Overview

What’s good: 3.5 mm audio/video jack, Internet radio, 3.2 MP camera, video at 30 fps, secondary camera, text-to-speech, long battery life.
What's bad: priced way out of range, dual-purpose soft-keys responsible for many mistakes, awkward keyboard.

Introduction

The E75 should be a handy and simple messaging device, but a couple of design flaws made it far too difficult for me to use. People already familiar with, and fond of, Symbian devices will have less trouble overcoming this phone's shortcomings. A nice camera, media player, and OVI Store access take the edge off of my qualms with the device. But there are a few flaws that I can't overlook.

Design & Features

The E75 is a full QWERTY slider with a 3.2 MP cam, 3.5mm audio/video jack, dedicated music controls, and a solid build.

The aging Symbian S60 OS serves the phone fairly well; it's easy enough to get to where you want to be. But the interface isn't going to win over any smart phone converts. The E75's strengths lie in its focus on music and messaging. Unfortunately, the keyboard doesn't cut it in my book. A-GPS with Nokia Maps is included, which will most likely appeal to existing Nokia users rather than new customers. The concept of video calling is probably one of Nokia's strongest selling points in my mind, but adoption is slow. And until the standard is set, the feature is likely to go unused.

Usability & Performance

Aside from not being much of a Symbian fan, I have two major complaints about the E75. The QWERTY is very difficult for me to type on. I hit the wrong key at least 20% of the time. I know some folks have been using the grid-style keyboard since their first text and would swear by the simplicity of it. I hate them. I don't think I've ever typed more slowly on a phone with a full keyboard than I did on the E75. I spent a week trying to adjust to it, using this phone exclusively. It never took.

My second major complaint is the four soft keys just beneath the screen on the face of the phone. They all serve double-duty as soft rocker keys. I can't tell you how often I selected the wrong function. And when you are trying to access those buttons while typing on (what is to me) a strange keyboard, the experience can be very frustrating.

I had no problems making calls, taking photos and video, or playing media. But beyond those basic functions I found the phone a hassle. Maybe more time with the device would allow me to adapt and perhaps I'd change my opinion, but I doubt it. This isn't the worst phone I've used, but it would take a lot of effort for me to emphasize its strengths over weaknesses.

Conclusion

In the E75, Nokia took a functional and proven form-factor for a messaging device and made a few small mistakes that cancelled out the practical design. If you like Symbian S60 and grid-style QWERTYs this just might be the device for you. But are you willing to spend close to five bills on that gamble? You can get more phone for your money.


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