Nokia – E61 review

serious competitor to BlackBerry phones
Photo of Nokia – E61
£299.95 (sim-free) from www.expansys.co.uk, from £free upwards (on tariff) from Vodafone

Think ‘mobile e-mail’ and you probably think ‘BlackBerry‘, especially if you happen to be thinking about mobile e-mail in a corporate setting. But Nokia might be about to change all that, with its E series handsets.

There are four devices in the series at the moment, and the one that is causing the most stir is the E61, because it is the one that looks most like a BlackBerry handset.

Based around Symbian Series 60 third edition, there isn’t a lot that this handset can’t do right out of the box. Wi-Fi and infra-red are here, in addition to Bluetooth. The handset is 3G as well as quad-band GSM. The 64MB of built-in memory can be boosted with miniSD cards. And the built-in software includes e-mail, MMS, SMS, calendar, contacts and tasks manager, Web browser, music player, picture viewer, and viewers and editors for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Yes, that’s right, you can create PowerPoint presentations on the E61, though without all the fancy features of the desktop version. There’s even a utility that can send these presentations to a projector, should you need to do that.

Hold it. Rewind. There is something the E61 can’t do. 3G video calling. There is no camera built in, so the best you can do is receive video messages. But then companies might be rather drawn to its lack of a camera. Certainly that doesn’t appear to have interfered with the success of the BlackBerry.

The wide screen is generally good at displaying what it is asked to, though we don’t like the way the Web browser expected us to scroll horizontally to read pages. Seeking out a better, third-party browser might be a good move if you are keen on the E61.

The keyboard looks overly large and crammed into the available space, but then again this means the keys are as big as they can possibly be, and we found them easier to use than many on similar devices. The mini joystick is good for getting around within and between applications, too.

The E61 is large and heavy – 144g and 117 x 69.7 x 14mm – and you might want a second handset for travelling light. But as a mobile e-mail device it supports all the major standards for network users as well as individuals. And the battery life is super: we got more than 14 hours of continuous music from it.

Company: Nokia

Contact: 08700 555 777


Verdict
Mobile e-mail devices for power users, like the E61, aren't meant to be sylph-like. They need a good screen and usable keyboard. Nokia has that covered here. They also benefit from plenty of connectivity options and a strong range of built-in software. Another tick in the box. The lack of a camera could be a problem for some, but if past evidence is anything to go by it won't be enough on its own to hold the E61 back.