Nokia E5 Review – Part II – Hardware

As you might know by now, we covered the ‘First Impressions’ in the first installment of our 5-part review. Now, you may well consider non-touchscreens outdated, but still, the physical QWERTY keyboard commands respect.

The E5 stands at a good 115mm, around 58.9mm width and about 12.8mm thickness. Weighing around 126 gms, it doesn’t really feel heavy. Instead it feels solid. Fine, it’s not as slick and sexy as the E72, but it wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t look cheap at the same time, thanks to the little metal here and there. And hey, it can turn heads as well. So the ones looking for a good looking QWERTY messenger may just be interested in this. What more, it is a smartphone that is powerful in it’s own might. E5, Desire HD and Xperia X10 Mini

Coming on to the Hardware part, the front side is dominated by the 2.4” TFT screen, soft keys just underneath it, along with two raised ‘One Touch’ keys – one for the Homescreen and the other for Messaging. The Messaging key can be customized though.

In the centre of the Soft keys panel rests the D-pad. It is not the Optical Trackpad seen on the E72, but it is quite tactile and doesn’t look like falling out, or being too soft like that on the E63 and E75. Infact, I’ve started to sort of liking it.

Below the Soft keys panel is the four row QWERTY keyboard. The Big spacebar has been brought back from the E71 and the keys are bigger than it as well, though they don’t feel as good. The feel is a bit plasticky, and on this count, I prefer my E63’s keyboard (or maybe I’m just used to it). The top row keys all are multi-purpose, long pressing them will bring up the symbol printed on the key. So is the case with the bottom row, barring the function key. Also, you can use the spacebar to switch on the flash and use it as a torchlight. Just a long-press for 5 secs will do.

The two sides of the E5 are mostly bare, barring the volume rocker on the right. The top of phone houses all the connectivity options. There’s the 3.5mm audio jack in the centre, with the USB jack on the right and the charging one on the left. Noteworthy is that the USB jack is protected by a plastic flap.

The back of the device is dominated by the metallic battery cover. Above the cover, the 5 MP camera finds it’s place. The lens hole is massive here, adding to the looks. The LED flash rests in here. To the right side of the lens, there’s the speaker grill.

The camera part will be covered in the fourth installment along with connectivity and services. Coming to the speaker, it is quite loud, with a bit of distortion here and there. But I’m a bit circumspect about it’s placement. Of late, many new Nokias have had this problem of bad speaker placement. When the phone rests on a soft surface, it becomes almost impossible to notice it if someone’s calling. Apart from that, there’s no issue with it.

Underneath the battery cover, you’ll find the 1200 mAh Li-ion BL-4D battery, quoted at 635 hours of standby and 12 hours talktime. Rest assured folks, power management has been the strong point of E-series and this young lad does deliver. With heavy to very heavy usage (2 hours of calls, 4 hours of web browsing, push mail and Gravity always ON) and writing a couple of posts, the E5 lasted me for 11 hours. Legendary.

And oh, just in case you want to remove the battery, you can do so by pressing the two latches on the phone’s sides. It’s a bit hard though.

Admittedly, it may lack the sexiness of E72 or the excellent keyboard of E71, but the E5 does come runner up, so you won’t be more than a bit disappointed with it. The build is strong and in some cases, it’s good that there’s more plastic than metal. In extreme weather conditions, metal becomes either hot or cold. Plastic prevents this. Also, if due to some reason your device gets wet, there are possibilities that there maybe a shot-circuit situation. Plastic wins over metal here as well.

Stay hooked for our next installment where we review the old horse Symbian, how it performs on a 600 MHz processor with sufficient RAM this time around. It will be special!