Like HTC, Nokia distinguishes itself in the smart phone world by offering a broad range of designs. Nokia's E series is particularly noteworthy; this family of business-centric smart phones comes in all shapes and sizes, pretty much ensuring that there's a style to suit almost everyone. We've already checked out the broad and powerful Nokia E62, which is built for the power user, but what if you want the same messaging capabilities without all the bulk? No problem. The Nokia E70 answers that call. It offers a more compact candy bar-style design, yet still manages to pack in a fold-out QWERTY keyboard, robust productivity tools for the mobile professional, and a 2-megapixel camera. Unfortunately, all this power takes a bit of a toll on the phone, as it occasionally suffers from sluggish performance, and call quality could be better. As with most of Nokia's smart phones, the E70 has not been picked up by a U.S. carrier, so you'll pay a premium for an unlocked version. Currently, the Nokia E70 is available for around $390 to $450.
Though the Nokia E70 shares the same flip-phone body of the Nokia 6820, that's where the similarities end between the two phones. Like the rest of the Nokia E series, the E70 caters to the business crowd, so the handset has a more muted and refined look, with its classic silver-and-black color scheme and streamlined design. By contrast, the Nokia 6820 has a more youthful light blue-and-silver casing and resembles a basic, starter cell phone. The E70 has a stout body to match its solid feature set; at 4.6 inches long by 2.9 inches wide by 0.8 inch thick and weighing 4.4 ounces, it certainly doesn't fall into the sleek-and-sexy category, and it's quite masculine-looking, but it feels solid in the hand and is comfortable to use as a phone.
On front of the device, there is a gorgeous 2.2-inch diagonal, 16 million-color TFT display with a 352x416-pixel resolution. We were impressed by how sharp and vibrant text and images looked on the E70, and everything was still readable under direct sunlight. As with most of Nokia's Symbian smart phones, however, the E70 does not have a touch screen. To navigate the phone's menus, there are two soft keys and a joystick underneath the screen, while below that are Talk and End keys, a Menu shortcut, and a Clear button. Most of the controls are easy to press, but we wish the joystick was slightly larger or raised more above the phone's surface, and it's also a bit stiff. Using our thumb, we often pressed the joystick and selected an item accidentally, when all we wanted to do was move in one direction. Fortunately, the numeric keypad is easier to use, as the keys are spacious and tactile, if not a bit slippery. Plus, they are adequately backlit for typing in darker environments.
Other design features on the Nokia E70 include a customizable shortcut key on the left spine, and a power/USB/headset connector port on the bottom of the unit. The camera lens is on the back of the device. There's a miniSD card slot as well, but unfortunately, it's inconveniently located behind the battery cover on the right side (with the back side facing you).
If the QWERTY keyboard didn't tip you off, the Nokia E70 has a heavy focus on messaging, but don't forget, it's a phone first. The E70's address book is only limited by the available memory (about 64MB of internal memory; the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts), and there's room in each entry for multiple numbers; e-mail, Web, and street addresses; company information; birthday; notes; and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a contact a photo, group ID, or one of 48 ringtones. Other phone features include a speakerphone, voice dialing, conference calling, speed dial, VoIP calls, and a vibrate mode.
Wireless options on the E70 aren't as robust as the Nokia E62, but you do get integrated Bluetooth 1.2, Wi-Fi, and EDGE support. What's missing? Glorious 3G speeds--well, here in the States, anyway. You can use the Bluetooth to connect to wireless headsets, hands-free kits, Bluetooth printers, and keyboards; to wirelessly transfer files and contacts; and for dial-up networking. Sadly, there's no support for the A2DP profile, so you can't use Bluetooth stereo headsets with the E70. We were able to connect to the Web through both our test access point and Cingular's EDGE network, and the phone features an Opera browser that does an excellent job of optimizing sites for mobile devices.
You get a plethora of messaging choices with the E70. It offers synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, and supports POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP e-mail protocols. For push e-mail solutions, you have your pick of Nokia Intellisync Wireless E-mail Solution and a number of popular third-party clients, including Good Technology, BlackBerry Connect, Seven Always-On, and Visto. There's also a built-in attachment viewer. Aside from e-mail, the E70 also handles text, multimedia, and instant messaging.