If beauty were only screen deep, the Nokia E7 series would stand a good chance in a Miss Handset competition, even up against the likes of the iPhone 4, HTC Desire S and Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

This QWERTY keyboard phone boasts a four-inch capacitive touchscreen, AMOLED ClearBlack display and sleek brushed aluminium casing that feels great in the hand. It's just under 14mm thick, but fairly lightweight for its size and depth.

A strong double-thumbed push to the tilt and slide mechanism will reveal the well-spaced, rubber-buttoned QWERTY pad. The hinge is a little stiff, but the solidity is appreciated.

The weight is nicely balanced held portrait, landscape or with the keypad out, and the touchscreen isn't overpowered by unwieldy additional keys.

Nokia e7

The soft keys it does have are spare and nicely designed, sticking to a keypad lock (which can be easy to accidentally brush with a palm), camera key, volume rocker and menu button.

Nokia e7

The colours look brilliant on-screen, despite a fairly low resolution and in all lights. It houses an 8mp LED flash camera and additional front-facing camera for video calling, HDMI-out, and did we mention that gorgeous-for-typing QWERTY keyboard?

Nokia e7

This is indeed a sleek handset. A pretty handset. A, dare we say, rather sexy handset. Oh okay, it's pretty much a bigger Nokia N8 with a dab of Nokia N97, but we'll let that slide.

Nokia e7

Then you delve a little deeper… and you realise this little pageant contestant probably isn't getting past the swimwear round. You open on a Home screen so cluttered, you're not sure where to look first, in fact, you're not entirely convinced this isn't just the menu for the entire phone.

Nokia e7

It's not, and there's even two more Home screens to flick through, each with that pregnant Symbian pause before it finally moves on to the next.

Running Symbian^3, this is supposed to be part of the 'next wave' of Symbian smartphones, but given the announcement that Nokia are pairing with Windows, this handset seems redundant before we even start; like a final attempt to push out a Symbian-powered phone that doesn't drive you insane with its lack of intuitiveness.

Nokia e7

It's also having a bit of a personality crisis – is it a PMP? Is it a business phone? It's not really sure what it is and ends up being neither one nor the other… a sort of bland mash of the two.

If you love to see the innards of a phone, tough luck. With a nod to the iPhone, the Nokia E7's battery is hidden away behind the metal casing, with a sliding SIM card tray and few ports. The HDMI-out, micro-USB and 3.5mm multimedia jack are all located at one end of the phone.

Nokia e7

Nokia e7

Nokia e7

Nokia e7

Overall it's a well-specced piece of kit, rather let down by the software it runs on, and given that it's debuting at £499 SIM free (you what, Nokia?!) or free on a £35 contract.