After all the bells and whistles of reviewing multimedia phones, Nokia’s E60 brings you back down to earth with a thud. It doesn’t even have a camera! But then, that’s not really its purpose. This is a business phone, make no mistake about it.
It might look like a brick but it doesn’t feel much like one. No question, it’s a big phone (115mm x 49mm x 16.9mm) but considering its size you would expect it to have a bit more heft but it’s surprisingly light at just 117g.
Likening it to a PC for a moment – and let’s be honest, that’s the way mobile phones are going – the out-of-box experience is distinctly lacking in wow factor. You just charge the battery, pop in your SIM card and away you go. The brushed chrome/silver finish is nice but hardly the last word in mobile chic – there’s little danger of this handset putting the ‘fun’ into ‘functional’.
There are other dead giveaways to this being very obviously a business phone: the calculator option is no longer hidden away in a folder but easily accessible from the main screen. The same is true for functions like the file manager and calendar. Basically, this handset is a PDA killer and a very good one at that.
In general I’m a fan of Nokia’s operating system and the E60 runs the latest edition of the Series 60 smart phone software. The main menu is accessed by a key located just below the joystick-style toggle switch and I liked this feature as it makes the phone very easy to navigate around.
The screen is exceptionally clear and large, with a strong backlight. There’s even an option to rotate the display to landscape mode, which is very handy for reading emails. This is where E60 comes into its own: Nokia says it will work with a range of business email packages including BlackBerry Connect, Nokia Business Center and Visto Mobile. Naturally it’s a 3G phone and it comes with a host of connectivity options, as well as synchronisation software for the PC.
Some small caveats: I found the tiny font size was likely to induce eye strain and it reminded me of the kind of graphics that I used to see adorning the PC screens of software programmers everywhere. Maybe they enjoy wearing glasses?
Also, there seems to be a moment’s hesitation whenever you press a button, to call up one function or another: a delay that’s just a fraction of a second too long. The screen appears to go blank for an instant before jumping to one of the menu options.
For those who like to see their email on the move but would prefer their handset to resemble a phone, the E60 is definitely a contender. It might not be showy but it’s packed with features that more than compensate for any perceived shortcomings in the style department.
Price: €449 SIM-free
Value for Money: ***
By Gordon Smith