Nokia E61 – Initial Thoughts

Having now spent the better part of a day with the device I wanted to post a few thoughts:

  • The device is very solid. My past smart phones I babied because I knew one drop meant destruction. This is very much a Nokia phone, able to take some beatings. I really like the metal they used to line the case with. I do worry about the build of the joystick as it seems to be the weakest link. I thought the same thing with my Nokia 3250 and to this day it still works so I will hold strong.
  • Symbian Series 60 v3 is a beautiful OS. I always wanted a Psion when I was growing up because everyone told me Epoch was a great environment to work in. Having been through the revisions of Series 40/60/80 phones I agree. The load (and reload) times I became so accustom to are gone. When I click on email, the email comes up. When I click on Web, Opera comes up. I have yet to lock up the system and have to do the hard reset. Coming from a Treo it is so refreshing to get rid of the “Remove battery, insert stylus, replace battery cover, turn phone on, wash, rinse, repeat.”
  • I always wondered what the point of Wifi in a phone was. The few times I have played with these devices (here is looking at you Cingular 8125) the processor was so limiting that it made no difference in speed. With the E61 this has all changed. The best function of this Wifi feature is the SIP VOIP Client. I punched in my Sipphone (more to come on this) settings and was able to make calls using the wifi. Can’t wait to live in a city blanketed with Wifi to kick the Cingular bill all together.
  • Browser on this device…AMAZING…The browser is mean and lean with all the features I have come to expect in desktop browsers. Heck up until yesterday even Internet Explorer couldn’t touch these functions such as integrated RSS Reader, Popup Blocker, Expose-ish Tab Things, Flash and Java integrated. I have become so used to on Treos and WM5 machines using the wap version of pages that I accepted that mobile internet sucked. No more! I just visit the full HTML version of sites and all is well. Nokia made a smart move by teaming up with the OSS KHTML crowd as Apple did. The browser is unlike any other to grace a handheld device. Awesome job Nokia and the KHTML developers.
  • Voice and Signal quality as with all Nokia devices – Top Notch
  • The next pro will be something only a Catholic Theologian type could appreciate. With the inclusion of Realplayer and an OS that can actually run it full screen, I am now able to watch EWTN streaming live on my phone. I am sure it would stream other live feeds but this is the one I watch. Nokia also ships this device with Real bookmarks for most of the BBC streams and Reuters. I can see myself stuck in an airport using this a lot.
  • Battery life?! What is this!? I haven’t had to charge it after heavy bluetooth and wifi use. My past smart phones needed to travel with their chargers. Not the E61.

With all devices there are some bads:

  • The email client is horrible. Maybe I am just a big idiot and haven’t figured it out yet, but so far I am not impressed. Versamail and Pocket Outlook are both decent and easy to understand. This is not. I should not have to read a manual for something as simple as email.
  • Like I spoke about earlier, the joystick makes me nervous. I will think twice before chucking some emulators on the machine and using it for games. I will be babying this control till I get a feel for how sturdy it is.
  • Software is slowly coming out for the device but not quick enough. Having come from the world of Series 60 v1/2, I am used to a extensive software library. I know that the devices are new and that this will fix itself in time, but all the same, try running Series 60 software on this device is hit or miss. Honestly this device seems more like Series 70 than something sharing in the same codebase as my older nokias. Thankfully Putty SSH Client works or I may have just returned the phone :)
  • NOKIA STOP USING YOUR OWN SPECIAL CONNECTORS. I hate the nokia port on the bottom! My treo and other smart phones took a standard hands-free or stereo headset. Not this guy. I just really hate when companies don’t use already established standards. It hurts everyone long term.
  • I will be purchasing a bluetooth GPS to negate this but with so many connection options, you think they could throw in GPS. The 6715 and 6915 from HP are similar in size and stature and were able. I am betting the E63 will include this. This is almost a moot point with the awesome Google Mobile Maps software.
  • Keyboard is a little mushy. Maybe I am still just used to the treo, but there is very little tactile feedback. It has not hurt my speed as of yet but it is not comfy like the keyboards Palm ships. Check back in a few weeks to see if this even matters. So there you have it, my short Nokia E61 overview. I will with time be posting more tips and software reviews. I hope you enjoyed and I recommend running out and buying one of these guys. By far the best smart phone I have owned yet.