Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Can be used without a SIM card, quick e-mail access, GPS, 3G-capable
- Complex menu system, no camera for video calls, speakerphone is not loud enough, heavy and slightly longer-than-normal design
The E51 has some questionable design choices, which have dragged down the overall quality of the product, but it's a sturdy phone with all the features a business user could possibly need.
Price$ 679.00 (AUD)
With many built-in applications, a 2-megapixel camera, MP3 music player, GPS, and FM visual radio feature, the Nokia E51 will tempt not only business users, but the average consumer as well. Not to mention Telstra CDMA customers who need to changeover to the Next G network, as Telstra plans to close the former network sometime this year.
While Nokia is well known for producing user-friendly phones, we started off thinking the E51 wouldn't stray from that course, but in the end found it to be a little cumbersome to use. There are four shortcut keys to take you to the popular features in a single press; e-mail, phonebook, calendar and home menu. However, the menu system can be a little complex depending on what you need the phone to do. For example, you have to go through four sub categories just to change the ringtone.
As for its call quality, conversations on the E51 were clear with no echo; however, listening to someone on speakerphone wasn't loud enough and would not be suitable for busy areas. Strangely enough, listening to music on speakerphone was loud and clear.
With average looks, the E51 won't win any beauty contests; it's quite slim, but longer than usual and slightly heavy at 100g. Available in black, silver or bronze finishes, the casing feels strong and well built. Our only real complaint with the design is the select keys and rubberised buttons along the side (for volume, power, and record), which can be a little hard to press. Although, it could be argued that the stiffness of these keys means you are less prone to accidentally press them while in the midst of a conversation.
Transferring your phone book from a previous phone (we used a Sony Ericsson) to the E51 was easy and quick to do, but it unfortunately didn't copy everything over and if you have multiple numbers under the one name, the E51 separated them and listed the name multiple times with the different phone number. You'll have to manually enter that person's home number, mobile, e-mail and etc. It's a shame, but there is no way around it.
The E51 comes equipped with a 2-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, but we were a bit surprised at the omission of a flash and front-mounted VGA camera for video calls. The camera's photos displayed excessive image noise and poor colour reproduction, but not a bad result considering the phone is targeted primarily at business users. The camera doubles as a video recorder, with a resolution of up to 320x240 pixels.
When it's all said and done, the E51 is a nifty phone to use for productivity. It has Zip manager, Quickoffice, Adobe Reader and Active Notes to make it easy to read and transfer files while on the go. With Bluetooth capability, you can hook up a wireless keyboard to the phone, which will make it easier for typing e-mails or when using Quickoffice or Active Notes. Team suite is another useful app where you can enter multiple names and numbers of people in your team who you can efficiently contact for a quick meeting over the phone.
So you'll never get lost, the E51 includes GPS, so it's convenient to check out where to go for client meetings. Landmarks can be recorded on to the phone, as well as navigation and recording a trip's distance.
Other features include a voice recorder and Java games, as well as the standard suite of PIM (personal information management) functions consisting of alarm, calendar, to-do list, calculator and stopwatch functions.
Connectivity is well-featured with native 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, infrared and USB 2.0 (via a standard mini-USB jack). Meanwhile, GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA data protocols are featured for network connectivity and high-speed online data transfer. The E51 has 128MB of internal memory, though a 256MB microSD card is included in the sales package.
Talk time is estimated at 4.4 hours according to Nokia, while standby mode lasts 13 days (approximately 312 hours). Another bonus is that the phone works great when offline without a SIM card, almost like a PDA!
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