Nokia E65 review

£298
Price when reviewed

BlackBerry proved with its Pearl 8100 that smartphones don’t need to be ultra-wide devices with QWERTY keyboards – for simply reading email or drafting short responses, predictive text can be all you need. The E65 from Nokia looks like a consumer handset – it’s small at 49 x 16 x 105mm, light at 114g, and the way the screen slides up to reveal the keypad definitely gives the E65 a consumer touch.

But don’t be put off by the traditional handset looks – Nokia has squeezed in a number of features that make the E65 more than a match for the Pearl. 3G networks are catered for and, unusually for what looks like a straightforward phone, 802.11b/g wireless as well.

The latter is useful, as the E65 has a number of data functions, which you can access without needing to connect to an expensive 3G network. The E65 works with push email, either on Blackberry Enterprise Server or through the appropriate Microsoft Exchange extension, as well as supporting POP3.

It also works as a SIP client. All you need to do is set up a SIP-compatible VoIP account (we used www.voipbuster.com) and enter the appropriate settings into the E65. The next time you dial, simply select Internet Call from the options menu. Call quality over both a 512Mb/sec and 2Mb/sec ADSL connection was indistinguishable from a GSM call. While the economy of making same-country calls over VoIP is debatable, making lots of international calls over a wireless VoIP connection could save you significant amounts.

The E65’s 2.4in 240 x 320 pixel display is enough for web browsing, even on websites that aren’t optimised for mobiles. Navigation is easy, with the directional pad controlling a mouse pointer. The downside is the standard phone keypad, which makes writing emails – even brief two-line responses – time-consuming. The operating system is Nokia’s venerable Symbian OS, which has plenty of software available for it (see www.s60.com), but it’s comparatively sluggish, even for simple tasks such as sending SMS messages.

Features such as 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, push email and SIP compatibility make the E65 incredibly well rounded as both a business and personal phone. For simply monitoring your email inbox, the E65 is a very useful device, but it’s extremely hard to compose emails unless you’re happy using txt spk. For practical web browsing and full-time email, a full-blown smartphone such as the Nokia E61 remains the more practical alternative.

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