Image source:Engadget

Nokia has been releasing several lower end devices over the past few months but the tech community has been waiting for Nokia’s Symbian^3 devices.

Nokia, in one fell swoop introduced three new Symbian^3 devices (other than the Nokia N8) at Nokia World 2010.

Prime amongst them is the Nokia E7, the latest business smartphone from Espoo. This is the device that was spotted in the wild sometime ago.

From the press release: (Source: All About Symbian)

Billed as the ultimate business smartphone, the Nokia E7 boasts Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support alongside a luscious 4-inch touchscreen display, which uses Nokia’s ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility. The Nokia E7 also comes with a slide out four-row QWERTY keyboard making it the ideal mobile business device. Despite the addition of a full keyboard, the E7 is only a smidge deeper than the Nokia N8 at 13.6mm thin. The device also boasts an 8-megapixel snapper and comes complete with 16GB of on-board storage.

As a business device, the Nokia E7 comes sporting a raft of security features including business grade device lock and wipe functionality, secure intranet access and remote device management. These come alongside its connectivity and productivity prowess, with support for Mail for Exchange, Microsoft Communicator Mobile and Microsoft Share Point Server. Business folk on the move will also benefit from free walk and drive navigation thanks to Ovi Maps including premium guides from the likes of Lonely Planet and Via Michelin.

Like the Nokia N8, the Nokia E7 also boasts an HDMI connection and Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound. With the 8-megapixel camera, users will be able to shoot and edit HD quality images (including 720p video) and sound. As a Symbian^3 device, users can customise up to three homescreens and get live updates from the likes of Facebook and Twitter live on their homescreens.

Those on the move will welcome the Nokia E7′s travel-friendly 18 days of standby time and up to 9 hours of talktime. The device, which will be available in dark grey, silver white, green, blue and orange will be available in the last quarter of 2010 and is expected to retail for €495 before taxes and subsidies.

The E7 is a clamshell device much in the vein of the legendary Nokia E90 Communicator. It has a very well laid out four row QWERTY keyboard and has a similar hinge mechanism to the N97 and N97 Mini. The construct is most anodized aluminium and it will be come in several colours. The design is similar to the Nokia N8 when on folding the keyboard. The E7 is similar to the Nokia N8 in terms of specifications apart from a few features. The E7 has a 4 inch touchscreen, an 8 megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture and comes with a 16GB of mass storage memory and does not come with a microSD expansion slot.

The Nokia N8 trumps the spec sheet in a some areas such as its 12 megapixel camera and the presence of an expandable microSD slot.

Both device come with a screen technology dubbed by Nokia as Clear Black Display (CBD) which is an improvement over the AMOLED screen technology which provides better visibility in sunlight. Initial comparison by Engadget of the two screens were done by Engadget and it appears that the screen is as good as Samsung’s Super AMOLED display and pretty decent when compared with Apple’s Retina Display on the iPhone4. Click on this link for the comparison.

The battery capacities of the Nokia N8 and E7 are similar at 1200mAh and are not user replaceable. This is a bold and somewhat risky move by Nokia. The Symbian^3 operating system has been optimized for effective power management and 1200mAh is the treading on the “about right” category in terms battery capacity for these devices. That said, the inclusion of a larger battery capacity may have been a better move.

The mass storage of the E7 is at 16GB which is adequate but given the fact that the N97 came with both 32GB of mass storage and a microSD expansion slot, these seems a somewhat  half hearted effort.

The key software points of the E7 are covered in great detail in All About Symbian. Click this link for further information and pictures on the devices.

A video demo of the E7 at Nokia World was posted by Engadget. Click this link to see the device in action.

Initial impressions

Apart from the said reservations of battery capacity and lack of memory expansion, the device looks good and shows tremendous promise. The keyboard looks well laid out and the space bar is finally well centered ( after Nokia’s experiment on the Nokia N97 and Nokia N900). Build quality appears to be top notch which has always been Nokia’s strong suit. The spec sheet is tremendous and I for one, can’t wait to get my hands on the device.

Update

Engadget has posted a video comparing the screen visibility of the iPhone4 and the Nokia E7. Click this link for the video.

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