This will more than likely be the final part in my series looking at the new Nokia E61 which has surprised me in a much more positive way than I expected. It’s available now from Clove for £300 + VAT in SIM free form. Normally when I get to part 3 it involves finishing off the loose ends but in the case of the E61 I still have lots more to go through (and there are lots more functions that I have missed or simply don’t understand to cover properly…)
Synchronisation is absolutely excellent in my opinion. I have not had one issue with it and although the E61 does not come with a cradle (an annoying new trend with Smart Phone and PDA manufacturers) it has been easy to transfer files (movies, images etc.) between the device, it’s expansion card and my PC. Syncing with Outlook has also proved hassle free. I have read reports of problems so I must be lucky for once in my life with this technology
The E61, like the Treo, is so much of a standalone unit that you rarely need to do a sync- I go for weeks at a time without syncing my Treo and suspect the E61 will be exactly the same.
I wasn’t impressed with the quality of film output with the built in Real Player and converter but Smart Movie was an adequate replacement for that. MP3 tracks sound really good and in my opinion the sound quality is better than a Treo but slightly worse than an iPod- I’m a bit anal when it comes to music but the E61 just passes my high standards in this regard.
The built in Office suite of applications knocked me sideways. Nokia have taken us back to the Psion days when you could do all of the formatting you wanted in Word and insert images and other objects as you pleased. The example image with this paragraph took me no time at all to make and it was the first time I has used the Word part of Office on the Nokia. Tables, images, formatting- you name it and it is built in.
There is a very good spreadsheet application as well and despite a lack of usefrom myself its potential was clear from the start.
The presentation software is also the best I have seen on a mobile device. There are extas included such as a free wireless presenter application and this is more evidence of the business market Nokia is aiming the E61 at.
A basic file manager tops off the Office suite and to be fair it is very basic- it does the job but not with any great user friendliness of robustness in my opinion. Support for wireless printing is also included in the built in software with presets for HP printers already set up. These little touches make for a solution that makes you feel you are getting real value for money.
GPS would be too much to ask for in this device wouldn’t it? Well, it is built in as well, sort of. I connected my bluetooth GPS receiver in a few seconds and then played around with the GPS software built in to the E61.
It does not do road planning and navigation but includes the ability to show you exactly where you are and navigation for longitude and latitude etc. I must admit to not really looking deep into these applications but it shows that there should be no issues at all running GPS apps when they are released. At the time of writing this the first GPS software or this OS has just been released so that’s a good start.
I mentioned yesterday about the lack of software currently developed for the E61 OS but I am seeing a few more titles appear each day and the number is close to 50 already. That may sound pitiful to Palm and WM users but the entire range of Symbian applications runs to 1000’s and thus at some stage in the future I will be able to accomplish everything on the E61 that a Palm or WM device can do now.
Besides the dirth of 3rd party software I am left wondering what else Nokia could have squeezed into this very slim device? Connectivity is the biggest moan seen in most reviews of mobile devices, no matter what operating system they use but the E61 kicks some serious butt in this department (learnt that phrase in Orlando)
Here’s what you get- GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad band) + WCDMA 2100 (that’s 3G to the rest of us). Bluetooth 1.2, GPRS Multishot Class 11, EGPRS Class B, WLAN connection which can be shared by more than one application at one time (e.g. email, web etc.)
IR is still there and whilst seen as old technology today you just never know when you will need it. Support for MMS, Instant Messaging (with inbuilt client for AOL, Yahoo, OMA).
Push Email is there as well and you can choose any option you like- Blackberry Connect, Goodlink, Nokia Business Center and Visto are among a selection of solutions supported.
I can’t see how the connectivity for a device used in Europe could have been made better- the more you read the spec the more you find out and alas a lot of the technical stuff still goes straight past me…
The battery life is wonderful. I haven’t done a techie type test (I have a life you know) but can confirm that it is easily superior to any other Smart Phone I have used and this should be expected with a 1500 mAh pack on board. Quoted times are up to 9.5 hours GSM talk time, 17 days standby time and up to 4.6 hours using VoIP (yes, you can use that as well).
Other specifications include 75MB of fixed ser data memory, a 2Gb miniSD worked perfectly for me as well. 16 million colours are supported by the screen, Caller ID with images, handsfree speaker (which is also the best I have used on a Smart Phone), conference call capabiliy (up o 6 parties) and all of the other features you would expect in a high end mobile phone.
The phone capability is an area where Nokia seem to have a jump on most other Smart Phone manufacturers- the voice part does not feel like a compromise and works to the same level as all other Nokias I have used in the past. The word ‘compromise’ sort of sums up the E61- there are none…
It’s obvious that I like the E61 a lot and the more I have used it these past few days the more it has grown on me. It’s very easy to be drawn to a new device just because it is new and to realise a couple of weeks later that your old faithful works better for you. The Treo 650 is still sat in its cradle and will still be my device of choice simply because I can do a lot more with it than the E61 at this time. Once the 3rd party software starts to come out the E61 will show even more potential than it does now.
If I had to compare the E61 to two other devices I would go for the Treo 650 and the KJAM- it’s a bit of a shock to see how they rate (these are purely my opinion and experience with each device)-
Treo 650 v KJAM v Nokia E61
Treo 650 KJAM Nokia E61
Battery7 5 9
Connectivity5 8 9
Looks4 6 9
Pocketability4 6 8
Speed of use 9 6 8
In built software 8 6 9
Build quality7 7 8
Keyboard9 6 9
Total 59 55 78
(the properly formatted table is in the main news article)
In reality the Treo is way ahead of the KJAM for my personal needs and is an excellent device in almost every respect. The 650 could be described as ugly but that never bothered me until I used the E61 which is also nicer to hold and use for long periods of time. After a few days I even found the keyboard to be a match for the Treos, if anything it is a little bit better but I need longer to be convinced of that.
The lack of 3rd party software is the BIG issue for me at this time and I’m not sure whether to give Clove the unit back or my credit card details (I suspect it will be the latter)
The Nokia E61 is quite simply the best Smart Phone I have ever used. From its build quaility, through to the operating system and finally its flexibility it stands head and shoulders above the rest.