Much as it has been maligned of late, in raw numbers Nokia remains the biggest player in the mobile phone industry. Moreover, while it hasn't competed all that well in the lucrative touchscreen smartphone segment, its E-Series range of business handsets have always been extremely good - the E71 and its descendants being notable successes.
In the E7 Nokia is looking to remind everyone of this prowess, and it's certainly got our attention. Like the Blackberry Torch 9800, the E7 doesn't astound with its hardware specifications; a 680MHz ARM 11 processor doesn't match the big boys, and neither does the 640 x 360 resolution of the 4-inch capacitive touchscreen.
All this said, the E7's hardware is nothing to be sniffed at and there's a great deal to like about not only the hardware. Okay, so the 640 x 360 resolution isn't quite in iPhone 4 or even Samsung Galaxy S territory, but its AMOLED tech is every bit as colourful and high contrast as you'd expect and it's very sharp on casual inspection.
Not only is the screen plenty good enough, the connectivity of the E7 - like the N8 it's based on - is truly outstanding and unsurpassed by any competitor. For instance, while there's 16GB of internal storage, you can also plug-in external storage via the integrated Micro USB.
But why on earth would you want to plug-in USB storage to your phone? A fair question, but one answered by the presence of an HDMI mini output, which you can output to the phone's display to a TV or monitor. Combined with the E7's ability to play 720p video and you've got a seriously capable media player in your pocket. We can easily imagine this coming in useful when travelling, where you could play content stored on your phone or external storage to a hotel TV, but it could be equally useful at home or out and about.
It's not just physical connectivity that's strong, wireless support is equally impressive. 802.11n Wi-Fi and nearly every conceivable mobile data standard are supported (see the official site for a full list), as is Bluetooth 3.0. An A-GPS receiver is on hand to take of advantage of Nokia's excellent Ovi Maps service, as well, and the supplied 1,200mAh battery is rated at nine hours GSM talk time, and five hours WCDMA (3G) talk time. Standby time is up to 20 days.