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Nokia E6 Review: Good Things Really Do Come in Small Packages

I did a series of reviews on the E6 and I have put them all together in one full mega review or your convenience. Now there is all you need to know about the Nokia E6 in one place. (It is getting the Belle update too.)

Part 1: Hardware:

First lets give you the official specs on the size of this phone.  Dimensions: 4.54 x 2.32 x .41 inches   I am aware that these dimensions don’t really help you picture how big this phone is in your mind so…I  have put it next to an E63 for comparison in every picture.

 

This phone feels solid in the hand like all of the recent Nokia phones I have tested. Even tough the most of the phone is plastic you get the feeling that if you dropped it nothing would happen to it. It feels good in the hand, and the metal trim gives you a good grip so you don’t feel like your going to drop it. (this was one of my few problems with the N8)

Let’s take a quick tour around the phone…

On the top of the phone is the power button, 3.5mm headset jack, and the Micro SD card slot. Not much to note here, expect the cover for the SD card hinges from the front as opposed from the middle like you would expect. This gives the cover a more solid feel than say the C7, or the N8.

Heading down the right side of the phone everything is as expected, volume control with voice command in the middle, and your physical lock and unlock button. If you look close on the very bottom you can see a spot for a lanyard…which is nice to see these days. Just because it is out of style does not make it useless all of sudden.  It kind of threw me not to see a dedicated camera button on the bottom. I believe it is a form factor thing on the E series, I don’t remember seeing it on the E71 and there is none on the E63 it is pictured with here either.
 

Not much to see here on the bottom, just a charging port. But this is a good shot to see just how thin this phone is as compared to the E63.

 

 

Just a mini USB port on this side, but you can really see how the D-pad is raised up a little from the face of the phone. This is something you can’t really see from the front view.  Also to be noted is finally you can charge your phone from the USB port, this is a recent event for Nokia phones.

 

 

On the back is the 8MP EDOF camera with dual flash and a single loudspeaker. The camera is raised up slightly, this does not affect the pocketablity of this phone at all. Nor does it affect the feel of the phone in your hand in any negative way. When holding this phone it seems to act as a kind of “stopper” for your index finger. I have found it allows me to pick up the phone “blindly” and orient the phone in my hand without even looking at it.

 

 

On the front of the phone starting from the top: earpiece, front facing camera, proximity sensor, psychical menu keys and keyboard. Notice how the two psychical buttons for “options and menu” are gone. They are now integrated into the touch screen, and will pop up on screen when they become necessary. The send, home, and calendar button are one big piece. The end, mail, and contact button also is now all one big piece. At first I thought this would be an issue with the phone “hitting the wrong button” but I have not had an issue with this once.

The keyboard is slightly smaller than the E63, but not to the point where I found myself pushing the wrong buttons. (Normally I type on this phone with one hand, using my fat thumb) It has a space bar which is four keys big, (which is really nice) but the trade off to this is you are losing two keys as compared to previous phones. All of these keys seem to have been moved expect the & symbol.  I can’t seem to find it and can’t think of a good reason to omit it either.
All the hardware seems to be well placed and designed well on this phone. All expect for the notification light, which is now buried on the left hand side under the usb port. On all previous E series phones the notification light would light up around the middle D-pad where it was easily seen, in it’s new spot it’s kind of unnoticeable.

Part 2: Screen and Software:

Let’s start with the screen since it is the simplest to describe to you. It is a 640 x 480 pixels, 2.46 inches,  TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. It is absolutely gorgeous, and it is a real shame that it form factor if this phone limits it to a sub 2.5 inch screen. Since I am a phone guy and not a camera guy, I don’t have camera that can take crisp clean pictures that would really show you the beauty of this screen to you. This is the best I can do.

Also if you look at the picture above you can see that the E6 is already running Symbian Anna which runs smoothly and quickly on the E6’s 680 MHz ARM 11 processor.  I have found the more I use Symbian^3 OS the more I am liking it.

Editing the homescreen widgets are simple to change. Hold down on the screen for a few seconds until it screen goes into edit mode, than simply tap the part of the screen you want to edit, and choose what you want in that slot. The only thing that still throws me is that if you want to shortcut any apps that are not a “widget” you must pick “shortcuts” than get out of editing mode. Only than will the phone give the “plus icon” which you have to push to add an icon.
 

A great feature of this OS is the Social Networking integration at the contact level..now when you pull up a contact, not only do you get choice for a Voice call, Text Message, or a Video call there is also the last Tweet or Facebook post from that person displayed on the screen.
 

 

Plus, there are two other nice apps preloaded to keep you in contact at all times. One is called “Social” it keeps you up to date with your Facebook and Twitter accounts in one convent combined feed.  Plus it has a widget for your homescreen that will display the latest news from Twitter and Facebook. There is also another feed for your e-mail accounts, that will display your last two emails for you on the home screen and alert you if get new messages. I have combined these two widgets along with my calendar widget, (which will display my next appointments) on one homescreen.  This way I can keep up with everything at once by simply glancing one screen.

 

 

 

Another feature that stuck out in my mind was the conversational text messages.  This has been a staple in other OS forever now, and it is now so in Symbian. It took a little bit to get use to for me, but I now like it. If you don’t care for it you can always shut it off at your will and go back to the “old style” of text messages.

 

The E6 also has the new “cover flow” set up for the music player. This means that when you launch the music player it will automatically go into albums by default.

 

While, this cover flow view is very nice eye candy, there is no way of changing this as default and if you want your music sorted any-other way, (genres, song, playlists, etc..) it will always be an extra step. Nokia should have given the option to change the default when opening, to whatever you want. If you want to listen to everything you have by a particular artist or band, you must open up the search and type in their name. Why the artist option was taken away I do not know…I mean this is how most people listen to their music now. You have two songs off of this album, four of off this album, a single that caught your ear. Listening to an entire album is pretty 2005 stuff. People no longer buy music as whole albums so it stands reason they wouldn’t listen to that way either right?

 

However the search feature for the entire phone is great stuff! It will search your entire phone and even the internet all at once if you want it too. When you are in a hurry looking for something it really helps and I always have put this feature on main homescreen.
On every screen there is the time, date, profile, and missed events. This is nice touch this makes any homescreen on the E6 your “main homescreen”.  Also if you look at the bottom of the homescreens there is four dots, that not only lets you know what homescreen you are on, but also will switch the homescreens if you tap on them. I found this to be much easier than swiping and now use this feature 99% of time. (nice touch Nokia!)
You will find out that once you get all your homescreens set up on the E6, the Symbian Anna OS will have everything you need at your fingertips and all your news/e-mails/social networks available at a quick glance.

 

Part 3: Camera and Parting Thoughts:

The E6’s 8MP EDoF camera is the same one that Nokia used on the C7/Astound. I got some truly amazing pictures with the C7 when I reviewed it  and expected no less from the E6 and was not disappointed.

As you can see from this picture, the bad part about this camera not being auto focus is if something gets too close to the phone (ie the leaf or the hand) it will be a little blurry. But the details and colors are great in the rest of this picture! Note how clearly you can see the grain of the wood.

In this picture all of the “scenery” was handled quite well but the very strong sunlight in the trees makes them look a tiny bit  “washed out.”

 

This is normal piece of road here taken in full sunlight, the detail is amazing and the camera really shines here…To bad I didn’t take a picture of something better.

This picture show really shows what the EDoF is capable of! Notice how EVERYTHING is in clear and in focus from the fire hydrant way up close to the big white truck in the way back.

 

Bottom line:

The E6 is a tiny dynamo, with big features.  The keyboard is compact yet I never seem to hit the wrong button, the screen is small yet it is the one of the most gorgeous displays I have seen on a phone. It is thin yet an amazing camera is packed inside, with a powerful battery that never left me looking for an outlet during the day.
So after an extensive test with the E6 would I recommend it for everyone? No…but this phone is not aimed at everyone, if you are use to today’s 3.7 inch plus full touch screen phone I would recommend you stay away….However if you are a business person or a person that needs to have their entire world at their finger tips and do not buy phones to play games etc.., it is the perfect phone for you! I never have had a phone help keep me so organized, and be so useful in managing my day.

 

 

 

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