Friday, 13 March 2009

Review: Nokia e66

Recently my beloved e61i perished in an unfortunate washing basin related accident. I was upset, more so because it was an expensive phone and only 15 months into a 24 month contract. Fortunately my SD card was undamaged and my photos and assorted other junk was safe - whew!

On to the topic of buying a new phone - firstly I had a list of requirements that it needed to match. The e61i provided email, wireless G networking and many other very nice features. I looked, therefore, at either the e71 - of which I've had one, or the e66 - the slide feature of which put me off a little bit. Having had an e71 for a short while as a work phone, I knew how lovely they were and enjoyed using one immensely. The full QWERTY keyboard was very nice and I liked it a lot. I was thinking of a smaller phone though - the e71, like it's predecessor was quite wide and hard to slip into a narrow pocket. So I investigated the e66. Here is a list of things I liked and don't like about the phone:

Likes:
  • The screen is large and lovely - the back light is bright and very easy to read. The swivel is excellent, although I note sometimes when I pick it up if I grab it on a funny angle it swivels on me and takes a second to adjust
  • keys are much better to use than on other slide models I've had before (N80 and the 6120).
  • The slide has an excellent feel
  • Aesthetically it's a nice looking phone - the grey steel look is very nice and the phone is quite compact and neat with the screen taking up nearly all the available acreage on the front. The keys on the upper part of the phone are back lit when in use and dark when idle and this is nice too.
  • Good call quality
  • Reasonable battery life - better than the e61i but not quite as impressive as the e71 (although that could be my faulty memory)
  • video / music replay is very good, the swivel feature is excellent for watching the various MMS clips I get
  • connection to the GSM/3G network is quite reasonable
  • 802.11 wireless connection works quickly and easily
  • Email set up is an absolute dream - I put in my Gmail address, user name and password and it did the rest for me! It set it up as an IMAP connection and even recognised my Google Application based domain for email as similar to my Gmail account. Excellent!
  • Speaker is quite good, even when on hands free
The bad:
  • Battery life, while good, is not as good as I expected
  • I have an unfortunate tendency to answer/hang up on people when I pull it out of the leather pouch it comes with - I'm not sure if this is bad design of where the lanyard connects or my clumsiness, or a combination of the two but it has happened on several occasions
  • The swivel is occasionally touchier than I would like.
Overall I'm finding this to be an excellent phone after a month of usage and recommend it to Enterprise users if the e71 is too bulky. I read a lot of email on this phone, but reply to very little so the lack of a QWERTY keyboard is not too much of a worry for me. I can still send emails / texts on it very quickly and find that doing it one handed is a *lot* easier than when doing it on the e61i/e71. It's compact, the slide feels firm and solid unlike the N80 I once had and it hasn't crashed on my yet. 

And it's also interesting to note that the price for the e61i was very expensive - about $1000 when I bought it, and the e66 (and the e71 for that matter) are around the $550 mark. Phones have certainly gotten cheaper.

I also use a Palm Treo Pro for work and the comparison between the phone is quite marked. I'll review the Pro in another post, but I will touch on a few points here that are worthy of note. Both phones are capable of email/802.11 wireless/viewing lots of things etc. The e66 is smaller, has a much more solid feel to it and is more reliable than the Pro has proven to be thus far. Not only that, I think the only thing that makes the Pro more useful to me is the touch screen and the integration I have with various Microsoft products that Nokia still needs to do some work on. At any rate, stay tuned for the review of the Pro!

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