Nokia E5 review: Nokia E5

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

4 stars 6 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent Qwerty keyboard;. Solid design;. Good battery life;. Excellent connectivity options.

The Bad Poor screen;. Symbian feels outdated;. Camera could be better.

The Bottom Line Your fingers will positively adore the Nokia E5's lush Qwerty keyboard, and its rugged construction and eye-catching design only endear the phone further. These positives are balanced out by a poor screen that's hard to view in sunlight and a below-average camera.

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Like the cheaper C3 , the Nokia E5 is an attempt by the Finnish veteran company to encroach on BlackBerry's territory. The Qwerty keyboard is bound to attract text-happy users and is ably supported by terrifically solid build quality, but the screen is a major disappointment.

The E5 can be obtained for gratis on a £15, 24-month contract. SIM-free, you can expect to part with around £200.

Whole lotta buttons

Dominating the front of the phone, the E5's keyboard is unquestionably its key (pun absolutely intended) selling point. Despite the small nature of the buttons, typing is a joy. There are rare moments when you accidentally push two keys simultaneously, but, on the whole, we were in text heaven with this tap-friendly device. The addition of time-saving shortcut buttons -- which are bound to oft-used activities such as turning on Bluetooth or using the camera's LED flash as a makeshift torch -- is another welcome touch.

The E5's Qwerty keyboard is its biggest selling point, with a generous number of keys and shortcut commands.

The E5 is a definite step up from the rather cheap-looking Nokia C3. The plastic casing feels robust, and the metal battery cover not only protects the phone but also lends it a sense of cool desirability. A band of metal is present on the front of the phone, surrounding the direction pad and action buttons. Say what you will about Nokia's recent design philosophy, but the E5 is undisputedly attractive.

Unfortunately, the cost of including all that lovely metalwork seems to have had a negative impact on other parts of the phone. The screen is the biggest culprit. The QVGA TFT display has a paltry resolution of just 320x240 pixels and is practically impossible to use in direct sunlight. Even when compared to the AMOLED displays on the Nexus One and HTC Desire -- both of which don't perform particularly well under a blazing sun -- the E5 ends up looking bad.

Symbiotic relationship

Despite the seemingly never-ending rumours of Nokia switching to Android , the E5 comes packing good old Symbian. Series 60 third edition, to be precise. The operating system continues to lag behind its rivals, but Nokia has, at least, taken steps to include additional functionality, such as a handy home-screen contacts bar.

Symbian S60 beats at the heart of the E5, with 'business' and 'personal' home screen arrangements offering up impressive customisation.

Ovi Maps offers free turn-by-turn navigation and the pre-installed Facebook app allows you to control your social networking world -- albeit rather awkwardly-- on the 60mm (2.4-inch) landscape screen. The Ovi Store naturally offers other downloads, including games, apps and widgets. The E5 comes with the excellent Vlingo speech-to-text application, pre-installed. Already a hit on the iPhone and Android platforms, this program lets you control aspects of your device with your voice alone.

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Where to Buy

Nokia E5

Part Number: CNETNokia E5

Typical Price: £200.00

See manufacturer website for availability.