71 & E52 too.

The E7 is very expensive when compared with its rivals. Its 100 pounds more than the Milestone 2 and when you compare them like for like in real world uses, it actually doesn't add up for most people.

But I am a Nokia fan. I am also an Android fan, but I have owned countless Nokia phones for over 20 years so my sentiment runs deep.

Here is my comparison of the 3 phones:

OS:
Symbian 3.
Because I am an experienced Nokia user, i find the new OS to be quite good - in comparison to S60, It has simplified some of the items that may have taken an extra click or so on my E5 to reach. But it still is the same in many ways. For a new user, I think they would find it a steeper learning curve compared to Android 2.2 and iOS, but once you understand it, it should be no more difficult to use. My E5 was the best Nokia phone i had owned because it never crashed, hanged or memory out due to extra RAM. I was not disappointed with Symbian 3 as it has not had any problems so far. The only nagging point i have is that some apps take a long time to install and some don't actually complete. You have to cancel the installation after 30 mins and find it has installed. But I guess this is a CPU thing. Otherwise Symbian 3 works well and is better than S60. But it is certainly not as bad as most other review sites have made out. However it does lag, compared with the other 2 android devices but still usable.

Android.
Some people say Android offer a bad user experience. I have to say on versions 2.1 and below then it is a bit unstable and 'unfinished' but for 2.2 and above it, it is really good and is a brilliant alternative to the iOS route. I personally love Android because of its customisation options and as I get bored easily, I am forever changing the UI, the layout, the immense number of widgets and even the Launcher. All without rooting or jailbreaking. I love Android more than WP7 or iOS. But, if you do mess around with it constantly, it can make it a bit unstable. However, if you stick to the Motoblur or HTC Sense UI's on Android, then I find its very stable in everyday use.

I prefer HTC Sense and its probably the best Android UI out there.

The response speed ion the HTC Desire Z is really good and is better than the E7 by far and slightly better than the Milestone 2.

The overall user experience in the Desire Z beats the other 2 phones in my opinion.

Keyboard.
The E7 keyboard is as good as they all say. Most reviewers have commonly agreed this. The Milestone 2, however is not far behind. Its more squashed together but i found myself typing at similar speeds (if not faster) to the E7, but the typing experience does not feel as impressive. I think i was able to type faster because i was used to the tiny BB style keyboards on the E71 and E5.

The Desire Z keyboard layout looks nicer than the Milestone 2, but i found the keys too stiff and it took ages to type an email out because i had to press so hard on each key. But this may suit others, just not for my typing style.

Camera.
I think the E7 camera is disappointing compared with the old E5. They both aren't autofocus but the old fixed focus camera meant i was regularly able to take pictures of children, in focus. The E7 Edof camera is good for landscapes and scenery but when photographing my kids, i found half the shots were blurred and had to be deleted immediately. However, the new camera does offer better colours and details (if you look hard) but for my everyday use, I want the people to be in focus as a priority.

The Android cameras aren't really good either. I haven't done any indepth testing but you can forget the HTC cameras immediately. The Motorola camera is better than the HTC and again is not very good for moving objects. However, they both offer autofocus which i know some people find crucial for macro shots.

Multimedia.
All 3 are good and for everyday use, they are equal. Its just a bit nicer to do some things on the Android phones because there are far more options regarding widgets, and massive choice of music and video players.

I was very disappointed to find a very limited number of music and video players available to me on the Ovi store.

The Android market offers a lot more camera and video apps.

Where the E7 wins is the HDMI function. I just plug the E7 into my LCD screen and play movies and photos via the Nokia Big Screen app. It works really well and is really impressive.

Screens.
The E7 has a brilliant display, but the resolution is a let down. However, for everyday use, this doesn't affect the user experience. Its very bright and clear and colours look nicer than the other 2 phones.

The Milestone 2 and Desire Z are fairly equal in this dept but both offer higher resolution screens so you're not having to zoom in so much on websites.

Calling and reception.
This is probably the most crucial factor for a business phone. I actually found all 3 to be winners. I assumed the E7 would be much better, but for reception, all 3 are good. I think for call clarity and loudness in everyday use, they are all good. I'm sure in scientific tests, one is better than the other, but a hands-on encounter did not show many failings. Living in Hong Kong, where it is noisy every where, I found all 3 phones to be usable in this environment.

Email & Messaging.
I like the email client in the E7 and its not much different to the S60. I noticed there is a search function in it now, whereas there isn't in S60 so its a slight improvement. For my work, the client handles my mail easily and I get about 100 a day.

If you only need to use a standard gmail account then the Android phones are better because of the UI appearance but for push email, all 3 phones work well. However, if you don't like the Nokia built in client, then searching the Ovi store will find you......nothing else. I saw one other call 'Mobile documents, but you need an invite! Seems ridiculous. The much talked about Profimail does not even show in the Ovi store so cannot be considered.

For my work, the E7 does the job well but opening mails have a very slight lag. But the Android phones do offer a better user experience and a much larger choice of email clients. Even if you add the cost to buy an app, it will still work out cheaper than the E7.

Battery life and Wifi.
The E7 in theory can last longer than the '1 day Androids'. But only if you are able to stop the phone from wlan scanning and connecting. I only found out yesterday, i had to change the priorities in 'destinations' in the WLAN options. So if you know how to do this, then the E7 can last longer.

Wifi reception is the almost same as the other 2 phones. However, the E7 manages to hold on to a weak wifi signal slightly better than the other 2 phones.

Overall.
If money is not a problem, then the E7 looks great and for everyday use, it generally works well.

However, as mentioned before, being a 100 pounds more than the Milestone 2 seems way too excessive as the only real advantage it has is its great looks, nicer keyboard and AMOLED screen.

Its not good value. There aren't many apps available and the user experience is not as enjoyable as Android. Also, we have to consider the support to Symbian and to the Apps in the future. Some people say you don't need thousands of apps. Well its nice to have the choice. I regularly delve into the Android Market and its fun to see so many different apps appearing.

But being a Nokia fan, I just had to have the last Symbian E-series 'communicator' and after an initial frustrating 1st day setting it up, i am now happy with it.

I have read so many reviews writing the E7 off and I have to say now I actually agree with them because its not worth the extra 100 pounds. And it does not offer a better experience than Android or iOS. But the Symbian 3 OS is not as bad as most reviewers make out.

I believe the Milestone 2 and Desire Z offer a better user experience and if I had to choose I would say the Milestone 2 is the better phone overall from these 3 phones. And if you can wait another 2 months or so, I believe the Sonyericsson Xperia Pro will be the best messaging phone this year.

  #2  
Old 24-05-2011, 02:38 AM
hummrubb hummrubb is offline
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One really big plus for the E7 and other Nokia phones is that you're not tied to a big advertising-driven monster (Google ) for everything from email to mapping and contact syncing. It's nice that there's still a choice for people who don't want all their data to be on the cloud and outside their control.

It's possible to turn off WLAN scanning by going to Settings/Connectivity/WLAN, go to the Settings menu option. Power saving should be Enabled, Show WLAN availability should be Never. I find using a dark background and theme also helps to save power on the AMOLED screen... which is also really good for reading books

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Old 25-05-2011, 04:46 AM
malcolmlau malcolmlau is offline
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sorry, but thats just me. I am still waiting for the 'perfect phone' because thats what i like and and the moment, Android is as close as i can get. If only Nokia released an Android phone. I am very sure there would have been great interest. And it wouldn't affect the hardcore symbian users either as an OEM can have several platforms to build phones for - look at HTC, Samsung and LG! Nokia's management is just too stubborn and did not adapt.

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Old 29-05-2011, 10:08 AM
illhuskerini illhuskerini is offline
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Thanks for your review. Good points that you covered.
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