The browsing experience on the E72 is quite good, as Nokia's MiniMap Web browser is very competent. There are various display options, such as page overview and full screen. With a long press, you can bring up a mini map of the site where you more easily move to a point on the page and then zoom in, reducing the need for excessive scrolling and panning. You can switch between multiple windows, search for keywords within a page, and subscribe to Web feeds. It offers Flash support and you can even watch full YouTube clips (not just mobile versions) from within the browser.
The Nokia E72 has integrated GPS/A-GPS and ships with a compass and an updated Nokia Maps 3.0. As before, the app offers navigation tools, such as satellite and hybrid maps, and pedestrian and bicycle modes. It used to be that in order to get real-time voice-guided directions, you had to sign up for a monthly or yearly license but just recently, Nokia announced that it will offer Ovi Maps with Navigation for free on all its GPS-enabled smartphones. Sure enough, when we first started up our E72, it asked if we wanted to check for any software updates and after clicking yes, it found the new Ovi Maps app. It downloaded with no problem and got voice-guided navigation with text-to-speech functionality, as well as access to other content like weather forecasts, We'll be doing a more in-depth analysis of the app in our full review of the Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, but you can get a snapshot of our experience in the Performance section below.
The E72 comes with plenty of other apps for productivity and beyond. Under the Office folder, you'll find the Quickoffice suite for creating, viewing, and editing Microsoft Office documents; a PDF reader; a ZIP manager; a business card scanner; a file manager; a dictionary; a calculator; and more. There are also a few games loaded on the device, including Tetris and Sims 3. Nokia's Ovi Store is open for business where you can find plenty of other free and paid apps for download.
Beyond games, the smartphone provides other avenues of entertainment. The built-in media player supports MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, and AMR-NB files. The music player could really use an update in the interface department, but it does offer the basics, as well as on-the-fly playlist creation and a built-in equalizer. There's also support for podcasts and the phone offers Internet radio and an FM tuner. The included Real Player can play back MP4, WMV, RV, and H.263/3GPP video files. The E72 offers about double the internal memory of the E71 at 250MB and the microSD expansion slot has been tested to accommodate up 16GB cards.
Another upgraded feature is the camera. The E72 gets a bump from 3.2 megapixels to 5 megapixels and comes with an LED flash, a CMOS sensor, autofocus, and up to 5x digital zoom. Like a number of Nokia's other high-end smartphones, the camera options are plentiful with settings for image quality, various shooting modes, including panorama, and color tone. The camera can also record VGA quality video at 15 frames per second with up to 10x digital video zoom but fewer editing options.
Picture quality was passable but not the greatest. The camera had the most problems with indoor shots. Though the objects in the photo were clear, the flash was a bit too harsh and turning off the flash only resulted in a dim picture. In addition, we had some initial problems figuring out how to call up the camera options menu, so the interface wasn't too intuitive.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900; HSDPA 850/1,900/2,100) Nokia E72 in New York using AT&T service and call quality was quite good. The audio was very clear on our end with little to no background noise or voice distortion. The volume can get plenty loud, which we found out the unfortunate way, after experimenting with the various audio levels and then getting blasted by our caller at the highest setting. Friends said the sound quality was good on their end. However, one caller said that he was very aware of when we moved the phone even the slightest bit or did something in the background, as if the movements were being amplified. Though it wasn't a complete distraction or a reason to end the call, he said it was rather noticeable.
Speakerphone quality could be better. Audio sounded a bit hollow and it was a bit difficult to hear the conversation in louder environments, even with the speakerphone volume at its highest. We had no problem pairing the E72 with a Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
AT&T's provided reliable and speedy coverage as we used the device throughout Manhattan during our testing period. CNET's full site loaded 23 seconds, and CNN and ESPN's mobile sites came up in 8 seconds and 5 seconds, respectively. YouTube clips took just a couple of minutes to buffer but played back smoothly. With the added 3.5mm headphone jack, we were able to plug in our Bose On-Ear headphones and enjoy our tunes comfortably and with full sound.
The Nokia E72 is quite a snappy device, thanks in part to a faster 600MHz processor (compared with the E71's 369MHz processor). We were able to use multiple applications without negatively affecting the overall performance. You can call up all your open apps with a long-press of the Home button or by pressing the left soft key when you're actually working in an app, which is great for multitasking, but we wish there was an easier way to kill all running apps.
The phone's GPS consistently found our position in 2 minutes or less, even in the deep urban canyons of Manhattan. However, on more than one occasion, the positioning was a couple of blocks off. We weren't able to test Ovi Maps Navigation in the car, but we took it for a foot test around the city. The app provided accurate directions, but what's really impressive is that you can work with the maps even if you're offline. Since maps are preloaded, you don't need a data connection and the map redraw rates are much faster, something that always bugged us about Google Maps for Mobile. Again, we'll dive deeper into Ovi Maps in our Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition review.
The E72 has a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 12.5 hours and up to 20.5 days of standby time. E72 failed to meet its lofty goal of 12.5 hours, delivering just 6 hours of continuous talk time in our battery drain tests. Generally speaking, however, 6 hours is pretty much on par with a number of other smartphones today. According to FCC radiation tests, the E72 has a digital SAR rating of 1.39 watts per kilogram.