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The Nokia E60 is a traditional looking rectangle-block styled business smartphone that is a bit clunky but gets the job done with minimum fuss.

Measuring in at 115mm x 49 mm x 16.9 mm, the phone is indeed a bit of a brick, (even Nokia describes the phone’s form as ‘monoblock’!). However, it isn’t an ugly phone, nor is it particularly heavy (117g) considering its range of functionality. That is, the phone is practical and performance-based, rather than particularly innovative in terms of styling. We were a bit worried about the hardiness of the E60, given the review unit came with a few scratches on the body. However, it seems the previous reviewer was just a bit over-enthusiastic, as we actually found that it didn’t scratch easily.

The big bonus of the E60’s considerable length is the wonderfully large screen which supports up to 16 million colours. It is rather luxurious to read email, browse Web pages, compose calendar entries or text messages without intense concentration or squinting. However the pre-emptive dictionary feature (which is useful for texting) was also automatically activated for adding new contacts to your database – this was a bit of a niggle. Mainly because most names aren’t recognised by the dictionary and there was no obvious tool to give you the option to spell it out.

Navigating is also easy via the five-way scroll key – a particularly nice Nokia touch is when navigating Web pages, is the mini-screenshot which gives you an overview of exactly where you are on the page – so you know which direction to move your arrow. The phone is based on the S60, Symbian OS 0.91 operating system.

In terms of connectivity, the E60 offers WCDMA, EDGE, Triband GSM and Internet call over WLAN Broadband modem for PC, it can also support up to six Bluetooth connections simultaneously. Pairing Bluetooth devices, such as the Nokia BH-900 Bluetooth headset was very straightforward and fast. Data or file transfers were also easy and relatively fast.

The E60 supports push email clients including BlackBerry Connect in addition to Nokia’s own Intellisync Wireless Email. Setup wizards are in place to make setting up email simple as well. But if you don’t want push email, the phone also supports POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP protocols. PC synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes is also possible via the Nokia PC Suite.

The dedicated voice key for voice dialing, recording and Push-To-Talk was handy to use. The speakerphone function offered voice coming in loud and clear. It was also nice to have the option of switching to speakerphone with one click, even when the Bluetooth headset was enabled (i.e. without having to switch off the headset).

Battery life was reasonable, though a bit less than Nokia’s guide of GSM up to 3.3-6.4 hours, WCDMA up to 2.5-2.7 hours and VoIP up to 2.5-2.7 hours. The phone lasted about 4-5 days with medium level GSM voice and text use, though this came down to about 2 days with Internet use.

The phone has up to 64 MB of internal memory with a reduced size dual voltage multimedia slot in place, to allow expansion of up to 2GB. The phone also features a multimedia player, but lacks a camera or FM radio – it’s strictly business after all!

Overall, the E60 was simple to use – with the design focus being practicality and ease of use rather than style, thus making the monoblock factor easy to overlook. Keep in mind as well that it is still thinner than full blown PDAs, so it’s a good smartphone alternative if you value push email over constant Web use. But if you want something with more of a PDA formfactor (including the QWERTY keyboard) you could look at the E61. Or for a sleeker, lighter version of the E60, try the latest Nokia business phone, E50. This phone offers extras in the form of a 1.3 megapixel camera but without WCDMA connectivity.

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Nokia E60 |$749 | | www.nokia.com.au 
For: Lots of easy-to-use business features; practical design
Against: Fairly boring monoblock style
Verdict: A function-over-style phone that will synchronise well (and easily) with your business environment

 


 

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