It’s here, the last of the Mohicans has arrived. A relic or collector’s item right out of the box, the E72 is probably the last Symbian S60v3 FP2 phone that will ever be built by Nokia.
With the recent dismantling of S60.com, N-Gage.com, Widsets.com and other websites, plus the lacklustre performance of the E75, one’s gotta wonder if someone who picks up this phone isn’t some mindless automaton who buys whatever shit Nokia slings.
What’s worse is that if you look at history, the E61 was a pretty good phone, the E61i was an even better phone, the E71 rocked. The E62 was introduced by companies like Fido and Cingular and was essentially carrier branded garbage (sort of like the E71x which was released by AT&T). Nokia would have been smart to stick with the name E71i or the N71i as previously whispered through the blogosphere but they dropped the ball when they let AT&T release the carrier-branded FP2 variant of the E71 as the E71x.
Well (after a rocky start), I can report with great certainty that I probably won’t be smashing my E72 and thus far I’m pretty happy. Or at least, perhaps my time with the E75 has taught me to cope.
I’m not the average user and my needs are directly correlated with my business interests, but keeping that tall list aside, stability and responsiveness should rate really high on the scale what makes or breaks any phone, right? Right!
The E72 is a responsive phone. The hosted Nokia Email solution actually loads up quickly (not in the blink of an eye but still tolerable) and transitioning and loading other software isn’t so bad.
My setup (aka the testbed):
- Nokia E-Mail with Mail for Exchange
My primary mail client – the new ‘Mail for Exchange’ is Nokia’s attempt at shoving bloatware down peoples throats. Thankfully the fast processor in the E72 can cope and synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Servers is pretty tolerable. Nokia E-mail also uses FP2′s network destinations feature which replaces access point groups that was available in the E61i.
Shamefully, Nokia E-mail doesn’t give you the ability to select folders for synchronization and doesn’t give you access to all of your top level folders. Instead, Nokia E-mail syncs all the folders within its grasp based on a single setting – if you ask for it to sync all of your email, you’ll fill up your phone’s memory (imagine a million sent items) and will have to use the three-finger salute to wipe out and reset to factory settings.
The older (downloadable) version of Mail for Exchange (available in the E71 and previous) strikes me as a more stable and mature product.
RoadSync is another mail client that syncs with Microsoft Exchange. Setting it up is a bit of a pain since it takes control of your email key, sets itself to the default email program, etc. and whch all has to be undone. Once it’s going, it’s solid and responsive.
In FP2, RoadSync really shines. The same software installed on an FP1 phone can’t see most of the top-level folders and brings up an annoying send dialog if you send immediately (when installed as the secondary e-mail client). Once you’re on FP2, the send dialog has been hidden and RoadSync magically has access to all of the top-level folders.
DataViz – I apologise for all the mean things I said to you in the past, all this time it’s been a limitation of the operating system.
emoze is another push email account. It’s a hosted solution that can interface with your POP3, IMAP4 or can also connect to an Exchange Server using Outlook Web Access. emoze also brings view as HTML support to users running the older version of Microsoft Exchange Server (2003) but still has some viewer kinks to be worked out.
In fairness, Nokia E-mail does allow you to set up multiple accounts (one Mail for Exchange account and multiple POP3 and IMAP4 accounts) but falls flat in the ease of setup and stability department. After beating my head against the wall over intermittently receiving emails, I said fuggetaboutit and installed emoze. emoze is lightweight, uses Nokia’s old mail interface and simply works. Thumbs up emoze people for making a stable and lightweight product!
- Killer Mobile TotalRecall
In my E71, I used VoxTalk to record all my incoming and outgoing phone calls. I bill for my time, so it’s important to keep track of phone calls. Well, VoxTalk doesn’t work on the E72 so I’ve installed TotalRecall which is a similar application and thus far, it works like a charm.
I’m using the European version of the E72 which means the fastest Internet speed I’m going to get is whatever EDGE is capable of. I’m surfing in the kilobits not the megabits (until I purchase an E72-2 which comes out in a few days). To make things worse, most S60 software isn’t aware of network destinations, so I’m stuck using simple access points.
Birdstep launched SmartRoaming in the era of the E61 which allowed for seamless Wifi roaming. Smartconnect is the same software for the E71 and thus far it works perfectly for me E72, too! So now I can have third party programs (like RoadSync and emoze) automatically switch between my various Wifi access points I have at home and in the offices and also roam onto Fido’s GPRS/EDGE network when I’m away. I get to save battery power and improve performance automatically.
- Google Gmail, Google Maps, Google S60 App
The new Google App for the S60 has voice recognition built in and it’s pretty accurate. Kudos to Google.
Threaded SMSes strike me as a must for any smartphone nowadays. It’s odd that this piece of software has to be installed like a third party product. Rather, it should be installed by default. It’s been a graduate from Nokia’s Beta Labs for some time.
Twitter and facebook status update program that doesn’t suck.
Okay, I’m fine if Nokia doesn’t want to include N-Gage in the E72. Really, I’m fine with the fact that they want to force all game makers to publish their games to the Ovi store. I’m fine with being penalized for having purchased games in prior iterations of my Nokia phones staring with the N95. I won’t talk about how useless the Ovi store is either. What’s baffling, though, is that Nokia ripped out the Podcasting client that’s been built in their E-series phones for at least three years. Instead, we have t install ‘in-development’ software like Escarpod.
Overall, the E72 does what I need it to do. I’m not craving any additional features and I’m no longer excited about what’s next from Nokia. I’m happy with this phone and its stability but I’ve been beat up too many times. Maemo and S60v5 just don’t turn my crank anymore.
Side note, I hear the Palm Pre will support multiple Exchange accounts.