Review: Nokia E6 – ‘E’ is the new AceOctober 15, 2011
E6 is Nokia’s latest E-series flagship. It comes as a direct successor to the E5, a replacement for the aged E71/E72 duo and a handy alternative to its elder brother E7.
E6 is one of the Symbian Anna duo revealed back in July, X7 being the other. If we’re not wrong, Nokia was the one who created the whole new category of touch and type devices and then a smartphone like E6 to fill it. Surely there were phones of similar form already available in the market, but they didn’t see as huge a success as that of the Nokians, and the E6 goes ahead to break all these records. E6 is the second E-series to run the latest Symbian^3 updated with Symbian Anna, which brings an improved, faster UI and a better web experience to Nokia smartphones. E7, the first Symbian^3 running E-series device, was more of a QWERTY added N8 (definitely minus the 12MP monster-cam), perfect for multimedia usage. Though the E7 had a full QWERTY, sliding it out every time to create mails and typing messages wasn’t really feasible if you were moving in the fast lane (your views may differ). The E7 had its own class of being a portable desktop with its massive screen and keyboard. The earlier E-series phones without such slide-out keyboards were perfect for people constantly typing, but phones like the E5 were lagging in terms of software, with S60 3rd Edition as an OS. That’s exactly where the E6 steps in to fill the gap. It brings the comfort of those old age E-series keyboards and the ease of a touch-screen together.
But does this new form give the E6 an upper hand? Read on to know whether it satisfies these criteria or not.
The first look is enough to tell anyone that it’s the classic E-series device from Nokia. E6 retains its E-series instincts. The materials used to build it make sure that it’ll stand apart from the crowd of cheap QWERTY phones. The battery cover on the back is made of steel, we’ve seen such backs with just E63 as an exception. The face has a metal strip running all around. It should also be noted that the front is made up of glossy material except for the keyboard. On our whole black E6 it looked just superb and gave it an executive look. Although this kind of material good, it is a big time finger print magnet. But it’s been improved from earlier Nokians which the used same material, and fingerprints aren’t a whole lot visible, even on black. The keyboard is also made of a very good quality material and not some cheap plastic. It mixes rather well with the glossy profile of front. The E6 is not really a classic, but in a good sense since it comes with touch-screen too. Whether the addition of it is worth or not, we’ll discuss later.
Starting from the front, there’s, to be exact, a 2.36” touch-screen. Just above it is the earpiece. Beside the earpiece there’re front camera, ambient light and proximity sensors respectively. Below the display there’s the navigation dock complete with four one-touch keys at your service. The only change Nokia has made to it is that they have removed the left and right softkeys, and those are now substituted by on-screen virtual soft-keys, although we felt the need of hardware back key for quicker navigation. At the center of the dock there’s a five way d-pad which also has a ‘breathing’ light underneath it. Thankfully Nokia has still kept the calling keys physical.
The QWERTY keyboard remains a novelty of the E-series here. The keyboard is unchanged from earlier E-series models; even the key size is same. The keys are still bubbled up. We should mention that for first timers or those with somewhat bigger thumbs the keys may feel smaller but their form will help you to get used to them quickly. One thing we’ve been complaining about is the placement of ‘Ctrl’ key, it’s situated right at the bottom corner of the keyboard, which in our opinion was somewhat of an uncomfortable position. Placing it on the left corner would have made more sense because most users coming from desktops find the Ctrl key on the left side of the keyboard handier than the one on right side, but nonetheless the keyboard is well designed.
That’s not the end of its face, just below the keyboard is the ‘chin’ of the E6. We felt it to be unusually bigger than necessary. Nokia could make it thinner and instead used a bigger display. There’s a microphone placed on it which almost goes unnoticed.
The back of the E6 is like any other monoblock phone. As we said before, the battery cover is made of steel. There’s nothing much on the back. 8MP (EDoF) camera, dual LED flash and loudspeaker all are kept together and that certain portion of the back is a little elevated than the rest of it. Placing the loudspeaker on the back isn’t the very best choice. In most cases the sounds will be suppressed. Our preference would have been the top of the phone for loudspeakers on any day. There’s a back lanyard too so you can tie a hand-strap to your phone.
With the E6, Nokia has decided to go with normal the Navi key instead of the optical Navi key seen on the E72 and we think it’s a very good decision. The problem with the Navi key on the E72 was that the optical area was small and further it was limited by the frame around it, but you won’t need anything because of the presence of touch screen. The one touch keys which have been a novelty of the E-series are also present. There’s the usual home or menu key which upon long press brings up task manager. The other three keys, Calendar, Contacts and Messaging can be modified to open apps quickly rather than those assigned to them by default.
So here we stop talking about its figure. Let’s head to the User Interface section.