Nokia has unveiled three new additions to its E series of business-centric smart phones at the 3GSM World Congress a while back. As with all of Nokia’s cell phones and smart phones, the U.S. availability of the models was up in the air, but we just got our hands on one today. It is an upgrade to the Nokia E61/Nokia E62, but do not expect any revolutionary changes. Instead, you get some minor design improvements and the addition of a camera as well as Nokia’s Team Office business application. Disappointingly, support for our 3G networks was not added and unlike the E62, the Nokia E61i does not have the backing of a U.S. carrier so you will pay around $400 for an unlocked version of the phone. That said, business users will be well served by the solid performance of the E61i’s messaging and productivity capabilities.
The biggest changes between the Nokia E61i and the Nokia E62 are in design, and the changes are not mind blowing. The first thing you may notice is the E61i has less stuffy silver-and-mocha brown color scheme. There are some controls and components of the phone, such as the power button and volume rocker, that are made out of a grayish-white plastic that seem out of place and detracts from the overall attractiveness of the E61i. As far as size, the smart phone carries the same large footprint as its predecessor at 4.6 inches tall by 2.7 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep, but it is a tad heavier at 5.3 ounces (vs. 5 ounces). The aluminum chassis gives the handset a solid construction, but it is a bit awkward to hold and use as a phone since it has a wider body, like that of a PDA.
Packed with powerful productivity apps and wireless options, the Nokia E61i is sure to be a corporate crowd pleaser. The E61i runs Symbian OS 9.1, Series 60 third edition, and comes with full support for viewing and editing Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents with the Quickoffice suite. We used the included USB cable to transfer all three types of files to the E61i and had no problems opening them; we were pleased that little, if any, formatting was lost. In particular, we were pleased to find we could edit the documents, including the PowerPoint presentations, which is a feature you will not find on too many devices. If that’s not enough, there is a Screen Export function that allows you to display the E61i’s screen via a compatible projector.
The Nokia E61i has a lot of support, but also lacks when it comes to applications on 3GSM networks. It is just not supported and there is such a level of negativity there that is a little upsetting. Despite this, the phone is still a great phone that does many things that a lot of consumers want. It might not be worth shelling out the big bucks for, but it does has advantages that come with the price tag as can be seen.