Nokia's E71 is a very popular smartphone in the company's business lineup, and it pushed the boundaries for Nokia in terms of design. But all of that metal and internal goodness costs money, so Nokia very wisely decided to take the best from the E71 in terms of form factor and design and put it into a device that won't tug so hard on a user's purse strings. The result is the Nokia E63, an inexpensive and yet still very good looking and capable QWERTY smartphone.
Design and Phone Features
The E63 from Nokia features a trimmed down feature set when compared with the original E71. GPS, HSDPA high-speed data, and the auto-focus camera have been removed. The E63 does still offer base level 3G support and a 2 megapixel camera, though, so all is not lost. The dedicated volume control and power buttons, though, are lost....
The build quality of the E63 is really excellent. The plastics used for the cover are of high quality, and the soft-touch rear cover not only resists fingerprints, but it also offers better grip. The only sign of cheapness at all to be found on the phone is the plug that covers the 3.5mm headphone socket. It's unattached and risks being lost. In spite of that, and the missing volume control (you must use the d-pad) and dedicated power button, many people are actually going to prefer the thicker body of the E63 to that of the more expensive E71.
The QVGA display on the E63 is very nice. It's not huge, at 2.4" across the diagonal, but it's bright and colorful and features an automatic brightness adjustment sensor. The keyboard is compact, but pleasant to use overall, and the d-pad and the keys that surround it are all very well designed.
The E63 comes in three different versions, each of which sport quad-band GSM/EDGE and two bands of UMTS 3G support. The version we tested was not the one destined for North America, though, so we were unable to test 3G data. WiFi, on the other hand, was available and worked well, but the overall connection management system used on the E63 is less than ideal. Bluetooth is also on board, and USB connectivity is provided through a micro-USB connector.
Call audio quality with the E63 is good, but not fantastic, lacking some of the crispness we had hoped for. The speakerphone worked better than we had expected, though. Reception from the internal antenna was very good, and the speaker independent voice dialing application is very handy. I also love how many Nokia smartphones, like the E63, can announce a caller's name when a call is inbound.
The contacts system on the E63 is very complete, and searching from the standby screen is simple. There are a number of profiles on the device that can be configured, and they can be easily accessed by pressing the red call end key from the Nokia Active Standby screen, which features Nokia's unique mode-switching system for quickly reconfiguring the phone for either work or play.
Design and Calling Features
Continues : Mobileburn