Not everyone wants a smart phone with a touchscreen and loads of entertainment features. Many people just want a device with long battery life, great call quality and a few applications to help them read and edit work documents on the move. This is the market that Nokia is aiming for with the traditional-looking E52.
It's available for about £230 SIM-free. We'll update this review with pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go prices when they become known.
Evolution, not revolution
Whereas Nokia's N-series smart phones are aimed primarily at those looking for a feature-packed but fun handset, the E series has always been targeted more towards business users. We were quite fond of the original E51, as we liked its ease of use and impressive messaging features, so, with Nokia having nearly two years to work on the follow-up, we had high expectations for the E52.
From the outset, it's clear that this update is more of an evolution than revolution. In terms of design, it doesn't stray all that far from the original E51. It retains the same tall and narrow design, with a large, square direction pad in the centre and tapered sides that frame the keypad at the bottom. The E52 is a good deal slimmer though, measuring a mere 10mm at its thickest point. It's lighter too, tipping the scales at just 98g. There are also some welcome new features, including a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can use your own headphones, as well as a standard micro-USB port for charging and syncing with a PC.
Big, bold screen
Nokia has also done a good job on the display. Not only is it bright and capable of showing really vivid colours but it's also much larger than those found on more run-of-the-mill candybar handsets. Measuring 61mm (2.4 inches) across the diagonal, the screen has, for a phone of this size, a relatively high resolution of 320x240 pixels. As a result, it gives you a decent amount of room when you're using the phone's browser to view Web sites, or watching videos in the movie player and You Tube applications.
Connectivity is also good. The E52 is quad-band, so you'll be able to use it in most countries around the world. It also offers speedy Web browsing and downloading, as it supports both HSDPA and Wi-Fi. As well as this, there's now also on-board GPS. This works well with the pre-loaded navigator application. Alternatively, you can download Google Maps for the phone and use the GPS functionality with that. Either way, we found the phone took mere seconds to lock onto enough satellites to pinpoint our location, even from a cold start.
The handset runs Nokia's Series 60 operating system, so the menu layout will be instantly familiar to anyone who's used a recent Nokia phone. The applications and settings menus are laid out in a straightforward grid structure, making it easy to find your way around. Plus, there are plenty of useful applications pre-installed, including Quickoffice, for viewing and editing work documents. As Series 60 is well supported by developers, there's a wealth of extra apps available for download too.
On the downside, the standard mobile-phone keypad isn't ideal for tapping out emails, and the shots from the basic 3.2-megapixel camera are relatively poor by today's smart-phone standards.
Nevertheless, as you'd expect from a Nokia handset, call quality is first-rate. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the E52, however, is its battery life. This phone has the longest battery life of any handset we've tested for quite some time. Nokia rather conservatively quotes 8 hours of talk time and 23 days on standby, but, during our test period, we got around 4 days' use out of it before it needed recharging.
On first sight, the Nokia E52 won't set your heart racing, since its design is rather conservative by today's standards. But, when you actually use the handset for a while, you can't help but grow fond of it. This isn't just because its battery life is exceptional. It's also very straightforward to use, while still managing to pack in all the key features you'll need on a daily basis. If you're after a smart phone that has the look and feel of a more traditional mobile, it's seriously worthy of consideration.
Edited by Charles Kloet