posted by Eugenia Loli on Thu 8th Jun 2006 16:32 UTC

"Nokia E61, Page 2/2"
The bad

This device, being one of the first using the updated operating system and front-end, has a few problems. For some people the problems I will describe below might not be very important, but for some it might be.

First of all, while the absense of a main camera is a correct decision, the absense of a video-call camera I am not so sure about. Especially when you can start recording a confidential meeting without anyone figure out that you ever did (it's a simple push of a button). Please note that the device is able to receive video calls! The user can send out a static picture, but can receive normal video. Also note that video calls require a 3G environment and the WCDMA 2100 Mhz frequency is not supported in USA. This phone will work as 3G mostly in Europe.

Secondly, I can't understand the position of the IrDA. It is next to the pop-port at the bottom of the device instead of the top. It's close to impossible to use the IrDA as a modem or send a file, because IrDA is facing your... stomach instead of the other IrDA that it's supposed to connect to.

My other gripe is VoIP. It doesn't work. To be more precise, it does work for some people (especially for those who run local proxies), but it doesn't work for others (and yes, we all run the same April 19th firmware version). It seems that the NAT environment you are under has an effect on this too, while there is no STUN configuration support. I tried both Ekiga and Gizmo Project, but none registered. Nokia knows about these problems and they are fixing them in the next Feature Pack. Unfortunately, the currently-sold phones (with the current firmware) are not upgradable right now though, so you existing phone users of the E and N series won't benefit from the release of Feature Pack 1. Many of us will never get VoIP working.

Regarding IM, the current firmware of E61 has a bug and so it doesn't connect to YamiGo (which is the only good source of the Wireless Village protocol that gives you access to AOL, WV, Y!, MSN and ICQ at once). A little bird from Finland told me that this bug is fixed for a future firmware on the E61, but again, us current owners, will never get IM working via YamiGo (and YamiGo.com doesn't care to go around the E61 bug either).

Finally, while the S60 3rd Edition offers a very nice experience, it could be better: Pixels are wasted in favor of good looks (lots of empty space and big fonts at times). Terribly long menus sometimes (e.g. on Contacts), and on Settings you will find menus, inside menus, inside menus. You lose count where you are each time... Some of these configuration panels require cleaning up. For example, for VoIP you have to go to Menu/ Tools/ Settings/ Connectivity/ SipSettings/ ProfileName/ ProxyServer/. And when you finally create a new profile, then you have to go 3 folders back to "Internet Tel Settings" to make some more adjustments. And when you are done with that, you have to then go to Menu/ Connectivity/ Internet/ Tel/ Registration/ Status/ in order to start it up. That UI is just not clean. And the WiFi & access points and access point groups is as confusing as well.

Another gripe with Symbian (on both UIQ and S60) is the fact that when you send a file via Bluetooth it puts it under "messaging" (like supposedly you received a new message) instead of putting it on the filesystem directly. This is really bad, because in my case I wanted to have my own portal index.html page and unfortunately, when clicking the Bluetooth message (that I sent the html file via it), it either opens Opera which FAILS to load this local file, or when uninstalling Opera, it loads the S40 browser port instead of the S60 browser. A mess. There is no way to SAVE the file to the file system from inside Messaging, and there is no way to bookmark the file as your homepage (which is important for me who wants a local portal mobile page). It gets worse: when the file is loaded with the S40 browser, there is a "save page" option. But it doesn't save the file to the visible part of the filesystem, so that didn't help me either to what I wanted to do. In my opinion, details like this show that the Symbian OS hasn't un-glued itself 100% of the "simple phone OS" place to a fully-featured OS that the user can take control of his/her files.

Finally, I would have preferred Nokia becoming more compliant with common standards. Now that they have embraced miniSDs instead of the mutant RS-MMCs (as I call their dual-voltage ones), they should put the pop-port to rest and include a normal 2.5" audio jack and a mini-USB jack for both charging and data connecting. There is no better convenience for a business man to have a single USB cable to charge his mp3 player, his phone, his PDA, and Bluetooth handsfree/headphones via his laptop while away on a business trip!

Conclusion

Overall, this is actually a great device. Remember, this is the first of its kind coming out from Nokia. In my opinion, this device is much more stylish than either the Treo or the Blackberry, and its voice features works very well. In my opinion, this device can even replace PDAs on the enterprise, as more and more third party applications are ported every day to this updated S60 platform. I like this phone very much, despite of some of its bugs due to the young age of the firmware.

Pros
* Amazing screen
* WiFi 802.11g support
* Very usable keyboard
* Speedy 3D game support
* Great web browser options
* Fast CPU, Symbian flies on it
* Solid, modern operating system
* Lots of useful business software
* Good Gmail support via the email client
* Good multimedia experience (despite no A2DP/AVRCP)

Cons:
* No video-call camera
* Badly positioned IrDA
* No 3G support in USA
* VoIP is a hit & miss experience
* IM doesn't work with YamiGo service
* Too many levels of menus in some instances
* No "Save" option for files received via Bluetooth
* Scattered settings/utilities on some related functions
* Pop-port connector not as standard as 2.5" audio jack & mini-USB

Overall: 7.5/10

Table of contents
  1. "Nokia E61, Page 1/2"
  2. "Nokia E61, Page 2/2"
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