QWERTY or numeric, the eternal question that has divided mobile phone users over the years. With the recent launch of its new E-series for the year, the Nokia E71, consumers have been raving about its features and functions, not to mention the intuitive QWERTY keypad that comes with it. Lest one thinks that there's no love for the numeric keypad crowd, Nokia has also introduced another upgrade to its previous Nokia E65 device, the Nokia E66.
Sticking to its sliding form factor as seen on its E65 predecessor, the E66 sports the executive finesse as expected on an E-series phone. Though its weight at 121g is more than the E65's 115g, the greater weight felt non-existent to us. Similar to its E71 cousin, the E66 is designed with the same metallic chassis that is cool to the touch, but the similarities ends there.
Due to a thinner profile of 49.5mm, the E66 utilizes a standard 12-key numeric keypad which was easy on the fingers, in part due to the slightly raised keys. To provide a smooth and clean look, the navigation pad is subtly hidden and can only be seen with the backlit on, revealing the Home, Contact, E-mail and Calendar buttons in a clockwise placement surrounding the standard five-way navigation pad.
As usual, the standard volume and camera buttons are found on the device's right profile with the power button located at the crown. Understandably, the E66's positioning as a business-oriented phone sees a 2.5mm audio jack on its left profile, with a microUSB below it. While we were going through the device, we wondered at the microSD expansion. Unfortunately, we got the answer only after we opened up the battery casing and discovered the microSD slot hidden inconspicuously at a top corner, thus rendering it very inconvenient for swapping purposes.
The E66, first and foremost, is designed to be a work-efficient device, which is evidently so with its various connectivity options such as WLAN 802.11b/g, HSDPA and GPS with A-GPS. But more importantly, it's also a sleek and chic companion in your daily routine, hence the mode-switching function, seen earlier on the E71, makes another appearance over here.
Powered by the Symbian OS version 9.2, S60 3.1 Edition, we had a snappy experience with the E66's interface, with minimal lag. Blackberry Connect is no longer supported on the E66 though, so users will be dependent on their POP3 or IMAP4 protocols for emails. Nonetheless, there are a few interesting additions to the E66's features, such as support for Windows Live and S60 applications like Sports Tracker and many more.
Equipped with a 1000mAH battery, the E66's performance on the road was quite exceptional, considering that we had fully utilized the Wi-Fi and and Bluetooth connections. Usage of the GPS module, which was average in the satellite lock in comparison to the faster experience we had with the Nokia 6210 Navigator, was mixed with an average amount of voice calls and messaging. While the E66 doesn't quite have the wow factor as the E71's three days of usage, it came pretty close with slightly more than two days before it bowed out.
With so many devices under its wings, we can safely say that the E-series lineup have not disappointed consumers over the years with its plethora of features that greatly enhances both your work and personal routine. The Nokia E66 is another good representation of how a device can effortlessly mix both work and pleasure at the same time, without compromising on either aspects. And when it comes to the retail pricing, you probably won't be compromising despite its S$798 price tag, since you'll get a stylish phone that's also a trusty scheduler to keep your life organized.