A Nokia affiliate asked us to do a review on the new Nokia E73 Mode, which runs on T-Mobile’s network, a few weeks ago. Having reviewed the Nokia E71x in an earlier post – I found the hardware to be solid while the capable (if uninspiring and dated) Symbian OS was positively crippled by AT&T bloatware.
Needless to say- I was excited to get my hands on the E73 Mode.
The Nokia E73 Mode was well-packaged and contained the standard array of chargers, cellophane, and accessories.
The phone retains its sleek (and SLIM) form factor and from the get-go: it just feels solidly built.
The body of the phone is a lightweight metallic alloy which is textured for added grip. Much like the E71x- it is a magnet for fingerprints but, obviously, less so than many touch screen phones.
The E73 Mode has a fantastic keyboard. Keys are a tiny bit on the small side compared to the newer BlackBerry Curves but the placement and texture of the keys more than makes up for the size. Keys depress with a firm feel and excellent feedback and communication. The D pad has been replaced with a hybrid D-pad/ optical sensor/ joystick which makes scrolling a breeze.
The camera is a 5 Megapixel affair with flash and autofocus which performed adequately for a business smartphone and the battery life is amazing- the phone lasted a full 4 days through moderate use on T-Mobile’s 3G network and while using the free Maps GPS application- a welcome departure from the E71x.
In terms of software- the Symbian OS is a number of things (not all of them good) but it is stable and blissfully uncluttered.
Of particular note- the “Switch” feature which allows one to have two different interfaces (homescreen, ringtones, etc) which can be switched (GET IT!) effortlessly. In practice, this makes switching between a “work” homescreen with Nokia’s capable email client and enterprise features to a “play” screen containing social media apps, easier access to texts, etc.
This feature was particularly helpful when leaving the office and heading out for a weekend in Boston. T-Mobile’s coverage was surprisingly good in the financial district and said coverage- coupled with a blissfully un-tethered OS- made for a capable device for users in meetings or moshpits.
That being said- Symbian is still showing its age and lack of sophistication (compared to its numerous mobile OS competitors). While Symbian does its job quite well (especially with regards to enterprise applications and email) it struggles with graphics and interactivity, preferring to remain in the 2003-2006 era of smartphones along with the BlackBerry 8300. This isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing- especially if you don’t have time to fool around with touchscreens and overly bloated multimedia-heavy devices, however you will sacrifice the breadth and depth of applications in comparison to an Android or iOS device.
In summary: the Nokia E73 Mode is a good phone and would have been considered an amazing phone in 2005. While it is a capable performer (blowing its cousin- the AT&T crippled Nokia E71x- out of the water on every front) it doesn’t distinguish itself among the wide variety of Android and iOS devices on the market right now.
*Images courtesy of Nokia/T-Mobile