Nokia bills the E73 Mode as a mobile to balance work and life, and the smartphone has a pretty well-rounded feature set, though we'd say it skews a little more to mobile professionals than consumers, particularly with the messaging capabilities. The smartphone offers Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support (e-mail, contacts, calendar, and tasks) as well as IBM Lotus Notes and comes with a mobile VPN client if you need to tap into your company's intranet. The Nokia Messaging app can also handle as many as 10 personal accounts, including POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP, and comes with push deliver, an attachment viewer, search, filters, and HTML support. In addition to e-mail, T-Mobile bundles the E73 with a handful of instant messaging clients and social networking apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.
As a phone, the E73 offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, voice dialing, conference calling, speed dial, VoIP calls, and text and multimedia messaging. The address book is only limited by the available memory and the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts. Each phone book entry can hold numerous numbers, e-mail addresses, job title, and other information.
Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, and 3G are all available. The E73's Nokia MiniMap browser is decent. You can open multiple windows, subscribe to Web feeds, keyword search, and Flash support. Web pages can also be displayed in overview mode or full screen. Given the smartphone's smaller screen, we found ourselves using the page overview a lot to move to the part of the site we wanted to see, since otherwise there's a lot of scrolling involved in full screen view. Also, like the phone's user interface in general, performing certain tasks, like opening a new page, requires a couple of extra steps.
The E73 Mode is equipped with A-GPS and like Nokia's latest smartphones it comes with free turn-by-turn navigation courtesy of Ovi Maps. You can get directions whether you're online or offline since all the maps are preloaded, unlike Google Maps and TeleNav GPS Navigator (both are available on the phone as alternatives or supplements to Ovi Maps), which need a data connection. Also, Nokia uses a hybrid vector mapping technology that helps maps redraw quickly and gives you the ability to zoom in and out of maps with little delay. Ovi Maps also provides walking directions as well as weather and event information for your current location and includes Lonely Planet City Guides.
Like the Nuron, the Ovi Store is also preloaded on the E73 Mode, where you can browse and download free and paid apps, audio, video, themes, games, and more. Again, T-Mobile is simplifying the process of purchasing apps by letting you bill purchases to your monthly statement or via credit card. This streamlined process definitely makes it easier to get apps, but the Ovi Store isn't particularly easy to navigate or search. Also, don't expect to find much in the audio and video section. It's not a true music store and, unfortunately, Nokia's Music Store isn't available in the United States.
The built-in media player supports AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, AMR-NB, WMA files, though, and it has shuffle and repeat modes, playlist creation, a built-in equalizer, and displays album art. There's also an FM radio, but you must use the included headset to listen since it holds the FM transmitter. For videos, the RealPlayer can play back MP4, AVC/H.264, WMV, RV, and H.263/3GPP codecs.
Of course, you can record your own videos and snap photos with the E73's 5-megapixel camera. The camera has a CMOS censor with auto focus and 5X digital zoom. In addition, there's an LED flash, which doubles as a super-bright flashlight, and standard editing options. In video mode, the camera can record VGA video at 15 frames per second.
Picture quality wasn't the greatest. Despite trying to hold the phone as steady as possible, it was sometimes difficult to get a clear shot, as you can see from the image above. This didn't happen on every occasion, but we can say that it happened more often than we liked. When we were able to get a clean shot, the photos looked quite nice and had good color. Video quality was satisfactory for a camera phone, but could get murky in action shots.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS/HSDPA 900/1700/2100) Nokia E73 Mode in New York using T-Mobile service and call quality was mostly good. On our side of the conversation, audio was great. Voices sounded rich and with plenty of volume and little to no background noise. However, friends didn't have quite the same experience. Some said they could hear some static while another said that the ends of our sentences got cut off, but the problems weren't so bad that they couldn't carry on with the phone call.
Speakerphone quality was quite decent. There was a slight hollowness, but overall, we were happy with how calls sounded and there was enough volume that we could hold conversations in louder environments. We were also able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth Headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem.
T-Mobile's 3G network provided mostly reliable coverage throughout Manhattan, though there were several occasions that it reverted to EDGE. When on 3G, the speeds were great; CNET's full site loaded in 15 seconds while CNN's and ESPN's mobile sites came up in 5 seconds and 4 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos loaded almost instantaneously and played back without interruption. Quality wasn't the best and the smaller screen size is a strain on the eyes, but it's fine for short sessions. We loaded up a couple of MP4 videos as well, and they played back beautifully on the E73, and thanks to the 3.5mm headphone jack, we were able to plug-in our Bose On-Ear headphones and listen to tunes in comfort and with great sound.
In terms of general performance, the E73 isn't a powerhouse. There were slight delays when launching apps, and working in multiple programs was limited by the available memory (250MB internal). On more than one occasion, we got the following alert when trying to open a Web page, "Memory full. Close some applications and try again," so remember to exit out of apps when you're done.
The Nokia E73 Mode ships with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 13 hours (2G)/6 hours (3G) and up to 16 days of standby time (2G). The E73 met its rated talk time in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the E73 has a digital SAR rating of 1.07 watts per kilogram