Nokia E7 review: Media
Despite being billed as a Communicator phone, the Nokia E7 is media-heavy (the iPlayer widget means Prof Brian Cox on your handset, yay!) with an internal 16GB memory, though, the same as the smaller iPhone 4 size, there's no external memory card slot, or indeed, way to claw out the battery if the phone freezes and/or dies an untimely death.
It has a good array of apps, widgets and players, coming pre-loaded with a BBC iplayer widget, CNN video widget, YouTube and a Paramount movie trailers app.
The menu for the latter is so old, it reads like an airplane in-flight system from five years ago (Failure to Launch, really?). That said, if you like watching ancient movie trailers (you know, before you go rent the video from Blockbusters) the quality is good, the footage sharp – even in fullscreen mode – and the volume is excellent.
You can have widgets for all of the above, plus the media player, on the Home screens, just a short finger swipe away.
The Nokia E7 supports the usual suspects in audio codecs (MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, E-AC-3 and *gasp* AC-3) for the music player, and when holding the phone both landscape and portrait you're able to swipe through album covers in a rather, ahem, familiar-looking format.
Building a playlist is easy, simply long press the name of the song you want to add. You can even begin a new playlist there and then.
The sound quality of the speaker is sharp but interestingly, when testing video with our own headphones, we could only hear the background noise, not the person speaking. This occurred when watching the BBC iPlayer app and YouTube, but not with video we'd recorded ourselves.
Similarly, listening to the music player with low-end headphones produced an odd, tinny/underwater sound, but after a little futile fiddling with the equaliser, delving into the settings instead and pulling the balance all the way to the right restored the vocals to the backing track for the media players and music player.
The Nokia earphones the handset comes with feel cheap, but attempt to provide a little comfort with different sized in-ear buds. Listening to them for an extended period would be hideous though, and the sound quality is as middling as expected, with awful distortion at the highest volume.
The chassis is comfortable enough to hold while watching movies and the audio jack is nicely placed to the top right, meaning no jabbing into prone palms. Again, you can add a shortcut to the Home screen for ease of video watching (and indeed, photo viewing).
For the video player itself, supported codecs include MPEG-4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark and Real Video 10. Once you're into the player, it's simple to navigate.
Videos are browsed in a list, rather than thumbnails, and the touchscreen controls are simple and easy to use.
Social Media integration for media goes as far as being able to share with Twitter and Facebook (no YouTube integration) but even then, the recorded HD video files are often far too big to be posted to Facebook via the mobile site.
Nicely, there's not just an FM radio, but a DAB Digital radio. Sweet! We thought. What a nice upgrade from your standard – oh wait. We have to use the Nokia Digital Radio Headseat DAB with it? No other headset will do? Oh. Well.
What a letdown, Nokia. Still, at least we have our FM radio, and that's nice and clear. It doesn't record, or do back flips, but it can play away in the background to whatever we're doing, so what do we need DAB for? Hmph.