Nokia's E7 is, on paper at least, one of the best smartphones available for corporate and professional users. The handset exudes quality, and its physical keyboard, Exchange support, office suite and the ability to give presentations, all add up to an impressive device. However, the Symbian platform may discourage some buyers.
Sturdy, excellent 4in screen, Qwerty keypad, Quickoffice suite, HDMI output for presentations, built-in remote lock and wipe tool
Integrated battery, relatively heavy, Symbian user interface still leaves much to be desired
£ 499 (SIM-free)
4in 640 x 360 pixel Amoled display with multi-touch support, Qwerty keyboard, 680MHz ARM 11 processor with Broadcom BCM2727 GPU, 256MB SDRAM plus 16GB internal storage, 3G/HSPA, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI Mini output, Micro USB port with USB On-the-Go support
Nokia's eagerly awaited E7 is a professional smartphone aimed at business users, and thus comes with a number of enterprise-friendly features, including a hideaway Qwerty keyboard to make text entry easier, an Office suite, built-in VPN and support for Exchange mail servers.
The E7 was unveiled by Nokia in September last year, but is only now available to pre-order in the UK. It will ship in April from Nokia's store for £499 SIM-free, but will also be available at a subsidised price from various UK mobile networks, depending on tariff.
Despite Nokia's well-publicised decision to back Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 in future, the E7 is based on the most recent Symbian release, Symbian^3, which added support for multi-touch screens, hardware accelerated graphics, and more efficient memory management, among other things.
We were impressed with the E7, which looks like a solid business device with plenty of features designed to appeal to corporate buyers and professional users. However, its user interface still lacks some of the polish seen on many rival high-end smartphones, so it remains to be seen whether Nokia has done enough to tempt buyers away from the magnetic pull of Apple's iPhone.
In design, the E7 resembles Nokia's N8 consumer smartphone, with a similar anodised aluminium casing that feels sturdy enough to stand up to heavy use, although it is slightly thicker than the N8 at 123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6mm, and heavier at 176g.
Unlike the N8, the E7's screen slides open to reveal a Qwerty keypad, in addition to the device's multi-touch screen. The carefully designed hinge mechanism means that the display ends up positioned at an angle like a laptop screen, which makes for easy viewing if the device is sitting on a desktop or cradled in the hands for thumb typing.
The E7 also has a larger 4in display than the N8, which is another reason for the handset's size. The screen itself is an Amoled type with what Nokia calls ClearBlack, a feature intended to improve outdoor visibility, and boasts a resolution of 640 x 360 pixels.
All of the E7's connections are set along the top edge of the device (as seen when closed up), and consist of a jack socket for a headset, micro USB connector and a HDMI video output behind a protective flap. A small power key is also located here.
The handset also has a lock switch on its left edge, while the right edge carries a camera button, SIM card slot and a sliding switch that doubles as volume control and zoom control for the camera. The camera, to the rear of the case, is 8-megapixels with dual LED flash, while a secondary VGA camera is located just above the screen for video calls.
Nokia's E7 is based on an unnamed 680MHz ARM 11 processor with a separate Broadcom BCM2727 GPU handling graphics, and has 256MB SDRAM plus 16GB of internal storage.
It is a quad-band GSM handset for voice calls, and supports HSPA download speeds up to 10.2Mbit/s and upload speeds up to 2Mbit/s, with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. Like most modern handsets, it also has built-in GPS and sensors such as an accelerometer.