It’s a bit like the ugly duckling that emerged as a swan. When I opened up the E70 my first reaction was I got the runt of the E-series litter. I’ve seen Nokia’s like this before; big wow, it opens up as a QWRTY keyboard.
Visually, there are more attractive sleek and slinky members of the E-series family. Having said that, for a phone that is about as subtle as a brick it’s a solid performer.
The brick mention is influenced by most people’s reaction to it: it’s a clunky-looking piece of hardware for sure with a screen that reminds me of an early Eighties Grundig television.
It’s also built on the chassis of an older Nokia phone that dates back to 2003. But that’s where the slagging ends.
The idea of the open-up QWRTY keyboard is apt in this instance as the E70 is fundamentally an email machine that works with a number of different push email services but on these shores it is mainly the BlackBerry service.
The device boasts a full-colour wide screen that frames a lot of information very clearly and in a very crisp way. The operating system is that standard Nokia fare but delve deeper and it really is a fully functioning business machine.
The device is set up to open Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations and comes with software that allows you to connect the phone directly to a HP printer.
The idea is the phone becomes a personal digital assistant and if you really want to you can plug it into a projector and make a presentation.
To accommodate such niceties it comes with 64MB of built-in memory and you can insert a mini-SD card to boost capacity.
Another important fact is the device comes with a built-in Wi-Fi radio for fast broadband internet surfing when out and about. This is a new feature called dual-mode that is going to be standard in most new mobile phones coming on the market this year.
My experience of the phone is that it is intuitive to use in that nice Nokia way. It is also a solid workhorse for no-nonsense businesspeople with everything they could want from a smart phone in 2007.
But in an era of slim and slinky phones it looks out of place and out of time.
You can’t shake the feeling that it was the only chassis that Nokia could find to squeeze in all the latest features. It’s bit like putting the latest Ferrari engine in a Massey-Ferguson tractor.
Price: €479 SIM-free including Vat
Value for Money: **
By John Kennedy
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