Nokia E6 4 Stars

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Take a quick look at Nokia’s latest E6 phone and you might think you’re looking at a BlackBerry handset, as it features a small QWERTY keyboard. But don’t be fooled into thinking that it is simply a clone – it has a whole host of its own features on offer.

There have been some questions raised over Nokia’s insistence on retaining its Symbian OS, but you certainly can’t question its hardware quality. The E6 features a glossy white chassis, which could look pretty cheap and nasty, and yet Nokia has managed to ensure it looks pretty stylish – it could be down to the fact that its reverse is actually silver, with a metallic trim. However, if you really find white handsets offensive, you can choose a black version.

Touch me

Surprisingly, despite that keyboard, the handset also boasts a touch-screen. In the corners at its bottom you’ll find the Menu and Options commands. It’s a bit of a diversion from the usual Nokia setup, so if you’re used to their handsets it will take a bit of getting used to.

The screen itself is responsive and offers vibrant colours and great graphics – it’s just a pity that it is too small at 2.46 inches. It results in a lot of scrolling if you’re browsing the web – we also suffered from some juddering when surfing the net, in particular when we were moving the virtual cursor using the D-Pad. Having said that, web sites were quick to open and zooming was easy when pinching and pulling.

To realign a web page, you need to double tap – however, this resulted in some copy falling off the edge of the display. And we felt we should have been able to use the keyboard for shortcuts – we’d have liked to be able to use the F key for find, for instance, rather than heading into the menu settings.

Typing

The keyboard is compact, with the keys stretching right to the edge of the device, which results in the keys managing not to be cramped, while the handset remains a decent size. We liked the fact that the keyboard glowed when in use and that the number keys are in the middle of the keyboard (each sharing a letter key). There’s also a handy lock button on the right side of the phone.

The D-pad sits above the keyboard. Its raised, which makes it easier to use, and can carry out four-way movements. At each side of the D-pad there is a flat panel (each offers three functions). The left hand panel is used to access Home, Call and Calendar. On the right side you’ll be able to head to email and contacts.

 

Symbian Anna

As we mentioned earlier, Nokia has stuck with its Symbian OS for this phone – this version is called Anna. It’s not as intuitive as Android but does still offer three home screens that can be customised. The only issue is that you can’t remove some of the icons and they have to be placed in line with the OS’s tab system.

Social networking is becoming more important on mobile phones, and the E6 has a preset tab for Nokia’s own social networking integration feed, Ovi Social. You can see all your social media feeds on the home screen or you can choose to see Facebook and Twitter separately. What the E6 wasn’t so good for was uploading images over the data connection – we only had success when we changed to Wi-Fi.

We were impressed by the camera, however – which features the delights of a dual-LED flash and is fixed focus. It managed to produce amazingly blur-free results.

Another impressive feature is the sat nav – its A-GPS is hugely accurate and it boasts the always excellent Ovi Maps. There are clear voice instructions as well as speedy rerouting speeds – only the small size of the display is a bit of a letdown.

 

Our conclusion

Even though the E6 has the latest version of the Symbian operating system, we don’t think it can compete with the other OSes available on other mobiles and we hope it’s not long until we see the first of Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 handsets. Having said that, there are plenty of good features on the E6 that should appeal to the mass market.

Pros:
Nice design; excellent QWERTY keyboard.
Cons:
Display is too small for surfing the net or watching movies comfortably.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 3 Stars
  • Features 4 Stars
  • Performance 3 Stars
  • Battery life 4 Stars

Final verdict: 4 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice