The Nokia E72 smartphone is a replacement for the popular E71. It's a commendable smartphone and benefits from a few nice improvements, but E71 owners have little incentive to upgrade.
Nokia's E-Series family of devices target business users first and foremost, but that doesn't mean they aren't stylish. The Nokia E72 once again uses a combination of gloss chrome edging and brushed black highlights, and its build quality is superb. The design results in an unconventional display that’s a little smaller than most smartphones'.
The top rear and bottom of the Nokia E72 have now been fitted with matte black plastic instead of metal; the handset still looks nice but doesn't pick up grubby fingerprints and smudges. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the etched stainless steel battery cover.
The Nokia E72 includes a full QWERTY keyboard that is comfortable to type on. It's almost identical to the E71's, except the space bar is a little smaller and there are dedicated exclamation mark, @ and question mark keys, and a symbol shortcut. The spongy feel of the keys may not suit everyone and the keys on the left and right sides are quite close to the edges of the phone.
A new feature is the optical navi key. Looking like a regular five-way navigational pad, the centre button can also be used to swipe your finger in four directions. It works in a similar fashion to the optical trackpad found on the BlackBerry Bold 9700, though your fingers scrape the edges of the navigational pad when you swipe. The optical navi key is most useful in the E72's Web browser, where a mouse cursor appears on the screen. It's rather sensitive, though, and clicking links is often a hit-and-miss affair.
The Nokia E72 comes preloaded with Nokia Messaging, Nokia's e-mail application. The Nokia Messaging service allows up to 10 e-mail accounts to be used on a single device. Improvements over the previous Nokia e-mail client include folder and HTML e-mail support, expandable views and sorting capabilities. Setting up a personal e-mail account, such as Gmail, Yahoo! or Windows Live mail, is a simple process of entering your username and password.
For corporate accounts, the process is a slightly longer seven steps. The Nokia E72 can synchronise your contacts and calendar information as well as e-mail; the service supports Mail for Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes Traveller mail, with no extra licensing fees or other costs. A new addition to the Nokia E72 is the integration of an instant messaging client. This works across Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and Nokia's own Ovi Chat service and is similar to Nokia Messaging — it taps into IM services via Nokia's Ovi servers.
The Nokia E72 runs the popular Symbian S60 OS, so it includes all the features and applications expected from a business smartphone, including an updated Quickoffice suite and an Adobe PDF viewer. Nokia's Ovi Store also comes preloaded.
Perhaps the biggest improvement over the E71 is the E72's speed. Though the E71 was no slouch, the E72 benefits from a combination of updated software and a faster processor and as a result there is no lag when using the phone.
A feature of most E-Series smartphones is the ability to switch between business and personal modes. You can edit a number of settings in each mode, including enabled applications, notifications and themes, and then toggle between the two. The familiar Symbian interface lacks the polish of many alternatives, but it's easy enough to use.
The E72's 3.5mm headphone jack is a welcome inclusion (its predecessor had a 2.5mm variant). Nokia also bundles the E72 with a 1GB microSD card. The standard music player does a decent job of handling your tunes, and there is also an FM radio. The camera has been upgraded from 3.2 to 5 megapixels and once again includes a single LED flash.
Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, Bluetooth and HSDPA connectivity are predictably included, but the E72 also has a built-in compass. HSDPA speeds have been increased to up to 10.2 megabits per second download and 2Mbps upload. This results in faster Web browsing, but would also suit users who are interested in using the phone as a tethered modem. The Nokia mobile browser is also compatible with Flash, unlike the iPhone.
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