Friday, June 5, 2009

First Impressions of the Nokia E75

Maybe its my inability to get a certain other phone out of my head but I haven't found myself necessarily blown away by the Nokia E75 so far. I asked my husband what he thought about it last night and his response hit the nail on the head: "It reminds me of my old Motorola (dumb) phone." And that's precisely it: there's something very dated about the Symbian OS and its hard to get around that. Yesterday evening I settled in with a few goals for the E75: get a good Twitter experience going, get a Facebook application, and do some web browsing. These are the same challenges I put to any phone I intend to use: and last year it was the failure to provide these basic features that caused the E71 and I to split up. Well, its been nearly a whole year later, and I imagined that a lot had changed in the world of Nokia during that time. Turns out- I was wrong. And right.

I've been hearing a lot about the Nokia OVI store but I wasn't entirely clear about who it was available to. I decided that I would see if this was something that was accessible on the E75, which would streamline the search for Facebook and Twitter clients. I've never been as confused by a basic task as I was trying to do this: there was an icon called 'downloads' which opened a folder with shortcuts to download certain apps. But the apps were oddly sparse (about 1 or 2 per each of the 5 or so categories) and each of them appeared to be trialware. Then there was something called "Ovi files" which got me excited briefly, before I realized that it was some type of storage space, unrelated to the actual store. Oh well.

I searched high and low for a Facebook application, but couldn't find one. Next, I attempted to install Twibble which I had heard some positive things about, but it refused to install giving me a certificate error. Gah! I went back to TinyTwitter which had worked for me last summer on the E71 and found that installed and ran without a hitch. Ok, one mission accomplished!

I tried to install Palringo and got another error message, this time about the date being incorrect. So I decided to go ahead to my next goal: browsing the web. The web browser has a number of nice touches that I didn't remember seeing on the E71- for starters, your browsing history is shown in windows rather than a list of the addresses. This way you can see what the page looked like, which I quite like. There's also a web feed option which looks like it works similarly to the ones on desktops.

Overall though, there were two things that kept the experience from being truly enjoyable- the screen is seems to be very small even though its the same size as the E71. I suspect that the location of the keys to the right of the screen give you the sense that the screen is being pushed into a smaller window of space. The other problem that I encountered was that using the top row of letters on the keyboard was a frustrating experience as my fingers kept bumping into the 'lip'of the slider.

You see, the keyboard of the E75 is nearly completely flat, but it provides excellent feedback as you press it below the surface of the other keys- honestly, this is the keyboard the Palm engineers should have put on the Pre. But because the keys are not extending upward, you really need to get your fingers firmly on the button before you press. This is hard to do when the lip mechanism isn't letting you get your fingers firmly on the button. But, I'm going to see if fingernail typing makes more sense under the circumstances.

I'll be giving the E75 more face time over the weekend, and at that point I hope to get past my Symbian mental block and really get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

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