The Nokia E63 is a handset with a friendly feel, not least because it’s available in several colours on 3. Promising media and social networking features galore, as well as serious office applications and email capability, the Nokia E63 wants to offer you the best of both worlds. But as a device with a split work-play personality, is it a jack of all trades, or a truly multi-talented handset?
What we like
The file manager and multitude of other office tools are quick to launch and easy to use, and we particularly like active notes which you can assign to specific contacts so the notes show on screen as you call them. If only Guy Pearce had these in Memento, he could have saved a bundle on tattooists. Files on Ovi, Nokia’s proprietary file manager comes bundled with the E63, although you’ll have to purchase it separately on other E-Series handsets.
When it comes to multi-tasking, the E63 did a bang up job – we had several applications running at once for most of the time we used the handset and didn’t notice any real lag.
Setting up and maintaining you email account is very simple too; particularly popular web-based email accounts like Gmail. With the opportunity to switch profiles from work to play, you can assign different inboxes to your home screen – so you could have your work email updating while you’re at work, and switch it to your personal address at hometime.
The four-line keyboard is a little cramped but once you’re used to the spacing it’s not bad to type on. From the home screen, you can simply start typing a name or number and the Nokia E63 will search your contacts book for you – saving you having to open contacts first, quite a handy little shortcut.
When it comes to media options, you’re spoilt for choice on the E63; as well as the traditional MP3 player and FM radio, it features internet radio, flash player, Real Player and a podcast client. It also has the welcome addition of a 3.5mm headphone jack, complete with tiny cover (which we lost almost instantly).
What we don’t like
There are far too many buttons on this handset. Shortcuts galore on the front panel, and all with multiple functions depending on how long you press them down for. But this can amount to death by shortcuts; there are so many we almost always ended up opening the wrong thing, and learning how to access every single shortcut was more trouble than it was worth. We don’t mind scrolling across to a widget or opening the menu occasionally.
Where buttons were in abundance, they were also lacking too. There’s no physical volume control (although we understand there is a complicated shortcut to access this) and no physical camera key either. We’d like to see the end of the torch shortcut on the space bar – a completely frivolous addition, why not swap it for a camera shortcut? Having said that, the 2.0-megapixel camera won’t blow you away, but it’d still be nice to be able to launch it quickly and easily.
It should be easier to connect and stay connected to Wi-Fi, but for some reason we had to keep going back to the connections menu to browse the internet this way. The 3-provided 3G was nice and nippy though, and you can enjoy unlimited internet with some pay-as-you-go top-up deals.
The handset doesn’t come with the Ovi store pre-loaded, you have to download it from the excitable Downloads! menu. The social-networking widgets are just web-shortcuts which is a little disappointing, and there’s no native Twitter widget.
For all the handy business tools, the Nokia E63 doesn’t look or feel like a business phone. We can’t help but feel that it’s got too much going on with menus and shortcuts that aren’t clear or intuitive enough. It leaves us with an overwhelming impression of a handset in identity crisis.
The Nokia E63 does have a lot going for it, and for someone who’s prepared to put the groundwork into learning its specific ways, it could be become an invaluable tool. However, there are plenty of smartphones out there that can do all the same things without being so confusing.