The Nokia E series has gained a reputation as a mean set of power smartphones for business users. Just take a look at the Nokia E61i and the Nokia E65 if you need proof. And now, you've got the granddaddy of them all--the mammoth Nokia E90 Communicator. A descendant of the Nokia 9300, the E90 brings solid performance and more features--Wi-Fi, GPS, the latest Symbian operating system, and more--to the corporate customer. That said, we couldn't help but be disappointed by the lack of 3G support on the E90, and the omission is even tougher to swallow when you realize it will cost you about $1,100 (though you can probably find it for a couple of hundred dollars less online, but still) for an unlocked version of this handset. The Nokia E90 Communicator is a sharp device, but if you're looking for a comparable and more affordable solution, check out the AT&T Tilt.
The Nokia E90 Communicator is a mammoth. The handset measures a whopping 5.2 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 7.4 ounces, so you can pretty much forget about slipping this into a pants pocket, comfortably anyway. On the upside, the smartphone has a solid construction and looks like it could weather some rough treatment. It's also got a decidedly no-nonsense, corporate look, which suits its intended audience of power business users.
The exterior of the E90 features a 2-inch diagonal, 16 million color display with a 320x240 pixel resolution. It's not a touch screen, but text and images are vibrant and sharp. Below the screen, you'll find a standard navigation array of two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, a shortcut to the Main Menu, a four-way toggle with center select key, and the alphanumeric dialpad. This is one area where the phone's bigger size is an advantage since the extra room allows for large buttons that are easy to press.
Aside from roomy controls, there's another benefit to Nokia E90's bulkiness. The candy-bar-style phone opens up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard and a 3.6-inch wide internal display. The latter has a 16 million color output and 800x352 pixel resolution that makes for an impressive view. The wide screen also lends itself really well for browsing Web sites and reading documents and e-mails. Also, flanking the screen is another set of Talk and End buttons and two soft keys.
The keyboard shouldn't give users too many problems as far as typing with ease and accuracy. The individual buttons are roomy, so it's not an issue that there isn't much spacing between them. They also have a tactile feel to them; our only complaint would be that they're a bit stiff to press. In addition, there's a dedicated number row, and right below the display, you will find shortcuts to various applications, including Contacts, Messaging, Web, and Calendar.
On the right spine, there's a voice-recorder button and a camera-activation key, while the bottom of the device has a mini USB port, a power connector, and a 2.5-millimeter headset jack. On the back you will find the 3.2-megapixel camera and flash, and a microSD expansion slot.
The Nokia E90 comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired headset, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
The Nokia E90 Communicator is a workhorse. The brainpower behind the smartphone is provided by Symbian OS 9.2, Series 60 3rd Edition and comes packed with a host of applications for the business user. There's full support for viewing and editing Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents thanks to the Quickoffice suite. The E90 also features the Nokia Team Suite, which we saw debut on the Nokia E65, and lets you create "teams" and define members, conference call numbers, conference call PINs, and Web pages.
Other utilities and PIM tools include Adobe Reader, a Zip Manager, a calendar, notes, a calculator, a clock, a voice recorder, and a currency converter. Of course, with the openness of the Symbian platform, you have access to a large library of third-party applications. There's Download Catalog on the device or you can check CNET Download.com for more titles. The Nokia E90 has 128MB of user-accessible memory, and the microSD expansion slot can accept up to 2GB cards.