Nokia’s recent deal with Microsoft means its higher-end smartphones will soon be coming with Windows Phone as their operating system. But in the short term, Nokia’s top-of-the-range OS is ^3, a touch-friendly version of Symbian. ^3 isn’t universally popular due to its similarities with S60 which is a bit of a ‘Marmite-, love-it-or-loathe-it OS.
Win some, lose some
Nokia hasn’t stinted on some of the key specifications for the E7, but it’s not all rosy. There is a 4-inch screen, and although it 640×480-pixel resolution doesn’t match the 480×800 you’ll find on top end smartphones these days, the screen is sharp and bright.
16GB of internal storage sounds generous, but there’s no microSD card slot for you to add more should you want it. And there’s a good quality physical Qwerty keyboard for fast data entry, but the sliding mechanism isn’t as smooth as we’d like – we found it impossible to use one handed. There is an 8-megapixel camera too.
Flexible home screens
Symbian ^3 supports three main screens, each of which can be populated with a mix of shortcuts, notification areas and information so that you can, for example, get to any app quickly, see incoming messages, and take note of upcoming diary items.
The design is fixed, and adding new items is a more round-the-houses’ affair than it is with, say, Android – but at least the flexibility is there.
The E7′s chassis is made from anodised aluminium and is very strong indeed. But you have to carry 176g of weight as a trade-off, and that’s a lot for a smartphone. The backplate isn’t removable, either, so you can’t swap in a new battery if your one fades.
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- 8-megapixel camera; solid chassis; slide out keyboard.
- Symbian ^3 does not appeal to all; heavy to carry.
Symbian is coming to the end of its lifespan as an operating system for Nokia's higher-end smartphones, and ^3 doesn't feel particularly sophisticated. Knowing this makes the E7 feel dated, despite some high-end specifications.