Nokia’s E-series range may be aimed the enterprise side of the smartphone market but the Finnish firm has proved not everything that sports a QWERTY keyboard is strictly business.
The Nokia E6 is the successor to the Nokia E5 and as you would expect from a smartphone sequel, things only get better with a new operating system and a touchscreen heading up the improved spec list. Sure, Symbian might not be everyone’s operating system of choice but does the E6 have enough plus points to lure corporate users away from the likes of BlackBerry?
Nokia proves that it certainly hasn’t lost touch when it comes to hardware as the Nokia E6 is an extremely well built piece of kit. Its solid casing is made predominantly of metal and feels like it will easily last the test of time, however, whilst it might be sturdier than flimsier materials, the metal backing highlighted scratch marks, which for us, ruined the overall look slightly. Yes, the choice of materials may make the E6 feel heavier than its 133 gram weight, but its slim 10.5mm thick and 115.5mm wide chassis means that the device can easily slip into a pocket.
The E6 comes with a nicely spaced out full QWERTY keyboard with responsive keys that make typing quick and hassle-free. Joining the QWERTY up front is a 2.46-inch TFT LCD Gorilla Glass capacitive touchscreen which has a 640 x 480 pixel resolution and an impressive 326ppi. The images produced were crisp and colourful and the screen was responsive to the touch, however, its small size does make navigation a little on the fiddly side. The E6 is also kitted out with four shortcut keys and a D-Pad which can be used to get around the various menus if you require a bit more accuracy.
Power and Operating System
The Nokia E6 runs Symbian Anna which is a modified version of the Symbian^3 operating system and has support for touch input, a real bonus on a handset with such a small display. Whilst icons are easy enough to select, the customisable homescreens look terribly cramped. That said, the homescreen widgets are really useful and offer everything from live emails and news feeds, to Facebook and Twitter updates. As for Symbian itself, it isn’t quite as straight forward as iOS and Android but even if you’re not familiar with the user interface, it doesn’t take too long to get to grips with it.
One of the biggest let downs on the E6 had to be the 680MHz processor; the performance was noticeably sluggish when compared to similarly positioned smartphones. It baffles as to why Nokia felt 680MHz would be sufficient, especially when you consider that most mid-range smartphones now come with a 1GHz CPU. Whilst using the handset wasn’t too painful a process, we were greeted with the spinning load icon more often than we’d have liked. The handset also struggled when loading web pages with lots of content and maps.
Being an E-series device, the E6 comes with business-orientated extras including Microsoft Office synchronisation, a document creator and editor plus Microsoft Communicator Mobile, so you can stay in contact with colleagues when you’re away from your desk, albeit in a stilted, torpid fashion.
Internet: The Nokia E6 comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity and although Symbian Anna promises a faster web browsing experience, it was hard to tell with the low spec processor in tow. Web browsing isn’t really the E6’s strongest point due to its small display which makes it hard to view pages in one go, so be prepared to do a lot of scrolling and zooming. As previously mentioned, the E6 sometimes struggled to load content-heavy pages quickly and scrolling was a bit jerky as a result. With Flash Lite support on board though, at least the pages looked decent enough when they eventually loaded.
Camera: The Nokia E6 comes with an 8 megapixel camera with a dual LED flash and HD video recording at 720p. It’s great to see a business phone offer a proficient snapper and the pictures produced came out looking sharp. Unfortunately though, the camera has a fixed focus lens which is a slightly odd choice for a snapper with a high megapixel count but again, the E6’s business users might not be all that fussed about having fancy imaging capabilities. There’s also a front-facing VGA camera on board too.
Other tech specs:
- Music player – Supports MP3, WMA, WAV, RA and eAAC+ files
- Media player – Supports MP4, H.263, H.264 and RV files
- 8GB internal memory
- 256MB RAM
- 1GB ROM
- MicroSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB
- MicroUSB port
- Access to the Ovi Store
- Free lifetime turn-by-turn voice navigation with Ovi Maps
- 7 hours 30 minutes talk time (3G)
We’ve almost become accustomed to the fact that touch and type handsets will have small displays, however, you’d have expected a more powerful processor to be included to counter the concessions made in terms of screen space. Whilst it’s true that speed isn’t everything, when it came to slightly more complex tasks, the E6 crumbled under the pressure which may cause problems if you need to do something in a hurry.
The Nokia E6 has certainly been built to last a lengthy contract and alongside its study yet stylish design are some definite improvements on the E5. Symbian Anna does a fine job, even though the homescreens appeared cramped, and despite the sluggish processor, the E6 still manages to do everything that’s asked of it. You just might be waiting some time to do it.
For those who want a taste of the touchscreen without having to sacrifice a great keyboard, the Nokia E6 will do the trick.