Our Score


User Score


  • Beautiful design
  • Incredibly well built
  • Superb sliding keyboard
  • Decent camera for non close-ups


  • Slow interface
  • Clunky, confusing interface
  • Poor default app selection
  • Fewer apps in app store than competition

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Review Price £499.99

Key Features: 4in AMOLED screen; Large slideout keyboard; Symbian 3.0 OS; 680MHz processor; 8 megapixel camera

Manufacturer: Nokia

There's no point beating about the bush, the Nokia E7 is in a funny old situation. Nokia has essentially put the brakes on developing the Symbian software upon which it runs, in favour of using Windows Phone for its future smartphones. This was bad enough for the otherwise impressive Nokia N8, with its magnificent 12.1 megapixel camera, but without this headline feature and an arguably archaic keyboard to add to its bulk as well, the E7 has a real fight on its hands. So without further ado, let's have a clean fight, no biting and gouging, and no pulling any punches. Ding! Ding! Round one!

Where the Nokia E7 doesn't disappoint is in its styling and build quality. Crafted from great slabs of aluminium and a large glass screen, the only rivals that come close to equalling the general feeling of quality are those built by Apple, and even then it's only really the iPhone 4 that competes. There's an argument for saying that if dropped on a floor it would come out just as badly as countless others but as a device to handle it is exceptional.

Slide the screen up to reveal the keyboard and this impression isn't dull for a moment thanks to a strong slide mechanism and beautifully crafted and laid-out keyboard. However, the slide action itself is a bit awkward. While we appreciate that having the screen rise to a more readable angle is beneficial, it does mean you can't deftly slide the phone open with one hand. Moreover, even two-handed the action is a bit fiddly and takes a little while to get the hang of without having the phone nearly fly from your hands.

Another immediate concern is the sheer bulk of the device. It's surprisingly slim considering it's packing a slide-out keyboard but the 4in screen and tough build combine to make this a hefty 176g beast with dimensions of 123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6mm (compared to 137g and 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm for the iPhone 4 - a phone that's already fairly heavy).

As ever Nokia has packed the E7 with connectivity and buttons. Straight away we applaud the move to place the main menu button on the front in the middle rather than off to the side as on the N8, but elsewhere it's a mixed bag. The power button on the top is tiny and recessed so is rather difficult to reach, while the slider switch on the left edge that locks and unlocks the screen feels superfluous. Yes, we appreciate some people find it useful but other buttons combine to perform the same function so it really isn't necessary. Conversely we do rather like the volume slider on the right edge and greatly appreciate the dedicated button for the camera that's also found here.

Also to be found on the right edge is the SIM slot, which uses an, again beautifully made, metal tray to house the SIM. Finally up top are sockets for headphones, microUSB (for data transfer and charging) and HDMI, for piping video straight out to your TV. - not something we'd do all that often but useful nonetheless.

For watching video on the phone itself, the superb, bright and colourful AMOLED screen works wonders. Colours just leap from it while blacks really are black. It's not quite perfect in that there's a lot of blue colour shift when viewed from an angle but for general multimedia it's a delight. For more precise work, however, like browsing the web or writing emails, the lower-than-average 360 x 640 resolution makes it a bit harder to see what's going on.

All in all though, it's a pretty good show so far. However, it's when we come to the software that things break down.

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Neil B

April 7, 2011, 12:58 pm

This website's anti-Symbian rhetoric is starting to get a little tiresome. I really wish someone who didn't use an iphone everyday would review these handsets. I admit Symbian is not perfect, I own an N8 and am aware of several little annoyances. But to get frustrated with the process of adding short-cuts to a home screen widget says more about the reviewer than the phone in my opinion. If you are adding short-cuts to every 'app' then that kind of defeats the point of having a home-screen in the first place. If you want every 'app' you own on the home-screen, then buy an iphone. There are plenty of people who see the benefit of keeping the majority of lesser used 'apps' hidden away in a folder, something I believe you can now do in ios anyway. Symbian does allow you to move your 'apps' around between folders if you really wish, you can even set the default install location if you desire. But being an experienced phone reviewer, I'm sure you already knew this.

As for the browser, I agree that it's not the best and you are better off downloading Opera for the time being. However, you need to get your facts right as the default Symbian browser does support flash where as Opera does not.

My experience with Symbian is that it does lots of individual things exceptionally well, it just doesn't seem to blend them all together very well. For me though, I can live with this as I appreciate the things it does well. For example, and I can only speak for the N8 here, it is the best 'phone' by far. By this I mean in the traditional sense, for making calls. It is the best camera by far, I'm not sure anyone can dispute this really, it has the best picture quality and it has a dedicated camera shutter button. It is the best sat-nav by far, being able to pre-load maps is a killer feature in my opinion and I am still amazed by other little features I keep discovering. Finally, it is the best music player by far, having the ability to play to my car-radio as soon I start playing music is again another killer feature for me.

All in all, Symbian isn't a great OS but it does the little things so much better than anything else out there.

Tom Rees

April 7, 2011, 1:48 pm

The choice of EDOF (extended-depth of field) camera is not a design flaw, but a design choice. Some people want consumer phones, with great cameras. Others are more interested in productivity, and want a great keyboard. Problem is that you can't have both in a slimline phone.

The solution is two phones - the N8, with the best cameraphone on the market for those who have that as a priority, and the E7, with the best keyboard on the market.

Going by other reviews, the E7 camera is OK for everyday use - better than a lot of competitors, and excellent for video. EDOF means that everything from about 40 cm to infinity is in focus all the time (unlike a conventional fixed focus camera). It's not much good for document capture, it's true, but works fine with QR codes.

Symbian is getting a refresh in the next few weeks, with an improved browser, portrait keyboard, and snappier interface.


April 7, 2011, 1:52 pm

I'm pausing before reading on to the 2nd page just to ask... why is Page1 filled with constant comparisons with the iPhone4?

Anyway, brb


April 7, 2011, 1:59 pm

I don’t agree that TR is anti Symbian but I do agree that people compare it to the iphone a bit too much.
Each phone has their strengths and weaknesses.
Saying that Nokia have years of experience, spend millions on development and yet Symbian 3 seems to have so many flaws, but most of them just seem really basic errors in the design, hopefully this update will fix a lot of them.
Symbian still has a lot of potential, it just needs to be simplified and not sold on the top of the range devices.

I won’t be sticking with Nokia when they switch to Windows, its not that I have anything against Windows 7 but for all its faults I kind of like old Symbian, and with out it Nokia are no different to any other phone maker.

And one other annoyance. Yes Ovi maps is great if you travailing except the maps for some countries are so basic they are partially pointless (and I cant seem to find a map for south Koera!)

Mad Iguana

April 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

Why the anger, TR?
Where's the love?
Symbian is not THAT frustrating.
Although I get the concept that if you're used to doing something one exact way, and you are asked to do it a slightly different way it can be frustrating, surely as reviewers you should be getting past that?
For example, I had a HTC Desire for a short while and it bugged the hell out of me; I wondered why the widgets had to be so big; why couldn't I fit more on one page. Why was the music player so unwieldy; why couldn't I just press a button to get into my Apps menu rather than swiping a screen; why was there no hardware lock slider...
So I got the N8, and I'm much happier.
But that's me, my personal opinion and desires and I wouldn't pretend to be absolutely correct, and I'm not a professional reviewer.
So why are "professional" reviewers not able to put aside their preconceptions of how things are "supposed" to be done. Because - newsflash - not everyone who is thinking of buying an E7 is coming from owning an iPhone or an Android phone, and to them, some of those things you see as flaws, are not.


April 7, 2011, 3:25 pm

I'll tell you whats getting tiresome, the Symbian fanboys who wont admit that Symbian is dead and just wont move on. Android, iOS and Phone 7 are where its at right now. Stop living in the past and stop embarrassing yourselves. Maybe I should start crying about Commodore and Amiga..

Michael G

April 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

@Symbian lovers.

I too have used Symbian for a while now. 2 years in fact.

The truth is, I simply cannot bare it. With regards to Neil B's points...

The best phone for making calls. Not if my phone is anything to go by. It's little annoyances like when I hit the call button on a text message, it should make the call straight away. It doesn't it asks me if I'd like to. Well, I wouldn't have pressed the button if I didn't want to. Secondly, the call accept slider. Why oh why? It's dreadful and horribly slow.

As for the browser, the Symbian browser on my Nokia is simply put the most horrible nasty piece of software I've ever used. It freezes and crashes every time I use it, it's slow, it messes up the display of the pages and the interface is shocking.

Then you mention the camera and the music player. It's all well and good them being the best you can get on a phone - but at what price are you paying? Frankly, I'd rather a slightly less decent camera on a phone that was a joy to use then a good camera on a phone that gives me a blistering headache. As for the music player, I'll be sticking to my walkman as I don't think mobile phone music players ever come close to a dedicated player.

Generally speaking, I hate Symbian, and I hate my phone (5800 Xpress Music). It's the worst phone I've ever had, in fact the other day I picked up my old Samsung D900 and despite not being a touch screen the interface was miles better, and this is a phone that is now 6/7 years old. My phone crashes, it resets itself, it switches itself off, it deletes my contacts, it deletes my messages, it corrupts files and applications, the interface is woeful and the software an absolute PITA to use.

I'm not glamorising, I'm not exaggerating, and I'm certainly not an Apple fanboy (not a big fan of iPhones either) that is just my frank and honest opinion. I'd go so far as to say my phone is the worst product I've ever bought and that at least 80/90% of the reason for this is down to Symbian.


April 7, 2011, 4:11 pm

@drdark: What you mean all 2 references. I'm sure the reviewer is using the ip4 as a reference point that's all, unfortunately it's hard to use other mobile phones as a reference points as there are so many different ones. Eg, maybe he could have used the HTC Desire, but far fewer people would be able to visualize the comparison.

I must admit, TR do seem to be very harsh on the scoring for this though. 5 Overall, and 4 for performance seems very low. The negative points the reviewer pointed out don't really seem that bad to warrant such a bashing, especially as some of the positives could have swayed the scores the other way, eg. longer battery life, nice keyboard etc.


April 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

You either are exaggerating, or you've just got very bad luck with your 5800XM. Mine doesn't do ANY of the things you mention, it has certainly NEVER corrupted any data. And considering how well the 5800XM sold, I doubt that's a widespread failure mode, either, or there'd be more of a buzz about it.

That said, I agree that it's not a very good phone, mostly due to the very slow performance, the lack of good applications and, yes, the S60v5 interface rife with dumb decisions. (Here's one: in the native podcasting app, which I use all the time, there is no way to get rid of old, "listened-to" podcasts. It'll just continue filling up the alloted space with new ones, then it will stop. Deleting dozens or hundreds of podcasts on your phone is incredibly annoying. Instead, why not offer to auto-delete the oldest podcasts once the drive is full? Dumb.)

To some degree I knew all that going in, it was a trade-off, the upside being that I got a touchscreen GPS-capable smartphone for a very low price. I think you'd have to be insane to buy a Symbian smartphone at this point. Even if you want to stick with Nokia for some odd reason, for heaven's sake, wait for a Windows phone, don't buy into an ecosystem that's dead, dead, dead.


April 7, 2011, 4:50 pm

@ TR - I agree, get the N8, not really sure why Nokia spent the R&D money on this very limited appeal model, they should have called it a day for new Symbian handsets with the N8. In everyday use I found the full qwerty keyboard (allbeit on an E92) slow & a PITA to use.

@Michael G - LoL, that is a superb rant. I appreciate someone who shoots from the hip ;) That 5800 is a bit of a budget handset and it's very long in the tooth now. The resistive screen doesn't help navigation much either. I had one a few years ago and got rid of it pretty quickly. I do think that you'd hate Symbian a *tiny* bit less if you used the N8 for a while.

I've had all sorts of phones and i'm currently reaching the end of an 18 month contract with o2 - it will be my last contract after 7 years with o2. All UK carriers simply don't offer decent enough value, (3 & GiffGaff excluded - but their network reliability is questionable), contracts are too long, data prices are absolutely absurd and the same-same-but-different handsets are over priced and uninspiring, roaming rates are criminal and they form a cosy semi-cartel to protect their profits. (one carrier will only lower prices if the others do).

For the time being i'm happy with the El-Cheapo ZTE San Francisco on simplicity SIM and a load of pre-loaded data only SIMS from 3 for the laptop and other gadgets (3GB for £7.50 with a 3 month usage time). I'm going to sit around for a while and see what comes up over the next year...maybe even a WebOS phone, that new Pre without the physical keyboard looked good in the leaked photos.

Michael G

April 7, 2011, 5:02 pm


Haha. Well, I've needed to vent about it for a while now. I know some of the problems are more down to the phone itself but it wouldn't be so bad if Symbian made up for it. I just think it's sad these days that my phone, despite only being 18 months old, is at this point of time so horribly old and rubbish. My D900 lasted me 3/4 years and only right at the end of that period did it really feel inferior to anything else anybody had. My 5800 felt inferior the second I bought it...


April 7, 2011, 5:16 pm

I kind of agree with Ed's review to be honest. Had the E7 been released four months ago when it should have been things may have been different but the delays do not justify the end product.

That said, I do think TR need to realise that not everyone is a fan of the iPhone's operating model. I own and use a ZTE Blade, iPhone 3GS and Nokia N8. On balance my preferred phone is the N8 because, like others, I prefer the menu customisation and not having pages and pages of apps. Yes, I can and have used folders, but fundamentally one is simply clicking through to another menu in the same way as if you had added a folder to a widget on S^3.

The iPhone does make it easier to set things up provided, of course, that you play by Apple's rules. As soon as you don't it becomes very irritating, very quickly which is partly why the 3GS is in the sock drawer and the N8 isn't despite the fomer having markedly better keyboards and general UI. The other reason is simply that the N8 is a better phone and lasts longer. Call me old fashioned, but even in this age of high tech wizardry that's still a phone's primary functions.

The other point is that Symbian is indeed being made EOL over the next few years which, frankly, is the right thing to do. The tragedy was their failure to transition to MeeGo. That said, 'EOL' does not imply a complete cessation of development, it means a tailing off whilst providing support over a defined period measured in years, not months. That's why Nokia are holding an event on 12 April to describe what that support will be.

So I'm not saying the E7 deserves a higher mark, merely that TR's reviews are perhaps in danger of becoming somewhat one dimensional, based on the reviewer's preferences rather than say a set of defined and impartial criteria.

Please don't go there, guys.


April 7, 2011, 5:33 pm

I own the 5800 for over a year now. While it is by no means a perfect phone, I like it very much. You can read my "mini-review" under TR's review.

I was able to use HTC Desire for couple of days. I like the scratch-resistant and very responsive (if not over responsive a little bit) screen which is big, bright and colourful. I also like customisable screens. But I don't like the mess in the menu - all apps are mixed in one group. I don't like Desire's screen lock (button press+swipe+gesture swipe vs switch slide on 5800) and a lack of dedicated camera button (although it's camera is slightly better than 5800's). I like Ovi Maps - free voice guidance with preloaded map helped me many times. There are couple of other differences, in favour of one or the other model.


Nobody has produced a perfect phone yet. We still have to wait for it (and we may never live up to that day). All we can do is to buy a phone (or any other equipment) that suits our needs best. And when you review something you should have other people in mind when you make a final judgement.

Remember the discussion about N8 review and scores that were given? After many comments these scores were changed. And here I think they should be changed a little bit too. If the tested phone doesn't resemble an iPhone it doesn't mean that it should be rated below average.

Personally I wait for new Nokia phones based on WP7 and I hope that they will retain high quality hardware and design of previous Nokia models with better usability of the new software.


April 7, 2011, 5:41 pm

@Sleeper - exactly, its a shame that Nokia couldnt get Meego into a position where it could be flashed to replace symbian on the N8 and e& (i.e. Symbian 3 phones) if Nokia were keen to kill it off, that would make these phones a lot more exciting. As it is I think buyers who are in the know will steer clear of the dying platform

Neil B

April 7, 2011, 5:41 pm

@supermario perhaps if you stopped jumping on the latest bandwagon and actually used the device you are berating, you might be able string a more coherent comment together. I'm no fanboy, I just have a specific set of requirements from a smart-phone and only Nokia seem to fulfil that need at the moment. It's a sad day that demise of Symbian is because they listened to people like you instead of people like me.


April 7, 2011, 7:10 pm

@Keith: I'm criticising the fact it's compared to the iPhone despite being a totally different class. For the simplest of examples, GSMarena also compare it unfavourably to others, but let's look at what they compared it to

Um, right I think that makes the point.

Anyway, very busy day, will have to read rest of comments later, but the reviewer apparently becoming enraged and needing to leave the phone "on the sofa" and come back to it later is all a bit much isn't it? Especially considering that's the least frustrating thing about the phone and simply a design difference between iPhone and Symbian (and somewhat Android)? It may take 2 taps to get to apps, but similarly it might take 4 swipes or more to find the app you're looking for on the iPhone, or is swiping somehow less physically demanding than tapping for some reason?

Right too much time taken. Back later...


April 7, 2011, 7:21 pm

Please stop reviewing Nokia symbian devices. I just read the title and knew how the review would go. There was a time when TR reviews Nokia accurately - see reviews for e71, e52, etc. Not anymore. Why bother. If you must review - just have a one pager. Or even a one liner - "Regardless of how good the phone may appear, we don't like symbian anymore, so this review will not end up well. Don't bother reading further"


April 7, 2011, 7:48 pm

@Neil B: spot on. Perhaps it's telling that you are named after a person called Neil, whereas he is named after a cartoon plumber. In my experience carton plumbers tend to value the ability to do simple things easily, whereas people called Neil like to be able to do more complex/useful things and have the mental aptitude to work out how to do them.

If TR editors are willing to go on record with these sorts of reviews in order to pander to the masses, that's their prerogative. I too would happily sell my soul for the right price. It'd be a high one, mind


April 7, 2011, 8:49 pm

@drdark: Um, right I think that makes the point.

Not really, I think you might have missed my point here.
The MASSIVE 2 references to the iPhone on page 1 where ->
1. Build quality
2. Weight..

I have no idea what the build quality or the weight of an E7 is, so TR telling me it's build quality/weight compared to E7 is X & Y would be pointless. Now!!, even if you don't have an iPhone, there is a good chance you've seen or played with one. Let's put it another way, I certainly wound't be concerned if TR did a review of say the ip5 and compared it to the say the N8, so why you get upset is baffling to say the least. IOW: TR are comparing to something most people might be able to compare to. :)

I'd also disagree with the totally different class bit, eg. If say I was looking for a replacement for my current phone, this might have been one I'd have a look at.


April 7, 2011, 10:53 pm

There are multiple points I could pick up on but instead I'll just make a few general statements.

With regards the iPhone comparisons, Keith summarises the point quite well - the iPhone is most people's smartphone reference point, like it or not, so it's a sensible comparison. And for the record, while I do own an iPhone 4, it is not only that phone I am considering in my comparisons, indeed I don't even think it's the best going.

As for the N8 or E7 being the best call making devices, that's patently not true. There are countless smart and dumb phones of all sorts of form factors that are equal or better. They may be among the best touchscreen smartphones for making calls but surely the point of buying a touchscreen smartphone is to get more from your phone and its screen, and as such it's the 'extras' that we deem more important (within reason).

After all, all smartphones involve compromise - there most certainly isn't an ultimate smartphone just yet - but it's where and how you compromise that makes for a good whole.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Symbian OS is hopeless on touchscreen devices. Any argument otherwise is ridiculous - Android is just miles better for usability and expandability. All that any Symbian phone has over any other is its hardware and features, which is why the N8's worth considering for its awesome camera and FM transmitter.

However, all the E7 has is its keyboard, and countless other phones have decent slideout keyboards. And that really is the point with this phone; Symbian aside, it's slow, the camera while okay has limited scope, the screen is low res (also a fault with the N8), and that keyboard is something of a bind thanks to the way it opens.

Also, have any of you defenders of the N8 and E7 actually used an iPhone 4 or modern Android for a decent length of time? In our experience most of them provide perfectly adequate call quality and last a comfortable two days. Fine, some people may require a longer life but to compromise so much on usability and functionality for the sake of an extra day or two is not worth it in our eyes.

@scamevoli: How is giving an honest opinion of a device selling my soul?


April 7, 2011, 11:12 pm


I understand what you're saying but your penultimate paragraph reads like you're throwing a hissy fit.

Believe me I have tried and do own other phones (I have a 3GS and Blade kicking about. I've also tried an iPhone 4 (didn't like the feel of it) and a Desire (really nice but struggled to last a day under 2.1)). Personally I don't get the E7 as it feels like an exercise in futility but neither do I get the argument that Symbian is hopeless on touchscreen phones... well apart from the keyboards which obviously are.

My main worry is TR just seem to focus on things I don't really care that much about like, say, apps (because once you're past the twenty or so everyone offers who really cares?) and an extremely fluid UI at the expense of more functional qualities.

Again, no issue with the mark but I just feel that you're not being as thorough as you should be.


April 7, 2011, 11:23 pm

@Ed: the review demonstrates either soul selling or incompetence. I merely assumed the former, as at least that can be justified.

Your comment that;

"The simple fact of the matter is that the Symbian OS is hopeless on touchscreen devices. Any argument otherwise is ridiculous - Android is just miles better for usability and expandability. All that any Symbian phone has over any other is its hardware and features"

is quite, quite wrong.

I have been using an android 2.2 device alongside my s60v5 device for about 5 months now and I have found nothing but irritation with the limitations of the android software. The apps available simply cannot make up for the lack of basic functionality in the OS. Android can't even download email attachments (on a secure Microsoft Web Access platform) for goodness sake.

I really do not find any usability problems with Symbian at all. It's entirely reliable and predictable. It does exactly what I ask it to do; nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't keep pestering me like android does - always updating apps every day and then prompting me to reapply application preferences after every update for example.

I don't appreciate being told that my arguments, which are based upon personal experience and hard fact, are ridiculous. Moreover, it makes you look foolish.

Mad Iguana

April 8, 2011, 12:40 am

I can't believe the arrogance, ignorance and just plain "wrongness" of saying "have any of you defenders of the N8 and E7 actually used an iPhone 4 or modern Android for a decent length of time?", the implication being that we haven't, and if we had, we would immediately decide that they were better devices.
When, if you had actually read any of the comments, you would have seen that we had.
If you are going to insult your commenters the least you could do is read their comments.

Seriously, I think the point has been made numerous times by now that you are obviously writing this review from an emotional rather than rational perspective, which strikes me as being inappropriate for a professional review site, and really does an injustice to whatever valid points you may have to make.


April 8, 2011, 12:44 am

This is why I love coming to TR. You get allot of debate with regards to mobile platforms and interesting feedback on the article.

Tom Rees

April 8, 2011, 12:48 am

The iphone is not the appropriate reference for the E7. Why would you buy an E7 over an N8? Only for the keyboard. So the E7 is for people who specifically want a physical keyboard.

Now, you might not understand why anyone would want a physical keyboard, but the fact is that some people do (like me!). They want to know how the E7 compares with other phones that have physical keyboards. The iphone and most Android phones, whatever their virtues, are not the right phones for the E7's target audience.

The E7 is a productivity phone. How does its productivity features compare? It has vpn, remote wiping, USB on the go. How about the office suite? Is it any good (any better than the previous version on the n97, which was pretty crud).

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