Revisionsnummer: 1.00 (12.05.2006)
Well well. Nokia is really busy these days. Short after the release of the very well made E60, they release the even better Nokia E61. Another E-Series device, aimed at Businessuser. It is to be compared with the Blackberry Series by RIM. Hmmm, they look very old compared to the new and stylish design of Nokias E61. But IS the E61 really better? Are all the features well implemented? Is the E61 the "better" Blackberry? We will see.
The E61 is made of plastic and some metal. Measurements of 117 mm x 69,7 mm x 14 mm and a "weight" of 114 g tell you, that the E61 is a slim but broad device. Because of his long feature list it should be called "Smartphone". Unfortunately because of the thumboard, the E61 is rather broad. The Smartphone is silver colored. If you never used a Blackberry or a Palm Treo, the design of E61 will sort of "hit you in the face". But it is really comfortable in hands. It looks good, is well made and stable (up to some certain points).
Regarding the look & feel: It reminds me of a Casio calculator back in the good old days, but all the Blackberry and the Palm Treo do share these concerns.
64 MB onboard memory, miniSD Slot (64 MB included), a really impressive and big Active matrix-Colordisplay capable of 16,7 Mio. Colors. This screen does use the new Nokia standard resolution of 320 x 240 pixel. But because of the formfactor, this time in landscape mode only. Furthermore the E61 offers Quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900), WLAN, UMTS, Push E-Mail and a lot more connectivity features. VoIP is working this time, if you use some tricks. A special VoIP software is installed and working "so so".
Whats in the box
The E61 is shipped within the standard Nokia box, including
* Nokia E61
Nokia Standard-Akku BP-5L
* Nokia Charger ACP-12E
Nokia Battery BL-5C
* Nokia Mono-Headset HS-5
* Nokia Connectivity cable CA-53
* CD und Manual
* 64MB miniSD with Adapter
Look & feel
Since the E61 is a real Smartphone all business related functions are really well implemented. The connectivity part of the E61 is nearly complete. You won't miss anything. The Smartphone is well made, display is crisp and really bright. In fact, it is one of the biggest screens i saw in the last weeks. The keyboard, which is in fact really small, is functional. The E61 is equipped with a message button. It is located right beneath the precise and well made joystick (or Navikey). All multimedia functions are available, except a camera. Face the fact, the E61 is made for business and companies do not like spying.
As i said before, the E61 is well made. No visible gaps. No noises if you twist the phone or the keyboard. The Navikey (or joystick) is well made and precise. All keys are big enough to write short messages, although you have to get accustomed to the thumboard. Right in the middle of the keyboard you'll find the blue number keys for dialling. But you don't have to press the blue shortkey to get them. If you want to dial a number, the E61 simply switches to "numbers only" mode. No more letters allowed. Talking about the "blue" softkey, situated in the lower left corner of the keyboard. It is used to get some more functions. Some keys do have multiple functions. It is necessary because of the fact, that the keybord is rather small. You won't carry a bigger E61 just to get a full sized QWERTY keyboard, won't you?
The first time you face the E61, you may think it is a bulky companion. But it isn't at all. Blackberry and even the Palm Treo is as large and bulky. But face the fact, your shirt bay will be filled up to its limit, if you carry the E61 within.
The really big and impressive Active matrix-Display (16,7 Mio. Colors in landscape mode), using a resolution of 320 x 240 pixel is state of the art.
It is bright, crisp and well made. Quality like, it is the same as used in the E60. BUT it is bigger. Because of the fact, that it's resolution is also smaller, all the icons a really well visible. Sometimes you may have the impression, that the display is just too big for the applications.
Talking about applications: the E61 is using 3rd Edtion Series60 and Symbian 9.1 so you have to buy new software and you have to download new themes. The old Symbian 8.1 software and themes do not work. Because of the big screen, E-Mails and documents can be edited and displayed really nice. Regarding the display size, the E61 is much better than the Blackberry.
Start me up
As usual. Open the back cover, insert your sim card (which can be sort of tricky = it will be held in place by the battery), wait some minute and é voila you are right in the middle of getting accustomed to your brand new shiny E61. Some short introductions to all necessary features, some wizards to get your operator settings in place and your are good to go.
Because of the feature overkill you may get lost. After pressing the dedicated menu softkey, the E61 welcomes you with as much as 14 menu entries. All the Series60 functions have been developed well. The usual PIM applications are on board, as well as some new ones. The contact application is as usual. Fields can be filled with a lot of entries (e.g. company, position, telephone, first names, last names, mobile number, Internet phone, PTT, pager, fax, E-Mail) Contacts can be sorted by last name, as well as first name. Additional informations (e.g. name addition, titles, aliases, position, memos and birthday) are also possible.
Pictures and/or photos can be used as background or caller pictures. Profiles (General, Mute, Meeting, Outside, Off-Line, Pager) can't be time-controlled but changed to your personal needs.
Again Active Standby is on board. It lets you activate functions from the main screen. This one is a fine example of the problems of the landscape mode. It looks sort of "unfinished". Too much space, to less informations and the shortcut icons are smaller than necessary.
Because of the landscape mode, all major applications had to be redesigned to fit the screen. Well, in fact some have been left out. Contact application is small as usual. The calendar, however, is really well designed. It's big and you can have all the informations on one screen.
The implemented Office functions are important to most of you. Because of that, Nokia shipped the E61 with a pre-installed Quickoffice capable of showing as well as editing documents and presentations (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint). All three applications do have have their own menu icon. So you can edit and show you favorite Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel (Microsoft Office 97, 2000, XP und 2003) documents on the go. The big screen is made for this, believe me :-)
As known from the E60, you can send your documents and presentations via BT to an external beamer. But if i were you, i would not use a complex "super duper" powerpoint presentation. Could be your last time, you'll do it. Complex documents are not really well displayed :-)
The E61 do has a small Naviprogram included, it is called "Navigator". Using an external BT GPS transmitter you can calculate your position and some small routes. No big deal, and certainly not a replacement for Route66 or TomTom.
The built-in MP3 Player with his sound sections ((Standard, Acoustic, Bass Booster, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Rock) own ones are also possible)) in connection with a Koss Porta headset, sounds very well. However it does not match the quality you'll find on the Nokia N91. The E61 is not shipped with a stereo headset or a headphones adapter. So you'll have to buy one extra.
The MP3 Player supports play lists as well as it reacts fast and together with the actve standby, it is very good to handle.
The sound of the MP3 Player is balanced, however, there is no big bass. This shortcoming, can be balanced easily using some Koss Porta headsets. In total the sound of the E61 is - compared with that of the Nokia 6270 - very good. The N80/E60/6230(i) is not better.
They are two old games installed - snake and card deck. There are also a few useful applications
- Personal shortcuts
- Customizable profiles
- Alarm clock
- Music Player (MP3/AAC)
- Real Player
- Flash Player
- Notepad for short notes
- Device lock
- Converter: Converts currencies, measurements, temperature, etc.
- World Clock II
- Quickoffice (Tables, Documents, Presentations)
On board is the Push-to-talk-Funktion for mobile networks, with a specific push-to-talk button. The PoC-service (Push to talk over Cellular) allows direct speech connections to individuals or groups - similar as at a Walkie-talkie.
The changes made with Symbian 9.1 are hardly visible to the user. They are more "wihin" the system core.
The E61 menu is different from the N80 or N91. It is more business related. All integrated PIM and office applications are better to handle, and the menu is more "logically". In fact, you'll find all your applications within the "Installed" entry. MP3 Player, Real Player and Co. within the "Media" menu. Because of the big screen, all your entries within the calendar, all your to-do lists and the contacts are well visible and better readable. So if you are an "older" guy, like me, who's eyes got bad, you'll love the E61 display.
To get companies buying the E61, Nokia did a great job. They shipped the E61 with a Blackberry compatbile solution for Push-Mail. Companies do not have to change their Mail infrastructure. If you do not like to get "pushed", the E61 is also capable of reading your "normal" E-Mails. Therefore you can adjust the time, the E61 will pull your mails.
The sound qualities during a call do not match a Nokia 6230i(i). From which reasons i do not know, but the conversation partners voice is heared duller. The quality of reception and sending are on a typical Smartphone level. No Blackberry or Palm is better than the E61. The 6230i(i) outdoes almost all newer Nokia models.
The sound qualities of the built-in loudspeaker in MP3 mode are completely sufficient. With higher tones it tends to sound a bit stressed.
Quadband (GSM 900/1800/1900) with good reception and sending quality in D1/O² net. Dual Mode UMTS is not offered, however, there are two different models. BT 1.2 transfers are rapid. The E61 can be used as a storage device, if connected via Connectivity cable. Thanks to USB 2.0 the transfer speed is very good. A2DP is not supported. It offers an external SIM-Access mode. The O² Homezone icon is shown correctly.
The E61 offers Nokias Pop-Port™ interface. After you connect via Connectivity cable it offers modes as Media player, PC Suite and Data transfer. While using the Data transfer/Media player mode the E61 switches off-line and your are not able to receive or make calls. There is no external docking station and the E61 can not be charged via Connectivity cable.
The built-in WLAN 802.11b/g supports WEP and WPA/WPA2 in infrastructure as well as adhoc mode. WLAN can't be completely turned off. You can select the time, the E60 looks for other WLAN (up to 10 minutes).But WLAN stays in standby mode all the time.
The sensitiveness of the E61 built-in WLAN appears - subjective to me - by far better than on my N80. In rooms, in which the N80 already has no reception, the E61 still offers connectivity.
The E61 supports a number of security standards, for instance EAP-TTLS is supported. It supports more than one connection at a time. You can handover calls from GPRS to WLAN to UMTS. If a data connection (e.g. E-Mail, Internet) is established, the E61 switches between the available connections. All connections ((WLAN-, Bluetooth (six at a time), Infrarot and USB)) are possible at the same time.
The new S60 browser - based on Safari's WebCore - is used also on the E61. Using the 'minimap' function you will see a full page at a glance and you can zoom in individual steps. Support for RSS is offered also, however, still expandable.
The new browser is much faster than Nokias older solutions. The E61 browser can be called a "complete mobile browser", because it supports frames, popups and PHP. Surfing with the E61 is swift and pleasant. It seems to be more stable and faster, than on the N80. And the bigger screen does the rest.
User @gaspode over at telefon-treff.de found out, how to get VoIP working on your E60. Here are the instructions. You can use them to get the E61 VoIP running.
User @daelch over at telefon-treff.de found out, how to get Push E-Mail (using your 1und1 Exchange Server 2003) working on your E61. Here are the instructions, they'll work on the E61, too.
Themes for S60
Here is a short list of websites, which offer compatible 3rd Edition Symbian 9.1 software.
Mobile2day mobilreview Symbian9 my-symbian
How long can you go?
The battery is very good for a Series60. In case of intense use of the functions, you can use the E61 a whole working day. If you only use the MP3 Player, you will come up with a respectable time of about 16 hours. In case of moderate use, you can save yourself for about 3-4 days before recharging and in standby mode with good net quality, it will last 5 days (in GSM mode). The more you use WLAN, the faster the battery needs to be recharged. The battery of the E61 is stronger than on the N80/N91, for that the display is brighter.
Do i have to buy it asap?
Well, the E61 is a real mobile office. It lacks some features, has some problems with complex office documents. Nevertheless the big screen is an advantage, you won't miss. All features are well implemented and designed. WLAN and Push E-Mail - even VoIP is working well. The E61 sounds good, is well made. There is room for individuality (or corporate design) by using themes.
The 3rd Edition Series60 GUI using landscape mode, however, has room for improvements. There is a lot of space wasted, which could be filled with more informations, bigger icons or stuff like that.
The E61 is stable, no major bugs visible. Net quality is good, although the 6230(i) is much better. But you have to keep in mind, the E61 is a Smartphone. The 6230(i) is just a mobile.
There is no camera, you won't miss it, believe me :-). Connectivity is good, VoIP is sort of working. All necessary applications are on board. Nokia itself offers two good additional applications for "free" (Handy Expense, World Mate E60). The freeware Screenshot 2 however is not working, because the E61 "edit" key is missing ;-)
Well, i would say, the E61 is a good alternative to Blackberry or Palm Treo. The display is a "must see". The features are well implemented, although Blackberry is as good as the E61. The thumboard, hmm, you will get accustomed too. If you are looking for a "smart" and slim Smartphone, go get the E61. If you already use a Blackberry or Palm Treo, you may consider the E61, but it is not necessary to buy ...