A stylish smartphone with a full keyboard
A Computeractive reader recently contacted us to say that he had couldn't find a simple phone that included a large Qwerty keyboard.
The Nokia E7 isn't a simple phone, but it certainly has the full keyboard.
Our major problem with the E7 is the same as with all recent Nokia models. The phone is physically superb, but comes with the Symbian operating system preinstalled – or one of its variants. The E7 itself, though, is a brilliant piece of hardware that is both powerful and well-designed.
But while its Symbian^3 operating system is an improvement on previous versions it is for the most part miles behind Google Android and Apple iOS in terms of functions and ease of use. Nokia itself acknowledged this by announcing that it will switch to the Windows Phone operating system next year.
The Qwerty keyboard is nicely hidden away below the screen and slides out when needed. We found that the screen-sliding took a bit of getting used to – even having used the phone for a few days we still wouldn't say it felt easy to open it up to access the keyboard. On more than one occasion it almost flew out of our hands when the mechanism jolted suddenly.
Unfortunately for readers looking for phones with good keyboards, the E7 failed to deliver overall. The buttons were too small to be useful and the keyboard felt cramped. Also, as the keys aren't raised up as on a computer keyboard, pressing them was difficult and awkward.
Because of Symbian the device felt dated. Menus were often filled with confusing jargon. For example, in the display settings there is an option for ‘light sensor' rather than screen brightness and under power saving there is an option ‘power saving query' that can be ‘shown' or ‘not shown' with no further explanation.
Most menus have sub-menus that made specific functions hard to find. It didn't feel intuitive or well laid-out especially compared to the easy usability of recent Android phones.
The E7 has an eight-megapixel camera which produced some good photographs. It was also able to handle low-light conditions well and took good close-up shots. The screen was great, with good colour reproduction and contrast. We particularly liked how the screen tilts up when the keyboard slides out, offering a good viewing angle for watching video when the E7 is placed on a table.
The large keyboard makes the E7 fairly heavy at 176g and it felt chunky when placed in a pocket (for comparison, the keyboard-less HTC Wildfire weighs 118g).
Although this phone impressed in parts, keyboard fans will have to keep looking for the perfect phone.
Read more reviews
There is a good phone inside here but the operating system and keyboard let it down
Great screen and camera; screen slides up when keyboard is used
Keys too small to be useable; Symbian is dated by modern phone standards
Phone 0870 500 3110
£465 or on contract
Updating your subscription status