I had a very interesting debate on Twitter earlier regarding the Nokia E7 (which I have for a 3 week review period), the N8 and the Samsung Galaxy S stemming from a comparison of close up (Macro) shots I did. Me and a friend were chatting on Twitter and took photos of the documents on our desks.
Here are the shots. The Samsung Galaxy S pic comes all the way from New Delhi from my fellow mobile technology buff, Nitish Kumar (1).
The E7 performed quite poorly in this rough photo comparison, I must point out that in ordinary day-to-day activities, its rare that you will need to take photos that close (especially of documents, unless you’re involved in some kind of corporate espionage)
My argument was that as a business phone, the E7 needn’t have a camera like the incredible Nokia N8, a multimedia phone with a camera so good its generally compared not with other phones [like the Samsung ], but with professional photographer-grade DSLR cameras. (like this shot-by-shot comparison (2) between an N8 and a Cannon EOS 550D)
Kumar, myself and just about every website that reviews phones agree that this idea of putting EDoF (full focus) cameras on high end Nokias is just plain silly. There is, however, a very good reason Nokia did this (3), which I will come to in a short while.
In the E7s defense, the close up “corporate espionage” still photos may not be up to scratch but the thing shoots HD video in 720p at 25fps and that, my friends, is pretty amazing.
Its also responsible for all the pictures in this set I took at the Kinanda Arts Festival (4) , which I must say are not too bad.
Collins (5) has also rightly pointed out that if you’re paying premium prices you should get a premium experience, start to finish.
His question is, what’s a business phone?
My answer, in less than 140 characters is “A device that allows a person to securely work away from their office, on the move”
To me, these are the things that define a business phone
i) Communication : A business phone must allow the user to remain connected at all times. The E7 does this exceptionally well.
Call quality is simply superb. It is also one of the only devices in the world that has pentaband 3G support, which means you can use it to access high speed mobile data on any GSM network in the world. It also packs WiFi 802.44 b/g/n support and Bluetooth 3.0
A unique feature the E7 has is support for USB on the go. This feature allows one to connect a range of USB devices to the E7.
The E7 can read data directly from a flash disc, a USB card reader even another phone if connected by USB! I even connected my wireless mouse to it and it worked!
While the above may seem like a trivial matter, the fact that you can use a wireless mouse coupled with the HDMI-Out port on the E7 means that you can handle presentations using a projector from the phone with ease.
But I digress, to get back on topic, the only business communication option the E7 doesn’t have is postal services.
Email is handled superbly via Nokia E-mail, IM is covered by Microsoft Communicator, a Skype client is right round the the corner at the Ovi Store, right next to the incredible WhatsApp, Social Media is fed to your homescreen widgets in real time, what more could you want?
A slide out full QWERTY keyboard perhaps?
The E7 has that covered.
Some bright chaps at Nokia realised that the best way to input text is using a physical keyboard, however the best way to select menu items is using a touchscreen, so they decided to go with both. The keyboard on that phone, I dare say, is even better than this one
That they managed to fit a full slide-out keyboard onto the phone and kept it as thin as it is is testament to Nokias mastery of mobile device hardware.
A little birdie tells me the reason they went with the EDoF camera was to keep the phones slim profile intact. All this while Apple struggles to put out a white iPhone.
Moving on swiftly…
ii) Document Editing Any business phone worth its salt must have the ability to view and edit documents.
The E7 comes with Mobile Office pre-installed . This allows you to view and edit your e-mail attachments on the go.
The slide-out keyboard is key here. It really helps to have the entire 4 inch screen available in full when editing documents as opposed to having to split the screen between an on-screen keyboard and the content your working with.
iii). Scheduling & Productivity The E7 has support for multiple calendars which is really great. It supports synchronization with both Google calendar and Microsoft Exchange.
A wide range of applications exist to enhance ones productivity. At a recent Nokia Ovi happy hour Nokia General Manager for East and Southern Africa, Ken Oyolla, took time to speak of travel apps such as the World Traveler, which is one of the apps pre-installed on the device.
“The app has an amazing in-built virtual ‘flight assistant’, which many will find handy for searching flight schedules of major and low cost airlines as well as real-time alerts regarding delays, cancellations and gate changes,” said Oyolla.
This is just one of the many apps available that can enhance ones productivity on the move.
James Mwai’s amazing locally developed app Around me (6) is also available on the Ovi Store, a must have for the business traveller anywhere in the world.
iv) Fun!! All work and no play?
Not with the E7!
Whether its helping Angry Birds defeat greedy pigs (7) or watching movies stored on the 16GB of onboard memory the E7 has you covered for long waits at airport terminals and traffic jams, powered by 4 inches of AMOLED ClearBlack greatness!
The Ovi store has a wide range of distractions available on demand.
All in all, I’d say the E7 is the rightful head of the Eseries family, it has its business credentials firmly in place while leaving room to entertain you during some down-time.
It is also available in Kenya, unlike some of its slide-out QWERTY competitors like the HTC Desire Z.
Unfortunately, I have to hand over my review unit to Nokia today, you however, can get your hands on one at Safaricom Retail Shops countrywide and selected Nokia dealers.
Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.
Recommended Reading (from all the links in the post above):
1. Nitish Kumar’s Website – http://www.nitishkumar.net
2. A Shot-by-Shot comparison between a Nokia N8 and a Cannon 550D DSLR Camera - http://thehandheldblog.com/2010/10/04/shootout-nokia-n8-v-canon-550d-dslr/
3. Nokias Damian Dinning explains why they use Full Focus Cameras ~ http://conversations.nokia.com/2010/11/23/damian-dinning-on-nokias-full-focus-cameras/
4. An image gallery containing photos I took using the E7 at the 4th Kinanda Arts Festival ~ http://mwirigi.posterous.com/the-4th-kinanda-festival
5. Collins Twitter account - http://twitter.com/batlogic
6. James Mwai’s Around Me app on the Ovi Store ~ http://store.ovi.com/content/103911
7. FORTUNE Magazines Stanley Bing on Angry Birds and how it can be applied to a corporate environment - http://stanleybing.com/tag/angry-birds/