Note to Readers: Our E5 review doesn't include all of our normal data products and objective benchmarks, as it is Mithun's first review. Mithun joins our smartphone team, and in time will be able to benchmark and test all the same things we normally include in a smartphone review. Welcome Mithun!


When Anand first asked if I wanted to review the Nokia E5-00 (referred to as E5 henceforth), I wasn’t sure what to say. Having almost exclusively used Nokia’s Symbian based smartphones for the first half of this decade, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be happy to meet an old friend after a long time, or loathe it thinking of the reasons I decided to move away from the platform in the first place. But then again, I realized I may actually be in a better position than some to review this device because of my prior experience with the platform. So jostling for front-page area on AT along with other, decidedly more exciting, better spec’d and feature-packed smartphones is the almost shockingly simple Nokia E5.

Coming in at 115 x 58.9 x 12.8 mm and weighing 126 g, the E5 feels great in your hands

Joining Nokia’s business-centric E Series line of smartphones is the E5. Pegged by Nokia as the successor to the higher end Nokia E72, my impressions of the phone lead me to believe that it is more of an upgrade to the lower end E63 than a replacement for the E72; it fits right between the two.  But it is in fact a worthy upgrade; the E5 is the only Series 60 phone to date with 256MB RAM onboard. It also has an ARM11 SoC running at a relatively speedy (by Nokia's standards) 600Mhz, shared with the E72. This can be attributed to Symbian’s thriftiness when it comes to resource consumption, but it is also testament to the fact that the software platform running underneath is unquestionably previous-gen and as such, doesn’t need the latest and greatest to get going.

Nokia E5: Hardware Analysis
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  • anactoraaron - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    My E63 has had Opera Mini since (4.6?) and it is much inproved from the default browser. I actually believe there is some sort of conflict with opera 10 and S60 (again speaking from experience with my E63). As this phone is in-between the E63 and E72 I think Opera Mini should be used if anyone plans to buy this phone. Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    I think the comments about some features that don't work well not being important because this phone is aimed at business users is well off the mark. Business users want the same phones everyone else uses. It's not likely they will be thinking; Ohh, a cheap Nokia with few features that only does a few things right, just what I want! And there is a reason why they are leaving their BB's for iPhones and the like. They no longer just want to message. They want to do the same things we all do, and do it on a phone that their friends and business partners won't laugh at.

    This may have been a sellable phone Pre iPhone, but not any more. This is why Nokia has been losing serious marketshare around the world. They need to make bold moves, not this. At any rate, it won't sell more than a handful here in the States.
    Reply
  • munky - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    They are? I know business users who are ditching the iphone for android, and then realizing they have been missing out on a bunch of features Apple hasn't "invented" yet. This phone will sell, just like the Nokia e71and e72 did, and the buyers will be people who know what they want, not those that buy something because your neighbor has one. Reply
  • jonup - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    It depends what you understand by "cheap"? For some people that appreciate build quality and feel inside your hand (you can actually hold a Nokia in you hand and make a phone call) is more important and valued than some useless application that we would never use because I have to many things going on to be f-ing around with our phone. The phone might be relatively inexpensive, but it is definately not cheap. Samsung Galaxy is cheap. Just like car interiors - future rich can feel cheap; simple can scream luxary. I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. I am sure the guy with the E52 above would not trade his phone for an I phone in a million years. Reply
  • fausto412 - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    sick and tired of being overcharged on both phone, service and texting while being tied to contracts with termination fees and terms that keep getting longer. Reply
  • LotecT1000 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    I've been selling and performing service on mobile phone for a decade now.
    I see how trends change, and what stays the same.
    I see what different people are looking for and what they need.

    Conclusion:
    1. The average user is dumb!
    2. The average user does NEVER EVER read anything of the documentation that comes with the phone, and they have no interest or skill in reading up info on what their phone can do. They want to make a call. That's it.

    The average user does not need a more advanced phone then the Motorola Micro Tac from the early 90's..
    - They make a few phone calls. They have less than 25 numbers in their phone book. About 25% of our customers don't have a single number stored in the phone book. Their callers log show 1-4 numbers.
    - They send a few text messages. Many does never ever send messages.
    The average user buys a lot of different brands and models. Everything from phones that's made for developing countries to top models (which they never ever use more then 10% of the functions on). Many of them buy iPhones too. They are not advanced users.

    Then you have the young user which use the phone differently depending on their sex.
    The boys start to add porn pics and video on their phone when their like 10 years +. They never seem to stop adding porn as they get older. A phone with a good screen and that is able to play several video formats is good. Being able to play you tube videos is good.
    They send text messages... and switch over to e-mail as they get older.
    The girls.. they want a good screen, and if they have facebook, twitter and stuff like that .. they're happy. And.. they send a LOT of SMS messages.
    They don't buy their own phone. They are asking their parents for iPhones, or Android based phones. Some have Nokia too. Nobody uses Blackberry.

    Then you have those that was born in 1965 - 198X..
    They are changed in two groups.. one is very technically capable - and they have advanced phones like the Nokia N900 where they can do a lot of stuff. Make their own code and software. Use it to watch movies. Connect it to the TV/projector and stuff like that. They use it so surf a lot, and they may use facebook, skype, twitter and what not. They have paid for the phone themselves. Most of these users have Android based phones due to price, what's "hip" and things like that. Nobody uses Blackberry. It is not very likely that they have an iPhone.
    You also have a few people in this group that use old Nokia phones like N95.. yeah.. they're still working. And they use all the functions the phone can use. Some use iPhones, but they tend to change them for Android based phones or Nokia because of the limitations of what you are allowed to do. They also look more on the specifications on the phones they buy. They may not always buy a top spec phone - buy it can do all the functions they require.
    They pay for their own phone.

    Then you have students.. that is a mix of all the above. Many that changed to iPhone a few years back are now iPhone users. There are some customers that use iPhone no matter what. If jobs changed the color of the phone every 3 month.. they would buy a new phone every 3 month. That is a very nice customer to have. We have them outside the store for several days before a new iPhone is released. Apple have a group of super loyal customers here. No matter what the phone costs, they will buy it.
    Some buy their own phones, and some get the phone from their parents.

    The business user:
    They want a phone with a keyboard and a good e-mail solution and a web browser.
    They go for a mix of Nokia and Android based phones from HTC and Samsung. maybe 5% of them go for iPhone..
    Most of them get the phone from their employer. They usually have to buy a phone in a specific price range. That exclude the more expensive phones, and so the E5 will be in their price range.
    75% of them buy a very simple phone. They hardly need no camera and MP3 player. They don't need to view video and so on. If have to be solid. It can not fail if it falls to the floor. It must have OK battery capability. A color screen is not the most important thing for them.
    It must be easy to connect to a PC without any special software just to drag and drop a few files. But they all like to have the ability to sync the calendars and stuff like that.
    We see more and more that they want a phone with a good web browser and that can play moves and pod casts. This is a growing need because they waste a lot of time in airports and train terminals. It they can watch their favorite show or movie..it's a plus.
    I see a lot of ads from our competitors too. We wanted to try to see if we could sell the Nokia N900 to every group. So we made 4 adds. One for business, one for young users, one for students and one for the general user.
    We had success with this phone on 3 groups.
    We included a 5 hours business user class for 100 dollars including lunch. We explained all the advantages and functions of the N900 - and we sold many of those. This is a phone or pocket PC with a phone option if you like.. They loved this model. All you need is the class to teach it to them They will not read a book.
    They also loved the option to connect it to a projector, so they could drop the laptop too meetings at customers.
    We sold it to young users with focus on the video and chatting functions. Free skype calls on the schools network and stuff like that. We helped them to set it up.. and they asked their parents for a new phone.. we showed them how to use group calls too. Which all phones can do. They loved that they could
    The tech hungry users bought this phone too in quite large numbers. They liked the Linux functions x-terminal and stuff like that. And the pod and torrent functions.
    The novice users are not interested in a phone like that. It is to expensive and the just use it to call a few people. That's is. 65% of all customers are in this group...
    They buy dirt cheap phones. Some of them want to buy the cheapest phone we have. If they are focused on image - they buy a more expensive phone (like the iPhone) or a phone that have a special color. No matter what brand it is. And you have those that bought a Nokia 15 years ago.. and they keep on buying a Nokia every time. They change the phone when the battery dies.. or after they have changed the battery once.
    The seniors buy phones with large keys and a screen which is easy to read. It the phone have 3 separate keys that we can program with phone numbers for them they are sold.
    Our sales number so far for 2010 is:
    HTC (27%), Nokia(42%), Samsung( 12%) and iPhone(9%) are the phones we sell most of. LG and other brands is just about 5-10% of the total market.
    We have a surprisingly high numbers of customers that have ordered the Samsung pad. It is really a hit with business customers too. And we see a lot of truck companies that will have one in each and every one of the trucks they have. This will outsell the iPad in 2011. We would never have thought that. But with the GPS and phone capabilities.. it is easy to sell. We just need a slightly lower price..
    Reply
  • LotecT1000 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    I forgot to add the sony ericsson that we started to sell in december. We started to sell them 2nd dec and we have sold a lot. maybe 30% of the december sales so far.

    Maybe it has to do with a TV ad that they run now, or the good test scores. Sone Ericsson have a winner in the experia models.
    If this continue the other brands will have to prove themselves next year.
    btw the university bought about 1000 Nokia E7/N900 for the staff. we though that was a big sale - before a store chain bought a lot of experia phones as a christmas gift for their employees. with free use for 2011,

    We would have expected the iPhone 4 to sell better, but the antenna problem, and all the broken screens have resulted in slow sales.. except for the first two weeks.
    If the iPhone 5 is any good, we will probably sell many of those. if it comes before the 3G batteries fail. we expect many of the 3G and iPhone 4 will buy the new model - even though many have changed to a android based phone. if blackberry phones does not start to sell more, we'll have to stop selling them.

    we sell a lot of extra stuff for the Nokias too. We seem to sel a bluetooth headset or handsfree option for every phone we sell. We make more and more money on teaching people to use their phone too. We have classes for everything from "dumb" phones to smart phones.
    People are surprised of how many functions a dumb or semi dumb phone have.
    Many buy a phone for the gadget functions, and forget about what they need the phone for. now many buys a simple dumb phone for calling, and use the other for the rest.
    if you just want to make a call. a phone without a color screen, wifi and other stuff that kills batteries will have to be charged once or twice every 14 days. it is small, super quick to dial and to turn on and off.
    I have a semidumb phone too, but only as a spare - and for when I do stuff that can destroy my smart phone. . like kayaking, climbing and stuff like that. I have bluetooth connected and I can take a few calls or listen to audio books or music.

    I can't wait to see how the slate/pad market will affect the use of two phones. we see the samsung pad have replaced some smart phones. they buy a pad and then they buy a more simple phone - that is very good at makeing calls. . and not much more. maybe play mp3 and have a radio. . but that's it.
    The samsung pad fits in a suit pocket. use a handsfee solutions and it does the job as a phone - and it replaces a laptop in many cases.

    I think a lot of transportation companies can use the samsung pad as a gps, as a laptop and as a phone.
    we will start to use it in our service cars from january next year.
    given all its uses, the price is fairly OK as well.
    Reply
  • j3ff86 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    christ how much further can they dumb down/cheapen the E71? Reply
  • LostPassword - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    i bought one. so far so good. biggest issue is getting skype on it. There's skype app for euro users but for some reason, its not available for americans in the ovi store. i would bail on skype if so many of my friends didn't use the damn app.

    also, the free gps thing, sometimes the red dot doesn't show up for me.
    its definitely a cool feature though, especially since i started to travel alot.
    Reply
  • max123 - Friday, August 10, 2018 - link

    For smooth performance, regular software updates, and a great design, we would recommend the <a href " https://youmobile.com.pk/phone/723/nokia-5-price-i... "> Nokia 5.1. If you want something better </a>
    Nokia 5.1. If you want something better in taking photos, the Honor 9 Lite is a great choice, thanks to its better imaging setup.
    Overall though, the Vivo Y81 is a great package, as it gets the biggest screen, largest battery, and a very new 2018 design. It also sits between the two products in terms of pricing.
    Reply

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