There was a time when Nokia’s Communicators were truly a force to be reckoned with. There was little competition as far as Smartphones were concerned, and suited and business-oriented types simply loved the Communicators for their mini-mobile office attributes.
Today there are Smartphones and PDAs aplenty to choose from. Does the Communicator format still hold appeal?
Certainly if you are looking for a PDA device from a size and weight point of view you should be looking elsewhere, because this is a real beast of a thing. It weighs 210g and measures a massive 132 x 57 x 20mm. But those who choose it are going to be unperturbed by the size and weight because they’ll be selecting on the basis of its built-in screen and keyboard.
The E90 Communicator, you see, is a clamshell device. While the front fascia looks just like an ordinary candybar mobile phone, albeit a large one, you can open the handset up to find a mini QWERTY keyboard and a screen that is 800 pixels wide and 352 pixels deep. If you need to create text, browse the Web or read and reply to a lot of e-mail the combination could be ideal.
The keys are relatively large in comparison to others found on PDA style devices, and while we found them a little stiff to use, we were able to type fairly quickly with two thumbs or with two fingers when the E90 was sitting on a desk. Obviously we aren’t talking laptop typing speeds, but we did find the E90 faster and easier to use than some mini-keyboard devices.
This is a 3G handset with HSDPA support and it has a VGA camera for making video calls as well as a 3.2-megapixel main camera on the back of the casing. It also incorporates a GPS antenna and there is a copy of Nokia’s Maps software built in. With a little extra effort downloading maps from Nokia’s Smart2Go Web site, you can do route planning, and for a small fee you can get turn-by-turn navigation. You can rent this feature on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.
There are editors for Microsoft Word and Excel documents, viewers for PowerPoint and PDF documents, plus contacts, diary and a music and video player. In fact anything you’ve seen on another S60 handset is here and you can use the supplied software to synchronise diary and contacts with a PC.
Wi-Fi is also built in and there is a ‘sniffer’ that can seek out available networks and display their accessibility on the main screen. If you need to save on data usage via your network operator, or have a home or office network you’d like to jump onto, doing so is easy.
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