The E6 is Nokia’s latest business handset, described as ‘Touch and Type’ it incorporates a full QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen. It’s also one of the first handsets to include the latest version of Symbian Anna, with redesigned icons and a faster browsing experience.
What we like
With a stainless steel bezel, the E6 is well built and comfortable to hold, with quick access keys for messages, calendar, home and contacts and volume and hold buttons along the side. On-board storage is a generous 8GB, and it can be expanded using a microSD which fits conveniently into a port on the top.
We tested the white version and the illuminated keyboard (which is excellent for typing) looks particularly eye-catching next to the the Blackberry Curve.
Symbian Anna is one of the most user-friendly versions of the UI we’ve seen. Customise five homescreens by pressing the touchscreen with features like browser, web, mail and settings; widgets like the clock; email, RSS and social networking feeds. It doesn’t offer the flexibility of Android or iOS to put things anywhere, instead you have a certain number of positions on a grid to use.
With a full QWERTY, solid buttons and a touchscreen, it takes a while to get used to the multiple ways of using the E6. But ultimately it works; the screen is responsive, but the small size means on occasion it’s easier to use the four-way controller especially to click small links.
Email support includes web mail such as Gmail, Yahoo etc, along with Exchange for corporate email accounts, although on the homescreens these appear as separate widgets. Among the other business features the E6 includes MS Communicator can be used for editing and creating Excel, Word and Powerpoint documents.
The 8-megapixel camera captures good photographs, skin tones are natural and it’s sharp and retains detail well. HD movie capture at 720p and 25fps is very good too, it’s smooth and detailed.
Nokia’s equipped the screen with a relatively high 640x480 pixel resolution (more than the Blackberry Torch and Curve) displaying sharp, detailed movies. Off angle viewing is OK and the speaker is fairly loud too.
The iPlayer Flash lite support means you can watch videos, the E6 is one of the few handsets with ability to download iPlayer content.
One of the most impressive things about the E6 is battery life, we got over two days with moderate browsing, push email, video playback and general phone tasks. Nokia quotes 9 hours video playback and a startling 75 hours music playback.
What we don’t like
Despite Nokia’s claims to have improved the browser, the web experience is still very unsatisfactory. A lot of this is down to the processor, at 600Mhz it’s not slow, but on occasion swapping between web pages is sluggish, this theme continues throughout the phone, you're often waiting for apps to launch.
Although Anna is certainly an improvement, it’s just not as user-friendly as Android handsets like the HTC Cha Cha - some features are buried too far within menus.
At 2.46-inches the screen is a touch on the small size for browsing and movies, and off-angle viewing isn’t fantastic. Despite the high-quality feel of the phone, the plastic-covered connection ports are a let down and we’d really have liked to have a dedicated camera button though.
We’re not a huge fan of the Social widget, which syncs your Twitter and Facebook account. Click through to a post and not only does it take a few seconds to launch, but all you can do in Facebook is comment or like, there's no option to click on a person and go to their wall.
We really like the E6; it’s well built, looks fantastic - especially the new U, a good camera, free Ovi maps and high-res screen. While Anna is the best version of Symbian yet - and works better here on a Touch and Type handset than the full QWERTY Nokia X7, it’s still not as intuitive as rivals and the screen is still a touch on the small size. The E6 may be pitched as a business user, but the high-res screen and great camera prove you can have a phone primarily for typing and email without compromising on other features.