Review: Nokia E63

30. January 2009 at 13:52

 Review: Nokia E63

The Nokia E63 is the latest E-series device and there is no doubt that it looks like the E71. However, is it as good as the E71 which we’ve tested before or where is the E63 targeted?

Main advantages:

  • Low price
  • qwerty-keyboard
  • Strong battery

Main disadvantages:

  • Poor camera


Sales package:

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The E63 comes in a little and handy box .This box contains:

  • Nokia E63 (RM-437)
  • Battery with 1500mAh (BP-4L)
  • Chager (AC-8E)
  • Headset (WH-125)
  • Manual
  • First step sheat

That’s all – no data cable or microSD card. Well, this is obviously driven by the low price. I’d rather see a data cable instead of a 3.5mm headset as almost everybody already owns at least one headset.

Built quality:

Unlike the Nokia E71, which was mainly build out of metal, the E63 offers plastic everywhere you see. However, despite the plastic housing it’s really solid and there are no big gabs,no creek, loose keys, or moving parts. The rubberised back causes that the E63 feels good in the hand and that you actually won’t drop it when your hands sweating. As the housing is rather dull and not shiny it doesn’t attract fingerprints at all. However, when touching the screen you can find a few fingerprints which aren’t to bad.

Size:

Having a full qwerty it’s obvious that the E63 is a little bit wider than normal handsets. However with its 113 x 59 x 13 mm it isn’t like a brick in your pocket. It is neither small but also not that thick and huge. It actually feels quite good in your hand but is nevertheless bigger than the standard phones like the 6220 or the E66.

Keys:

 Review: Nokia E63

Since the E63 is a qwerty device it has obviously a lot keys on its front. Besides this qwerty-keyboard we find following keys under the 2.36” display :

  • Left soft key
  • Right soft key
  • Red-end key
  • Green-answer key
  • Contact key (one-touch-key)
  • Calendar key (one-touch-key)
  • Messaging key (one-touch-key)
  • Home/Menu key
  • Up on the d-pad
  • Down on the d-pad
  • Left on the d-pad
  • Right on the d-pad
  • OK, the middle of the d-pad

Due to the keys are arched they are really good to use, also when they’re looking rather small. They have a clear pressure point and aren’t noisy. Besides this keys you will find the whole compact qwerty-keyboard on the front too. In fact, they are really small and I had really problems using it the first days. However, the more you’re using it the better you will use it. After a while you can write emails or other text really fast and sure.

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The one-touch-keys are indeed pretty handy and useful. So you can jump immediately to the calendar or your contacts. But what to do when you don’t use the calendar or contact book? No problem, you can edit the entries and personalize the keys. So you can use the calendar key as the ‘music key’ or ‘clock key’. You can even select two functions for one key. So either you press it once or you press and hold it.

Unlike other S60 devices the E63 doesn’t have a power-button on the top to turn on/off or to change the profile. So, you need to use the red-end key to do this. This is pretty much like all the other manufacturers do it. Using this key makes it much easier for new users finding the power button. Just press and hold it for three seconds and you turn it on.

If you wonder what the icon on the space bar stand fore I have the answer here. This is the shortcut to open the built in torch. So, when holding the space bar while being on the idle screen you activate the LED flash so that you can use your E63 as a torch. Pretty simple function but nevertheless pretty rare.

Multimedia:

The E63 stores 110MB internal memory. If you want to store data like music, pictures, videos and other data on your E63 you need to buy a microSD card which are available up to 16GB currently. In the test my 4GB microSDHC card worked without problems and even 16GB cards should work too. E63’s 2.36 ” QVGA ( 240 x 320 pixels) screen displays the 16M colours very well. It’s really bright and you can read it also against sunlight. Looking at the screen you can’t even see a pixel.

 Review: Nokia E63

On the back of the E63 you can find a standard 2 megapixel camera without autofocus. Next to the camera you see the LED flash as well as the mirror for self portraits. There is no dedicated camera-key so you have to open up the camera application by using a shortcut or by open it via the menu.The camera application is rather simple but still offers some settings in its tool box or in the options.

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So you can adjust the white balance or colour tone and the flash, set a self-timer or sequence mode. More over it offers a digital zoom as well as a night mode for improving pictures taken in dark light conditions. Here some image samples:

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As you can see the results aren’t mind blowing. There is a lot room for improvements in terms of sharpness, light and the blur but all in all it’s fine for a standard 2 megapixel camera.

You can also switch into video mode and record videos with QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) resolution and 15frames per seconds. This ain’t a world record and already standard but it’s okay for sending videos from one mobile to another or to uploading the videos to Ovi or YouTube. Also here you can turn on the night mode, mute the video and adjust the white balance and colour tone. Here’s a video example:

Music:

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The E63 comes with the now standard music player which is divided into Music and Podcast. In the folder “Music” you can find 6 other folders like ‘All songs’, ‘Genres’ or ‘Albums’.

 Review: Nokia E63

On the top of the device you can the standard 3.5mm audio jack which allows to plug in every headset you like. Unfortunately, the E63 has no dedicated volume keys. So you cannot control for example the volume of the Internet Radio. However, of course you can control the volume of the normal music player easily by clicking up or down with the d-pad. The music quality with the provided headset isn’t that good but if you use other headsets e.g. a Sennheiser headset the music quality becomes much better.

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Just like on your Computer you can create easily own playlists of all your favorite music on your E63, open the Equaliser, choose from 6 different modes and even edit each mode.

 Review: Nokia E63

The usage of the music-player is really easy. The player shows title, artist and if available the album art. You can also playback the music through the mono loudspeaker sitting on the very top of the E63. This one isn’t the loudest but loud and good enough for the living room, bath, class room or car. The music player supports following audiofiles:  AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, M4A, MIDI Tones (poly 64), Mobile XMF, MP3, MP4, RealAudio 7,8,10, SP-MIDI, True tones, WAV and WMA.


Connectivity:

On the connectivity front we have  Wi-Fi, UMTS, Bluetooth, EGPRS, GPRS, HSCSD and WCDMA. More over we find the protected micro-USB port on the left hand side. So, we have several ways getting online and to connect to the computer. The internal email client is good and easy to set up. Having a full qwerty-keyboard emailing is a real pleasure. Downloading the attached html file you can view the email just like you know it from your desktop computer, with all graphics and so on. More over, you can receive emails and with attachments like pictures, mp3 and other files

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Preinstalled on the E63 there is S60’s excellent web browser which allows browsing the full web, being html or wap. More over, you can zoom in and out the pages and download pictures from websites you like. To be up to date you can also subscribe to RSS feeds really easily and read them wherever and whenever you like.

Usage:

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The E63 runs on S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1. I have to confess, that I can’t judge this category that good because I’m a S60 user for some years. However, for a new user it’s pretty tricky to find into the menu. I’ve seen a lot user pressing the navigation key to get access to the menu which is the wrong way. After pressing the home key you can find plenty of icons and some folders. The icons already say what they stand for and furthermore you can read the application’s name. If you don’t like the menu structure you can create new folders, delete them, move the application as you like or change the menu view from Grid to a List. Furthermore, you can choose between several standard themes and hundreds more which are available in the World Wide Web. For those with bad eyes you can also change the front size.

 Review: Nokia E63

Also the home screen is totally customisable. You can activate and deactivate several plug ins, enable a icon bar with applications short-cuts and choose your own wallpaper.

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For totally new S60 user the E63 has a really helpful tutorial application which explains a lot functions of the E63 and how to use them. Thanks to the huge amount of RAM and the ARM 11 CPU with 369 MHz you can navigate fast thought the menu and use a lot application at the same time.

Business and Organizer:

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Obviously the E63 looks like it’s dedicated to workaholics. This Eseries device has its own ‘Office’ folder with a bunch of business applications such as Adope PDF, Notes, Zip, Quickoffice, Intranet, Calculator and a Converter. Here a full list of this office folder:

  • Active notes
  • Search
  • Calculator
  • Quick Office
  • Converter
  • Notes
  • Clock
  • Printers
  • Calendar
  • Zip
  • File mgr.
  • Adope PDF
  • Wlss keybd.
  • Dictionary
  • Intranet

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Quickoffice displays Word, Exel and Powerpoint files. This is the premium version so that you can create or edit Word, Exel and even Powerpoint files. This is really useful and easy, especially since the E63 has a great qwerty-keyboard which allows fast and convenient writing.

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To don’t miss any meeting you have the calendar entries on the Stand-By-Screen. You can create a to-do list, a memo and also some more. The calendar, the contacts and your bookmarks you can sync with the PC using the PC Suite or with Ovi. New text messages, E-mails, and missed calls can be displayed on the Stand-By-Screen too. If there is such a missed event the LED right under the d-pad starts to impulse pretty fast till you pressed a key.

Battery life:

 Review: Nokia E63

The BP-4L battery of the E63 has 1500mAh which guarantee a really long day with the E63. Depending on the usage the E63 should least from more than 1 up to several days.

Other:

The E63 comes with a bunch of total new or with new E-series applications. So you have the already mentioned musicplayer, as well as the Podcast application and the new Nokia Maps and Search. The total new applications are: Dictionary, Intranet, Modes, Encryption, Contact Search and a new Calendar. I like especially the dictionary, Contact Search, Modes and the calendar. Modes is a pretty handy application which allows you to easily switch between two different surfaces with different themes, backgrounds, shortcuts and enabled applications. Furthermore, the E63 includes a free subscription to Files on Ovi, a service that lets you view, download and sent digital content stored on your PC, right from your mobile phone, anytime and anywhere.

 Review: Nokia E63

The contact search allows you to easily and quickly search your contacts by easily typing the first letters. If you search for Norman John you just need to type in #o.

Verdict:

 Review: Nokia E63

E63’s key selling point is indeed the low price and its full qwerty keyboard. It is a good business device which can solve almost every business task. The camera, however, is way to standard and takes pictures just with 2 megapixel. All in all the E63 has a perfect balance between price and functionality.

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