Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Display, Push email, Native Wi-Fi, VoIP functionality
- No front camera for video calls, Front keypad a little squashed, Interface slow during startup and keyboard opening, No external volume controls
A solid smart phone with an excellent foldout keyboard, the E70 is a welcome addition to the business market
Price$ 879.00 (AUD)
A business handset with an excellent features list, the Nokia E70 packs quite a punch. An excellent display, push email support, native Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the ability to make VoIP calls are topped off by a unique fold-out full QWERTY keyboard - ideal for note taking, emailing and messaging.
At first glance the E70 looks like a regular business phone; very simple and quite large. Upon closer inspection though, it's clear why such a bulky design was necessary - the E70 folds out to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. To access it, you simply flip the number pad over the screen, which slides the full keyboard into place and rotates the screen to a landscape view, allowing you to operate it horizontally. What we really liked about the keyboard is the keys themselves - they are big enough and fairly well separated to ensure that even those with large fingers will be able to type comfortably. They also have a soft rubber feel and are very easy to press. Overall, the keyboard is very similar to that found on another Nokia model, the E61 and is one of the best features of this handset.
The rest of the unit is fairly standard and quite business-like. The phone is silver in colour with chrome sides and a relatively small and squashed looking front keypad. You won't have to worry much about this though, as you'll only be using it to dial phone numbers. With dimensions of 117mm x 53mm x 22mm and a weight of 127g, it is chunky and sometimes difficult to slide quickly into your pocket.
The E70 is your typical Nokia with minimal, yet easy to use controls. A five-way navigational pad, two selection buttons, answer and end call keys, and dedicated buttons for edit, menu and clear ensure you shouldn't have too many problems navigating the menu. The joystick is very responsive and since it sits right next to the screen, it is accessible even when the keyboard is flipped open. A dedicated voice record button on the left hand side rounds out the controls, but external volume keys are a notable absence.
A bright and clear display is also present on the E70, with surprisingly good performance in sunlight and an above average viewing angle. With a resolution of 352 x 416 pixels and the ability to display 262k colours, the screen is excellent for most uses, particularly as a camera viewfinder and for displaying images and wallpapers. The display has two modes: portrait when the flip is closed and landscape when the flip is open.
The E70 offers push email; a service that retrieves emails from your account and forwards them directly to your mobile. The E70 supports POP3, IMAP and SMTP protocols as well as third party email clients including Visto, BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink and Seven Always-On Mail. When located near a wireless network, the E70 can use native Wi-Fi to retrieve your email, but when you're on the road it uses GPRS, and thus you will be charged standard service provider fees which can be expensive.
We tested the unit's email application with a standard POP3 Yahoo! account and it worked well. It allows you to retrieve new emails or your entire inbox and can also view, save and even edit your attachments. It comes with a very reasonable 75MB of internal memory to store your data, but also supports miniSD cards (the slot is located behind the battery cover). Unfortunately, Nokia does not include a miniSD card in the sales package. The E70 supports a range of attachment file formats including JPEG, 3GP, MP3, PPT, DOC, XLS, and PDF files.
Like Nokia's other models in the E Series range (the E61 and E60), the E70 includes a SIP client, so it is able to handle VoIP calls through PBXs that have SIP servers. Once again, this is strictly for corporate users though as regular VoIP services such as Skype are not compatible with SIP. We particularly liked the fact that Internet calls appear in the call log menu (marked with a distinctive Internet graphic) along with regular mobile calls. The E70 can also hook up to compatible Wi-Fi based PBX systems and act as a normal office extension. It supports the same features as your regular office phone when doing so, such as call transfer and four digit dialling.
As expected, connectivity is a strong point of the E70 as it offers Bluetooth, infrared, USB, WAP 2.0, wireless LAN and GPRS. We didn't have any problems connecting to our wireless network and were up and running in a matter of minutes. The E70 can search for wireless access points every one, five or 10 minutes and you simply select the network with which you wish to make a connection. Nokia also includes a USB cable in the sales package for connection to a PC and users are able to synchronise emails with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. Unfortunately the included PC Suite software is not compatible with a Mac.
The E70 runs on the Symbian v9.1 operating system and is equipped with a full array of smart phone applications, including QuickOffice Word, PowerPoint and Excel document viewers, a host of PIM features (calendar, contacts, to-do list, task list, alarm clock, notes, converter, calculator) and both voice recording and dialling. The handset is also fully compatible with Zip Manager and Adobe Reader. We were pleased with the speed of the E70's interface, although its start-up times are a little slow, as is the screen reorientation when you open the keyboard.
The E70 has 3G capabilities and includes a 2 megapixel, rear mounted camera. Unfortunately there is no front mounted camera for video calls; you can still make a 3G video call and see the person you are calling, but they won't be able to see you. The E70 camera has a resolution of up to 1600 x 1200 and also includes a self timer, sequential shot functionality, 8x digital zoom, as well as standard, portrait, and night modes. Like most phone cameras, it's fine for a couple of happy snaps but not good enough for any serious photography.
The call quality of the E70 is good; volume levels were more than adequate, even in noisy environments and the hands-free speakerphone also worked well. Like the E61 and E60, the E70 supports conference calling with up to six people, as well as push to talk, voice dialling and speed dialling.
3G Battery life is a little disappointing according to the quoted Nokia figures of 2.5 - 3.9 hours of talk time and 7.0 - 9.2 days of standby time. These figures increase when using a standard GSM network (3.6 - 7.3 hours of talk time and 7.2 - 9.3 days of standby), but they are still below average. If you constantly use email and the E70's Wi-Fi features, then we'd advise charging the unit every night.
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