The E75 continues Nokia’s trend towards being very refined Symbian S60 devices. As one of the first E-series devices to use S60 Feature Pack 2 (v3.2), I was surprised at just how well the E75 performed for day-to-day operations.
For example, the same Active Standby (homescreen) that was found on the E71 and other recent E-series devices is found here, and works very well for getting you right to the contact that you want and the type of communication you need — voice, SMS, or e-mail.
Predictive text is also here, making the task of typing — whether names to contact or just a SMS with the number pad — fairly easy. I find myself more often than not flipping the E75 to use the keyboard — partly because I like the way it clicked when opening, but also because the QWERTY offers better feel for longer messages than the numberpad.
I was quite surprised — and plaesed — with performance running software. Whether a default or a third-party application, the E75 just moves along nicely… nearly no lag whatsoever. And this was most true with the web browser. As with other Nokia devices, this uses the WebKit-based S60 web browser, and as with every new model release, it has been further tweaked. Rendering speeds of webpages whether on 3G or Wi-Fi were astounding (full webpages, with Flash showing). My 5800XM and N95 don’t move nearly as fast over Wi-Fi for this browser, and definitely not over 3G.
Same with other heavier applications such as Mail for Exchange, Nokia Maps 2.0, and QuickOffice. Applications just loaded fast and in some respects just got out of that way to let you stay productive.
The E75 is the first Symbian S60 device from Nokia to come with Ovi Mail pre-installed as the default email solution. Usually, S60 devices have email built into the Messaging application. In addition, adding Mail for Exchange functionality has to be done through a separate download. The E75 gets rid of this complexity, and offers the best built-in Symbian S60 email solution.
Email setup is a breeze for all but the most complex of accounts. And when setting up a connection to an Exchange Server, you just need to know the domain, in addition to any other credentials that your IT department has set up.
Much like the other S60 email application, attachments, CC/BCC, and signatures are supported. HTML email is also supported in a bit of a two-step manner: once you open the email, you are presented a text version and the HTML version is attached. Clicking on that “Open HTML Version” link takes you to the enhanced version (essentially the email shown using the browser). It’s a bit clunky, but does work when you need to see these types of emails.
Small nit-pick: selecting multiple items to attach to an email isn’t a fun procedure, especially when you have to dig through multiple folders. It doesn’t save where you last picked up an attachment, and there’s no way to multi-select items.
You also get email notification on the Active Standby screen, with a separate indicator for your Exchange emails. Overall, its a very simple and powerful addition to the E75.
Other Nokia devices can get a similar — though not as refined or integrated — application by downloading the Nokia Messaging application to a compatible device.
Wireless and Battery Life
Continuing the tradition of Nokia’s E-series devices, the E75 offers multiple wireless connectivity options. The one I’m testing is the E75 NAM (North American Model) and therefore had AT&T-friendly UMTS/HSDPA to go along with the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, and GPS.
Despite having all of these, and a 1000 mAh battery, and Wi-Fi scanning on all day, and Mail for Exchange set to push for 12 hours a day, the E75 lasted easily for a day and a half. This is way better than anything I’ve reviewed before that was a 3G-enabled device. Usually, I would need to constrict the connection speed to EDGE to get that kind of performance. I’m very pleased.
The E75 uses an application called Destinations to manage wireless connections. Basically, you set up all of your access points — Wi-Fi and cellular — in a group by priority. Then, when you need Internet access, you just connect and the priority connection will be used. Similar to other devices that use Destinations, the E75 has trouble going back to Wi-Fi from a cellular connection, but I was able to solve this by turning on the Wi-Fi scan (scanning every 10 min.) and that would handle most applications I came across.
GPS locks were also pretty fast (indoors, outdoors, while driving); though I would suggest either upgrading to Google Maps or Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta instead of the default software for an easier-to-use user interface.
Camera and Multimedia
Multimedia is an area where E-series devices have gotten better in recent years, and the E75 continues that trend. A 3.2 MPx camera w/flash and auto-focus, music player, podcasting application, and the ability to share content immediately either via MMS or social networking sites (Nokia’s Ovi Share, Flickr, etc.) makes this work-oriented device ready to play anytime as well.
Compared to the 3.2 MPx camera in my Nokia 5800XM, the E75 is miles better. While they both display the same quick shutter-speed action, the E75 gives better color, sharper focus at all zoom levels, none of the artifacts, and a much faster saving to the microSDHC card for more picture taking. It’s not quite at that point-and-shoot ability, but Nokia has got this one close.
Video is still an iffy area, best suited for smaller moments that will be viewed over a mobile device.
Sound is great though. The single exposed speaker does a great job of giving volume and tone without distorting sounds. And this is good too, because the included headset isn’t so nice — compared to the ones Nokia’s N-series and XpressMusic devices get.
The Music player supports side-loading from a PC using either Nokia’s PC Suite or just drag-and-drop. Everything except .ogg and protected .acc files play with no problem as well.
Overall, the multimedia aspects are nothing to write home about, but you won’t complain on the commute or business trip either.