This is very poor stuff, particularly for a business-oriented handset. It's also a real shame. Nokia's web browser works well on the E61's screen, and I found myself taking to its thumbnail-based page navigation system: start scrolling and up pops a tiny version of the webpage to help you move around it. Pressing the Back soft menu brings up a set of page thumbnails to make it easier to go straight to the page you want without having to render all the intermediate pages. Web allows you to zoom out from webpages as well as reduce the text size, making it easy to find a still-readable size to minimise scrolling.
But yes, it is buggy, particularly when it comes to maintaining and initiating connectivity, and after long surfing sessions you will run out of memory, even though the E61 has plenty - up to 64MB. I also found Messaging would lock-up remarkably often, which meant even more restarts, grrrrr.
Nokia's office tools are adequate, but at a stage DataViz' Documents To Go app - created to view and later edit Office files on Palm devices - reached two years or more ago. Formulae results are not displayed in situ, for example, and the code will zap your formatting.
As a phone, the E61 rates highly - I found its call quality to be very good and generally got a decent signal strength wherever I went. The battery life's not bad either. I charged the E61 up on Friday morning and didn't need to do so again until Monday evening, despite pretty intensive usage in between.
While I would have preferred an externally accessible MiniSD card slot, and I'd have liked to have been able to use a BlackBerry-like jogdial or scrollwheel, I'd still say the E61's design is excellent. The screen is superb and the keyboard a pleasure to use. Bluetooth works well - I found I could maintain my Jabra X10 earpiece connection while syncing the handset with another Bluetooth device.
That said, once or twice, the Jabra was spontaneously disconnected, only to reconnect a few seconds later. I've used the headset with other devices but never witnessed this behaviour.
In its favour, the E61 is relatively cheap. Expansys, which kindly supplied our test unit, wants £260 for it, which is a lot less than many of the better 3G-enabled Windows Mobile 5.0 devices on the market. But that's the SIM-free pricing - buy any of them from a carrier and you'll pay a lot less.
Speaking of 3G, what about the E61's UMTS support? I also tried the handset with a Vodafone data-only 3G SIM. It worked reasonably well - as did GPRS, incidentally - but clearly isn't as fast as WLAN, which makes the poor Wi-Fi support so galling. The E61 isn't an HSDPA device, so if you want fast internet access on this device you must connect to a hotspot. If you can...
I ought to like the E61 more than I do. The screen is superb and the keyboard likewise. Size apart, it's a good mobile phone. GSM, GPRS and 3G connectivity are good, and for a smart phone the three-day battery life is remarkable. Against these advantages, you have to set the poor, overly complicated Wi-Fi implementation, and the occasional restart requirements, though I believe they're ultimately result from WLAN usage. Ignore that, and the E61 becomes a decent proposition. But not one RIM need lose any sleep over. ®
Hope that Nokia pays attention!
Thanks for telling it like it is. I have been demoing this phone for the last month and was wondering if the software engineers ever tried to setup or use WiFi outside of their office cubicle. This phone has great potential, but the software UI needs to take more than a few lessons from the good old Palm Treo, that actually lets you intuitively manage your network connections. After a recent trip cost me more than €100 Euro in roaming charges, since I couldn't figure out how to turn GPRS off if an installed application was asking for a network connection, I was glad to return to the security of a Palm Treo that I could actually control.
Nokia with citrus flavour
I have had a number of problems with my Nokia E61, including problems synching contacts: it won't take more than an thousand or so contacts: so can't compete with a Palm Zire 22. It won't play nicely with my Nokia Bluetooth headset. The browser falls over on a regular basis.
However the product design is gorgeous and you can keep it in your pocket rather than wearing a 'beat the crap out of me and rob my belongings' holster. And it doesn't have an antenna like the Treo that is designed to dig into your groin.
Nova Media do a great third party conduit for iSynch on the phone and the PC synch software is better than Palm's offering.
Much Better Than That!
I've been useing the E61 for a couple of weeks now and not having anything other than my non-smart phone to compare it to I think it's great.
The set-up of wireless is less than intuitive, but having RTFM its easy enough. I quite happily spent a couple of hours browsing the web without the need for restarts of the phone.
Like the previous comments I got around some initial awkwardness by getting the phone to ask me which connection to use each time. I'v just set-up a more comprehensive access point group and will be happy to let you know how it works in a few days.
I was dissapointed that I've been unable to synch directly with Exchange (we use a HTTPS gateway at my office) but Im receiving POP mail without any issues and my calender and contacts come across from Outlook like a dream.
Im using the phone on the 3 network and it comes with two browsers (or at least two configurations) One uses the mini-map system which is a little fiddly with very large pages, the other renders a page as a vertical column in a smilar way to Opera. Less fiddly but not as pretty.
Call quality is clear and crisp and the screen quality is amazing. I havent found an option for handling Windows DRMso I assume it's unsupported.
Document handling is reasonable. I've been able to read documents on the go without too much fuss.
On the whole a great phone, I'd have given it 8/10
But it fills the gaps in the Blackberry offering
I jumped on this handset as soon as it became available, keen to ditch my Blackberry 8700g handset. I don't regret it, either.
I think this review's a little harsh on the E61 seeing as it does so well to bring a device with push email capability up to the level one would expect with its inclusion of WIFI and 3G.
I am disappointed with its slightly spongy keyboard which misses my attempts at keystrokes from time to time, resulting in me being confused by its other annoying characteristic - some occasional hesitance in operation.
Having said that, it builds on any blackberry handset with; 3G & WIFI (just in case you missed their mention first time around), external memory, 'open' OS which makes a wide range of 3rd part apps available for it at much less than blackberry pricing and overall a more usable device - getting photos and text on and off it for example, ever tried that on a bloody blackberry?
Of course, the blackberry has to be acknowledged for its total ease of use. I was always very impressed that whatever you wanted to do at any point and in whatever app, the option would always be there, only a thumbwheel press away... Add to that the consistent responsiveness of the device and it's a joy to use - until you start thinking of it as a smartphone, which it clearly isn't - wanna use it as a modem for your Mac? Forget it. Wanna add some less than $30 dollar apps on it? Crank up your wallet some. Wanna copy a file or photo off it? No way..
I agree that the E61 is less than perfect, but at last, I have a device that;
does push email,
I can add apps to,
is open enough to make the data on it accessible,
I can use as a modem for my Mac/PC,
allows me to (finally) ditch the PDA-phone combo.
Incidentally, I cope with the rather strange Access point thingy issue by allowing the browser or other app to ask me each time, when it tries to connect. I know when I'm in range of a WIFI point, or whether I should use a GPRS/3G conneciton and it only adds a second or two to the experience.
I've seen this device summarised as a good first try. I wouldn't argue with that view too much, but I *am* impressed and so look forward to the subsequent iterations of it with some optimism!
Same problems as E60
I've just returned a Nokia E60 after 2 weeks. The wifi configuration options definately could do with more work and aren't up to Nokia's normal intuitive UI design. Being able to enter the full alphabet into a field accepting a hex WEP key seemed silly.
There was no mention of the excellent SIP support in the review which I successfully configured to operate (even over NAT which Nokia says is not supported) but it was everytime let down by the very poor wifi support. I found that the wifi would have disconnected in the background without informing me and would not reconnect without a power cycle.
I found that using the advanced wifi options I could turn off power saving mode and the wifi would work great - but the battery would then last less than a day.
Almost there but not quite. I bought this phone because of its wifi and SIP but had to return it because the wifi is SO BAD.