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First Impressions: Nokia E66 Phone

October 1, 2008 in Nokia Phone Previews
The Nokia E66 Phone, Boxed

The Nokia E66 Phone, Boxed

A shiny new Nokia E66 arrived at my door today, and I spent a couple of hours transferring stuff from my old phone, changing settings, and just generally messing around with it. Here’s my initial impressions of the business-oriented slider:

First, the quick summary. No question about it, the E66 is easily one of the most impressive phones that I’ve picked up straight out of the box. It ranks right up there with the original N95.

  • The build quality is excellent. Doesn’t feel plasticky in any way, and the back cover/front sides are entirely metal. It looks, and feels, good. And it has a nice heft too.
  • You’ve got a lot of flexibility with the shortcut keys. The E66 has the same menu (known as the “Home” key) and cancel buttons present in all other S60 devices, but there’s also dedicated keys for contacts, messaging, and the calendar. And you can map two actions per shortcut key through “short presses” and “long presses.” There’s also a PTT button which I haven’t quite figured out how to remap, but the bottom line is there’s a ton more shortcut keys than ever before.
  • While we’re on the subject on keys, the keypad is a little rough and feels a little strange. Also, it seems like the keys ocassionally rub against the slider.
  • You need to remove the battery cover to hot-swap the memory card. But you can hot-swap it.
  • Sometimes it’s the little things that count. There’s a number of tiny improvements that you probably wouldn’t notice on a quick run-through – among those I noticed, you can add a notification light for when you have missed calls or unread messages/emails, holding any key down when the screensaver is enabled turns on the backlight and displays an alternate view (large time and date, possibly other notifications but I’m not sure about this), you can switch between different modes (such as Business vs. Personal) which changes your theme and shortcuts, and you can toggle encryption for your phone or external memory. Wow. Some very cool mini-features here.
  • Accelerometer: pretty much a failure. I wish you could adjust the settings for it because it seems way too sensitive and just fires out of nowhere sometimes.
  • The dedicated camera button doesn’t actually load up the camera application when pressed, but it still functions as a shutter button. Edit: looks like other people are reporting the same issue so it’s not just my E66.
  • Loudspeaker sound quality isn’t very good. Note this is for music, not for actual conversations.
  • Tap/turn to silence: only works when someone’s calling. I don’t see the point, honestly – if you’re holding the phone and someone’s calling you, why just hit the right softkey to silence it? No practical use whatsoever to me.
  • The E66 is a serious fingerprint magnet.

Of course, I haven’t gotten a chance to really test out the battery, which is supposed to be one of the E66′s major shortcomings. Another one is inverted pictures that could be due to something involving the blah accelerometer, but I haven’t experienced that one yet (the inverted pictures, not the accelerometer. That is most definitely blah).

Overall, I have to say – it’s a great phone. It certainly feels like Nokia put a lot of thought into the device, and it’s exceeded my expectations so far.

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