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Nokia E90 review: Nokia E90

The Nokia 9000 Series has been integrated with Nokia's new Eseries portfolio to produce the E90 Communicator. It has retained its original folding design, but added new features and more power, meaning this handset is faster and offers more than any Communicator device to date.

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7.5

Nokia E90

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Full range of connectivity options including HSDPA and Wi-Fi; easy-to-use Qwerty keypad; audio quality during calls.

The Bad

Large design; large internal display.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia E90 will beat most other smart phones in the specs department hands-down but it will also win the prize for being one of the largest handsets out there. It's primarily aimed at business users with briefcases -- if you want it to fit in the pocket of your skinny jeans, forget it

The E90 is currently available for free on a monthly contract from several major networks.

Design
The Nokia E90 looks like a giant phone from the 80s when it's shut, but open it up and it transforms into what looks like a mini laptop. It's definitely not pocket-friendly in any way, but is one of the most stylish Nokia devices in its class and has a solid feel and quality finish.

As with all the previous Communicator handsets, the E90 boasts a large internal colour screen and full Qwerty keypad. The latter lets you tap out long emails and read them in relative comfort, thanks to its long, wide design.


Once you open up the E90 it looks like a mini laptop

The keys on the keypad provide a good amount of tactile feedback although we did find the space bar a little stiff. The internal display is sharp and great for using to view emails, photos and Web pages.

Of course, you wouldn't want to make phone calls on the E90 when it's open, which is why there's an external screen and keypad. Both are well laid-out and convenient to use for calling and writing quick text messages.

Unlike previous Communicator external displays, the E90's gives you access to every feature available on the phone. This is very useful and less fiddly than having to open the phone up.

Holding the internal and external sections together are two chunky metal hinges that prop the screen up at varying angles. These allow you to view the large internal screen on your desk or hold it up completely flat, which is good when writing emails.

Features
This is one of the most feature-packed smart phones Nokia has produced so far and, unlike previous 9000 Series handsets, runs on the S60 platform. You can keep in touch practically anywhere you go via infrared, Bluetooth, quad-band GSM, HSDPA (3.5G) and Wi-Fi.

As with Nokia's consumer-based smart phone, the Nokia N95, the E90 comes with built-in GPS and Nokia maps. It serves its purpose when looking for an address on foot, but we found it a little slow to pick up a GPS signal and you need to pay to get step-by-step and voice navigation.


Two hinges connect the external and internal screens and let you view the screen at a comfortable angle from your desk

Browsing the Web was also a little less exciting than we expected because certain pages took a while to render properly, but once they did the large screen made them much easier to view than on smaller phones.


Accessing all the features you'd need while out on business is made easy using the dedicated keys on top of the Qwerty keypad. The large screen splits certain sections into two halves and lets you view all your message folders, for example, without needing to go in and out of every one.

In many ways the E90 is like the Nokia N95 in a different casing, but where it comes into its own is when you need to type out a long email. This device is an email machine and once you've set it up (or got your IT administrator or a tech-savvy mate to), you'll really appreciate its mini-laptop-like design.

Reading and writing emails on the E90 is quick and easy to do and you can view and edit attachments using Quick Office.

Fortunately, it's not all calendars and emails. Nokia has crammed in some media functionality, too, letting you do much more than just work on it. There's a 3.2-megapixel camera, for example, that features autofocus and an LED photo light.

The camera is relatively good compared to other smart phone cameras but not as good as the Nokia N95's, and the lack of xenon flash means that shots in low light don't come out too well.


The E90 has a 3.2-megapixel camera on the back, but unfortunately no xenon flash

Should you choose to, you can make video calls on this handset using the secondary 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera.

You'll also find an MP3 player that supports AAC files, and an FM radio. We're disappointed, however, to see a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, as found on the Nokia N95.

Performance
Audio quality during calls is loud and clear and the speakerphone works really well, even with the speaker on the bottom side.

Browsing the Web and accessing applications was relatively smooth, a noticeable change from older Communicators.

Picture quality from the 3.2-megapixel camera was clear and sharp when viewed on the screen, but less so when printed out at full size.

We found battery life to be good, lasting for over two days, even when moderately using HSDPA or Wi-Fi, but it noticeably drained faster when using GPS. It's quoted at up to 5.8 hours' talk time on GSM and up to 14 days standby on GSM.

Conclusion
The E90 is big, bulky and not for the faint-hearted. It's the kind of phone you could use to defend yourself with in a fight -- and win.

If you're a veteran Nokia Communicator or Psion user you'll definitely appreciate the improved features. If, however, you're not, and you don't want a huge handset that won't fit in your pocket, you're better off getting a Nokia N95 or a smaller Windows Mobile handset, such as the HTC S710.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield