Business phones are usually about as stylish as a shiny-suit-and trainers combo, but the slinky Nokia E71 changed this last year with its stylish metallic build.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of its new stablemate. Although clearly influenced by the E71, this Series 60 messenger is Nokia’s attempt at fashioning a more affordable, no frills version. And it seems all of the E71’s charm has been stripped in the process.

Soft metal jacket

Just by handling the E63, you can instantly tell that serious compromises have been made. The E71’s metal bound heft has been replaced with a plastic and soft paint combo. It’s also a tad wider and a lot chunkier than its more slender older brother.

On the plus side, the extra width means the QWERTY keyboard is a lot roomier and although the domed buttons feel spongy under thumb, it’s actually easier to work. Despite these slight design differences, the E63 plays out just like the E71; email set up is a cinch and it’s a pleasure to use.

Prepare for cut backs

Feature cut backs are inevitable but we’re a surprised to see GPS off the menu. Nokia Maps are onboard and if you want to set up your E63 for sat-nav then you’ll have to invest in a separate Bluetooth receiver. Not ideal.

The camera has also been downgraded from 3.2MP to 2MP and is missing essentials like autofocus. The E63’s LED flash is pretty crude but turns into a useful torch with a prolonged press of the space bar.

Overall, picture quality is really only good for wallpapering, MMS and uploading to the web. Video capture is similarly vapid, shooting in a jerky QVGA 320x240 pixel resolution at 15fps.


Well connected

You can surf the web over HSDPA or Wi-Fi, with both loading web pages swiftly. The Nokia browser is incredibly intuitive to use with a virtual mouse pointer and mini map zooming window to help deliver a less frustrating experience.

It may cower in the E71’s shadow but the E63 has one feature its compadre should have fitted: a 3.5mm headphone jack. Disappointingly, the rubber socket cap isn’t tethered to the phone but it’s still a boon and the nicely featured player is eminently listenable and voluminous if you plug in your quality phones.

We can understand Nokia trying to keep the price low but it’s made too many compromises in the multimedia and GPS departments on the E63 for our liking. That said, it remains an easy to use and well connected business and messaging smartie that still has some appeal for thrifty e-mail obsessives.



Stuff says... 

Nokia E63 review

Lacks the E71’s lustre and some key features, but remains a neat and affordable messaging device