Here it is, my long overdue full review of the Nokia E72.
The Nokia E72: Think Small, Does Big
A brief intro
Just so you know, this is the latest full-QWERTY monoblock Enterprise phone from Nokia (alongside E52). And so, the million dollar question is; whether the E72 is the rightful successor to its victorious predecessor, the infamous E71? My answer: Yes, beyond doubt.
Many of my friends questioned my preference to the Nokia E72 over iPhone 3GS, and my answer to them was very simple; “I need something more powerful, conducive and efficient than the iPhone 3GS”.
- - Model: Nokia E72-1 (Malaysia), Firmware version: 021.024
- - Camera: 5MP for images and 640 X 480 px at 15fps for videos (f/2.8, focus: 10 cm to infinity, focal length: 4.7 mm, digital zoom: 5x) and 0.3MP secondary camera – with autofocus and LED flash
- - Dimensions: 114 x 59.5 x 10.1 mm, weight: 128g
- - Screen: 320 X 240 px, 2.36 inches, 24 bit colour depth (16.7 million colours)
- - CPU: 600Mhz ARM11
- - RAM: 128MB and ROM: 512 MB (~71 MB Free Executable RAM)
- - OS: Symbian OS v9.3 with S60 3.2.2 UI
- - Input: QWERTY thumb keyboard, Optical Navigation key, Dpad
- - Connectivity: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Integrated & Assisted GPS, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, microUSB, 3.5 mm audio jack, Digital Compass, HSDPA up to 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA at 2.0 Mbps, UPnP, USB Mass Storage
- - Media: MP3, AMR, WAV, RealAudio, AAC and WMA (audio); H.263, Flash Video, H.264/AVC, MP4, RealVideo, WMV (video)
- - Sensors: Accelerometer Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Magnetometer Sensor
- - Browser: OSS Browser with Flash Lite 3.0 and Java
- - Email Solutions: Lotus Notes Traveller, Mail for Exchange, OMA E-mail Notification v1.0, Ovi Mail
- - Messaging: IM, MMS+SMIL, SMS
- - Battery and power: BP-4L, 1,500 mAh Li-Pol; 2.0mm Charger Connector, USB Charging
Power Management (my tests – maximum): GSM Talk Time: 11 hours, WCDMA: 5.5 hours, GSM Standby Time: ~12 days, Video Playback Time (QVGA MP4): ~10 hours, Video Recording Time: ~5 hours, Music Playback Time: ~32 hours
Other distinct features:
- - Nokia Eseries one-touch keys for Home, Calendar, Contacts and Email
- - Hot-swappable SD card extension up to 32GB
- - Environmental features – device is free of PVC, free of brominated & chlorinated compounds, antimony trioxide; device is up to 80 % recyclable, up to 60 % recycled material, 100 % recyclable packaging
- - Integrated Nokia Mobile VPN
- - Network (Raw): Direct TCP/IP socket connection to any specified port
- - Silent calls by flipping-over the device
- - Noise cancellation (Side note: Excellent call quality!)
I’ve spent almost two months with this phone now, and so here goes my take:
10 Things I like about the E72
- 1) The optical Trackpad, known as Optical Navi key™, with ‘breathing light’. There have been many complaints from various parties on the trackpad, but I honestly don’t have anything bad to say, at least nothing serious. The E72 is the first Nokia device to integrate a full working Optical Dpad, which somewhat did not disappoint in my opinion. It’s quite precise, although it can be bothersome in one or two instances (see below). Browsing through long pages is now pleasantly easy, and with the smooth and undeterred scrolling, things are even easier. Menu browsing, going through long lists, etc, are equally fast and easy. It’s even and makes the Symbian^1 UI seem simple for steering, which is good. Some other reviewers complained that the outer Dpad boundaries somehow restricted the usage of the trackpad, something which I failed to see. Maybe most of them have giant-sized thumbs that don’t fit into the given optical area!
- The ‘breathing’ status light, common in business-oriented phones, blinks at normal rate at rest, and more rapidly when there are unopened short messages, IM chat messages, e-mails, missed calls, etc (just like on several Nseries/other Nokia models). The best part is; the light is fortunately quite noticeable, and in silent mode, I could even know if there’s an SMS from 10 metres away (notwithstanding vibration during incoming state).
- 2) The built quality. There’s no mention as to where my E72 was manufactured (probably Finland), but so far, I’ve yet to see any major faults in the built quality, except for light leak and USB port cover issues (see below). The QWERTY keyboard buttons are softer than many other rival models in the market, and easy to use for the ‘right’ fingers. Some of my friends have however complained of difficulty in regard to the size of the buttons, but I’m not concurring to that nonetheless. The device feels very solid (cold sometimes!) in the hands, far better than many other similar phones in the market. Also worthy of mentioning; it’s very pocket-friendly despite being very thin.
- 3) Screen. The 2.36-inch display (see image below) is very bright, ideal for enterprise use. With millions of colours, dedicated themes, icons, videos and images look great on the screen. It’s definitely not as vibrant or bright as an AMOLED screen (hint: N86!), but it does its work right.
- 4) Multitasking and memory management. The E72 is probably the only 2009 model from Nokia that doesn’t annoy you with Memory errors. The RAM is well managed, with over 71 MB of free executable RAM upon boot-up, which is ideal for multitasking. Over the two months I’ve used the phone now, I’ve only received this error ONCE, which was explicable for the numerous tasks the phone was running at that material time. You could easily call up all your open Apps with a long-press of the Home button or by pressing the left soft key when you’re actually working in an App; which is again great for multitasking!
- 5) User Interface. Succeeding the E71, the E72 comes with a similar yet improved UI for simple and fast use. The snappy 600 Mhz processor allows for smooth menu navigation and transitional effects, including image rotation (manual). However, some key shortcuts from other common S60 3rd edition phones are missing, which to me, is a bit of a disappointment (E.g. rotating images, zooming in and out using numerical keys, etc). And coupled with the Optical Navi key, the user experience is refined to a higher level providentially.
- 6) Media Player and Controls. The media/music player is the same one from Nseries. So is the video player. Double the joy! Truth be told, the media player is well integrated with the Trackpad, and it’s very user-friendly. Flick right to go to the next song, or flick left to rewind or go to the previous song, and flick down to stop the song; it’s simply that easy and fast without having to press any buttons. Sometimes however, the Trackpad usage could be quite irritating, especially when you have accidentally applied slight angular pressure, and it unwontedly leads to the next or previous song, or even stop the song entirely. Taken as a whole, it’s extremely helpful nonetheless. Same goes to the Video Centre, just flick left or right to move around.
- 7) Camera. This is the first time I’m seeing a business-oriented phone coming with an above-average 5MP camera. The quality of images may not be as great as other 5MP ones from the Nseries or even the X6, but so far I’ve tested with hundreds of images, it has been very satisfying with nice colour reproduction. Check my gallery on Flickr (on the Glass temple); the images were entirely taken from this phone. The video quality is fairly good as well, except for the 15 fps disadvantage.
- 8.) Contacts search on Homescreen. This is something essential for Enterprise phones and I’m glad it works well here, although sometimes the symbols could be confused with letters by the software. It’s not perfect, but at least I don’t have to go deep into the Contacts menu to search for names/numbers.
- 9) Energy efficient. This is one of the coolest features found on this device. The E72 is made wholly to save battery power from any approach possible. There are obviously the Power Saving mode, unplug charger reminder/notification, and the ambient light sensor (which works seamlessly as I’ve seen). With the above mode activated, the phone could last twice longer in fact. And unlike many other phones which can’t be practically used in daylight, the screen is still fairly visible for light use (calls and messaging) in the said mode. With the 1500 mAh Li-Pol battery, it could easily last up to more than a day on average to hardcore use. Plus, USB charging makes life seriously easier; I don’t have to carry the Charger around.
- Off the hook, I don’t find any logic in having a standard 2.0 mm charging port here; Nokia could have just gone entirely USB-based, like on the N86. Redundant feature to me.
- 10) Finger friendly QWERTY keyboard (see image below). Unlike many other QWERTY-keyboard phones, the buttons are really ‘welcoming’ here. It definitely takes some time in adapting (which phone doesn’t?), but soon after you get the flow and the phone gets yours, things could go really smooth, I could even SMS or email people on the move (train, etc). Of course, don’t argue about driving and messaging, who does that with a QWERTY-keyboard phone at the first place? That apart, the E72 probably has one of the best rubbery-button keyboards compared to many other daunting rival models, the Blackberry Bold 9700 just to name one. Some people however may find the phone too thin to comfortably type on the QWERTY keyboard.
10 Things I don’t like about the E72
- 1) The ‘glass’ front. The ‘glass’ surface covering the top half is rather strong, although it’s not entirely scratch proof (not a thing to complain anyway). In the past two months or so, the E72 has already gotten plenty of fine scratches along the edges. That tells me that I’ve to get a screen-protector soonest!
- 2) OS/Hardware glitches. Now this part could possibly get lengthy. Let’s start off with the ‘Silent’ Button, located at the bottom right of the keyboard. This button has some anomalies, which leads to confusion in me. Particularly when I’m switching from ‘Silent’ to ‘General’ mode, and I long-press the button, it would accordingly switch to ‘General’, but would instantly switch back to ‘Silent’. Confusingly, this problem doesn’t occur all the time; it works fine some times, and some other times it snaps me up. (It is to be noted that the duration of the long-presses would somewhat be similar). I hope this gets solved in the firmware update.
- Next up, the space bar and optical trackpad anomalies. This is more likened to driver problems in pre-2000 Windows PCs where suddenly some hardware gets ‘detached’ and the PC has to be restarted. Similarly, either one of the above would suddenly fail to work (no response), leading to a restart which simply solves the problem. This isn’t so frequent, but I have once faced this issue up to 4 times in a day.
- Another issue I’ve encountered is the phone’s confusion as to Locking the keypad. The Locking is done by pressing the left soft key followed by its right counterpart. On normal occasions, it locks as always, but on certain instances (not more than 5 times so far), it does nothing, and I had to repeat the action up to 3 times to get things working. Frustrating; but could easily be solved by Nokia.
- Last but not least, changing AM-PM and vice versa in the clock or alarm is another big headache. It just refuses to change in some instances, and would only work after several trials. Not a big issue, but could be frustrating for some.
- 3) Videos and Photos muddled up together under “Images” folder. This one was common to some Nseries models and now has ‘infected’ over to the E72. I simply hate this, especially when the particular folder is named “Images” and not “Images and Videos” as in other newer Nokia devices. If it clearly says Images, why not just store Images (only!) and not jumble up with Videos? With the E72’s ability to support up to 32GB microSD cards, you could practically store hundreds or even thousands of photos and videos within, and imagine cracking your head through both, within one confusing folder. The worst part, there is already a separate Videos folder, so why the annoying redundancy? I hope I’ll get an answer from Nokia in future devices, particularly seeing this to be corrected in Symbian^3. This could be a negligible mistake on other Nokia phones, but not on an Enterprise device such as the E72.
- 4) USB port cover. The USB-port’s cover seems to be getting looser by days, after some 30 days of daily and constant use. Sooner or later it might even start to dangle outwards if not handled properly.
- 5) Confusion in network. This happened when I was in a rural area where both 3G and EDGE were not available. I’m not sure if this problem is generic or particular to my unit; where the phone kept going on GPRS in spite of no running Apps, draining out the battery within hours. It looked as if the phone was constantly trying to reach a better connection (EDGE to be particular) and ended up getting exhausted in the process. I’d be returning to the place sooner or later, and if this problem persists, I would be updating this section in few weeks.
- 6) Light leaks. Light leaks (see image below) are quite noticeable towards the left side of the keyboard, around the Home button. Again, I’m not sure if this is distinct to my unit, or general to all batches of E72. If it’s a worldwide issue, then Nokia should be doing something about it.
- 7) Rear cover mechanism. I stated that the E72 is well-built with a solid feel. However, the rear cover latch is something of a let-down. It’s not exactly loose or something, but the mechanism is dodgy; the cover opens up in split seconds just after something hits the latch. This could be dangerous even in the safest handling of the phone, for example, taking out the phone from a tight pocket.
- 8.) Toolbar on Camera app. There isn’t any dedicated camera button on the E72, so you’d have to capture your favourite moments only with the Dpad’s centre select button. But by the time the toolbar fades out to allow you to snap, the moments would be long gone. I’m not being funny, this has happened to me; frankly I just wish the toolbar goes off at least a second faster. It’s not a photography-centric phone, I know, but what are we supposed to do with the good camera; just scan documents?
- 9) Aging S60 UI. The same old User Interface from probably 2 years ago, just with some newer enhancements here and there for good, as I’ve mentioned above. Many people have been constantly complaining of the aging S60 3rd edition interface (which was ported and enhanced for Touch in the 5th edition). However, with the snappy processor in the E72, the laggy nature of the outgoing UI isn’t so visible, fortunately. There is one place where you could still see this though; the Gallery folder, where the sub-folders (Images > Captured, All, etc) are slower in loading, especially with the transitional effects. This was a terrible problem in the N85 and N86 I tested, and luckily, it’s much faster here on the E72 (still considerably slow for a fast phone).
- I have another small issue here as well; the integration of the UI with the Optical Trackpad, which has also received numerous complaints from many other critics. The Trackpad is unfortunately disabled (or doesn’t work?) in some of the most important places, including the Camera app. Even during voice or video calls, I can’t seem to use the Trackpad and have to stick with conventional Dpad use.
- 10) 3D speakers. The speakers (see below) are great, but only when there’s something behind to reflect the sound around. In the air or even in the pocket, your ringtones are fainter than a cat’s purr (alright, that’s a bit of exaggeration, I know). The speakers are not loud enough, and when the volume’s set to 100%, they don’t sound so good either.
It may not be as powerful as the Nokia N900, but it does things beyond many other similar phones do. The Nokia E72 may be physically petite and thin, but it’s almost-fully-capable in handling your most demanding enterprise needs; document previews, presentation, emailing, and networking, just to name a few. The browser’s a fine platform, not without its flaws nonetheless. At least, it could render light flash contents in contrast to the iPhone 3GS.
Multitasking? The E72 is beyond being ‘good enough’. With over 71 MB of user memory to be utilised, plenty of medium to heavy Apps could be running in the background without a problem (Nimbuzz, Music Player, Browser, Ovi Maps, etc), far better than running these same Apps on any S60 5th Edition device such as the N97 and X6. Just so you know, I couldn’t run Nimbuzz, Music Player and Browser simultaneously on the X6; the phone gets terribly slow with repetitive ‘memory full’ errors
Typing long emails? It isn’t that tiring or daunting, thanks to the soft and accessible buttons. The Trackpad is prone to complaints, but to me, it hasn’t been a problem so far, if you know how to use it (one should be using the whole top half of the thumb in browsing through lists, and not the tip which would obviously restrict movements!).
The E72 has its own flaws, mostly minor and could easily be corrected by future firmware updates. For other issues (physical), utmost handling with care is advisable, although it’s unreasonable to expect a business-oriented user (who’s daily routine is to rush around) to be handling his or her E72 like a glass menagerie.
Multimedia features are rich; Camera, Media player, video player, etc. And all of them seem to work well without bugs, save for few minor issues I’ve already noted above. On the whole, it could possibly be the best Eseries model available today; especially considering the fact that the E52 has many hardware and software issues (the E72 has so far crashed/restarted less than 5 times in 2 months) and the E75 is not for common business-oriented users.
The exceptional E71 set the expectation bar high when it was released (best selling enterprise phone to date), and the E72 has done it again, higher. I’ve used both the Blackberry Bold and Blackberry Curve, none of which was satisfying. The E72 however works pleasantly, its ease of use and speed of work is simply good. I was never a fan of the Eseries in the past, but this E72 has really taken me in. Again, it may not be perfect, but if you’re looking to upgrade from your aging E71 (or any other older Eseries); this is the rightful successor you should be looking at.
Note: Some of the issues above could probably be distinct to my unit only, I’ve not checked for similar problems with other critics online.
Anything you want to add to the above lists? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Next up, Nokia N86 8MP!
19 Responses to “Nokia E72: Full Review”
March 18th, 2010 at 8:11 pm
i was looking for some info for my hp.. which obviously is the nokia e72.. and stumble upon your blog.. good info u have there friend…
but i have a few curiosity here.. do u mind to answer a few question? first, its regarding garmin GPS.. do u have it installed in ur phone? if u have, does it work well? mine.. not so good.. it tend to hang.. quite often..
and i wonder.. is it possible to blog via e72? especially how to instantly upload those photo that were taken either in FB or blog?
sorry.. my question may show how typical i am towards technology.. hehehe.. im not used to it especially this is actually a present and not something that i desired for.. but since i have it.. why shouldnt i make full use of it, right?
April 1st, 2010 at 2:42 pm
nokia give me many problem, so i change to iphone… but still got problem. recently i visited http://www.buyersuara.com.my and i find is a useful site for consumer. we should voice our matter, share and learn from each other to become smart consumer. we do really need a platform to do so to improve the service level in m’sia
April 1st, 2010 at 10:22 pm
hi there, sorry for the late reply.
1. I don’t use Garmin app, because the Nokia Ovi Maps is very good enough. You have to understand the reason as to why the shares of Garmin and TomTom dropped drastically the next minute after Nokia made its annoucement in January that Navigation is now free for life. It’s because Nokia’s Ovi Maps, which is free, is as good as the paid services from Garmin and TomTom. Of course, if you prefer the interface of Garmin, you can try, but like you said yourself, it’s quite heavy and not worth the effort.
2. You can do microblogging on the E72, not full scale WordPress-based blogging. For example, Twitter, blogspot, and similar light ones. Uploading photos to FB can be done via the Facebook App, whereas for blogs I’ve not seen any app which does that so far.
The E72 is a very capable phone, and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I do
April 5th, 2010 at 3:29 pm
quick question, is there a way to disable connections via service providers? (as mobile data connection)
My chat app. seems to jump to data connections although I initialize it using a wifi connection.
Also I’ve set my connection settings to ‘always ask’ so that it prompts me before switching from WLAN to diginet, but in the instance above i did not get that prompt.
Can emails and IMs be accesed using wifi? Or does it only allow access via mobile data connections?
April 15th, 2010 at 10:15 pm
Sorry for the utterly late reply, I’ve been terribly busy. Hope this helps.
I think you’re probably referring to EDGE and not 3G. As you’d know, EDGE is part of the GSM system, and it’s something that can not be turned off separately. It will get activated anytime any App requires to access the Net.
If your “always ask” settings do not work, try changing it to “uncategorised”. It’s not as easy as on the N900 or other phones, where you can set WiFi as default and it never accesses data services. If you happen to realise data services are running and you can’t stop, just long-press the Cancel/Hang-up button.
Yea, emails and IMs do work with WiFi, I’ve had no problems so far.
April 16th, 2010 at 3:49 am
am currently considering e72 against n86 for a buying decision (same price)
I read in many user reviews many problems about e72.
I would like some feeback as a first-hand user of the same :
) How is the voice clarity and loudness?
I need it to be good and loud enough to hear otherside during conversation in noisy outdoors – very very important for my needs.
2) I depend on the phone’s alarm to be loud , how is it?
I will like to buy e72 but not at the cost of bad music quality either. I am using w810i right now.
April 19th, 2010 at 10:37 pm
i just bought my E72! and still in the stage of exploring the phone.
I just encounter one problem today, when i’m try to connect via wifi, it suddenly prompt me a message “System error” and i force to take out my battery and restart my phone again.
is there any solution for this? or should i take back to nokia center for them to check?
Appreciate if you able to help on this:p
April 24th, 2010 at 3:11 am
Will try to reply you guys soonest
Refugio Deprez Says:
July 1st, 2010 at 1:50 pm
This issue was really enlightening and perfectly created. I approach to complete some a lot more analysis on this. Many thanks for discussing this timely facts. We require much more like that.
July 20th, 2010 at 3:06 am
pt 5 of don’t likes: confusion in network is a major hassle. It always keeps searching for the gprs and drains battery. Could anyone help me with this?
Light leaks is also irritating. It is not comprehensible how nokia could have missed this!
August 23rd, 2010 at 6:22 pm
E72- Not a phone to opt for. If you want Nokia E Series, stay at E-71 or else better would be to go for Android without any doubt.
August 23rd, 2010 at 6:31 pm
E71 is a very slow phone, in the standards of year 2009/2010. The camera isn’t that good that either. UI is outdated. If it was 2008 we’re talking about, yes, the E71 was a ruler, but now, I doubt so. It also doesn’t match up to the needs of an average Enterprise user these days, again in the context of 2010. I can go on listing why E71 isn’t an option anymore
September 2nd, 2010 at 4:17 pm
i love my e72. but u kinda hate how nokia comes up with cheaper new phones with better memory specs than their supposed flagships. 256 MB RAM on the E5? better homescreen? the RAM on the e72 is clearly insufficient when u have gravity, nimbuzz, whatsapp, etc running. on top of when u start browsing heavy web sites.
September 12th, 2010 at 10:51 pm
hi, can you tell me how to zoom images when i view them in the gallery?i searched thoroughly but couldnt find it out….if it doesnt have any zooming options i wouldnt be surprised..this phones a huge disappointment….
Software ver . 051.018 (thats the latest update)
September 17th, 2010 at 8:30 am
for zooming.. Press 5. For full screen mode press space bar.
September 17th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Sorry for the utterly late reply.
Zooming is done thru the volume buttons on the side. I’ve yet to discover any other ways of zooming in the gallery. For viewing images in other places (e.g. in Messaging), it’s still the traditional Symbian S60 way; using the numeric buttons.
TomTom GO 910 Says:
September 19th, 2010 at 8:28 pm
How’s things, This is actually incredible
December 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 pm
this phone is the best phone made by nokia!!!!
no doubt about it!!
February 11th, 2011 at 1:00 am
I am having trouble uploading images to Facebook from the memory card. The image is about 1.49 MB and run up to 3.4MB without being uploaded and drained my air time. Anyone managed to get round this problem?
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