Review of Nokia E61i

By: Melissa

We know about the Nokia E61. It's won several awards. It's been among the most popular Nokia smartphones since it was released. It has a large fan base that has fallen in love with the sleek shape and ergonomic design. The mobile professionals adore the ready access to their documents while on the move. For the techies, where multimedia add-ons and connectivity issues are of priority, the E61 is a nifty and powerful tool.

However, there has been one chief gripe. Fans have always been divided about the absence of a camera.

With that in mind, slightly more than a year after the E-series was launched, Nokia decided to release an updated version of the handset. This one marked with ‘í'. The new model features a few small modifications, some cosmetic changes, a general polishing of everything and of course, a camera.

The new Nokia E61i, unlike the previous E61 version, contains a 2 megapixel camera. However, if you are looking for more than an average snapshot, this new feature is inadequate. Unlike many new cameraphones, this one does not come with a Carl Zeiss lens. The Night Mode function is not enhanced with built-in LED light to act as a flash unit although there are settings to adjust the white balance and color tone.

On top of everything, image quality isn't stunning.

Other than the camera, the most striking physical feature of the E61i is the mocha trimming around half its edges, which embellishes the E61's solid uniform silver plastic colour. In terms of size, height and width, the two are similar; the main change is in the thickness. The E61i is a much flatter device compared to the E61 because it tapers from a base roughly the same width as its predecessor to become 'thinner by a few millimetres' at the top. The battery cover, which was previously made of a magnesium alloy, is now completely steel, adding to this business-like air of the E61i with a slicker overall feel.

The Nokia E61i has a large 16M color TFT display with a QVGA (320x240 pixels) resolution – it measures a good 2.8 inches diagonally which is close to PocketPC displays.

Unlike the E61 where we can distinctly feel the menu keys above the keyboard, it's easier to press the wrong buttons on the E61i because there's considerably less space between each key and the surface is slightly flushed. The joystick on the E61 has also been replaced with a four-way rectangular border with a central Enter key which, fortunately, is just as efficient.

Both phones seem to have similar QWERTY keyboards (the small thumb keyboard) at first glance. However, the E61i's individual keys are slightly smaller and their profile slightly more domed. While it takes a little getting use to, QWERTY keyboards have always been one of the most efficient ways to take care of e-mails and messages while on the move. It's well designed and spacey, keys boosting a positive feedback.

The overall effect of the redesign of the control keys is to make the E61i look more modern and stylish than its predecessor. While the E61i probably won't appeal greatly to the current E61 crowd unless they are looking to upgrade for the camera feature, it should attract a new group of users who not only want a phone for work but also leisure.

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