Nokia E63 Qwerty keyboard smartphone
E71 pared back for price
Review Last year, Nokia introduced the E71, a do-it-all smartphone clearly modelled on recent examples of the Qwerty-keyboard toting BlackBerry. Unlike many other would-be BlackBerrys, it proved to be a worthy rival, with a solidly functional keyboard, fault-free push email, 3.2Mp camera, A-GPS, HSDPA 3G and Wi-Fi, all in a slimline package. The E63 misses out on a couple of functions, but basically it's a cut-down version of the same phone.
Nokia's E63: the E71 minus a few bits
The first evidence of scaling down is the casing. Where the E71 has a solid metal shell, the E63's is all plastic, shiny on the front, and a tactile, matte finish on the back. Practically, there's little difference, since the E63 is only a gram lighter than its cousin, and while the E71 might feel like the sturdier model when the two are held together, the E63's sturdy plastic doesn't feel like a sell-out. If anything, the warmth and tactile appeal of the slightly rubberised plastic is an improvement on the coldness of the E71's metal.
At 113 x 59 x 13mm, the E63 is a couple of millimetres wider and thicker than its predecessor which, if anything, helps it slightly with the greater room afforded the Qwerty keyboard, which is spectacularly easy to use either with one or two thumbs. The keys are of the same rubberised plastic and raised in the middle - making them nice and easy to identify and grip - but also slightly larger those on the E71, which raises the ease of use score, without sacrificing much in the way of pocketability.
The four-line, 39-key layout is actually more practical than that seen on recent BlackBerrys like the Bold 9000 or the Curve 8900, since you can access important characters like the full stop and @ with a single press - though the greater spacing on the BlackBerrys means it's easier to text without looking at the keyboard.
Slightly larger than the E71 but no less pocketable
Above the keyboard are a square navpad - sadly, it doesn't double as a touch-sensitive clickwheel - flanked by four 'one-touch' keys which act as shortcuts to the home page, the diary, contacts list and messaging apps, as well as call start and stop and two soft-menu keys. Stop now doubles up as the power button, as it has been with almost every manufacturer except Nokia for ages.
3G / HSDPA
It does do 3G, just not HSDPA. That's 350kbps.
HSDPA can be 5Mbps. It can also be 50kbs. The HSDPA omission is only a issue using it as laptop modem in a good signal area.
If you REALLY want Mobile Internet for the laptop a dedicated modem is better anyway, so you still have a phone while online.
I have to agree with Mighty Dosser
RIM have right fked it up with the whole 3g malarky. So much so I'm trying to negotiate a return of my Bold for the new updated Curve WITHOUT 3g. Yes Nokia have probably the most experience of putting 3g in phones, but it's not the dog's bollocks selling point any longer. The continuous availability of full on 3g is so patchy you can bet Nokia et al have had a right good look at this and came to the conclusion the gains of adding 3g to a device is largely negated for all but the heaviest data users. So bang out a cheaper device using older, cheaper technology, deliver a solid stable product, and make a tidy profit. You know what? I'll take this Nokia any day now after the screw up of the Bold and my previous 3g enabled device.
surely more of a cost reduced E61i
The E63 looks more like a funky version of an E61i, with a couple of ideas borrowed from the newer Nokia line ups, i.e. the dual home / work screen, rather than a single homescreen.
Given the price that the E61i was closed out at, just over 200UKP, it doesn't look that much of a bargin.
Shame 'cos I really wanted to replace mine with something better.