Hardware

The E5 comes packaged with the essentials; a micro-USB data cable (that’s about 5 inches long!), a wired handsfree kit, the charger and the manuals. The E5 can be charged either using the charger or using the included micro-USB cable, which is nice given that some of their previous devices haven't come with this capability (the 5800 XpressMusic comes to mind).

The build quality, in typical Nokia fashion, is rock solid. Weighing in at about 125 grams and a shade less than 13mm thick (12.8mm to be exact), the E5 feels reassuringly good in your hands. And this is an achievement considering the fact that the only metal elements used in the phone’s exterior is the battery cover and a band housing the soft keys along with the Answer/End call keys, right above the keyboard. Speaking of the battery cover, testament to the E5’s amazing build quality is the unlocking mechanism for the battery cover. While opening it is a pain (unless you have long nails), the mechanism itself it solid and reassuring, adding to the overall solid feel of the device. The phone is better put together than most phones two or three times its price. And with the phone having shared my pocket with keys and other assortments for about 2 weeks, there isn’t a single scratch to speak of. 

No buttons on the left or bottom; volume control flush with the device on the right; micro USB and charger port along with 3.5mm jack on top

The design of the phone is very un-Nokia like. In fact, if it were not for the branding below the ear piece along with the etching on the battery cover, it would be very difficult to identify it as a Nokia. The first time I saw the E5, it struck me more as a grown-up Palm Centro than anything out of Finland! And although it may not look striking, it does look quite elegant in an understated way. Perfect for the target market.

Once you get past the good build, the next thing that strikes you is the awesome keyboard. No really, it’s awesome. It’s right up there with the very best QWERTY phone keyboards. Infact I frequently found myself choosing to type out an email on the E5 even though I was right in front of my laptop. The spacing and layout is perfect and so is the contour of each key. Apart from when I had to type out special characters, I didn’t have to look at the keyboard. And unlike the E72/E63, the E5 comes with a generous sized spacebar. If you tend to type a lot of messages on the go, the Nokia E5’s heft, proportion and keyboard will make it a lot easier on your thumbs and won’t make you cringe at the thought of typing out more than 10 words on the phone.


The E5’s best feature, its amazing keyboard

Introduction Display and Camera
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  • deputc26 - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    While he may be wrong, "Powerful stupid" does not fit...

    I agree that those three are currently the best for the most people and will end up 1, 2 and 3 as things currently stand but of course RIM/Nokia and especially WebOS could make top 3 if they get their acts together.
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    I based my opinion on... educated guess and how the market works. Until I saw the WM7 in action (somewhat - on Andandtech) - I figured it'll be junk. But it's still a rather updated 6.5 with more power.

    MS looked at iPhone and Android and said "hmmmm... what can we do to make OUR product different and actually better." The big squares look like they'll function better - direct to the point of the function you want with a quick swipe access to more apps.

    WM7 will do very well because of MS's marketing but also, unlike before - MS has several hardware partners (HTC, Samsung) selling about 12 models out the gate. While there are only 7 different black berries, half of them on the market for a year. Apple only makes 1-2 models of iPhone... but they are easily skinable.

    So with the OS improvements, close work with partners - yes, WM7 will be giving Android some good competition. I don't think WM7 - these three different phones have their strengths and weakness. I have an Android Galaxy-S, and so does one of my business partners... I think he'd do better with the WM7, but it wasn't out when his blackberry died, which he doesn't miss.

    I NEVER meet a blackberry phone that I liked.

    I prefer the more open design of Android... and I hope 3.0 will take some clues from MS and streamline some of the operations of the phone. I'd like to see a smaller grid... perhaps 3 icons across. Improved unlocked-swipe... yeah, the jig-saw looks cool, but its a PAIN in the butt in ways it shouldn't be.

    The battery usage of Android needs to be enhanced.

    With limited models, iPhone will end up #3 in about 2-3 years... IMHO.

    My prediction by 2013
    1 - Android
    2 - Windows Mobile
    3 - iPhone
    4 - RIM
    5 - Dumb-phones & Palm & Symbian - which is semi-smart.

    Market share for #5 will be reduced... new generation of users will not want dumber phones. I've only recently gone from dumb cell to smart... most of it has been good experience with room for improvement.
    Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    You know, there are actually customers (90% of world market actually) that expect the phone to JUST WORK out of the box. No firmware update needed.

    Also there are customers not willing to shell out $300 for a mobile.
    $1 with $20 plan being the target market of this device.
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Belard, I see your point. And having used a Palm Pre Plus as my primary phone for the last couple of months, it was almost jarring when I first used the E5.

    But the Blackberries seem to be selling quite well only because they are tailored for their target market. With the E5, Nokia is trying to do just that.

    Also, most of the uber-phones listed sell for $150-199 on contract. If I remember correct, i saw it for $170 without a contract a couple of days ago. Plus, if you're going to use this primarily as a business phone (mail/messaging only), you can get away with the $15 unlimited data plan that AT&T offers for its "dumb" phones. That's a lot of savings over 2 years.... :)
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    A friend went from a blackberry to Android... it was a huge improvement. He's had his blackberry for about a year (one of the recent models) - the screen, internet, texting, etc... improved experience going to a Galaxy-S. Even thou the Galaxy isn't perfect.... ;(

    At&t at walmart has the Galaxy-S for $100 on 2yr contract. The data-plan is $25, with unlimited texting. There are times WHEN I do need an internet connection with a usable browser.

    Using my old SONY at the moment... its still NICE to sometimes have just a dumb-phone.
    Reply
  • calyth - Friday, December 3, 2010 - link

    I'm a little amuse that you think a Samsung Galaxy could be a business phone.

    Mine was sitting on my nightstand when I left for work at like 9am, unplugged from the power source, and whne I was back at around 1030pm, it's already complaining loud and clear that I need to charge the battery. It's got nothing on, but 3 very low traffic email accounts. No IM. Maybe a google reader feed being updated.

    I've used both a Bold2 and a Torch, and all of them will last at least a day with corporate levels of email.

    I don't have high hopes for this BlackBerry knockoff to last that long when a user actually has any kind of email load.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Very nice and detailed review, as usual.

    Can we expect any S^3 devices, primarily the N8 and E7, to be reviewed in the future?
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    You should :) Reply
  • Exodite - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Sweet. :) Reply
  • digitalw - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    I'm not Nokia fan, but, if you have a lot of time to spend "touching" your phone, then go android, go iPhone,go WM7 or WM6.5.... i was using all those platforms and i can assure you, there is no better OS if you want to QUICKLY write SMS, check / write e-mail, quickly send photo as MMS... in the "rush" business hours, my Nokia E52, does the greatest job. After work, my "toy" Samsung Omnia helps me to watch divx or make a nice photos. But E52 (or any other Nokia business model) is the right tool. BlackBerry is in the same class i guess, as i never use it. But my frinds say it's best, for business, not for fun! :) Reply

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