You may have already seen and read our unboxing and first impressions about the Nokia E6 here. And now, I am here to review it.
PART 1: Hardware
The Nokia E6 brings the QWERTY keyboard for business users and for heavy texters. It also packs a small touchscreen for you to interact with some selections and menus, and what's great here is you can run "some" apps designed for its bigger brothers and sisters. Basically, it's like a Nokia E72 but with more capable hardware and better software.
On the front of the device, you will find the portrait QWERTY keyboard, not virtual of course, the quick launch shortcut keys which is under a single piece of plastic panel along with the call and end keys. The panel is divided into two, with the navigation pad, or D-pad, at the middle. On the top of it is the 2.46 inches IPS LCD touchscreen which is very bright at 900 nits. And Nokia has got you covered, the screen is made up of Corning® Gorilla® Glass which is very touch and hard to scratch. At the top end of the device you can find the earpiece and to the right of it is the secondary front-facing camera for video calls and self-capturing of images. Next to it is the proximity and ambient light sensors. I have one rant about the light sensor though. It's too sensitive! Every change in angle of the phone the display brightness will go down or up and it is really annoying and there is NO option to disable it! Sigh.
On the back of the E6 you can find what other than the 8MP camera, which is unfortunately a full-focus (EDoF) one, the dual-LED f;ash which lights up so intense that I become temporarily blind every time I take a photo of myself, and on the left of it is the tiny loudspeaker. The speaker is an average one in terms of loudness. Well, this is a business phone anyway, not a music-centric phone.
Under the hood you will find the sim card slot and the battery slot that you can change anytime, which is a good thing unlike the E7, The battery is rated at 1500mAh which is currently the highest rated battery of Nokia to date, if I'm not wrong. The phone lasts between 18-24 hours on moderate to heavy usage. I usually do some browsing on 3G when I'm at school, text every now and then, check-in to foursquare with the A-GPS turned on, and then WiFi browsing when I get home. Just a comparison, when I was using the N8 before, before I leave home (about 5.30AM) it is fully-charged. Then right when I sleep (about 10PM) it has about 2 or even 1 bar/s of battery left on it. With the E6, I do the same and get about 3-4 bars left before I sleep at night. So you'll definitely notice the difference.
On the right side of the device is the volume up and down buttons, with the voice key in the middle and the lock switch slider used to lock and unlock the screen.
TIP: Slide and hold the lock switch slider for about 2-3 seconds to turn the dual-LED flash into a flashlight! :)
On the left you can only find the microUSB port.
On the top of the device you can find the power key, the 3.5mm audio jack, and the oddly-placed microSD card slot.
You can find the 2mm charger port on the bottom.
Close-up shot of the slightly protruding back part of the E6 which houses the 8MP camera, the dual-LED flash and the loudspeaker. The back cover attracts fingerprints easily because of the stainless-steel cover. But it adds a quite of heft to the device, making it feel more premium.
The QWERTY keyboard is well-spaced, and it is a little bit raised from the base and has a rounded-looking corners. But if you look very closely you will see a sharp square-ish corner as the very base of each key. Nokia should have just removed them so the keys will look more pretty.
|Side-view of the front face of the E6.|
Part of my first impression about this phone is the D-pad or navigation keys are over-raised from its surrounding keys. If you will take a look at the photo above you will easily notice the said D-pad, protruding around the other parts. I just have a fear that if I turn the phone lying with its front facing down, the D-pad might get easily scratched. This has been my long-objection since I saw the first reviews of the E6.
The E6 is equipped with the very tough Gorilla Glass display. It is believed to be touch to break and scratch-proof, but not unbreakable and not anti-fingerprint as what others has misunderstood. The bezel is just on the right thickness though the screen could be just a 2.8 inches one.
|The homescreen view of the E6.|
|The Nokia E6 along with other phones, X7, N8, and C3.|
|Comparison of the front face of the E6, N8, and X7.|
|Comparison of the back face of the N8, E6, and X7.|
|From top to bottom: E6, X7, and N8 showing the left side of it.|
|From top to bottom: E6, X7, and N8 stacked up.|
PART 2: Software
The E6 can have up to 3 full-sized widgets in each homescreen with the static Clock and Calendar, Profile, and Notifications widgets on the left occupying a smaller space.
As with the other phones running Symbian Anna, the homescreen is now 'draggable' and slides left and right with your finger unlike on the first release of Symbian^3 in which the homescreens will just switch after you have swiped your finger. But there is still one thing that Nokia has to fix here. The wallpaper still not slides and does not follow your finger. It is just the widgets that do. The wallpaper will just change once you have gone to another homescreen. And just in case you're looking for the 'Call' soft-key found on other Anna devices, it is now omitted on the E6 and you can just start typing number from the homescreen.
The E6 can hold up to 5 homescreens because each one can just only support up to 3 user-changeable widgets. Normal Symbian Anna phones can only have 3 homescreens but each one can have up to 6 widgets, for a total of 18 widgets, as to the total of 15 on the E6.
This is the top-level menu on the E6. It has the 4 x 3 grid format as opposed to the 3 x 4 on the normal Symbian Anna phones. The icons are now standardized into a more appealing style. The icons also have a color-scheme as stated by Nokia, i.e. blue for communication related apps, pink for entertainment among the others.
The Calendar app on the E6 is the same as with the other Symbian Anna devices. There is now a double-view for the calendar entries, and so you can easily add new entries with just a single tap. There are five views that you can choose from, the Month view, Week view, Day view, Agenda, and just in case you are looking for a To-do application, it's here in the Calendar. I have noticed some noticeable lags though when adding a new calendar entry and with the split-screen keyboard and kinetic scrolling, they are acting very weird! At least on the full touchscreen Anna devices, not on the E6.
Now, the Contacts! Once you open the app, you will directly go to your contacts list. If you've got a huge contacts database, you can start typing letters immediately so you can find the one you need easily. It also integrates with your social networks too, basically Facebook and Twitter. You can also add multiple phone numbers, emails, and other details in a single contact. Nokia has now also integrated the Microsoft Communicator within the Contacts app. Because I don't really use that, I don't know what to say about it. And finally there's the groups. I like this feature because it is really useful when sending a single message to many people, for example my classmates. When we have an important thing to announce I'll just compose a message and instead of selecting their names one by one, I will just select the contacts group that I created! Very easy and saves a lot of time.
Next up is the Music Player. Again, it's the same on the other devices. Every time you open the music player on the E6 the default view is the coverflow of the albums stored on your phone. I don't like it because every time I launch the player it goes to the coverflow, I have to manually tap Options and then Songs to browse all of my songs. Why? Because when you play songs from the coverflow, it will only play the songs within that particular album that you have selected. And another one is that it does not remember the settings that you have made! For example is the Shuffle feature is always reset to Off every time you close and open the music player. Oh and did I already said that it has a Podcast section? Yep, a rubbish one. You tap on Podcast section and it will offer you no options to download, search or anything! Pretty useless. Another change that Nokia has made and is present since Symbian^3 is that you're not able to edit or add a custom equalizer by default.
The e-mail app on the E6 works well. I like the keyboard shortcuts for it. Let's say you've got a Facebook notification email and don't want to read it anymore, you can just press the 'U' key on the keyboard to mark it as already read. It also support HTML emails now and not just plain text emails anymore. And it delivers the latest emails that you receive from the server right away!
The browser on the E6 has been also greatly improved when compare to it's previous siblings like Nokia E5 and Nokia E72. The ugly, annoying, and wrongly-placed URL bar and toolbars on the bottom are now gone because the URL bar is now on the top, always staying there and the options are now hidden and will only shop up when you tap the double-arrow on the bottom right of the browser. There's the useful 'Find' feature that I always use when finding something on a very long list or article. It also support a bit of HTML 5 and finally, it's got multiple tabs support! It only supports up to 3 tabs though. I don't know if that will change on Symbian Belle. And just a bit of info, the E6 browser scores 96 (and no bonus points) on the HTML5 Test out of 450 points.
Now let's see how the Messaging app, the primary function of a phone, performs on the E6. The composition screen of the app is composed of a text field, and the toolbar on the right which consists of the 3 shortcut buttons - Send, Add recipients, and Attach objects. You can attach almost any type of object, from image to music to contact cards to notes and other types. I also like the handy Call key here, just press it and the message that you're typing will be sent right away (does not work on Conversations view). Speaking of the Conversations view (or app), it is the default view for viewing received messages rather than the old inbox. It is not as smooth as the ones found on the likes of HTC ChaCha and other phones, and I also don't like the different function of the Call key here. I always end up calling the people that I am replying to instead of sending the message. I don't know why Nokia did that. Pressing the Enter key also does not send the message either! It brings you a new message line, which I think should be created when you press Shift + Enter or maybe Alt + Enter.
The Gallery app of the E6 is, again, the same as on the other Symbian Anna devices. Images are presented in 4x3, and you can mark multiple image by selecting the Mark (or Check) icon on the right. You can also switch to different views, namely Albums and Tags view. As usual, it supports mulitouch. But there is an annoying bug (or feature?) here. Instead of loading up the photos only, it also loads up the videos you have even though there is a separate app for that.
The E6 also have the Nokia Store (formerly Ovi Store) and supports some of the apps for Symbian^3/Anna. I tried installing Angry Birds on my E6 and it loads up fine. The resolution are automatically re-sized accordingly and I can play it just right. I don't know why it's not listed there. Fruit Ninja is listed there, and plays fine. But other HD games such as the Asphalt 6 HD, will still install but are not compatible.
The usual Settings app which basically contains all of the settings that you may need on your E6. Nothing much has changed on this department. It still have deep menus that sometimes you will forgot where to find a particular setting. I've experienced that. Nokia could make this a simpler and user-friendly one. Even though there are a lot of things that you can edit and modify here, there are still some things that are not present. For example under the display settings, you cannot disable the annoying
Let's proceed to the killer and best feature of Nokia phones, the
The file manager on the Symbian Anna has also been slightly improved. You can now mark multiple items without having to tap Options every time. E6 supports many type of files ranging from images to documents. The file manager still needs improvement.
The E6 have applications that will cater the needs of a business user. It has the very handy Dictionary app, the Intranet which is I think used for VPN connections, the very basic Notes app which has not changed since the first version of Symbian arrived, it has Quickoffice for viewing, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Got zipped files attachments on your email? You can open it with the built-in Zip manager on your phone. You can extract the contents of the zip files to a local folder on your phone, you can even create new zip files so you can easily send multiple files on email. Then there's the Calculator, again very basic, the Voice Recorder app, the Adobe Reader which of course, lets you open PDF files stored on your phone or attached in your emails, the F-Secure anti-theft app, the Message Reader is still here, and finally the Microsoft Communicator app. I don't know how to use it, maybe for corporate networks.
This is the Clock app. It lets you set alarms, view what time is it on the other parts of the world. It supports multiple alarm times.
Here is the Log app. All forms of communications that come in and out of your phone is logged here. Just a handy tip/reminder though - there is a built-in data counter here that shows how much data you've already consumed. It only records data which is transferred via GSM/EDGE/3G/HSPA so you don't have to worry if it's mixed up with Wi-Fi data. Keep track of your data plan right here! :)
The video app contains three main views: The Last watched which plays the most recent video that you have played, the Captured view which shows you all videos that are taken directly from your phone's camera, and the Other video clips that shows all other videos, i.e. movies and etc. It also has a handy link that takes you to Nokia Store's catalog of videos especially the latest movie trailers!
Here are the apps within the Tools folder on the E6. There's the Phone setup, Ovi Sync, Settings Wizard for setting up your carrier's network configuration, the My Nokia app which gives you tips and tricks 'bout your phone, the Font Magnifier, and the About.... app.
The first time that I saw the Font Magnifier app on the E6, I was very curious on it's use. Didn't bothered to play with it. :D
The app that I've been ignoring for so long - I present you the Ovi Sync! It lets you sync your Contacts, Calendar entries, and Notes on the cloud with your Nokia account. I'm missing the ability to sync my messages and other data though. Nokia should continue to improve this part of their old Ovi services. It's really useful!
Nokia has also managed to include a Social Networking app on Symbian Anna. But don't expect too much on this though. It's clunky and slow. It supports Twitter and Facebook and other social networking services. On Twitter, features available are replying to a tweet, retweeting a tweet (but not able to quote and edit), and favorite-ing it. It can also shorten long URLs to give more space for your message. I don't use the Facebook part here so I'm not detailing it anymore. I almost forgot, you can link you contacts with their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.
It also have a Software Update app for checking the latest updates for your phone.
Want to edit photos while on the go? The E6 has a built-in photo editor, to the rescue! It supports rotating, resizing, cropping, writing a text and many other features that you will need to quickly edit a photo. However, it is only available in landscape mode.
Another favorite app of mine is the JoikuSpot! It lets you share your 3G connection if you're out of WiFi coverage and need to do some internet stuffs on your laptops or other WiFi enabled devices. I remember that while doing a project at school, JoikuSpot came to the rescue! I connected to Globe's 3G network and managed to get 2.8Mbps download speed. It even beats our 1Mbps DSL connection at home! Very handy indeed. Good to see it's preloaded on the E6. I'm sure business users will find this very useful on their trips.
Did you know that your Nokia E6 can capture 720p HD videos? Did you also know that it comes with a built-in video editor too?
PART 3: Others / Summary
So now I'm done with this very long E6 review, it's time to sum up all of it.
- Easy to use QWERTY keyboard.
- Capacitive touchscreen
- Symbian Anna OS
- More apps compared with the older siblings E72 and E5.
- Pentaband 3G bands, travel all-you-can!
- Best battery life!
- Very good body build
- 'Retina' display, say goodbye to pixelized screen!
- 8GB internal storage memory, and a micro-SD card slot
- USB on-the-go - Copy files to and from a USB device easily and computer-free!
- Wide video codec support
- Full-focus (EDoF) camera
- Small screen, could have been 2.8 inches
- Not all Symbian^3 apps can be installed on the E6
Nokia E6 Product Page: http://nokia.com.ph/E6
Nokia E6 Technical Specifications: http://www.nokia.com.ph/find-products/products/nokia-e6-smartphone-with-touch-screen-and-qwerty--overview/specifications
You can get the Nokia E6 at Nokia Stores and other retail stores at around P13,000 - P14,000. I'm not sure about the SRP but I will update this post once I got the info!
A huge thanks to Nokia Connects for letting me try this phone.