Nokia E66 review

Reviews 18:04, 3 Sep 2008

We review the Nokia E66 smartphone. It's been overshadowed by its big brother the E71, but its slender sliding shape and multimedia features could be enough to be an E71 beater

Nokia's E series of handsets is aimed primarily at business users, but that isn't to say that non-professionals won't find them useful too. The E66 has been somewhat overshadowed by the mini-keyboarded E71, but both cram in a whole host of features and if you don't need that keyboard or want something smaller for your pocket, the E66 could suit.

This is a slider smartphone and it is a direct descendent of the similarly slideable E65. The build, though, is streets ahead. The E66's mix of metal and plastic make for a serious-looking outer shell. The metal backplate offers solid protection while its dimpled patterning is far from dull to look at without being frivolous.

The metal parts do mean this is a fairly weighty mobile at 121g, although it is slim for a slider at just 13.6mm. At 107mm tall and 49mm wide it fits very nicely in the hand.

The screen measures 2.4-inches with a resolution of 240x320 pixels and 16.7 million colours; the norm for a nokia smartphone. It is sharp and bright, and works very well indeed outside. We didn't feel the need to squint at the screen or rush for a shady doorway whenever we needed to check something out.

Beneath the screen the shortcut buttons look like a dark area of nothingness for much of the time. OK, the silver D-pad is visible against its dark background and you can see the call answer and end keys. But it is only when you activate the phone by sliding or unlocking the keypad that a (mostly white) glow behind the other individual keys tells you what they are for.

Open the slide, which has a beautifully smooth mechanism, and the number keys are slightly smaller than the available space allows for. They are nicely shaped so that you can find each one by touch though.

Nokia has not scrimped on the internal features of this Symbian S60 device. The phone supports HSDPA up to a speed 3.6Mbps, and there is a front camera for two way video calls. A rear facing camera shoots stills up to 3.2 megapixels and has an LED flash and autofocus. It'll record video to VGA quality at 15fps too. Not stunning capabilities, but acceptable.

There are two customisable homescreens. Nokia reckons this means you can switch easily between business and personal configurations. We're not so sure the two are as completely separate as Nokia might think, but it does mean you can have two different looks and/or two different sets of shortcuts on the go at the same time. Switching takes a couple of seconds and isn't a lot of bother.

An accelerometer is built in. These are flavour of the month and in this case, as ever, a quick flick of the handset moves the screen into wide mode. This is really handy when you are Web browsing, but has other uses too, such as when viewing pictures. And Nokia has built in its auto silencer too. If an alarm goes off or a call comes in, you can turn the phone face down to shut it up.

WiFi is built in alongside Bluetooth. As is Nokia GPS, which is supported and Nokia Maps preinstalled. This will pinpoint your location and track your movements, but if you want turn by turn navigation you'll have to pay a subscription which you can get on a monthly basis.

The software suite is positively bursting out of this phone. Some highlights include Nokia's ActiveNotes which allows you embed images, videos and sounds into notes ready to send to other people, a PDF reader, a version of QuickOffice for reading Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, plus RealPlayer and Flash player, an FM radio and podcast downloader.

Memory runs to 110MB with a microSD card slot under the battery cover, which is a little awkward if you need to hot-swap memory cards. A 2GB card is boxed with the phone on which you can store plenty of Nokia maps - downloaded via your data bundle we hope.

The headset/earphone connector is 2.5mm. It sits on the left edge of the handset where a converter to 3.5mm will look ugly. The provided headphones aren't great quality so you may well want to add your own. Nokia really should be building in 3.5mm connectors as standard.

If you want a smartphone which can get you from A to B (for an added fee), has some good fun features as well as some excellent ones for professionals, and doesn't need a lot of pocket space, then the E66 should be able to wheedle its way onto your shortlist. Just be realistic about what you might get from its 1000mAh battery, especially if you intend to use Wi-Fi and GPS a lot.

Nokia E66 Info

Typical price: £TBC

Latest Nokia E66 Prices

Pros:
Two home screens
Accelerometer for auto screen rotation
Large display that is clear to read outdoors
Built in GPS and Nokia Maps
Wi-Fi

Cons:
No built in ability to edit or create Word and Excel documents
Keys could be a little small for chunky-fingered types
Battery life might suffer if you use the Wi-Fi and GPS a lot

Verdict: Solidly built and smart looking with a lot of action under the hood. This is a smartphone with attitude.

Rating:

Download: Nokia E66 user manual and software
More info: Nokia website

Recycle your phone: Sell Nokia E66

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