Friday, May 11, 2007

Nokia E65

Nokia’s stunning E65 is a business handset with consumer good looks and comes loaded with just about every feature under the sun.

When Nokia first introduced the E65 to Mobile Choice in February, there was one phone detail that the presenter felt compelled to emphasise: the handset has a great sliding action.

Not, we hasten to add, that this business-ready smartphone comes with 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, easy-to-set-up email, the ability to view attachments, or a first-class two-megapixel camera. No, it was the sliding action.

This isn’t a gentle dig at Nokia. On the contrary, we agree that little quirks like the quality of the sliding action can make all the difference. What’s more, here at Mobile Choice we adopt a ’10-second’ rule. If the phone makes a great impression in the first 10 seconds, we reckon that eight times out of 10, it will be a hit with the market.

And the sliding action on the E65 is great. It feels smooth and solid, like the sound made when closing the door of an expensive car.

The first thing you need to know about the E65, is that it is a business phone, as are all Nokia’s Eseries handsets. This is worth pointing out because it doesn’t look like a business phone. In fact, the E65 is compact and has a similar look and feel to Nokia’s Nseries of premium lifestyle handsets.

It is common knowledge that many business users still pine for the old Nokia 6310, with its solid, streamlined build and long battery life. However, it is time these old business dinosaurs finally woke up to the modern wireless age, and the E65 looks like the handset to give them a helping hand.

Number one, it is packed with features. On board the E65, you’ll find a wealth of features which will appeal to the business and consumer user in all of us, including: a two-megpixel camera; easy-to-set-up email; 3G data speeds; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; an xHTML browser; conference calling; the ability to view attachments and PDFs; Push-To-Talk and instant messaging (IM). And that is just scratching the surface.

Secondly, the E65 looks and feels marvellous, which is an absolute must these days. Assuming you’re not looking for a PDA-style device, the Nokia E65 is just about the perfect size for a mobile business phone. Measuring 105x49x15.5mm and weighing 115g, the E65 is compact without being fiddly and light without being flimsy.

It also has a faux leather rear casing which sounds awful, but actually looks and feels great. It makes a refreshing change from the shiny black or silver which usually adorns business phones.

Push the sliding fascia up from the base and you get a perfectly spaced keypad with very responsive keys. The litmus test for a great keypad is to tap in a quick text message, which will also give you a clue as to the general usability of the phone, and the E65 passes both tests with flying colours.

The keypad and joypad feel great and the text interface is really intuitive. For example, when you enter a symbol, which is common if you send a lot of emails, the device remembers the last symbols you used and creates a new list of regularly used symbols, with the last one entered at the front of the queue.

While the E65 has the looks and feel to make a great choice for any consumer looking for a top-of-the-range phone, we know that Nokia is targeting the business market, so we’ll concentrate on the business functionality.

Voice functionality
The E65 features two dedicated one-touch access keys, which enable you to access a conference call, a favourite number, and your list of contacts.

Assuming you have permission, a voice recorder lets you record any important conversations and it is also easy to set up voice commands for handsfree calls. This functionality is not new, but has added significance now the mobile driving laws have just got tougher. There’s even the
Push-To-Talk facility, which lets you use your phone like a walkie-talkie.

You have an abundance of options here, with SMS, MMS and IM all present and correct. However, most business users these days should consider remote access to their email accounts. This is one of the many strengths of the E65, which also lets you download and view attachments.

Unfortunately, the E65 is not the best Eseries device for email. That honour goes to Nokia’s E61i. It is more powerful, with a larger screen, a full QWERTY keypad and it is easy to set up. However, the E65 is a good option for remotely accessing your ISP accounts, and it supports POP/IMAP, SMTP and IMAP4.

In addition to email, the E65 also has an IM client, which enables you to have real-time messaging chats with other enabled phones. As so few mobiles support the service, IM is not the hit on phones that it has proved to be with the fixed-line PC market. However, IP-related technologies such as IM and VoIP (also present on the E65) are widely predicted to be a major hit in the near future, so you can sample it here first.

In fact, there is an abundance of cutting-edge applications and features – including sat nav (although you will need a GPS receiver) – that you will find on the E65 that you may not have tried before. And it all adds up to a very impressive phone.

It’s good looking, it’s clever….and did we mention that it has a great sliding action?

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