Business Today

The BlackBerry killer?

How good is the new Nokia E75? Well, to begin with here’s a sample: all the text on this page was written and then e-mailed from the phone!

     Print Edition: May 31, 2009

The slide out keyboard on the device is a lot nicer than the soft keyboard on the touch screen Nokia 5800. There is something reassuring in “real” keys. The Nokia Messaging Service (NMS) launched alongside the device is, however, a bit funny.

E75 vs E71
E-mail: E75.Even though E71 is just as capable, setting up e-mail in E75 is easier

Typing: E75.The slide out keyboard is easy to use; you can even get up to a decent speed on it

Screen: E71.E75 screen looks very narrow, with the slide out keyboard

Price: E71.Both devices are great value, though the E71 is cheaper

Setting up e-mail on Nokia devices has always been a breeze if you knew how. NMS makes it idiot-proof much like BlackBerry Connect. Of course, you’ll need your IT administrator’s help to properly configure your Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes server, but setting up Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or MSN Live Mail is genuinely fast.

Mail synchronisation on devices, that was a problem with some earlier devices, is also taken care of by NMS. So, as an e-mail device it works great. All you need is an un-metered data connection from your service provider. I used Airtel’s Mobile Office, for which I pay an additional Rs 499 per month—far cheaper than the Rs 999 for BlackBerry services. Does this mean the new E75 has no problems at all? On the face of it, it doesn’t, actually.

The E75 has a MRP of Rs 26,300 and it is a great device. As far as the price comparison is concerned, it beats the BlackBerry Curve 8900 hollow, though the latter might, all things considered, be a better device.

The tiny Pod

Length: 4.5 cm
Width: 1.7 cm
Thickness: 0.8 cm
Weight: 10.8
Apple Computer’s minimalistic habit when it comes to product design, has claimed another victim. The new iPod Shuffle has just one sliding button. And there is no “Play” key. None. The new third generation Shuffle, which incidentally will be sold alongside the old second generation one, is incredibly small, smaller than a USB Flash Drive, thanks to the lack of an inbuilt USB dongle. That said, it does look pretty good.

So, how easy is it to use? Well, you operate most controls from a three-button controller next to the right earpiece. One click on the central button to play or pause, two to forward, three to rewind, a short hold for the voice playback to read back the song name and a long hold to go through play lists.

The slider on the device switches it off and toggles between linear and shuffle play modes. Who said a user interface needs buttons? The voice playback, however, can be a handful when it reads out Hindi songs. Otherwise, with the tiny size, it is a lot more useful than a super small LCD screen.

This 4 GB gadget costs Rs 4,900 plus local levies, which is a bit pricey compared to most small digital audio players. But that is the price you pay to have a product touched by the Apple design gods.

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