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Nokia E66 Review


Nokia E66 Review

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We mostly loved the rotation feature except when jogging up the stairs while using the phone, or turning the phone to look up a number while it was sitting on a desk, which created just enough motion to change screen orientation. If you're riding on a bumpy bus or otherwise engaged in a movement-inducing situation, you can disable automatic screen rotation.

The Enterprise Bits

What differentiates an Nseries and E series Nokia smartphone? The differences aren't always immediately apparent given the strong smattering of multimedia features in E series phones and good syncing capabilities and full email client among Nseries phones. E series models have enterprise-friendly features like support for Exchange ActiveSync, Mail for Exchange and Intellisync. As already mentioned, there will be no BlackBerry Connect support for the E66, which is a shame. For the security minded business folk, there's a new encryption application can encrypt the contents of internal memory and cards. There's also secure certificate support, mobile VPN and 802.11 WEP/WPA/WPA2 security.

Though Nseries phones share a similar software bundle (again the lines blur between the two series), the E series certainly has the business basics covered with a full PIM suite that syncs to Outlook/ Exchange and the Mac OS X address book/ iCal (Mac users, download Nokia's iSync plugin here); Quickoffice to view; create and edit MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, Adobe PDF viewer; unit converter, bar code reader (uses the camera for square barcodes); system-wide (and Internet) search, File Manager, translation dictionary, Zip utility; Intranet app (works in conjunction with VPN) and support for Bluetooth wireless keyboards and printers. The phone's address book is virtually limitless and there are fields for just about everything found in Outlook. There's the usual S60 support for groups, and you can assign a ringtone to an individual contact or a group. You can sort contacts by last or first name, but (still!) not by company.

In terms of performance, the E66 runs on a 369 MHz single core ARM processor and it has 116 megs of free internal storage at boot. The phone comes with a 2 gig microSD card for additional storage-- thanks, Nokia.

Phone and Data

Since the Nokia E66 NAM is a quad band unlocked GSM phone, it will work for voice and GPRS/EDGE data with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US as well as any other GSM carrier in the US and abroad. For 3.5G HSDPA, the North American version supports the 850 and 1900MHz bands used by AT&T in the US (T-Mobile US doesn't yet have 3G). It doesn't have the Eurasian 3G bands, so if you travel overseas and wish to use data, it will be EDGE, not 3G. The Nokia automatically configures data and MMS settings at boot by detecting your carrier from the SIM. It correctly configured itself for AT&T and T-Mobile in our tests.

Voice quality is excellent, as we've come to expect from Nokia. Volume is adequate and voice clarity for incoming and outgoing calls is excellent. The speakerphone is loud and clear as well. Nokia phones generally have some of the best RF we've seen, but the E66 isn't stellar. Rather it's a bit below average on T-Mobile's 1900MHz network, getting about -8db weaker reception than the N95, and middling on AT&T's 850MHz GSM network and on their 1900MHz 3G network. Why differences on the same 1900MHz band? Because there are 2 radios in the phone: one handles GSM and the other 3G. If you're in a fringe reception area, especially on T-Mobile, then you may run into problems. If you're in moderate to excellent coverage areas, then the E66 should do just fine.

As with most Nokia S60 phones, the Nokia E66 comes with voice command software and some text to speech features. Again, like most Nokia S60 phones, voice command does a terrible job of recognizing commands, with 50% success rate at best. There's a dedicated voice command key on the phone's side (nested between the volume up and down keys), should you wish to use it.

Data speeds are subjectively excellent, even with a 50% strength HSDPA signal on AT&T's network. Web pages load quickly and Nokia's excellent web browser supports most full HTML sites with excellent fidelity. The only thing we wish for is higher than QVGA resolution on their S60 phones to take even better advantage of the phone's excellent rendering. The browser has a virtual mouse cursor so you need not tab from link to link, supports Javascript, a good smattering of dHTML, cookies, SSL, caching and history.

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