Review: Nokia E65

23. May 2008 at 16:29

The E65 was announced in February 2007 at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona together with the E90 and the E61i.

It is Nokia’s first ESeries-device with a slider. Two weeks ago I received a trial-device from WOM World in the rare color “Soft Black” and today I want to share my thoughts and experiences about this device with you in this review.

Sales Package:

The Nokia E65 comes in a blue box which looks like every other E-Series box. On the front you can see a picture of the Nokia E65 and on the backside there are some trademarks and the most important features for a business-user written down in six different languages. On the left side of the box there’s written “Nokia E65” in big white letters. On the right side there’s written “Nokia Eseries” in white on a red background.

If you open the box the first thing you will see is the phone itself, the battery and the mono-headphones. Of course the phone isn’t presented as beautiful as an Nseries phone, but because it is an Eseries phone it doesn’t need to – the package needs only to be practical for the user.

The next thing you will see if you take out the first floor is the DVD with all the applications, like the Nokia PC Suite, you need to start. The DVD is in a nice little box. Under the DVD there is the “get started”-manual and the normal manual. The manual has about 110 pages.

On the bottom of the box there are the charger, the USB-cable and a carrying-bag. The carrying-bag is made out of a soft, thin cloth in black.

Overview of the package contents:

  • Nokia E65
  • Battery BL-5F with 950mAh
  • Charger AC-4
  • Mono-Headset HS-5 (black)
  • Connectivity Cable CA-53
  • Carrying Pouch CP-18
  • DVD
  • “Get started”-manual
  • Manual

Built Quality:

The Nokia E65 seems to be Nokia’s best built slider-device yet. My first impression when I slided it the first time was great. The slider slides some kind of “soft”. If you push up the slider about the half way it will slide up automatically the rest of the way, this will also happen if you slide it down again. When it arrives on the top there’s a “clack”-noise, which sounds pretty good. This sound is also there if you slide it down again. The slider isn’t wobbly and its tolerance to the right and left side is in an acceptable dimension.

The battery-cover is very stable and if you to want to move it you won’t have a chance – this is the best built battery-cover I have ever seen. The battery-cover is coated with some kind of leather material which feels very nice in your hands. The chromed front of the device seems to be very scratch-resistant.

The gaps between the phones’ components are small and no one of them looks bad.

All in all the phone is built very solid and it feels like it is one piece – you won’t feel any gaps, transitions or corners, every part of the phone is rounded.

Keys:

On the whole phone you can find 32 keys. On the front of the slider, directly under the display, there are 15 of them:

  • Left soft key
  • Right soft key
  • “Call to”-key
  • Contacts key
  • Own key
  • Mute key
  • Green send key
  • Red end key
  • Menu key
  • Clear “C” key
  • Navigation key middle
  • Navigation key up
  • Navigation key down
  • Navigation key left
  • Navigation key right

On the right side of the device there are 4 further keys:

  • Voice recorder/voice recognition key
  • Edit key
  • Volume up
  • Volume down

On the right side of the top there is the typical power button, it has 6 functions:

  1. Turning on the device
  2. Switching of the device
  3. Choosing a profile (e.g. Meeting)
  4. Lock keypad
  5. Lock phone
  6. Remove memory card

Under the slider there is the numeric keypad with the usual 12 keys 0-9, * and #.

Let’s start with the keys right under the display. The keys under the display have a firm pressure-point, which is very great. The keys are good to use even with fat fingers, the smallest keys are the menu- and the clear-key. These two keys are directly under the navigation-key. They’re small, but I think if you have fat fingers you can use them also very good, because they’re placed convenient. The navigation-key itself is easy to use because of its pressure-point. The left and right soft-keys are a little bit higher than the other keys so you won’t have problems with them.

The keys on the right side of the device aren’t that good. If you press them you have to press them down very much and because they’re so small people with big fingers will have problems with them. More over power button on top of the device has the same problem like the keys on the right side.

The numeric keypad is very good. The space under the slider is fully used, that means that the keys are big and good to use with every kind of fingers. The numeric keypad has some kind of soft-touch coating, which feels very nice if you’re typing in something. Typing in long text with the keypad is no problem.

The lighting of the whole keypad is in white. The white lighting seems to be a little bit low, I mean it isn’t as bright as the lighting of the N95 8GB. But this can also be a good thing: Your eyes won’t get stressed with the bright lightning and the people around you, especially in a dark area, can’t notice your mobile phone so good. Unfortunately the keys on the right side of the device aren’t lighted so you need to know every single one of the four keys to use them also in dark places.

Size:

The official weight of the E65 is 115g. Sounds much, but if you have ever used the device you can see that it doesn’t feel very heavy. The weight sounds not as good as it is, but if you read the size, which is 105 x 49 x 15.5 mm, I’m sure you will believe that the device is very handy. The E65 is the smallest device with Symbian S60 I have ever used. I think Nokia has done the size very well – it will fit every suit. The weight is also great – just bear in mind the top quality chromed front of the E65 – this front has its weight. And believe me, if you use the E65 you will not notice the weight of 115g.

Multimedia:

The E65 isn’t a multimedia-device, but you can also play music and videos with it, just like in every other S60 device.

For many videos and much music you need to have much storage. The E65 features a built-in memory of 50MB which is expandable with microSD memory-cards. This means you can upgrade your storage up to 2GB. I think this is enough for business-users. Unfortunately there’s no memory-card included in the sales package, which very disappoints me.

A camera for snapshots – today almost every mobile phone features one. The E65 also has a camera: It is a 2 megapixel camera (1600 x 1200 pixels). The camera is conceived for snapshots, that means it doesn’t have Carl Zeiss optics or even a autofocus. A thing that isn’t good – even for a snapshot-conceived camera – is the missing flash. There is no kind of flash and so you can’t take pictures in the dark. The only thing you can do if you want to take a picture in bad light-conditions is to activate the night mode. The camera has no mode for close-up shots, thus you can’t make photos of any documents or something – very disappointing for a business-user, bear in mind: The E65 is made for business users.

The images you can capture with this 2 megapixel snapshot-camera are okay for the phones’ display, but if you want to make more with the camera you should buy a stand-alone digital camera or think about buying the E90 which makes great pictures.

You can also record videos with the phone at a highest resolution of 352 x 288 pixels and 15 frames per second. The videos are okay for YouTube and to watch them on the phones’ display.

Here you can find some sample images and a video I’ve captured with the E65.

More over with the E65 you can play music. Playing music is something that almost every mobile phones nowadays can do. The E65 features only a mono-headset and a built-in mono-speaker. The headset only has one earphone and a microphone, so that you have one ear free and the other for phoning. The quality of this headset is okay, but nothing special compared to the N95 or another multimedia-phone. The mono-speaker is placed on the right side of the device and if you play music over it, the music sounds good in gentle volume but if you want to listen to loud music over it it isn’t very good. To improve the music quality, you have an equaliser with 6 modes – Default, Bass booster, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock.

Business:

Nokia E(nterprise)-Series, that’s the name of the E65’s “family”. Enterprise means “power” to a business-user. But is the E65 a real business device? You can’t compare it with the E90 of course, but I have to say: It definitely is a business device!

The device features five special keys for the business-users among us. The keys are for very quick access to different features that are very important for such a business-user. With those “quick-access-keys” you can enter your contacts, mute a call, call to somebody fast, access the voice recorder and finally access a application defined by yourself via the own key.

Over the main menu you can enter the office folder which contains all the things for business – calculator, teams, quickoffice, notes, converter, message reader, screen export, printer, clock, adobe PDF and finally the zip manager.

As you maybe noticed there are several things that you don’t know from “normal” S60-devices, e.g. message reader. It seems that this applications are especially for Eseries devices. They’re interesting for business-users.

The application “teams” is to create teams of users to work together in a conference. You can e.g. phone all the members or write messages to them. There are many other options – too many to mention them here. The application is very good. Another special application for the business-users is the message reader. As the name says it is a application that reads your messages – I’ve tested it with some of my messages and it works fine. The last application for business-users I want to mention here is the screen export. With this application you can export your phones’ screen to a projector – great for conferences or meetings. Unfortunately I haven’t tested this application because I don’t own an projector.

Display:

The E65 has a display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and 16.7 million colors. The display has a screen size of 2,2 inches (5,6 cm). It is very sharp and readable in almost every situation. You can read it also in very bright places, e.g. on a sunny day outside. The font is small and made nice, so that you can’t recognize pixels while reading. The symbols in the menu are also looking good.

Connectivity:

With the E65 Nokia offers you many ways to keep in touch with the world around you. The small device features wireless lan, 3G, GPRS, EDGE, IRDA and of course bluetooth. It can also find you where the place is with A-GPS and external bluetooth GPS.

The wi-fi is as fast as the one of the Nokia N95, but isn’t so fast as the N95 8GB’s. In my test the connection via wi-fi worked well without abruptions. Sometimes the E65 needs a few searches to find the router you want to connect to.

Of course you can surf the web or write e-mails with the E65. The web-browser is well arranged and setting up your e-mail address is easy.

The speaker of the phone is clear while calls and if you turn the loudspeaker on it is also okay. One thing that disappoints me is that the speaker of the phone isn’t as loud as the ones built-in in the Nseries phones.

The E65 does not have a second camera, that means you can’t make video-calls.

The bluetooth connection is fast. In my test I sent a song with 4.8 MB in 1 minute and 36 seconds to my N95 via bluetooth.

The other, slower method to send files to another mobile phone is the built-in infrared. In the E65 it is placed on the bottom of the device, and if you don’t know that the thing there in the bottom is the infrared you can’t recognize it – it fits very good with the whole design of the phone.

Usage:

The device is based on Symbian OS. It runs with S60 3rd Edition (no Feature Pack 1). It is the same operating system like in the most Nokia mobile phones. I can’t say much about the time you need to get used to it because I work with S60 since the N70, but as a new user it is very tricky to find the menu. Many of my friends don’t know how to get into the menu when they first get in touch with a S60 device – most of them press the middle of the navi-key, which is not right. If you want to enter the main menu you will need to press the special, blue “Symbian-key”.

If you use the device a few hours and know which key is for what, I think you will like S60. The menus are arranged very well and a new user should get used to it in about one or two days.

If you don’t like the menu structure you can create new folders, delete some, move applications as you want to or change the menu view from grid to a list. For those people with bad eyes you can also change the size of the phones’ fonts.

With S60 3rd you can install many applications on your phone. In the world wide web there are so many developers for free applications and themes, that you won’t miss anything.

If you don’t know anything you don’t have to take out the manual. In the menu you can find a very useful folder with help. This is just great. Everything about the phone is included and explained with animations very easy.

The device is also good for multitasking. The E65 features a processor with 206 MHz and the free RAM in standby-mode is about 19 – 21 MB, which is good and allows the user to navigate fast through the menus.

Battery life:

Business-users need to have a good battery life. People who travel a lot can’t charge the phones battery every day. The E65 comes with a Nokia BL-5FA battery with 950 mAh. This battery is also used in the N95, but as a Computer 2.0 the N95 needs much more battery than the business-slider E65. Some people maybe think that the battery life is as poor as in the N95 – but that’s not correct. In two weeks of regular usage and testing all functions as a power-user I only needed to charge the phone three times. Very good for a todays’ mobile phone, isn’t it?

Verdict:

The Nokia E65 is a great device for all kind of users. It is super for the business-users among us, but the normal users will also like it. It has a great design – especially the chromed front and the leather-like backside. The size of the phone is small and the built-quality is great. The slider seems to be one of the best Nokia has ever built and the screen is sharp and bright.

The feeling of the device is great thanks to it’s nobly materials and all the rounded corners. It features all connectivity-possibilities a business-user will need. With the pre-installed office-applications no man of business is going to be unhappy.

The only bad points about the E65 are the missing combination to lock the keypad, the missing miniUSB-connection and the missing 3.5 mm headphone-jack.

All in all the device has a great price-performance ratio and if you’re searching for a smart, handy and good-looking business-phone you can buy the Nokia E65 without a bad conscience.

Previous posts about the E65: