Nokia E90 Communicator
our review of the Nokia E90 Communicator here or
watch the video review here.
The Nokia E90 Communicator is the latest
in a long line of communicator devices, and is the replacement
for the Nokia
9500 which was announced three years ago.
say that the E90 is "long awaited" would be
an understatement. One of the weaknesses of the 9500
and the 9300
devices derived from it was a lack of 3G support, and
the E90 now adds that. But it's more that just a port
of the old Communicator platform to 3G, the Nokia E90
also adds a GPS receiver and integrated navigation application,
a 3.2 megapixel camera, FM radio and a significantly
improved screen. As with the 9500, the Nokia E90 retains
WiFi support and has a full QWERTY keyboard (although
the keyboard has been improved in the E90).
The Communicator series of devices have
always had the unfortunate nickname of "the brick",
and the Nokia E90 continues in that tradition. At a
hefty 210 grams, the E90 is actually 20 grams lighter
than the 9500, but 38 grams heavier than the 9300i.
Nokia have done a remarkable job with size though -
when viewed from the front (see left), the E90 is about
the height and thickness of the compact 9300/9300i while
retaining the same width as the 9500 at 132 x 57 x 20mm.
Inside the E90 is a display with an
impressive 800x352 pixels resolution in 16 million colours,
not unlike the panel on the Nokia
N800, this is up from 640x200 pixels on the earlier
models. The external display is now 240x320 pixels (up
from 128x128), and pretty much all of the E90's functions
can be controlled from the front cover, rather than
the 9500/9300/9300i which allowed access to basic phone
functions only. The 800 pixel wide display is ideal
for no-compromise web access, although it doesn't have
course, the E90 bears the "Communicator" name
for a reason, and it comes with a wide range of communications
options. Email support includes standard SMTP/POP3 protocols,
various push email options, instant messaging and it
even comes with a text-to-speech reader. Network support
is quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) plus 2100 MHz
UMTS (3G), GPRS and EDGE. Significantly, the Nokia E90
does include HSDPA support allowing for download speeds
of up to 3.6Mbit/sec. On top of this the E90 comes with
802.11g WiFi. It's hard to fault the E90 in terms of
the networks it supports, but one omission is the ability
to work with UMTS networks on anything other than the
2100 MHz band, which limits its 3G use in the US and
some other countries.
More controversially, the Nokia E90
includes a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash.
Many business do not like cameras in their business
phones, and for some it was an issue with the 9500 (which
had a VGA resolution camera) which was resolved with
the camera-less 9300. There's also a secondary camera
for video calling.
very significant change from the 9500 is under the hood.
This is a Symbian S60 (Series 60) smartphone, rather
than the Series 80 operating system on the 9500 and
9300. Although this seems like a step backwards (because
Series 80 was written specifically for this type of
device), S60 support gives E90 users access to a much
wider range of applications. Nokia 9500 users should
adjust quickly to the new interface.
As with previous models, the Nokia E90's
software capabilities are impressive. It includes a
document editor called Quickoffice, can view Microsoft
Office documents, work with Zip files and PDFs and there's
a comprehensive set of Personal
Information Management tools. Because this is an S60
device, more applications can be added.. although most
will need to be adapted for the E90's display.
Another important feature is the Nokia
E90 Communicator's inbuilt GPS function. This allows
for more than just basic location-based services, as
Nokia are going to make it's "Nokia Maps"
application available. Although this seems to be a free
SatNav (satellite navigation) package, it's worth remembering
that a lot of the value added features require a network
connection which might incur data costs.
On top of all the other features, the
Nokia E90 Communicator is also a multimedia phone, with
support for MP3 and AAC audio plus video clips. There's
even an FM radio. Data and media clips can be stored
on microSD cards with a maximum capacity of 2GB.
Did we mention that it makes phone calls?
Because the thing with the Nokia E90 Communicator is
that it is essentially a tiny handheld computer rather
than a phone.. although, of course it does work exactly
as you'd expect. Talktime on GSM is quoted at up 5 hours
with a maximum of 14 days standby. Of course, Bluetooth,
WiFi and 3G use will shorten that time.
Nokia say that the E90 will initially
be available during Q2 2007 with full production coming
onstream in Q3, although from past experience we wouldn't
be surprised if it was late. All of this technology
comes at a price, at the E90 will cost around €800 /
£500 / $1000 before tax and subsidy, around the same
cost as the 9500 at launch.
In conclusion, the Nokia E90 Communicator
is possibly the most feature packed handset we've even
seen with surprisingly few compromises. It's big for
a phone, but tiny for a GPS enabled multimedia computer.
At Mobile Gazette, we've been a big fan of the
Communicator series, and you can bet that we'll be eager
to get our hands on this latest incarnation.
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E90 Communicator at a glance
850/900/1800/1900 + UMTS
+ EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSDPA
pixels, 16m colours (main)
pixels, 16m colours (sub)
132 x 57 x
20mm / 210 grams
5 hours talk / 14 days standby