>>Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com and I'm here with your first look at the Nokia E73 Mode for T-Mobile. This is the second time T-Mobile and Nokia have teamed up to bring an affordable smartphone to its customers. The first time was with the Nuron but I have to say that I'm digging the E73 way more than the Nuron. First off, it's got a great design. It's similar to the Nokia E72 with a very sleek and slim profile so it's not going to take up too much room when you're traveling and it's very comfortable to hold as a phone and messaging device. Speaking of messaging, the E73 has an outstanding keyboard, the rectangular buttons are good sized, have a nice dome shape so they're easy to press and I actually like it a lot better than the Bold's keyboard and was able to compose messages very quickly and with little mistakes. The smartphone's screen measures 2.4 inches so it's on the smaller side but no smaller than the Bold's display. It does have a little resolution though so text and images don't appear quite as smooth but it's still clear and bright. The user interface is a bit clunky and kind of archaic looking since the Symbian-based E73 is running the older S60 platform.
Aside from the fact that you have to go through a couple of extra steps to access menus and functions within an app, the UI is pretty intuitive. Nokia also offers two home screen views, personal and work modes. In work mode you can have all your work apps displayed front and center but at the end of the day when you're done at the office you can switch to personal mode and just have your access to things like your music player and photo gallery. Nokia has put this on some of their other phones and I think it'll be up to people's personalities if they can really turn off being in work mode but it's kind of nice that Nokia is trying to strike that balance between work and personal life. As far as features, the E73 Mode pretty much offers everything you'd want from a smartphone. Of course, e-mail is one of the top highlights and there's support for personal accounts as well as Exchange ActiveSync and IBM Lotus Notes. Also, has wireless actions including 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. And, of course, with the new Ovi Maps you also get free turn-by-turn navigation and you can use the maps even if you're out flying since Macs are already preloaded.
Like the Nuron, the E73 also supports Nokia's Ovi Store where you can browse and download apps and T-Mobiles trying to make it easier for customers to buy apps by allowing you to bill purchases to your monthly bill or to your credit card. I do wish there was some type of music store though so I can download tunes from the phone but Nokia's Music Store isn't available here in the US. You can side load your own tunes and videos though and the built in media player is decent. It's also got a 5 megapixel camera which took okay photos. Overall, the E73 Mode is a decent performer. Call quality is good but the phone can be sluggish and sometimes didn't have enough memory when we were trying to work in multiple apps but for what it offers and the great design I think the E73 is an incredible value for T-Mobile customers. It will be available June 16th for $70 with a two-year contract and after mail-in rebate. If you're not into Blackberries or you are on a budget, you should definitely take a look at this phone. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the Nokia E73 Mode for T-Mobile.
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