On first impressions, the e313 is a sleek and classy looking phone. Beneath the surface, we find it equipped with a multitude of functions. For those who like to keep their mobile in their pocket, be warned. It measures a considerably long 15cm by 5cm wide by 2cm deep and weighs in at 126 grams. Although it may be long, it is one of the slimmest phones in Hutchison's 3 range -- especially when compared to the bulky NEC e616 and its predecessor, the NEC e606.
The e313 uses Java MIDP 1.0 for its application environment. The Web browser supports an XHTML platform with which we occasionally had some trouble when the 3G connection dropped out as we moved out of a 3 zone. Generally, we found this to be an excellent platform well suited to the 3 browsing section that hosts content such as news, games, music and sports
Aesthetically the e313 has a lustrous, reflective-silver design. The numerical keys are quite small and positioned at the base of the keypad. NEC has obviously positioned them lower to make space for the menu key, navigation key, and 3G services key that take up a similar sized space below the screen. This keypad section comprises of three prompt navigation keys underneath the screen of the phone and a circular function key with four way direction buttons around it, as well as the menu key and the 3 services key.
If you are unfamiliar with NEC handsets on 3's network it may be a little confusing at first to navigate through the menu. Once we spent some time with the phone, we became familiar with the shortcut keys that enable you to whiz through to the feature you're looking for.
Due to the e313's length, the phone becomes top heavy during one-handed use. This is not helped by the keys being low on the handset. However, with its light weight and healthy size it is easy to get a comfortable grasp on the phone.
The 'home screen' on the e313 indicates battery life, reception status, date, and multimedia prompts. Through the menu, you can access the multitude of functions of the e313 which include the Multimedia Centre, Java Applications, Tool Box and External Connections.
The e313 has an integrated 180-degree rotational camera which is positioned at the top of the phone near the ear speaker. This allows you to use the camera pointing at yourself or in the opposite direction for photos and during video calls. Photos are taken with a synthesised 'click' as audio accompaniment at a size of 352 x 288 pixels in the JPEG format. The phone also supports JPEG,GIF, PNG, BMP, WBMP, DCF and TIFF file formats.
Other multimedia functions include recording video in MP4 format, sound recording in AMR format and audio playback of the following formats: WMA, AMR, MP3, AAC, MIDI and WAV. Files of this type can be stored in the phone's memory and attached to messages for delivery to another 3 phone or sent via e-mail. With a capacity of 19MB, we found that the phone easily stored around 20 short videos, photos and sound files. For further expansion, the e313 has a port for Sony Memory Stick Duo. USB connectivity allows PC synchronisation but the cable is sold separately.
There is a wide selection of polyphonic ring tones and games available for download from the 3 services pages. It only took a matter of seconds to download 'Stuck in the middle with you' from the best of [Quentin] Tarantino tones. The handset's audio clarity is rich in bass while not being overbearing. The polyphonic version of the track did not really do the original any justice, but it is a bit of fun all the same.
3 offers a wide variety of games to play on your handset on a pay per play basis. Our favourite is 3D snowboarding, others include the rather blood thirsty Assassin, Alien Swarm, Play Cricket and Play Golf.
For such a small battery, the e313 performed extremely well especially when considering the many multimedia applications we tested. 3 claims a talk time of 120 minutes and standby time of 110 hours. We found that with steady usage for phone calls, video calls and constant media application usage the phone needed to be recharged after just shy of 100 hours.
Some buyers may be disappointed to find out that the e313 does not support GPS, Infrared or Bluetooth. In spite of these missing elements with those who wish to follow 3's marketing drive and be considered 'one of the others' who utilise video calls and messaging should consider this phone in their list of options.