Nokia E6 Review – The Best of the Eseries

Still behind Android and iOS in terms of performance

By Cosmin Vasile on September 9th, 2011 19:45 GMT
For what it's worth, Nokia E6 may be the latest Eseries smartphone released by the Finnish handset manufacturer with Symbian on board. Given the fact that the company decided to refocus its production on Windows Phone 7 devices, it won't come as a surprise if Symbian handsets will become a budget lineup for Nokia.

Nokia E6 takes most of the good features of the previous Eseries models, but only few of its negative points, and offers them in a slim, compact body. It is certainly one of the best Eseries smartphone, as Nokia E6 greatly improves the functionality of the old Symbian operating system.

It is also worth mentioning that the phone has gotten its Symbian Anna update, which makes it even more appealing to those who were looking for E71/E72 successor.

Unveiled back in April along with the X7 model, Nokia E6 hit shelves in June with Symbian^3 on board. Some may consider the E6 a bit overpriced, as the phone is now available for about $350, depending on the location. Customers can choose any of the three color schemes available, black, silver and white.
Design

Nokia E6 is quite the looker, but in a decent, serious way, especially if we take into consideration the phone's target: business. The high quality build of the phone stands out, but this has never been a problem for Nokia.

The phone strongly resembles its Eseries predecessors thanks to its metallic body and full portrait QWERTY keyboard. However, Nokia E6 offers users the possibility to combine the touch features of the screen with the advantages of a physical keyboard.

The phone stands at 115.5 x 59 x 10.5 mm and weighs 133g (battery included). It feels perfectly balanced while kept in hand, even though is a bit heavier than average.

It comes with a small 2.46-inch capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate and proximity sensor for auto turn-off, as well as a secondary VGA front facing camera. All are placed above the display to the right of the ear speaker.
The usual set of Symbian keys are splitting the small display from the keyboard, along with a big D-pad that allows users to handle the phone without using the touchscreen.

The full QWERTY keyboard features large enough and responsive keys. However, for users with bigger than average fingers it will be a torture to try and text using the keyboard. The same goes for the small screen.

The microUSB port has been placed on the left side of the phone, whereas it's usual on top or bottom. The right side features volume up/down key and the voice dialing button in between. There's also a sliding key that locks the phone's screen and display, which can also be used to turn the dual LED into a flashlight. Just slide the key down and keep it for about 3-4 seconds until the LED flash lights up.

On top side there's a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio port and the power on/off button, while on the bottom side there's a charging port.
An 8-megapixel camera is placed on the back of the phone, along with the dual LED flash that can double as a flashlight, and a small loudspeaker. The battery cover is made of stainless steel, which gives the phone a solid feel.

Those who still feel attached by Nokia's Eseries of smartphones should definitely upgrade to E6, if they haven't done it yet. The phone's high quality build and combination of touchscreen and physical QWERTY keyboard definitely gives it an edge over other Eseries handsets.

Display and Camera

Although Nokia E6 comes with a touchscreen display, its small size makes it the less preferred method of handling the phone. Fortunately, most users will be able to control the E6's menus using the large and friendly D-pad.

However, it is worth mentioning that this is the first VGA display ever embedded into a Eseries smartphone. This makes the display look crisp and very bright. It measures 2.46-inch and supports 16 million colors, along with 640 x 480 pixel resolution.

Nokia E6 boasts an 8-megapixel camera that should be considered one of the strong points of the phone. Alas, the handset's camera lacks autofocus, while the quality of the pictures is mediocre at best.

As we already mentioned the camera's dual-LED flash can also be used as a flashlight when you're not taking night pictures.

Nokia's E6 autofocus was replaced with fixed focus, which makes it impossible to take clear close range shots.
In addition, the camera's interface has yet to be polished, as the E6 features the same old and unfriendly camera UI that requires users to click multiple times to make any changes in the settings.

It features some useful settings that can be set accordingly: White balance, ISO, Colors, Contrast, Sharpness, Scene modes, as well as face detection which is the only feature that might actually prove useful, but with the autofocus missing I'm not so sure about the usefulness of this capability.

In terms of picture quality, the E6 doesn't do too well, but if you set it to lower resolutions you might get more decent results. The maximum resolution that users can set to take pictures is that of 3264 x 2448 pixels.

Just like the X7, Nokia E6 is capable of recording videos with a maximum resolution of 720p@25fps. Check out the samples below for a more accurate opinion about the quality of the photo snapper.
Menu and Software

Even though Nokia E6 was initially launched with Symbian^3 on board, the smartphone recently received its Symbian Anna upgrade.

However, as much as I want I see no real innovation when it comes to functionality and user interface.
Aside from little cosmetic changes, there are few major features introduced by Symbian Anna, but hopefully Symbian Belle will introduce more of that.

To summarize, the most visible change offered by Symbian Anna is the newly designed icons, which, as seen in the screenshots, are a bit rounded. In addition, the phone's browser is now much faster than the usual Nokia browser, while the text input has been improved with a split screen when entering text into web pages.
The main menu layout can be changed from Grid view to List view, but I would not recommend that unless you really like to scroll a lot.

Nokia E6 doesn't come up with anything new in terms of apps, but additional third-party software can be installed via Ovi Store.
Communication

Nokia E6 is a quad-band GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) smartphone and penta-band HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 (10.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (2 Mbps) compatible. GPRS and EDGE class 33 are also included as an alternative.

The handset covers almost all connectivity options available in the market, including Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UPnP technology, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0 and USB On-the-go support.
The only thing that seems to be lacking is an HDMI port, but given its business target I don't think will be missed.

The browser v7.3 comes with high value touch UI improvements, including URL entry bar, always visible ‘Go Back’ and extended toolbar buttons and search-integrated address field.
The handset features a GPS receiver, which works in conjunction with Ovi Maps 3.06. The built-in GPS receiver features the A-GPS function, which makes localization even faster.
One of the major change added by Symbian Anna is called smart search tool. In addition, users will be able to check-in to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or local social networks and share places via email and SMS.

In terms of messaging, Nokia E6 covers all available message types and supports POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols, as well as more than one email account.
With Symbian Anna users will also be able to take advantage of instant messaging capabilities via Microsoft Communicator Mobile.

Processor and Memory

Nokia E6 is equipped with an ARM11 family processor clocked at 680 Mhz, which seems to be of the same power level as the X7's CPU. Even though I have yet to experience any freezes, the phone is pretty slow, but I don't think the processor is to blame because of its sluggishness.
The smartphone packs 8GB of internal memory, 256 MB of RAM, as well as 1 GB ROM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

Multimedia

Even though Nokia E6 is by definition a business phone I wasn't surprised to find out that the handset performs excellent when it comes to multimedia features.

The music player included is the same found on Symbian^3 devices. It features cover-flow capability and allows users to create playlist or sort their music libraries by artist, genre or album.
If you're not content with what you hear inside your earphones you can use the equalizer to make the music sound better. Aside the five presets, there also the option to create your own preset equalizer.

The sound quality is very high, especially for a smartphone that targets the business customers. It's even better when you attach the phone to an external amplifier. The device features Radio FM with RDS function, but no other capabilities such as FM transmitter.
Reception is above average, while the sound quality is exceptional. The Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support enables you to listen to music wirelessly.

The phone is delivered with Nokia Stereo Headset WH-207, but for an improved music experience they should be swapped with something better.

It is also worth mentioning that the phone comes with a video player that supports DivX and XviD and is compatible with AVI, WMV and MP4 files.
Battery

Nokia E6 is powered by a standard 1,500 mAh Li-Ion (BP-4L) battery, which is rated by the manufacturer for up to 14 hours and 50 minutes (7 hours and 30 minutes for 3G) of talk time or up to 681 hours (744 hours for 3G) of standby time.

Overall, the phone's autonomy is impressive as you can easily go for a week without the need to charge it.

No matter how you plan to use the phone, either its browsing the web over Wi-Fi, keep your widgets updating in real time, using the phone's HSDPA connectivity frequently, or listening to the music, the E6 will keep going.
Impressions

We can safely assume that the Nokia E6 is the best Eseries smartphone, but could have been much more the Symbian platform, which drags down the phone's performance. However, Nokia Eseries fans can safely upgrade to E6 if they haven't done it already. The smartphone has a lot to offer as a business phone, but also as a multimedia device.

The Good

Aside from its stylish design lines and solid feel, Nokia E6 seem to have comprised all the good features of its Eseries predecessors. Once you get your hands on the phone you can basically have everything on it: fast download speeds (HSDPA), fast typing (QWERTY keyboard), touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera, excellent music and video quality, amazing battery life, as well as Wi-Fi and built-in GPS.

The Bad

I still feel that putting a better CPU into Symbian phone is not the answer for revitalizing Nokia's old platform. It appears that the operating system's limitations does not allow for better performance no matter the hardware configuration of the device.

Few negative points plague the E6, such as the fixed camera focus and the small touchscreen. But the biggest issue for E6 is that it runs Symbian, which is still much slower than other mobile platforms recently launched on the market.



Sales Package

Nokia E6-00 handset
Nokia Battery BP-4L
Nokia High Efficiency Charger AC-15
Nokia Stereo Headset WH-207
Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179
Nokia E6
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   Nokia E6

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