|Review: Nokia E6|
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 10:30
My initial thought when I unboxed the Nokia E6, was that the company was now solely focussed on targeting business-minded users. With the E7 just gone on sale, Nokia has released another E-series handset: the Nokia E6.
Just like the E5, the E6 combines touchscreen navigation and a full QWERTY keyboard. I suspect that this phone will be a very popular business phone and a strong competitor to similar BlackBerry models.
The Nokia E6 has a lot more to offer than the E5, with the Symbian^3 firmware providing four home screens and the ability to add a fifth. The E6 also has the best camera the E-series has to offer: 8-megapixels. The touchscreen outstrips any rival and offers an outstanding 326ppi. Yup, there's loads of appeal on offer whether you're comparing hardware or software!
It took me a while to adjust to the QWERTY keyboard as I've been using a touchscreen for quite some time, but once I was able to adjust to the mixed interface, the phone was a dream to use. My fingers seemed too big for the keys and I complained that I would never be able to keep up with friends on Whatsapp, but after a few days the keys became easier to find.
One area I was disappointed with, is the small 2.46-inch touchscreen. Whilst the actual colours, sharpness and receptiveness of the touchscreen is second to none, the size does come into effect, especially when using applications such as Ovi Maps.
Below the screen you will find the call and end buttons, a five way d-pad and four shortcut keys that can be customised. By default, they are the home, calendar, messaging and contacts buttons. Further down is the four-tiered QWERTY keyboard, with each key individual and curvaceously raised. The volume buttons are on the right side of the phone, along with the lock slider. On the left side is the microUSB port. Users with larger hands will quickly dismiss the QWERTY keyboard, but give it a chance and you will get the hang of it eventually!
On the back of the phone, there's an 8-megapixel EDoF camera with a dual-LED flash and a VGA-resolution camera is on the front above the display. You can access it through the applications folder or through a shortcut on your homescreen. The camera is extremely fast, however the reason for this speed lies in the camera's biggest drawback, the lack of auto-focus. This therefore means no macro shots, with anything closer than 2 feet appearing blurry.
When it comes to the camera interface, you're treated with plenty of options including scene modes, face detection, self-timer and color tones. You can even set the white balance and ISO light sensitivity, as well as the contrast and sharpness of pictures. There is a 2X digital zoom on-board as well. The 680MHz processor allows recordings of up to 720p HD videos running at 25fps.
Despite not being marketed as a multimedia phone as such, the Nokia E6 contains the same image and video editing tools found on the X7 and N8. For stills, you can crop, rotate, add frames, text and some basic effects, while for videos you can stack up a couple of clips and add transitions and music. The music application hasn't changed much, and along with standard file support, the handset also comes with Stereo FM radio with RDS.
The built-in movie application supports MPEG-4 playback and DivX/Xvid encoded files out of the box, so despite the screen size being less than ideal for movies, with its great resolution, the quality and experience is very good indeed. Combined with its support for microSD cards of up to 32GB, for short movies and episodes, the phone delivers a more than capable offering.
The Nokia E6 is the business side of Nokia. Accordingly, you can expect a range of productivity applications to be present including the full version of Quick Office, PDF Reader and F-Secure to keep everything safe. In addition, Nokia has also stepped up its Facebook and Twitter app support through its social hub, bringing updates together in a unified view.
Free turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation with GPS and digital compass is a great asset to have. Nokia's Ovi Maps is a great tool and comes pre-installed.
The Nokia E6 is enhanced by the contacts and calling functionality provided by the Symbian^3 operating system. The Contacts app saves a friend's name, address (which gets linked to, and shows up on, Ovi Maps), phone numbers, Facebook and Twitter profiles (via a Social app add-in), Ovi Chat, Google Talk, Yahoo Chat, MSN and ICQ usernames (which get linked to Chat, if you install and set it up).
Within the Contacts app, two additional tabs provide contact grouping and integration with Microsoft Communicator mobile. The Communicator tab automatically sets up a contact's details once the connection has been made between the phone and the relevant Microsoft Office communications server, which can be located behind a corporate firewall.
Contacts can be accessed through the Contacts app or on the home screen by typing a phone number, contact's name or company name, which will show an updating list of contacts with that number/letter combination in their details. You can also use the integrated voice dialling and voice command system to speak to contacts, which works out of the box thanks to Nokia's voice recognition algorithms.
Transition between screens is fast, and the user interface is familiar for any existing Nokia owners, but may of course take some getting used to for others.
The biggest change with the browser compared to the E5 is performance: page rendering is swifter than on previous Symbian phones, while panning around a heavy webpage is - once the page is loaded - smoother too. Pinch-zooming is supported, as is double-tapping to zoom. Flash Lite 4.0 is supported as well.
A new introduction on the Nokia E6 is an Intranet app for protected access to corporate websites completely separate to the normal web browser, further aligning the Nokia E6 for business use. The new browser automatically cleans up after itself too – not requiring the user to manually select to clear privacy history, like on previous phones – which is another welcome improvement.
Call quality is great: Sound was clear through the speakers and the caller also told me that my voice quality was crystal clear. The wi-fi speed was very impressive and the overall interface was very simple to customise.
The 1500 mAh battery is rated for an above average talk time of up to 14.8 hours of talk time and 18 days in stand-by. I found using the phone extensively for a day left about 50% of power, so two full days bordering on three is a realistic expectation from this smartphone, which is great!
Screen: TFT capacitive touchscreen; 16M colors; 640 x 480 pixels; 2.46 inches
Camera: 8MP; 3264x2448 pixels; fixed focus; dual-LED flash; secondary VGA camera.
Storage: 8 GB storage; 256 MB RAM; 1 GB ROM; microSD; up to 32GB
Connectivity: HSDPA 10.2Mbps; HSUPA 2.0Mbps; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth V3; USB 2.0
OS: Symbian Anna OS
CPU: 680 MHz ARM 11 processor; 2D/3D Graphics HW Accelerator with OpenVG1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0
Navigation: Integrated GPS; A-GPS receivers; Ovi Maps
Good: Individual raised buttons qwerty keyboard; DivX support; long battery life.
Bad: Symbian OS will be obsolete soon; screen is a bit small; no auto-focus.
RRP: R4499 incl VAT.
Contact: Selected cellular retail outlets.
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