Nokia E61i

  • Editors' rating
    8.5 Excellent
  • $479.00

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Good keyboard
  • Excellent voice functionality
  • 3G and Wi-Fi

Cons

  • No HSDPA
  • No front-facing camera

Nokia's E61i is designed specifically for extensive mobile email and SMS/MMS usage. An upgrade to last year's Editors' Choice-winning E61, the new handset sports a redesigned keyboard and navigation button, integrates a 2-megapixel digital camera/camcorder, and comes with a few new pre-installed applications. And, just like its predecessor, the E61i offers an unbeatable mobile-user experience for messaging.

So what does the E61i bring to the table compared to its predecessor? Cosmetically, the uniform grey of the E61 has been replaced by a more attractive black and silver livery. Nokia has also replaced the aluminium battery cover with a solid steel unit, boosting the phone's visual appeal and making it more resistant to everyday knocks and bumps. Next up is the joystick, which has been replaced by an equally effective five-way button. There are now two additional dedicated buttons on the front of the unit — one for quickly accessing your contacts, and the other for configuring a shortcut. The QWERTY keypad, other than proving more spacious keys, remains largely similar to the E61.

The E61i is a little thinner than its predecessor (70 by 117 by 13.9mm compared to 69.7 by 117 by 14mm), but a little heavier (150g compared to 144g). Its internal memory has been reduced to 60MB (compared to 70MB), and the microSD slot remains under the battery cover. Connectivity remains the same: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 1.2, IrDA, and USB. Both models run Symbian 9.1 (S60 v3). The most significant addition is the built-in 2-megapixel digital camera. This is a mixed blessing, though, as some organisations are sensitive enough about imaging to ban the use of camera phones.

If you're lucky enough to work for a company where this isn't an issue, or where it's even a boon (for example insurance and estate agents), the E61i's camera is effective for capturing both still and moving images. Budding photographers shouldn't get too excited though, as the bare-bones feature set of the camera doesn't allow you to get too creative. There's a night mode and settings to adjust the white balance and colour tone, but no built-in flash or even an LED light to act as a flash unit. Picture and video quality is above average, however, and should more than suffice for those who simply want snapshots.

The keyboard is backlit, with a function key to switch between dialling and alphabet entries, and dedicated menu and email buttons let you access frequently used applications quickly. Volume and voice-recorder buttons remain on the left-hand side, but there are no controls on the right-hand side of the device, nor is there a scroll wheel or a back button. The E61i's 2.8in. (320-by-240 pixel) TFT display is bright and clear, and Nokia seems to have successfully addressed the small font size of the E61.

The E61i, like Nokia's E90 Communicator and E65, has a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM phone with GPRS/EDGE and 3G data connectivity up to 384Kbps. However, unlike the E90 Communicator, the E61i lacks HSDPA for faster '3.5G' data transfer rates up to 3.6Mbps.

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The E61i supports corporate mobile email solutions such as Nokia's Intellisync Wireless Email, Good Mobile Messaging, Mail for Exchange, Seven mobile email and BlackBerry Connect, as well as most popular consumer email solutions. It also provides advanced attachment handling with on-device document editing, allowing business users faster and better-quality access to important information for greater collaboration and productivity. Further, Nokia's Team Suite, part of the Nokia Office Tools offering, helps to facilitate conference calls and to initiate push-to-talk sessions with selected team members easily and quickly, through a built-in speakerphone. Important business attachments received via email, such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets, can be accessed via the Quickoffice viewer.

Organiser features include contacts with images, a calendar with an accept/reject function for meeting requests and a to-do list. Of course, there's also an Office application viewer for documents, spreadsheets and presentations (Office 2000, XP and 2003), and you can synchronise with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes to have the latest meetings, contacts and notes on hand. Connectivity is available via a USB cable, infrared, over-the-air synchronisation and wireless technology. An XHTML browser is available for viewing web pages, as well as for downloading Java and S60 applications, games and ringtones. In a decidedly non-corporate way, the E61i supports instant-messaging clients from Yahoo and AOL, MP3 and AAC music playback and RealPlayer video.

The E61i features excellent voice functionality and quality compared to other mobile phones. It also supports relatively advanced voice services, such as Push To Talk and other SIP-based rich call services, to give businesses a variety of ways to make it easier for employees to collaborate or respond rapidly in or out of the office. Companies deploying an Avaya or Cisco IP PBX can connect the new Nokia devices directly to their corporate phone networks, enabling functions that employees have come to expect from a corporate network, like four-digit dialling and assisted call answering. IntelliSync Device Management enables remote enterprise-grade device management, without additional client software installation. For IT administrators, an administrative web interface allows remote management of OMA DM-compliant business devices, with access to a device-management server located either within a company's own premises or at a service provider's facilities.

Nokia rates the E61i as being capable of up to 9.5 hours talk time and up to 17 days standby time — the same as the E61. This is impressive given the wide range of battery-sapping applications that you can have enabled — Bluetooth, 3G and Wi-Fi alone can bring even the biggest battery to its knees. Nevertheless, the operating times are impressive, and the E61i does effortlessly what you'd expect a mobile email device to do. Overall, the E61i is a clear successor to the E61, but without differing significantly. You get a digital camera, better build quality and a slimmer profile. If that's important, you'll love the E61i. If you're already an E61 user, you may question whether these tweaks warrant the upgrade.

 

Specifications

Cellular
Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Software Platforms Supported Java, Java MIDP 2.0
Application Software Nokia PC Suite 6.82
Type smartphone
Integrated Components rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Band WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Mobile Broadband Generation 3G
Phone Form Factor bar
Service Provider AT&T
Operating System Family Symbian OS
Operating System Symbian OS 9.1 / Series 60 3rd Edition
Input Device Keyboard
Phone Features
Polyphonic Ringer Yes
Ring Tone Formats AAC, MIDI, MP3, True Tones
Voice Dialing Yes
Phone Functions Speakerphone, voice control, call timer, conference call, voice dialing, vibrating alert
Additional Features Push-to-talk mode
Details
Antenna internal
Integrated Components Rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Body Color Mocha
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services MMS, Nokia Smart Messaging, SMS
Messaging & Data Features Macromedia Flash support, Microsoft Excel support, Microsoft PowerPoint support, Microsoft Word support, PDF support, VoIP client, XHTML Browser, Zip Manager support
Downloadable Content business cards, operator logos, ring tones, themes
Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Supported Email Protocols IMAP4, POP3, SMTP
Communications
High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) Yes
Communication Features Internet browser, mobile Email client
Data Transmission EDGE, GPRS
Wireless Interface Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11b/g, Infrared (IrDA)
Display
Technology TFT
Display Resolution 320 x 240 pixels
Color Depth 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
Diagonal Size 2.8 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 7.1 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 2.8 in
Color Support color
Organizer
Personal Information Management alarm clock, calculator, calendar, currency conversion, reminder, synchronization with PC
Alarm Clock Yes
Camera
Digital Zoom 4
Still Image Resolutions 1600 x 1200
Features self-timer
Media Player
Supported Digital Video Standards RM, MPEG-4, 3GP, H.263
Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC, Real Audio, AMR, MP3
Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSD
User Memory 60 MB
Security Features
Keypad Lock Yes
SIM Card Lock Yes
Battery
Technology Lithium ion
Run Time Details Talk: up to 300 min
Digital Camera
Still Image Formats JPEG
Digital Video Formats H.263 video and AMR audio, MPEG-4
Digital Zoom 4
Still Image Resolutions 1600 x 1200
Video Recorder Resolutions 352 x 288 (CIF)
Features self-timer
Header
Brand Nokia
Product Line Nokia
Model E61i
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type keyboard
Features
Phone Functions call timer, conference call, speakerphone, vibrating alert, voice control, voice dialing
Additional Features push-to-talk mode
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC, AMR, MP3, Real Audio
Supported Digital Video Standards 3GP, H.263, MPEG-4, RM
Power Adapter
Type power adapter
Flash Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSD
User Memory 60 MB
Optical Sensor
Sensor Resolution 2 megapixels

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