Nokia's E series line-up of messaging phones has brought us some top class handsets in the last year or so. We've had not only the sublime E71, but also the E63 - it's equally impressive, but less costly sibling - so this latest addition to the range has a lot to live up to.
Luckily, first impressions of the E75 are good. This really is a beautifully designed phone and reminds us in many ways of Nokia's old 8800 luxury handset as it has a similar polished chrome surround that frames the screen and keypad. It also has top class build quality as like the 8800 the metal bits are actually made of real metal and the plastic that's been used manages to avoid looking cheap and nasty.
The other key feature of the E75's design is its slide out QWERTY keyboard. This may be Nokia's first attempt at producing a slide out keyboard but it's hit the jackpot first time. The sliding mechanism feels silky smooth yet sturdy enough to stand up to the rigors of daily use. What's more, Nokia hasn't had to bulk up the handset to accommodate the keyboard as it still only measure 14.4mm at its thickest point.
The keyboard itself is one of the best we've used on any messaging device. Compared to the likes of the HTC S740 which have similar slide out keyboards, the keys here are huge and well spaced. This means you can get up a decent typing speed for emails and text messages pretty much straight off the bat.
Like Nokia's other E series models this one is based on the company's S60 software. Series 60 has improved a lot over the years and is now far slicker and more useable than its earlier incarnations. There's now a good line-up of useful applications including QuickOffice for viewing and editing work documents, Nokia Maps for use with the phone's GPS receiver (you get a 3-month free trial of the service with this handset), a PDF viewer and stable media player. Another neat feature of S60, as implemented here, is the Switch Mode function that enables you to set up different home screens for Work and Personal use and quickly switch between them from the standby screen.