The E6, the sequel to the Nokia E72, is a marked improvement to its predecessor. With an 8MP camera and touch screen navigation but physical QWERTY keyboard, the E6 is a Nokia’s answer to the Blackberry Bold 9780. Let us see how it and its Symbian platform perform during daily use.
Available in white, black, or silver, the E6 is a gorgeous handheld. Sized at 115m x 59mm x 10.5mm, it is thinner, albeit longer, that any other Blackberry. It weights approximately 133 grams – a bit heavier in comparison to its Blackberry rivals. Held in the hand, the E6 feels sturdy and well-built. It also looks well-designed – a welcome flair not seen in Blackberrys. It possesses a 680Mhz processor with graphics acceleration.
The physical keyboard is comfortable to use, with its curved keys. Sometimes, it may feel too cramped due to the lack of space between the keys, but it works well. There are two dedicated start/end call buttons on the far left and right side of the main D-Pad, and a home button. The nearby calendar, email, and address book hard keys are customizable, but are set as such at default.
There is 8GB built-in memory, 256Mb, and an expandable SD slot of additional 32GB.
The 2.46 inch screen size is 640 x 480 pixels, more than enough for clear and crisp images. Symbian Anna’s touch screen navigation is very limited because of the lack of screen size. It allows for simple left and right swipes, but pinch zoom and touch-pressing the screen can be tiresome. This feels like a waste of potential with the touch screen capacity.
The interface of the E6 contains 4 home screens, entirely customizable with widgets such as a music player, a Facebook status updater, and the trademark squircle app icons. One can add up to three widget bars and 4 application shortcut icons on each home screen. The beauty of the E6 is the ability to use both the physical keyboard and the touch screen at the same time. One can type with the keyboard, and navigate using the screen. To transition between home screens, one just swipes to the left or right of the screen. Menu arrangement has been made easier, also. Just as the iPhone allows one to change the position of icons by way of a long pressing on an icon, one can do so with the interface on the E6 also. Sometimes, the system would lag as a result.
Calling, Messaging, Email:
Contacts management is not spectacular on the E6. One can start typing a number or search one’s number or company through a list by opening the contacts app, with type-as-you-go results. The phone-wide search could also be used, but search is only possible after the name is typed. Call by voice dialing and voice command system work all right – not spectacular, but good enough. It was a hit or miss when trying to tell the phone to “Call (name)”. Overall, the contacts management was pretty slow and tedious on the E6. The call quality of the phone was clear and consistent. I heard no static or had any dropped calls.
The messaging system is well-built on the E6 – the SMS, calendar, and email, function with each other. You can create events from a message in which someone has invited you. The T9 function is available, and can be turned off in Settings. Adaptive text correction can be installed by option (Adaptxt). The calendar, though, leaves something to be desired. The clunky and non-touch friendly interface is not appealing, although upcoming events can be displayed through the calendar widget on a home screen. The mail application allows the main e-mail provider services and some others functionality (Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, Exchange, BT Internet, and Virgin Media). Unfortunately, one has to check each account individually for new emails – there is no universal inbox.
The Social app shows Twitter and Facebook timelines as one, if desired, and you can update and upload a photo as your status. Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Chat, Google Talk, and ICQ functionality can be downloaded from the Ovi Store.
The internet functionality is very limited. Page rendering is weak and very inconsistent (practically no rendering). Opera Mini is a marked improvement and alternative to the native browser, and loads almost 2x faster. Pan and zoom is the recommended method of internet navigation – thank goodness for the touch screen. The main menu of the browser allows you to navigate your bookmarks, history, settings, and windows switching.
Nokia has always been known for their great cameras. The E6 provides a 8MP (up to 3264 x 2448), 2x digital zooming (there is no tap-to-zoom function, just the on-screen shutter button), and dual LED flash. There are options to edit and upload your photos, too. The images are very clear and crisp – as expected.
The video function of the E6 is also well formed. In low-light conditions, the LED flash needs to be continuously on. In well-lit places, the video is bright and clear – there is no blurriness from movement. The E6 allows for up to 1280 x 720p resolution videos at 25fps, and 3x digital zoom.
Music and Video:
The E6 lacks in this area. The audio is loud and clear, but the music player’s functionality is so basic it pales in comparison to many other smartphones like the iPhone and the Droid. One does not have control with his or her music with this phone. Music is played by album order, not alphabetical.
The video has its natural shortcomings with this phone – with such a small but nice screen, it is hard to enjoy more than just clips on this.
The Nokia E6 is going to be perfect for those used to the Symbian platform; however, other platform’s user are going to have a very hard time adapting to this older platform. The Nokia E6, however, proves that Nokia is able to execute amazing hardware, hopefully Windows Phone will fix Nokia’s platform issues.