Nokia E6 makes its bid for business

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A redesigned OS and high definition touchscreen….Is the E6 an exciting new offering for enterprise?

Nokia has a heritage of QWERTY-enabled devices and its latest offering is the E6, which brings with it a heap of changes and improvements, even if you may not initially appreciate them by merely looking at the handset.

The design follows on from the E72, with the phone available in a choice of three finishes – all metal. Nokia has always valued the importance of quality in the E-series range, and the E6 is no exception. It feels solid and gives confidence that it will remain reliable. History also proves this to be the case.

However, given the huge advances of BlackBerry OS and Android, which now offer handsets in a similar form factor, Nokia must keep ahead. To do this, the company has taken the very bold decision to upgrade the screen – not just by a few pixels, but a jump up from QVGA to full VGA. This means four times the amount of pixels on a screen measuring just under 2.5 inches, to give seriously high definition. In fact, it has an identical pixel-per-inch (PPI) figure to the iPhone 4, although the that has a larger physical screen and more pixels.

Touch accord
Another new feature is the touchscreen. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to for existing E-series owners, especially as the small display needs a fair degree of accuracy to select the right options in menus. Thankfully you won’t be needing to use an on-screen keyboard because of the full QWERTY offering below.

Underneath the display sit four shortcut keys and a D-Pad, with more room for them due to the removal of the soft keys, which now sit at the bottom of the touchscreen instead. However, like earlier models, the hardware keys aren’t individually defined and this can make it tricky to give any of them a confident press. They are well spaced, though, so you shouldn’t find many situations where you accidentally hang up a call when  you wanted to open the messaging app or phonebook.

There’s a micro-USB connector on the left side and volume keys with a button to activate the voice recorder on the right side. Below the volume keys is a hardware lock key, in the form of a slider you flick down to lock and unlock. Alternatively, you can tap the power button at the top and press on the virtual unlock icon on the display. For security, you can also use
a code to unlock the phone.

At the top of the handset is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSDHC card slot, with a cover on the slot to protect it from the elements. This means you can hot-swap cards without powering down. The E6 has 8GB of internal storage space – that should be ample if you’re not also using the phone for watching movies and listening to music. Still, being able to add another 32GB is always a bonus.

The original Series 60 3rd Edition user interface has made way for the latest Symbian OS, named ‘Anna’, which takes many of the features from the likes of the N8, C7 and E7. For example, you now have multiple home screen panels to switch between, as well as all-new icons. You can easily edit the position of widgets and shortcuts by holding down your finger on the screen and adding and removing elements in a grid pattern.

Speeding fine
The phone is seriously fast, too, thanks to a 600MHz ARM 11 processor and both 2D and 3D graphics acceleration. These are both essential given that four times the number of pixels are being displayed. Connectivity is well covered with a penta-band (five-band) 3G and quad-band 2G transceiver, Wi-Fi with 802.11b/g and n, as well as HSPA support for up to 10.2Mbps down and 2Mbps up, and Bluetooth V3. USB On-The-Go also allows you to connect other USB devices, such as flash drives, to further boost the storage.

One thing you don’t get is HDMI output, despite the fact the phone can happily play HD content and capture HD video (720p and 25 frames per second) via the eight-megapixel camera.

Full article in Mobile News issue 494 (August 1, 2011).

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