My thoughts about the black E90

I’ve used the black Nokia E90 communicator for over one week now. In this post I want to share my thoughts about this device with you.

The E90 was anounced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in early 2007 besides the E61i and the E65. Since the device is available there are quite a few problems like the internal keypad that is touching the screen. With the black E90 Nokia wanted to fix the problems – but have they successfully fixed all the problems? This post will find it out!


  • great Design
  • full QWERTY-keyboard
  • huge & sharp internal screen
  • keys on the front have a firm pressure-point
  • good camera with flash and autofocus
  • good loudspeakers
  • miniUSB
  • great build quality


  • small front-display
  • only 2.5mm headphone jack
  • bad camera-key
  • internal screen is a fingerprint-magnet
  • internal navigation key is too small

As you can see in the advantages/disadvantages lists above there are a some points I don’t like about this device.

Positive aspects:

The E90 features a full QWERTY-keypad that I very like. The new, flatter keys of this improved E90-version are just great. The have some kind of “soft” pressure-point nevertheless you can press them very well. They have a very low lightning, but in the dark you can see all the keys properly. You have to turn on the lightning of the QWERTY-keypad manually with a special key.

The internal screen is just great. It has a resolution of 800 x 352 pixels, so it is very sharp. I haven’t seen a sharper screen in a mobile phone before. The user-experience while surfing in the web is great. Because the screen is so wide you can see the websites almost as on your computer. The screen is also readable in bright conditions e.g. in the sun. The screen has no extra plastic-protection in front of the LCD – it is like the N95’s display.

The camera of the E90 is great. It has 3.2 Megapixels with autofocus. The pictures are sharp and clear. They even look good on a big computer-screen. I think you definitely can compare this business-device with the K800i from Sony Ericsson. The video recording is in VGA-resolution at 30 frames per second – very impressive for a business-device. You can find great image-samples here.

This business-device is a great allrounder: It also features very impressive stereo speakers. The speakers are placed on the backside of the device. They aren’t as good as the N95s’ loudspeakers, but just bear in mind that the E90 is designed for business-users. The sound of the loudspeakers is loud and clear and they are placed well.

Negative aspects:

Let’s start with the small front display. There are no doubts that the E90 is a big device. On the front there is so much free space Nokia could have used. I think that the display as well as the keys could be a little bit bigger, but especially the display.

The E90 features a 2.5 mm headphone jack. I like the idea of a “real” headphone jack, but I don’t like that it is a 2.5 mm. I would prefer a 3.5 mm headphone jack, because almost all the MP3-Players, iPods and other gadgets have such a 3.5 mm headphone jack. If you own a phone with such a 3.5 mm jack you will not need to buy new headphones if you want to use them with it.

The worst aspect of the whole phone is definetely the camera-key. Come on Nokia, what the hell should this camera-key be? First of all it is too small. It is very hard to capture a photo with it. You will need to press it half way down to use the autofocus, okay no problem here. But if you want to capture the focussed image you need to press the key exactly on an extremely small pressure-point. The other bad aspect is that you can only press the key aslope. This should be definitely fixed in the next communicator.

The last negative point about this device is the navigation key on the QWERTY-keyboard. I don’t like it very much because it is some kind of too small. I have small fingers although I can’t use it properly. I would prefer if it would be a little bit bigger, because sometimes I press the middle of the navipad instead of some direction.

At last I want to say that I like the black E90 communicator very much. All in all it is a great device with a perfect build-quality. There are some disadvantages but they aren’t that big – You can live with them. The only thing I really hate is definitely the camera-key.

If you have questions or suggestions about my thoughts leave a comment!


~ by Christian on July 3, 2008.

33 Responses to “My thoughts about the black E90”

  1. Will the keyboard of this E90 Black touch the screen if the clamshell is closed?

  2. Very good description of the device. I have few questions if you can answer I would be grateful.

    It is a fact that the newer version of E90 Communicator has got flatter QWERTY keys, which I assume do not touch internal screen anymore when Closed. Unlike the previous one.

    Q1. I am interested in the MOCHA Color E90, does newer version of MOCHA E90 also come with same Flatter QWERTY Keys? or this change is Limited only to BLACK E90?

    Q2. When you browse a certain website can you save images from the website onto the Memory Card of the Phone?

    Q3. Can you SELECT, COPY & PASTE any kind of text when using the web browser?

    Q4. Can you save web pages?

    Q5. Is the material used in BLACK E90 same as N95 8GB BLACK, I mean is the BLACK E90 Glossy Finish on the external side or Matt Finish like MOCHA E90?


  3. Hi Titze!

    Very good description of the device & beautiful pictures. I have few questions for you.

    It is a fact that the newer version of Nokia E90 Communicator has got flatter QWERTY keys, which I assume do not touch internal screen anymore when Closed. Unlike the previous MOCHA E90.

    Q1. I am interested in the MOCHA E90, does newer version of MOCHA E90 also comes with same Flatter QWERTY Keys? or this change is Limited only to BLACK E90?

    Q2. When you browse a certain website can you save images from the website onto the Memory Card?

    Q3. Can you SELECT, COPY & PASTE any kind of text when using the web browser? to say: NOTES or SMS

    Q4. Can you save web pages?

    Q5. Is the external finish of BLACK E90 same as BLACK N95 8GB, I mean, whether BLACK E90 has got Glossy Finish on the external side just like N95 8GB or Matt Finish like MOCHA E90?

    Q6. Apart from “GLOBAL RACE” are there any good GAMES available, that can be played on the Wide Internal Screen of E90? not on the 2 inch Mini External Screen.

    Q6. Can you save YouTube Videos?

    Q7. Can you watch YouTube Videos FULL SCREEN or PARTIAL on the internal screen?

    Finally I want a UNBIASED, HONEST thought of yours on Apple iPhone and its features compared to Nokia E90 Communicator.

    Simply because I have been waiting for the Newer Version of E90 Communicator since last few months, but ever since I had an opportunity to experience iPhone & its awesome Multi-Touch UI, I am confused & unable to firmly decide on E90.

    Though iPhone has its share of negatives, it is still pulling the Nokia & Symbian Fan in me towards it.

    Kindly give your thoughts…….


  4. Most common error while installing Symbian Application on E-Series Phone:

    On E-Series phone default installation of Symbian Self signed application is OFF. To install self signed application on E-Series phone you need to change default setting as:

    TOOLS>Appl Mgr>Options>Settings> Software Installation “All”.
    Default value is Signed only.

  5. @ changi:
    No, the keypad won’t touch the screen if the communicator is closed.

    @ Abusha:
    You can call me Christian ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Here your answers:
    1. Some E90’s in the color “Mocca” have the new keypad. But they’re very, very rare.
    2. Yes, you can save the images onto the memory card of the phone.
    3. As far as I tested it you can’t copy & paste any text from a website if you can’t edit the text.
    4. Yes, you can save websites.
    5. It has a glossy surface like the N95 8GB, but the black E90 looks more nobly because the black is some kind of brighter.
    6. I can’t say anything about if there are more games designed for the E90’s internal screen, but Global Race looks just great on this huge screen.
    7. If you choose “Fullscreen” from the menu the video is partial on the left side of the screen.

    It’s hard to compare iPhone and E90. iPhone is more Multimedia and the E90 is a business-device. If you want a device for the office you should take the E90. The E90 has a better camera than the iPhone and I like a real keyboard more than a touch-keyboard. But all in all it’s your decision – I would take the E90.

  6. Thank you, Christian.

    for answering all my questions, now the ball is my court. I am used to Symbian OS & Nokia Mobile Phones since last 5 years. Its hard to shift to any other OS or any other Brand for that matter.

    Simply because Nokia is the Best in the Business, with due respect to other Popular Brands like SONY Ericsson, Samsung etc. which also run on Symbian OS.

    Well, iPhone is definitely one AWESOME, MULTI-MEDIA DEVICE, which lacks few great features. As it is couple of months from its First Official Launch in India, so the waiting period is Long Enough for me to go for E90.

    As for the usage, Its basically both Multi-media & Business.

    More of Texting, Emails, Web Browsing, YouTube Videos. Little bit of Camera, Music, Games & very little of GPS.

    Anyways, I need to see the BLACK E90 physically to decide between BLACK or MOCCA, if I finally decide to go in for E90.

    If ever iPhone is launched in India for the said price of $199 & that too Contract Free “UNLOCKED”. Which is HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

    then I can have BEST of Both the Worlds.

    Thanks once again Christian,

    Can you post your email id?
    I would like to share more on E90.


  7. Hey Abusha,

    You can find my e-mail in the category “About Symbian World” on the right column under the search engine.


  8. How many days can battery work without charging?


  9. It’s hard to say something about the battery life because I haven’t paid so much attention to it. But it definitely is good – I would say about 5 days up to one week.

  10. Wow thats great!
    I`ve read some other reviews and the battery can last up to 2 days max with average use!


  11. hi.I’m 13 and thinking of getting the e90 or iPhone or n96. I really like the e90 but does it have enough space for a girl like me I really liked the keyboard that’s a reason I wanted it.. the others I like cuz I’m more like a multimedia person but I also liked the e90 I heard that theres a 16 gb e90 is that true? what do u think I should get?? can u plz reply to my email: thnks for ur time…I really need help in deciding

  12. Is that the real black e90? The back of the official nokia e90 (see nokia website) looks rather different… it has a sort of rim at the edges of the back cover which the red and mocca version don’t have. Yours don’t have it either ….
    Many backcovers crack under the keypad and they solved this with the black version (I think …. because I don’t tried it yet)

  13. @ lili:
    If you want multimedia buy the upcoming N96 or think about the iPhone – I would prefer the N96 because of the S60 OS, but it’s your decision.

    @ John:
    Yeah, it’s the real one – I received it directly from WOM World.

  14. […] | Files under Cellulari – Palmari – Smartphone, PC Hardware Christian Titze ci propone, tramite Symbianworld, la sua opinione riguardo al Nokia E90 in veste nera, che a me sembra piรน professionale e stiloso […]

  15. see:

    you’ll notice that the backcover is different than the earlier versions (see rims at the edges). Your black nokia have the ealier backcover but it looks like it is painted in black ….

    It’s also on the official nokia websites (see UK)

  16. update: it appears that the pictures are the real ones. The picture at the other sites ( also official nokia) are somehow taken in different lighting conditions that is why it looks like there is a rim at the edges, but I checked real ones at official dealers and the black e90 is exactly like the pictures above

  17. Hi Christian ,
    I need your Help here
    I have few questions which I want to know before deciding to buy E90…

    1. my first Question is regarding Java Applications on E90.
    I am using Motorola V3x at present and I am using many Java Applications on it’s 240 x 320 pixels, 2.2 inches internal screen..
    like opera mini ,Ymtiny ,Nimbuzz ,Reporo, Mig33 etc many such applications…
    I want to know what happens when we install these Java Applications for E90 on it?
    these Applications run only in it’s External Screen (240 x 320 pixels), 2 inches or
    these can be run in it’s Big Internal Screen (800 x 352 pixels, 4.0 inches) too?
    it would be such a nice experience to use these Java Programs in big Internal Display while we can use it’s full qwerty keypad.

    2.Can we attach different types of Photos/Images and Quick Office Documents while sending mails in Yahoomail ,Gmail or Hotmail by using E90 web browser?
    and Can We Uplaod Photos in any website through E90 web browser?

    3.As I Read in E90 Technical Specifications that E90 Internal and External Display sizes are 4 and 2 Inches
    but can U pls tell me both Display Screen’s width too?
    as It seems that Internal Screen width is little narrow and not big like HTC Phones( 2.8 inches lenth ,___width ?) .. are talking about these new Flatter keys in New Black E90 ..I want to know that these new type of Keypad is available in
    Red and Mocha E90 too?

    waiting for your reply.

    Hemant ,India

  18. btw this Black E90 looks better than Mocha E90 ..wish I could get it in India …but I don’t think it’s available here because Nokia India site shows only two Red and Mocha ๐Ÿ˜

  19. Hi Hemant,

    1. JAVA-applications are also working on the internal screen (fullscreen).

    2. I don’t know because I don’t have a Gmail account or similar, but I think it should work.
    As far as I’ve tested it you can’t upload images to all websites. But big photo communities like Flickr or OVI will work.

    3. normal screen: 1,26″ (3,2 cm) x 1,65″ (4,2cm)
    internal screen: 3,58″ (9,1cm) x 1,57″ (4cm)

    4. Some of the red and mocha E90’s do have these new keypads, but they are VERY, VERY rare.

    All the best,

  20. Thanks Christian for the quick response
    You cleared my doubts about java Applications
    I really can’t do without these Java Applications I mentioned
    earlier because I do surf webpages and use Messengers a lot in the Phone.

    Ya hope I can Attach the quick office documents and images in
    mail attachments like we do while using PC web browsers.

    and as You said E90 โ€˜s
    normal screen: 1,26 (3.2 cm) x 1,65 (4.2cm)
    internal screen: 3,58 (9.1cm) x 1,57 (4cm) in size

    Ok, so this is the Actual Screen Size…

    I just measured my Moto V3x to compare with E90 screen
    and it’s Screen Size is 1.34inch (3.4cm)* 1.77inch(4.5cm)

    I tried to measure other Popular Phones –
    HTC TyTn II /HTC Touch Diamond
    Screen Size= 6cm* 4.4cm

    LG Viewty
    Screen Size= 6.7cm*4cm

    Samsung Omnia
    Screen Size = 7.3cm * 4.4cm

    (Well these are approximate size and I may be wrong in measuring the sizes. Please correct me if I am wrong .)

    So now I can observe that E90 is still far wider than other Phones and with
    800 x 352 pixels Resolution itโ€™s still the Best .

    I will try to Compare iPhone too next time..

    Anyway thanks Much Christian for your Help โ€ฆit helped me much to Clear many things
    About E90โ€ฆ

    well, I Hope the Mocha Models available in India donโ€™t have any such Keypad Prb too..
    Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hemant ,India

  21. Hello Hemant,

    Nice to hear that I helped you with my answers.
    As you mentioned you think that the E90’s screen is the best. I have to say: There’s no doubt that this huge screen is the best, I’ve never seen such a sharp screen in a phone before.
    The E90 definitely is worth buying it.


  22. well iPhone’s Screen size is 7.8 * 5.2 cm
    Quite Big though but it’s with 320*480pixels resolution only.

    Christian Hi again …
    you know… the Black model is available in India and tomorrow the Nokia Dealer in my place is going to confirm that whether they can get it or not.
    I do Hope they will get One for Me …

  23. Hi Christian I finally have got my Nokia E90 Black
    it model is E90-1 and software version is 200.34.73
    it’s great phone…I am still learning to operate it and use all of it’s functions…
    Java applications are running fine in it’s Internal Communicator Screen ๐Ÿ™‚
    thanks much again for your helped me in deciding and finally choosing this wonderful phone ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. just want to ask you a question…
    Can this Phone be charged via USB cable?
    my Motorola V3x can be charged via USB cable and it helps me much while using this phone as a modem for Internet use for longer period…because my Phone battery is getting charged continuously while attached to the Laptop
    but E90 is not getting charged by USB cable attaching it to the laptop..if it’s possible to charge can I set it for that purpose?

  25. Everybody seems to like the E90 camera, but the picture quality on my old E70 is 100 times better than my new E90. Is it possible that something is wrong with my camera on my E90.

    The picture quality is so bad, its unusable, unless i make the picture the size of a postage stamp then it becomes usable. This is on the cameras best quality setting. The video quality increase on the E90 is also not worth the price difference. As a business phone the E90 rocks, but for multimedia i will stick to the E70.

  26. @ Hemant: There’s a special charger by Nokia for this purpose – Norman reported about it here on Symbian World a few weeks ago, just search the blog.

    @ Mark: Maybe there’s something wrong, please post an image sample that we can judge it…

  27. This was taken at the E90’s highest res;

    my E70 is a million times better

  28. OMG! That’s bad, bring your E90 to a Nokia Service Center or where you bought it and say that there’s something wrong with the camera. Better take some samples with you that you can show it to them.

  29. Thanks Christian for confirming. I just assumed that the E90’s apparent fantastic camera was just sales talk until i saw this forum and all you guys also say it has a great camera.

    Thanks for the advice, I will take my E90 in asap. Cant wait to get to take some nice quality pics with it.

  30. Christian
    I searched for All accessories for the Nokia E90 …
    there is ‘Nokia Charger via USB port CA-100’ in the list
    but that will just charge the phone from the USB port on my laptop.
    I wanted the phone getting charged via
    Nokia Connectivity Cable DKE-2 .
    so its getting charged while I am using the net or using other applications of Nokia PC Suite too.
    I don’t know whether its possible in Nokia phones or not.

  31. ok I got it …it’s not possible …

    if I want it getting charged while using E90 (as a modem or mass storage) connected to Laptop via Nokia Connectivity Cable DKE-2 ..I have to use simply it’s standard charger connecting on wall Plug OR use ‘Nokia Charger via USB port CA-100โ€ฒ connecting in another USB port of Laptop.

  32. Hello,

    I’m looking for a black E90. But I can not find it on sale. Is it that Nokia will finally propose? (I live in France)

  33. thanks for ur articles ๐Ÿ™‚

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