The Finns' first full slide-out alpha keyboard
Review The E75 is the first Nokia smartphone to feature a slide-out Qwerty keyboard and style-wise it would appear to be a sort of cross between the conventionally sliding E66 and the E90 Communicator – the latest incarnation of Nokia's long-established hinged Qwerty-keyboard business phones.
Nokia's E75: a slightly tubby candybar...
The 2.5in, 320 x 240, 16m-colour screen doesn't measure up to the E90's 800 x 352 beast, but at least it has the advantage of looking like a conventional phone, and Nokia's obviously done some sterling work in keeping it relatively thin - for a keyboard slider, anyway - at 112 x 50 x 14mm. It weighs in at a respectable 139g as opposed to the E90's trouser-straining 210g.
Around the sides are a micro USB port and Micro SD memory card slot - it comes with a 4GB card to boost the phone's 50MB of on-board memory - both covered with rubberised grommets, plus camera shutter and volume buttons, a dedicated voice commands button and a 3.5mm audio jack at the top. Round the back is a lightly ridged metallic cover, similar to the one on the E66, but this time with a 3.2Mp camera with LED flash and self-portrait mirror.
Unusually for a Nokia business phone, there's no infrared port and Nokia has again left off its power button à la the E63 – you hold down the call end button, just like almost everyone else's phones these days.
The keypad is a little cramped, especially the three keys right at the bottom, which can be a bit tricky to reach with your thumb. Three of Nokia's standard E-series shortcut keys - home, calendar and messaging - are ranged around the square navpad, but contacts has been replaced with a delete button, which seems an odd choice for a phone with an alphanumeric keyboard, especially since there are a couple of soft-menu keys present, one of which could easily serve as a delete button for when you're punching in phone numbers.
...turns into an HTC-style Qwerty slider
Which brings us neatly to the keyboard. It slides out to the left with a crisp, assisted action. The upper part of the phone feels a little flimsy when the keyboard is exposed - so that's where they've saved the space - but there's no worry that it might snap or anything. It's probably just that we're used to heavier brutes.
Do they still make phones with screens that small?
Especially as an X1 isn't any bigger over all.
Form over functionality?
I have to say that I'm inclined to agree with "Chris"on this one.
Up until about a year or so ago, I would have said that this phone was the perfect replacement for my aging E70 (it's almost 3 years old now). However, after having lived with the E70 for so long and having played with a friend's E71, I now don't really see the point in the E75. I'll explain-
These mutating candybar form factors, wither it be side sliders like the E75 or butterfly designs like the E70, require a physical change in the shape and dimensions of the phone as well as a rotation to get the display in the desired landscape format. This can never be as instant as it is in the landscape qwerty designs like the Blackberry or the E71 (and in the case of my E70 it takes seconds). I acknowledge that with improvements in software/hardware these delays can be minimized somewhat but there's still the time required to perform the physical movements. If you are using email or the web much, and I'm guessing you would be if you're in the market for a phone with a qwerty keyboard, then it's going drive you nuts if the change is not instant.
Actually the physical changes highlight another issue- the trade offs that have to be made to keep the size of the device competitive. These sliding/folding mechanism take up space, example: the E71 is thinner than the E75 but has a battery whose capacity is 50% greater. The slider is just something else that can go wrong, not that it necessarily will (my E70's folding mechanism is still as assured as it was the day I bought it) but it does increase the risk of something breaking.
About the only thing I can honestly see that the E75 has over the E71 is the size of the headphone jack- 3.5mm as opposed to 2.5mm (an issue that Nokia addressed in the E63).
Cost is an issue too- a quick glance about the net shows that you can pick up an unlocked E75 for 350 quid, an E71 for 270 and the E63 for 170 (a bargain if you don't need HSPDA).
Which kind of brings me back to my point, and my question to Nokia- why bother?
I'll stick with my E90 thank you!
Sorry but do you notice that all of the pictures of 'people''s hands using the QWERTY keyboards are all women?
Seriously, the one nice feature of the E90 is that it fits a man's hand. Since I do more texting and e-mail than voice these days, I want a large keyboard. I would have opted for an 810 if it only had a phone. Pair it with a blue tooth headset that has caller ID and lets you pickup/drop calls, you'll have a great system. Just keep the 810 or larger unit in your pocket/laptop bag/briefcase and you can still take calls on the run.
If the qwerty keypads get any smaller, you'll need a stylus if your a regular sized guy.
The e71 is MUCH better then the e75 in my view, the battery life is most excellent. None of this sliding rubbish to type out something, the e71s keyboard is present and ready and usable. What I do wish is they would combine features and not have this hard line between business and personal. I do both, I'm not buying two phones. I would like to use iplayer in e71 *it doesn't work reliably even with the hacks, trust me I'v tried.
You might want to wait...
...until the 5730 XpressMusic is out. It will be here around June 2009.
It also has a slide out QWERTY and slightly outspecs the E75, despite costing around £130 less.
The thing about E-Series phones though is that they tend to have far superior build quality to N-Series and XpressMusic phones... so maybe more money for less features will end up being worth it in the long run?