So, enough justification as to why – let’s move on to something material.
The phone physically takes a very similar shape to the e71/e71x – users coming from that won’t have any trouble getting used to this. For those completely unfamiliar, the E72 is a business-class smartphone with a full qwerty keypad in a slim candybar form factor. The phone is one of the slimmest on the market – I think the iPhone 4 is only slightly skinnier, but is wider and taller. The metal body panels on the phone make it feel heavier than it looks – something that I appreciate. It feels good in the hand, and it seems durable enough. I’ve never had trouble with any Nokia in terms of hardware, so I’m not too concerned here.
Just above the keypad are the dedicated one-touch buttons for the calendar, email, contacts, and home, which handle the bulk of the navigation effort. Nokia’s made them twice as functional with long-presses, something that Nokia users will be familiar with, allowing you to complete a different function (for example, going directly to drafting a new e-mail instead of going to you inbox). A long-press of the home button brings up a task manager, but more on that later.
The optical trackpad seems to get mixed opinions from reviewers – some hate it and disable it, others like it. I fit in the middle – the trackpad is good for brief movements, so I keep it enabled, but for longer scrolls I use the directional pad just around it. I do end up using it, but it’s hardly a killer feature. On the other hand, I’m particularly fond of the light around the trackpad, called a breathing light, and I find this really useful. The light will fade in and out when the phone is idle, just kind of letting you know that the phone is active, but will flash more strongly when there’s a message or missed call. It’s novel, but I really like this – it was on the e71x as well, and used in pretty much the same way.
The phone also features a 3.5mm jack that takes headphones as well as Nokia headsets, making it a versatile and useful upgrade to the 2.5mm jack on the e71. There’s slots for the USB cable, microSD card, and the charger as well, just leaving the volume and voice control key on the other side. Overall then, the phone is theoretically powerful enough for most of your business needs, and then some. the most important question – does it work well? Does it execute well? Can it stand daily use and abuse?