Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a huge fan of Nokia’s QWERTY-touting E71 and currently use the device as my primary smartphone, along with testing a whole bunch of new handsets. That said, I’m as fickle as the next geek, and ever since Nokia announced the upcoming E75, which also features a full QWERTY keyboard but in a very different form factor to the E71, I’ve been eying it up as a potential replacement. Earlier this week I scored a pre-production unit (on loan only) and so rather than waiting to do a full review I thought I’d post my first hands-on impressions and a few photos to go with it.
I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d like the E75’s form factor, which is a little reminiscent of the old Nokia Communicator, but I was pleasantly surprised. The device combines both a numeric keyboard and slide-out QWERTY, and features a 2.4″ 320 x 240 pixel (QVGA) screen. When closed, this makes the E75 resemble a typical, albeit slightly tall, candy bar phone. Slide out the QWERTY keyboard, however, and the screen orientates to landscape mode, turning the E75 into a very capable messaging device. While the keys on the QWERTY are pretty flat – almost flush with the surface – they’re quite large and have just enough travel to give adequate feedback. Having said that, they do take a bit of getting used to and, for the time being at least, I still prefer the keyboard on the E71.
The thing that’s really impressed me about the E75 is that Nokia has managed to keep the device relatively slim despite featuring a full QWERTY slider, especially compared to some of the company’s N-series phones and those of its competitors (I’m looking at you G1). In fact, looks-wise, the device has a really high end feel to it, just like the E71 (see above comparison shot) and all of the recent E-series phones, featuring metal trim lines and back cover, with a very solid overall build.
One area where the E75 definitely trumps the E71 is the 3.5mm head phone jack. And while I haven’t had a chance to test out the camera properly and don’t have the highest expectations – 3.2 megapixels, autofocus and LED flash – it is capable of shooting 30 fps video, up from a miserly 15 fps on the E71.
Over the next few weeks I’ll delve into the software – S60 3rd edition feature pack 2 – and bundled apps, along with testing the camera properly. If you have any questions in the mean time, leave a comment.
(Note: all of the above photos were taken with a Nokia N85 – see my hands-on)