Nokia E6-00 First Impression

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I received a package containing the black Nokia E6-00 two weeks ago from WOMWorldNokia and this will be my first time using a Nokia touch and type device.  Previously, I used a TMobile Dash that is similar to an E72, the familiar monoblock QWERTY design.  I don’t consider myself a heavy QWERTY keyboard user, having a physical keyboard is not mandatory feature on my mobile wish list.  The E6-00 and X7 were announced a few months back and they were going the first two Symbian S^3 that come with the new Symbian Anna (PR 2.0) update.  All the current Symbian S^3 devices will receive the update sometime in August.  I have used a Nokia C7-00 Astound back in March that included the new browser and updated email client from the Symbian Anna update.  Below is my first impression of the Nokia E6-00.

Packaging

The E6-00 box contains the mobile device, 2 mm wall charger, 4BL battery, headset, micro USB cable, a user manual and a quick reference guide.  Please click on this link to see the short unboxing video.  Another thing I have notice is that the E6-00 packaging is somewhat smaller than the N8 or N900 packaging.  I took a quick comparison of the three boxes and can be viewed here.  Hope we get a chance to trial the X7, the packaging has a different look that these traditional Nokia packaging as seen in the video.

Form factor

Honestly, I think the E6 looks quite nice in the stainless steel body that resembles an E72 or Blackberry.  It comes in three colors: Black, White, and Silver.  In the top right you find the front facing camera that is can be used for video calling.   Below that you’ll find the amazing 2.46” TFT screen that will be discussed in the next section.

The section that separates the screen from the keyboard has the call and end button on each end.  In the middle you will find 4 more function buttons (menu, calendar located on the left of the D Pad; email and contact that are on the right).  By long pressing any of the four buttons, the user can either show open programs, new calendar; email or contact entry. The E6 sports a D Pad for navigating left, right, up and down.  You can snap a picture by pressing on the middle of the D Pad. E6 doesn’t come with an optical D Pad that can be found on the E72.

Finally, you have the full QWERTY keyboard, which is feels right to use with one hand.  I was comfortable to using it with either left or right hand and the only thing I disliked is that the backspace/delete button is below the p button.  I made quite a few mistakes while trying to delete a misspelled word.  The good thing about the E6 is that you can highlight a word or sentence on the screen and cut and paste without having to use the D pad.  The back cover looks sturdy and can take a few accidental drops

Screen

First thing I noticed after placing in the SIM and turning on the E6 is the screen resolution.  Comparing it to my N8, I notice that even with the screen being half the size (3.5” vs. 2.46”), E6’s screen has much more detail; images, text and video look crisper than the N8.  The reason is that E6 has a higher a display resolution of 640*480 pixels (325 PPI) than the N8 or E7 640*360(209 PPI).  E6’s screen resolution is around the same as the phone 4’s Retina Display (326 PPI).

I really like the fact that this device is a touch and type device, unlike the E72 style QWERTY candy bar phones, the user was only able to input or select using the optical track pad or D Pad.  A T&T device, not to confuse our US readers with AT&T, gives the user the touch screen they long for, without losing the full QWERTY that they need for their lifestyle.  The screen is multi touch and you can easily enlarge a website or picture with two fingers.  Another great feature is the gorilla glass screen, which be found on many new Nokia and other competitor mobile phones, tablets, and even TVs.  Gorilla glass is virtually indestructible and it’s scratch resistant which gives the E6 owner an assurance that they don’t need to worry about the screen.

Camera-Video

The E6-00 comes with a fixed focus 8 MP camera and many have voiced their dislike of Extended Dept of focus (EDof) cameras that can be found on the Nokia E7-00, C7-00 Astound.  I have taken two night shots each with the E6 (w. flash, w.o flash), N8 (w. flash, w.o flash) and N900 (w. flash, w.o flash) for comparison.

Device: With Flash Without Flash
E6-00
N8-00
N900

I believe the E6 does capture decent pictures for a non-autofocus camera.  A disadvantage of having an EDof camera on a business phone like the E6 or E7 is that it lacks the close up mode in the camera setting to take pictures of text or documents. I have added an example of the close up picture taken m N8 of a word document below.

I like the fact that the E6 takes nice incredible video in low light or dark settings.  The dual LED flash provides the necessary light for capturing video is this setting and it is a functionality that is lacking on the N8, due to the Xenon light.

Software

I am impressed with preinstalled software selection on the E6, it comes with JoikuSpot light (full version is available in Ovi Store), Office Communicator, F-Secure, VLingo, Psiloc World Traveller, and QuickOffice, a must have app since the E6 a business device and users would like to edit word, spreadsheet or presentations on the fly.

One free utility app that stood out is Font Magnifier (Ovi Store $9.95).  This is the first time I have used the utility app on any Symbian device, but after some investigation, I learned that it’s available for the Symbian S60v5 (5800, N97) touch devices.  You can increase all fonts, including system fonts up to 140%; this will become handy in a few years for me.

I have downloaded a few apps (Gravity 10 day trial, eLiteracy, Fring, Skype) from Ovi Store for testing purposes.  The downloaded apps all work on the E6 but I noticed that the video chat on Fring is not ideal because of the 2.46” screen when compared to using Fring a larger screen like the E7, N8 or C7.

Nokia Social, Ovi Maps, Chat, Ovi Store, Mail are standard Nokia apps that are included.  Social allows the user to connect to FaceBook or twitter and can upload pictures and videos taken with the E6.  The user can connect to various instant messaging clients (Google, MSN, Yahoo!, etc.) to keep in touch with their friends.

OS-UI

The X7 and E6 are the first two phones that have the Symbian S^3 PR2 Anna update, which brings a list of enhancements, GUI Updates to email, calendar, physical portrait keyboard and web browser.  As mentioned before, I have had a chance to use the C7-00 Astound, which is a hybrid TMobile USA ROM with some of the Anna improvements and I was impressed with the email and web browser update.  Nokia announced during CommunicAsia in Singapore that Symbian S^3 (E7, N8, C7) users that are still on PR 1.2 will need to wait until August to get the Symbian Anna update pushed to them. Symbian Anna update will be included in those devices that are shipped out in July.

  • Icons

I like the new icons are more playful looking than the traditional icon users are familiar with.

  • Email

The updated email client has a new look and new email are now highlighted instead of having the red star and unopened envelop.

  • Calendar

Calendar also has some improvements and the user can now add attendees to their meeting requests and when the user cancels a meeting, a cancellation will be forwarded to those attending the meeting.

  • Web browser

Web browser has some new features:

o   Address bar, unlike the pre Anna web browser, you can now scroll up to the top and enter a website.  It even has auto completion.

o   Ability to customize your back button to show either pages or the traditional thumbnails.

o   Page load improvements.  I have done a web browser comparison between the N8 and the E6 from two different twitter clients and you can see my findings here.

  • Home screen

One thing the user will notice is that there are 4 home screens instead of 3. I wasn’t able to test it on the E6, but scrolling between home screens is more fluid.  Here’s an old video I recorded with the home screen improvement demo.

  • Virtual keyboard

I wasn’t able to get the feel of the updated virtual keyboard since the E6 has the physical keyboard.

  • Search widget

I like the new Search widget because it does a global search for what you are looking for.  It will search the device’s memory, web, Ovi Store.  I was selected to participate in a closed trial for the new search widget on betalabs.nokia.com and have been using the new search widget on my N8.  We will definitely spend a future post on Symbian Anna when it becomes available next month.

Comparison

Below is a comparison chart of a few nokia devices:

Features-Phone Type E6-00 E72 N8-00 E7-00 C7-00 Astound (TMobile USA variant)
Screen size 

Screen resol

Touch screen

Physical Keyboard

2.46” 

325 PPI

Yes

Yes, QWERTY

2.36” 

166 PPI

No

Yes, QWERTY

3.5” 

209 PPI

Yes

No, virtual

4.0” 

209 PPI

Yes

Yes, slider

3.5” 

187 PPI

Yes

No, virtual

OS Symbian S^3 PR 2 Anna Symbian S60 3rd FP2 Symbian S^3 PR 1.2 Symbian S^3 PR 1.2 Symbian S^3.1 Anna hybrid
Storage 

MicroSD slot

Max capacity

USB OTG

8 GB 

Yes

Up to 32 GB

Yes

250 MB/4GB microSD card incl 

Yes

Up to 16 GB

N/A

16 GB 

Yes

Up to 32 GB

Yes

16 GB 

No

N/A

Yes

8 GB 

Yes

Up to 32 GB

Yes

Scrolling D Pad Intuitive Optical Navi Key N/A Up, down, left, right buttons N/A
Data/GSM Penta band Quad Band Penta band Penta band Penta band
Camera/Vid 8 MP EDof/720p HD 5 MP AF/VGA (640*480) 12.1 MP AF/720p HD 8 MP EDof/720p HD 8 MP EDof/720p HD
Flash Dual LED LED Xenon Dual LED Dual LED

Verdict

Nokia E6 is a top-notch business phone and would definitely attract monoblock QWERTY users who are not willing to give up the physical keyboard but would like to have the touch screen functionality. Beside its business appeal, the E6 is a decent entertainment device comes with a decent 8 MP fixed focus camera, 720p HD recording functionality to take videos or pictures of any occasion. The compact 2.46” yet crisp screen display and touch and type functionality has definitely won me over.  I have only used the E6 for a few days and I would definitely consider buying one as a replacement for the N8 I am currently using and would recommend this device for those users who are looking for a phone that can meet their business and leisure needs.  I understand that most apps on Ovi store are optimized for the 3.5” or larger screen.  I believe in no time, there will be large software selection for the E6.  All pictures from this post and additional ones can be found on the NokiaInnovation Flickr page.

I would like to thank WOMWorldNokia for lending us the Nokia E6-00.  I would also thank you for reading this article and if you have questions/comments regarding this article, feel free to drop an email to ni@gizmokid2005.com or simply leave a comment in the section below.  We have recently created a FaceBook page, drop by and check it out.

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