Nokia E61i review: Lens-wear for the messenger

GSMArena team, 04 May 2007.

Connecting…

When it comes to connectivity, Nokia E61i has pretty much got it covered on all sides. You name it: GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi, UMTS, USB, Bluetooth and Infrared. Nokia E61i works with Bluetooth Specification 1.2 and A2DP is not among the supported profiles which makes impossible the use of stereo Bluetooth headset with the phone. But then again, E61i is a business oriented smartphone right form the get go. The supported Bluetooth profiles are Dial-Up Networking, File Transfer Service and Object Push Service.

USB 2.0 is supported with the USB cable supplied in the retail box. When connected to a PC, one of three modes can be chosen for the handset: “Mass storage” - memory card is available as a removable USB drive, no drivers are required; "PC Suite" - standard mode; "Picture Bridge" - direct access to printer, which supports PictBridge.

Fast data transfers can be achieved via GPRS, EDGE or 3G UMTS. You can also try the Wi-Fi connectivity, in which case you have to be near a Wi-Fi hotspot. And while you are at it, feel free to use the available Internet telephony.

The Nokia E61i has the latest support for SIP-based services. You can set Internet calling (VoIP) as the default calling method when a SIP service is available which makes internet calls that much easier.

This E61i comes with a built-in WLAN scanner – something we’ve missed in previous Nokia WLAN-enabled smartphones. Now such an application along with an Active standby screen plug-in is available as an official download for all previous models.

Nokia E61i
WLAN Scanner

Web browsing at its fullest

Web browsing with Nokia E61i is a sheer delight as is the case with all current Nokia smartphones. The web browser makes even very sophisticated pages fit on the screen and displays web pages just as on PC. There is no doubt that the great display helps a lot for this.

There is even a mouse cursor which can be operated through the four-way navigation button. Surprisingly, it works great and is very easy to control. A semi-transparent mini-map of the page shows up on the screen when scrolling a webpage. The mini-map can also be accessed by a shortcut – the “8” key. You can zoom in and out on the page using the “•” and “#” buttons. Of course on E61i all those shortcuts are available by using the blue function key.

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Partial and full mini-map

Most of the sites we visited (including gsmarena.com, take a look at the screenshots) looked exactly like on the PC. Even when loading complex pages, the web browser was operating fast and there was no slowdown in the scrolling speed. The browser also loads Flash clips (not all of them, pitifully) and has no problems dealing with Java Scripts. All-in-all, it’s an impressive job from Nokia. Generally, this browser remains the best mobile browser we’ve seen so far.

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Zoom out • normal view • zoom in

The Symbian web browser is unable to open simple WAP pages so for that purpose the Nokia E61i is equipped with the much simpler WAP browser called Services.

Plan and act

The phone has various organizer applications and features. The Calendar has Monthly, Weekly and Daily view. You can assign Meeting, Anniversary, Memo and To-do tasks in the Calendar. You can also put alarms on those assignments.

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Calendar: monthly, weekly, and daily view

When it comes to applications, the E61i surely has a lot of them. There is the Quickoffice, the Notes application, the Converter, the Calculator, Recorder, the PDF viewer, the ZIP manager, and the Printers applications. The Converter converts Currencies, Area, Energy, Length, Mass, Power, Pressure, Temperature, Time, Velocity and Volume. The calculator is very simple and easy to use. Regrettably, the Recorder has a one minute limit for voice records. This seems quite illogical since the phone has such powerful features, enough internal memory and a memory card slot.

Well, it’s time for us to call it a day and finish the E61i review. There isn’t much to say really – you wanted a messenger handset with a camera and you got it. And it is a really good one. You may remember the couple of questions we laid out when we set to do this review. <#AdRectangle#>

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Converter • Calculator • Recorder • Sample note

The Quickoffice opens and edits various office files such as ones created by MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint. They can be viewed seamlessly. Zooming, Scrolling, Resizing are supported as well. The PDF viewer works quicker than most other similar application we’ve seen around. There is also a Data Transfer application in the Tools submenu. It is used to transfer contacts and organizer items from one Nokia phone to another.

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Word file • Excel file • PDF file

Further on, the phone has an excellent Tutorial tool which describes in a very user-friendly way the main functions of the phone.

Nokia E61i Nokia E61i
Available tutorials • “Navigation” help file

Nokia E61i also has Online sharing support. Using it you can share your images and videos in online albums, weblogs, or in other sharing services on the Web. You can upload content, save unfinished posts as drafts and continue later, and view the content of the albums. In order to connect your mobile directly to a service provider such as Flickr you must download a configuration file.

The Nokia E61i doesn’t have any games preinstalled as it is “business all over” but if you are into it, there would be no problem in installing games of your own. Currently there are plenty of games for the latest version of Symbian S60 for you to download and enjoy.

Final words…

Well, it’s time for us to call it a day and finish the E61i review. There isn’t much to say really – you wanted a messenger handset with a camera and you got it. And it is a really good one. You may remember the couple of questions we laid out when we set to do this review. It’s probably took you several pages until you got here, so let us refresh your memory on those:

  • Is the camera positioning the E61i into another device category?
  • Is it worth exchanging your vanilla Nokia E61 for it?

Well, as our opinion goes, the camera doesn’t really throw the E61i into a different market niche – it can surely earn it some new rivals, but in the end, it remains the second attempt of Nokia at the messenger form factor. It’s always been an increasingly competitive market and Nokia have done their best to make it tougher for the competition.

So getting back to that itching question of all you E61 owners – should I swap mine of E61i or not, we guess that you’ve already found your answer when you bought your Nokia messenger without a camera. The E61i surely offers some really nice upgrades over E61, but considering the probable cost of dumping your used E61 and getting the E61i really doesn’t makes sense.


Our thanks go to Mobile Gadgets for providing us with the test E61i unit.