While Nokia is arguably better known for its multimedia lifestyle phones, it also offers numerous models geared more toward the more staid requirements of the businessperson. One of the newest such models recently released in the U.S. is the E65, a phone that goes easy on the razzle-dazzle in favor of more corporate-friendly features.
The $450 (when purchased direct from Nokia -- no carrier offers it as of this writing) E65is a quad-band GSM slider-style phone which measures a compact 4.1- x 1.9- x 0.6-inches and tips the scales at a tick over four ounces.
Perhaps acknowledging that business people aren't entirely unconcerned with style, the E65 comes in an attractive hue resembling chocolate (with apologies to LG), and the battery door which comprises most of the E65's underside is made from a soft-touch material that looks and feels a lot like a car dashboard (and we mean that in a good way).
You get 80MB of memory on the E65, of which about 59MB is available for your use. You can up the storage capacity via a microSD slot; and while that slot's behind the battery cover, at least it's not under the battery, so it is relatively easy to get to. (Nokia includes a 256MB card with the E65, along with a full-size SD adapter.)
The E65's battery is rated for up to six hours of talk time or 11 days on standby.
It E65 includes EDGE support for data connections (sorry, no 3G_, but it also has 802.11g/b Wi-Fi built in, which gives you the option of a speedier connection from hotspots or other wireless LANs. Bluetooth 1.2 support is also present.
Front and center on the E65 is a 2.2-inch 240 x 320 display located just above the main cluster of function keys, the ergonomics of which, frankly, could stand improvement. The send, end, and pair of soft keys around the periphery are small, but even worse is that they're virtually flush with the adjacent buttons, which makes it extremely easy to accidentally press a wrong button or two at the same time.
The four keys on the E65's right edge, including a volume control and voice recording button, suffer from a similar malady, as does the standard numeric keypad that's revealed when opening the E65's slideralthough the buttons are slightly raised, they're too flat and close together and can't be easily identified simply by touch. Given that the E65 lacks a full keyboard, you must enter text through the keypad using T9 predictive input, a chore for all but the swift-fingered.
The E65's controls aren't all bad, however. Surrounding the five-way D-pad are four large keys for frequently used functions. Two of these "business keys" call up the contact manager and let you set up a conference call (provided your network supports this, of course). Another one lets you mute the phone easily without having to remember a special hotkey or hunt for the option in a menu. Finally, you can customize an "Own" key to provide quick access to the phone function or application of your choice.
We tried the E65 on both the AT&T and T-Mobile networks in Southwest Florida and while the call quality was good, the E65's speakerphone (the speaker is located on the upper right side edge) isn't very loud; we found it difficult to hear even with the volume cranked up to maximum in a fairly quiet room.
|The Nokia E65 Smartphone.|
The E65 includes a number of voice-enabled features in addition to the customary voice recorder. For example, you can hold down the voice button on the side of the E65 and then speak the name of a contact entry to view or call or an application to launch.
The Smartphone also has its own fairly normal-sounding synthetic voice that can be configured to read messages aloud (in English by default on the U.S. version, but other languages can be downloaded from Nokia's Web site). A related feature called Voice Aid will let you hear certain information spoken to you (such as contact entries, recent calls and phone numbers as you dial them) so you don't need to look at the display.
Given its focus, the E65, which uses Nokia's S60 3rd Edition interface on the Symbian OS, includes a host of business-oriented applications and utilities.
The E65 supports POP and IMAP e-mail (including push e-mail) and in addition to the standard PIM applications like a calendar and contact manager you can use the included QuickOffice suite to view text or MS Office .doc, .xls, and .ppt files. Alas, you need to upgrade to the Premier version for $50 if you want to edit those documents, but given the E65's lack of keyboard it's probably not worth the extra expense.
If you need to check in with colleagues frequently while on the road, you may appreciate Nokia's Team Suite utility, which lets you set up various teams and track communications with members. You can also associate conference bridge numbers, IDs and PINs with Team Suite to automate the setup of conference calls.
Other useful applications include Adobe Acrobat, a ZIP file manager and a utility that does conversions for currencies and units of measure. The E65 comes with navigation software installed, though its use requires a separate GPS receiver linked via Bluetooth.
On the back of the E65 is the lens for the integrated 2-megapixel camera. It takes decent shots, but lacks such niceties as a self-portrait mirror or even a flash. The E65 can also capture video 15 fps at a 352 x 288 pixel resolution.
Although not the primary focus of the E65, the phone does offer media applications that support playback and streaming of audio and video (including Real Media and MP3 formats). The E65 doesn't include the Bluetooth profile for a stereo headset, which admittedly isn't likely to be a major concern for business folk.
In addition to the aforementioned memory card, the E65 also comes with a wired mono earpiece/mic that plugs into the same proprietary Nokia connector used to sync the phone. (The included AC adapter plugs into its own jack.)
The E65 doesn't come with a belt-clip or conventional case. And though the smartphone does include a very nice felt drawstring satchel, it does seem a bit incongruous for a phone of this kind.
If you can get past the lack of a keyboard and some ergonomic issues with the keys it does have, the Nokia E65 manages to be a decent choice for those that need a solid business-centric phone without a lot of gingerbread.