The Nokia E63 is a Symbian S60 QWERTY smartphone. Most will look at it and easily mistake it for the Samsung BlackJack II, Palm Treo 755, or the BlackBerry Bold. All four devices are similar in their design, application, and approach. However, the E63 represents something of response from Nokia to bolster its appearance in the low and mid-range market segments, where most of the purchasing power with consumers lie. And so far in my impressions, I can say it nailed the target.
Build and Design
Though it looks similar to the Nokia E71, another QWERTY smartphone, the E63 is considerably thicker, and slightly underspecced. This is to ensure its marketing position below that of the E71, and at the same time to allow the E63 some distinction of its own.
In addition to the aforementioned keyboard, the E63 features a 320-by-240-pixel (QVGA) screen in the landscape view. Offering some striking colors and contrasts, it works well in office or direct sunlight.
There are not many buttons surrounding the E63. The top has a covered 3.5 mm headset jack — better than that of the E71 — and that’s it. The power button on the E71 has been moved to the End Call button. The sides are also bare of volume or voice recorder buttons, having only having two covered slots for the Micro-USB and microSDHC memory card slots.
The rear is likewise bare, featuring only a the 2.0 megapixel camera (with flash and auto-focus) to break up the one-piece battery cover.
Thankfully, the 1500 mAh battery of the E63 is the same as its E71 stablemate. This battery proved to be quite the champion in that model and I’m looking forward to similar results for the E63 once its broken in.
In general, Nokia E63 maintains the S60 look-and-feel — which is a positive to some, a detriment to others.
Thankfully, the enhanced Active Standby screen first featured on the E71 makes it way here too. This screen adds not only better notification icons for voicemail, email, and SMS, but also the contact search feature that is pretty handy.
The E63 is chock full of applications that make it easy to just get up and use. I’ve not encountered anything that’s a limitation yet. In fact, in just jumping into the web browser with Wi-Fi showed a much faster experience than what I am used to with my N95. So in that respect, it looks like the core operating system has been very tweaked for performance too.
At the 2009 Nokia World event, Nokia spoke a lot about its E71 QWERTY smartphone. Much of the praise coming from the fact that not only Nokia’s targeted enterprise users were liking it, but the increased multimedia abilities endeared it to consumers as well. The E63 is in respects a further, and less expensive, solution in the same guise. And while they look very similar, the E63 benefits from some lessons learned as well as a much more accessible price point.
Stay tuned for the full Nokia E63 review coming in a few weeks.