Nokia E52 review
With the the E52, Nokia has produced its best E series handset yet
Verdict: Slim and neat, the E52 is pocket friendly and very capable, though not one for the multimedia fan
Price: £259 SIM free
Pros: Super battery life, solid construction, slim and neat, dual home screens and easy switching between them, 3G, WiFi, GPS, 3.5mm headset jack
Cons: No touchscreen, camera only 3.2 megapixels, small screen if you are into a lot of multimedia
Design: Thin and light with a good-sized keyboard and high-quality screen
Operating System: S60 3rd Edition
More Info: Nokia website
Nokia’s fairly recently introduced touchscreen operating system has only appeared on a couple of devices to date, and its E series smartphones do not as yet benefit from it. Instead, they sit in the realms of good old interaction-via-keys, and, believe it or not, there are some plus points to that system.
The main one, probably, is that you don’t get a fingerprint-smudged screen. Another is that you aren’t dependent on how good the screen technology is at registering keypresses. In fact, getting around the Nokia E52 is arguably just as easy as working your way around an iPhone, or similar.
The absence of a touchscreen on the E52 doesn’t bother us and, actually, we think this could be the best of the E series to date, for a number of reasons. One of the most important is, arguably, superior battery life. Nokia says it is good for up to eight hours of GSM talk, 23 days on standby. The 1500mAh battery certainly proved very good during testing.
Nokia has crammed lots of good technology into this smartphone, and also thought well about the physical design. The standard 12-button numeric keypad is as large as it could possibly be in a handset that is 49mm wide, and the number keys are slightly raised at the bottom edge to help make them easy to find. The Call and End and softmenu keys are on a flat block with, between them, raised rockers offering Home and Calendar on the left side of the phone, Messaging and Clear on the right side. The navigation pad isn’t huge, but its raised frame is again easy to get to grips with.
At 98g the E52 shades under the all-important 100g barrier. And as for the other physical dimensions, well, at 116mm tall and 9.9mm thick, it is comfy for both the hand and pocket.
The screen measures 2.4-inches across diagonal corners. That puts it into the realms of smaller screens, and its 240 x 320 pixels aren’t exactly leading edge, either. But Nokia does a good job with the available screen space and the home screen displays plenty of information. Included among what you can view here are five application shortcuts, email and calendar notifications, a shortcut to web searching and wireless status. And yes, the phone has WiFi built in.
WiFi comes in addition to HSDPA, which has a maximum download speed of 10.2Mbps. You won’t find an operator offering that speed at the moment, so there is an element of future-proofing involved in purchasing this smartphone. Suffice to say, though, you should get the fastest connection available wherever you happen to be.
Also on the home screen is a switcher so that you can easily flick between two different home screen setups. This means you can configure both wallpaper and the homescreen’s shortcuts and info on display to suit two different modes: work and non-work, for example.
There’s GPS built in, and Nokia Maps is pre-installed along with an application called Landmarks that lets you save places so you can get back to them again easily. There’s nothing to stop you adding Google Maps, of course.
As a smartphone with a leaning towards business the Office folder offers a whole host of applications for mobile content creation and use. It should certainly delight those of a business bent. So, for example, there’s Psiloc Wireless Presenter for using Bluetooth to control PowerPoint presentations, a PDF reader, and good old QuickOffice. Where sometimes you get hamstrung versions of QuickOffice on phones, which only allow you to read and not create documents, here you can create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Though frankly, if you are keen on this kind of activity, we’d suggest you opt for a smartphone with a bigger screen and a QWERTY keyboard.
In addition to these work-worthy applications you’ll also find things like FaceBook, MySpace and YouTube links, a good web browser which benefits from automatic screen rotation, and, of course, a music player.
Nokia has deigned to put a 3.5mm headset connector on the upper edge of the phone’s casing where it is least likely to cause pocket snags. Unfortunately, the headset provided is one piece and has flat in-ear buds. It is reasonably good, but you don’t have the opportunity to substitute it for your own top-notch headset and still have access to handsfree calling, as you would with a two-piece headset. This is a pity.
We are also a little miffed that the generally great specs are let down by a 3.2 megapixel camera. There’s an LED flash, and photo quality is OK, but really we think five megapixels would have been a better option for a handset with such good other specifications.
Overall though, we’d say the E52 is the best E series handset to date. Sure, there are a couple of things we would change, but the E52 gets a lot right.