Nokia E72 picture sampler
The Nokia E72 and the Nokia X6 have a lot in common despite being very different devices. They arguably represent the best QWERTY non-touch business phone and best touch media-centric device currently available from the lovely folks in Espoo.

Both are feature-packed, reasonably-priced Symbian smartphones with nice cameras, and follow in the footsteps of good devices with disappointing cameras, namely the Nokia E71 and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. More after the break…

The E71/E72 business phones feature an autofocus camera with a single LED flash while the 5800/X6 media devices feature an autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a dual LED flash.

On paper, the only major upgrade between the older E71 and 5800 vs. the newer E72 and X6 cameras is a bump from 3 to 5 megapixels (the E72 also captures VGA video at 30 fps vs. QVGA video at 15 fps on the E71).

But in practice, the newer E72 and X6 obliterate the older E71 and 5800, especially in terms of low-light performance. In fact these two 5 MP shooters are within arms reach of cream-of-the-family-crop.

The E72 just takes absolutely brilliant pictures for a business phone. Color balance and exposure are generally spot on, but the auto-focus is often hit and miss, requiring several attempts!

The middle button/optical trackpad on the D-pad is also the shutter button. Touching it focuses the camera and pressing it takes the picture. Unfortunately it’s unreliable, and I’d prefer a dedicated 2-stage shutter button.

Strangely, the E72 camera lacks auto-rotation and geo-tagging, which is rather unfortunate.

The X6 definitely snaps excellent shots, and lives up to its media device credentials. The results look a bit less neutral than the E72, with color balance and exposure overdone at times, but I’m being pedantic here :)

The dedicated 2-stage shutter button is above average and gives the user pretty decent control. Also, the X6 uses a wider angle lens than the E72.

Video recording is identical on both phones, with a respectable 640×480 (VGA) resolution at 30 fps. The E72 often drops frames during the first few seconds of capture – this can be reduced by restarting the phone and will hopefully be fixed in a future firmware update.

Ultimately, I think the X6 comes out on top, thanks mostly to the dedicated 2-stage shutter button, and the expected extras – auto-rotation and geo-tagging.

But the E72 certainly holds its own, so it all boils down to a bigger question: hardware keyboard or capacitive touchscreen?

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