I have had the new E-series smartphone from Nokia, the E5, with me for a while and used it extensively. I have come off with

Nokia E5 review – A Smartphone that makes sense

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I have had the new E-series smartphone from Nokia, the E5, with me for a while and used it extensively. I have come off with very positive impressions of the device, and when I think of a summary of the E5, it is that here is a sensible smartphone.

IMG 1065

It is sensible in the sense that nothing major is missing, and its usability is one of the best out there in its category. Here are a few quick points:

  1. the E5 has a very good battery life. I get over 24 hours of intensive use – always-on 3G mode, email client checking mails every 5 minutes, active Bluetooth earpiece connection, web browsing, calls, music, etc. With less intensive use, the E5 chugs on for about 2 full days.
  2. the QWERTY keyboard is the most user-friendly I have seen yet in its class. Characters like comma, full stop, the @ sign, and question mark require one key press, instead of a combination of two keys on other candybar QWERTY and BlackBerry devices. The keys are also well domed, making them easy to use.
  3. one-handed use of the device is tops. It is almost like using a regular phone – except that the QWERTY is there for when you need to really crank out text
  4. good build quality
  5. good music and video playback
  6. very good web browsing
  7. good (not superb) 5 megapixel camera

I could go on and on, but the summary is that the E5 does everything you want. It won’t win any awards for any groundbreaking feature, but it is a sound decision to make when you want a sensible device for everyday use.

While there are real issues with the Symbian S60 5th Edition interface, I don’t see what people are complaining about the non-touch version (3rd Edition) as it is today. Everything looks lovely and works well. I am able to customise the menu to my taste and there are subtle effects implemented by Nokia.

The Web browser supports multiple tabs, javascript and Flash, and handles everything that I need well, so no issues there at all. With 256mb RAM and a 600 MHz processor (same specification as the N900), it is no wonder that I hardly encounter anything slowing down or freezing up on the E5.

Web browsing is also super friendly with keyboard shortcuts that enable you to zoom, go back, switch between tabs, reload a page and more.

Email Issues – again.
One thing that I do still have issues with is Nokia’s implementation of email on their smartphones. The interface is lovely, but for some reason, there are periods that the email client is connected to the server but does not download any fresh mails. There are days I go to bed and for the 7 hours that I am asleep, the E5 does not download any mail until I pick it up and select the option to “Send and receive now“.

Not good. What is wrong with Nokia and email? My mobile history is checkered with clashes with Nokia’s email clients on smartphones, whether we are talking Symbian or Maemo.

Email management is made user-friendly though with keyboard shortcuts too. Users can delete mails, mark mails read or unread, and carry out a number of various actions via keyboard shortcuts. Now, if only Nokia can fix the auto-retrieve issue…

Besides the email auto-retrieve issue, I have no other complaints about the E5. It is a device that almost anyone will love and find handy.

My verdict: I rate the E5 a 4.75 out of 5.

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  1. Impressive!!!

    But I keep wondering why nokia decided to bring out this phone to kill its E71 and E72. Those phones are more costly but yet do not have kind of features you see in E5. No doubt they will be more durable being made of metals, but the owner of an E5 will enjoy using his/her phone better and with a careful user, durability will not be an issue.

    All well and good. Thanks to nokia for making the E series cheaper and better.

  2. I’ve been searching for where to buy this Nokia E5 in Lagos. It is undoubtedly a business phone with a ‘playful side’.
    I didn’t understand the ‘not superb’ 5mp camera, but your rating of 4.75 out of 5 makes me confident in the phone. It would certainly be a good buy. What’s the price?

    Udechukwu Nonso Osita
    Taciturn Turned Talkative

  3. This phone is a good one Yomi. And You’ve got me converted. I think I should pick this one up. But some questions for you.

    Does it have WLAN? Could it share its internet connection to other wireless devices via hotspots like the new froyo does?

    And lastly, I hope it isn’t touchscreen because I am not so impressed with Nokia’s implementation of the UI on their series 60, 5th edition touchscreen devices. It is like they just copied the regular 3rd edition devices without a thought of the uniqueness of a touchscreen adaptability. I love the usual Nokia hardware key smartphone.

  4. Afewgoodmen,

    It has WLAN and internet can be shared over WLAN via an app like JoikuSpot. I have so used it that way.

    Nope; its not touchscreen. This is thoroughbred S60 3rd Edition.

  5. @Yomi Adegboye

    Thanks. This is getting all the more interesting. I love the 3rd edition Series 60. I would love to finally know if the E5 could connect to a hotspot for long periods of time. A problem I had with the Nokia N95 those days was that it needed to refresh its connection with a wireless hotspot every 1 to 10 minutes (depending on you) as a necessity. There was no option to allow it to be permanently connected. I hope this isn’t the case here and that the Wi-Fi connection to any hotspot does good both in length of time and quality?

  6. @Afewgoodmen,

    I haven’t tried out the E5 with any hostspot. But using it as a hotspot itself, once in a while (certainly not 1-10 minutes) there is a need to reconnect, but that’s been pretty much my experience on other platforms as well. Specifically, that covers both Windows Mobile and Maemo, so that may not be specific to Symbian or the E5 itself.

    If I can find a free hotspot, I will test WLAN on the E5 to verify whether or not the phenomenon that you have described plagues it.

  7. Thanks Yomi. I would be eagerly expecting that detail. i have never had the reconnect problem with the iphone. Even when I am browsing after connecting to a hotspot via WLAN for hours on end.

  8. The e5 has it, must impressed with the 256MB RAM and 600MZ processor.
    but i also wouldn’t have mind a slightly bigger screen.

  9. I would really love to purchase nokia E5, but some sites seem to say it has a problem with internet connectivity. I just want to confirm whether it does support Wi-Fi. If it does then i think the phone is probably the best solution nokia has produced yet.

  10. Dear yomi does d E5 sync ur yahoo mails and is the e-mail client any beta than dan that of the nokia N95 8GB anxiously waiting ur reply???thanks

  11. Asiana,

    I don’t have the E5 anymore and didn’t use Yahoo mail with it back when I had it. I also never had an N95. but from what I read online, the mail client is on the E5 is better.

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