Nokia E63

Like its older brother, the E71, the E63 will make an excellent messaging phone, but is for people who need to be connected without the tech trimmings.


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Nokia has taken last year's E61 to the guillotine and, after a few simple strikes, has returned with one of the most attractive smartphones on the market at this time ... hang on, haven't we written this sentence before? Oh yeah, this is how we started the review of Nokia's E71, the E63's sexy twin.

Design
It's back! We loved the design of the E71, with its sleek curves, QWERTY keyboard and landscape display. The E63 shares all of these aspects, plus comes in a range of fun. Our review unit is a cheeky ruby red, but a blue and black are also available.

The stainless steel chassis of the E71 is gone and replaced by soft touch plastics. The keyboard is exactly the same in its layout, though the keys feel more rubbery and kind of tacky, which helps when typing with the tiny buttons. Between the screen and keyboard are an array of shortcut keys — home, calendar, contacts and messages — with a large five-way nav key in the centre. One thing we can't understand is how the E63 features less hardware than its E-series sibling, but manages to be 3mm thicker. The difference isn't too great, though it is noticeable.

On the back of the handset Nokia has included a 2-megapixel camera with a self-portrait mirror and an LED flash. Holding down the space key on the keyboard switches the flash on so you can use it as a torch. Under the battery cover Nokia has wisely included a huge 1500mAh battery pack. The E63 doesn't have a volume rocker on the side of the handset, instead the nav-key changes the speaker volume during calls.

The phone is charged via the standard Nokia charging pin at the base of the phone, and the handset has slots both for USB connections and microSD memory expansion on the side of the unit. Unlike the E71, the E63 sports a 3.5mm headphone socket under a rubber plug on the top of the phone. Strangely, this protective plug isn't attached to the phone so you'll have to stow it in a pocket while you use headphones. Be prepared to lose this plug in the wash as soon as you buy the phone.

Features
The E63 is an interesting mixture of inclusions and exclusions compared with other smartphones available. Its AU$509 price tag should suggest not to expect all the standard smartphone hardware, but you might be surprised at what Nokia has left in. The E63 is firstly a very capable messenger. It sports 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi, but not HSDPA. Most people should find this sufficient for basic mobile browsing and email delivery, though the E63 isn't the phone you'll want to use for mobile broadband sharing with a PC.

Those looking for a full featured business smartphone will find the E63 adequate. Using Nokia's PC Suite you can sync your contacts, calendar and to-do lists from MS Outlook, and share bookmarks with your favourite browser. Microsoft Exchange support is available as is the ability to log your E63 onto your business intranet.

The major difference between the E71 of last year and the E63, aside from no HSDPA, is the lack of an internal GPS receiver, and the price tag as a result. It's rarer and rarer for phone manufacturers to break up the holy mobile trinity of HSDPA, Wi-Fi and GPS, and if we had to drop one it'd probably be Wi-Fi first. There's plenty of people who can live without a GPS receiver, and Nokia is gambling that they are the same people who like red phones. However, we believe GPS is one component you don't think you'll use until you find you're using it all the time.

Performance
If you're happy with the features and components inside the E63 then we can guarantee you love the performance. The interface is as fast as any smartphone available and the battery life is second to none. Nokia estimates the talk time for the E63 to be 11 hours with an astounding 18 days standby time. During our tests we saw three or four days between charges depending on use, more like the BlackBerrys of old than the iPhone of today.

Web browsing is reasonably zippy and the pages render well. We found the navigation of large (data heavy) websites to be a little sluggish, but not so much that it marred our experience too greatly. Media playback is better, videos look fantastic on the widescreen display and play well after being transcoded in the Nokia PC Suite software during the transfer from a PC.

Overall
Should you buy an E63 or spend a little extra and get an E71? This is a tough choice and we don't envy those who are pressed to make it. Do you trade a GPS chip and HSDPA data for a 3.5mm headphone socket, a coloured handset and a cheaper price tag? At the time of writing 3 Mobile is offering the E63 on a $49 per month contract, while Vodafone is offering the E71 for the same price on a similar plan.

We suggest you grab the E71 unless you find this newer model somewhere for significantly cheaper. You never know when you'll use GPS and the option is good to have, and HSDPA data is great if you ever need to use your phone as a broadband modem. Either way it's a win-win situation. If you choose the E63 you can expect the same excellent performance in a very stylish handset.



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Oliveerrr
7
Rating
 

"All in all, it's a good phone for first time users to Nokia. However, I'd look at the newer E72. For parents buying their children their first phone, I do recommended this one."

Oliveerrr posted a review   
Australia

The Good:QWERTY keyboard, Flash, easy to use menu, WiFi.

The Bad:Laggy when it comes to the internet, The 2mp Camera, No front camera.

I've had the phone for almost a year now, and it hasn't been all to bad! One of the better phones I've had, but not quite THE best.
The stylish QWERTY keyboard is simple and very easy to us! Your fingers glide over the buttons without a problem.
The camera has a flash! Wooo! So many camera phones these days are lacking flash, which is terrible at night! But the E63 does indeed have one! HOWEVER. It doesn't turn off!
The menu control is definitely an easy one to figure out.
Best of all! It has WiFi! First WiFi compatible phone I've had. The WiFi is a major bonus.

Now, the phone is definitely laggy in terms of the internet and a few other things. It's a bit of a pain, but it is quite an old phone I suppose.
The camera is terrible! Everything turns out more green than it should - and it's not only my device. Many others are as well like this.
And there's no front camera! I've been busting for a phone that has a front facing camera, and I still don't have one!

LiamS1 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Great Features, Excellent Price"

LiamS1 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Web Browser, Multi-Tasking, Keyboard, Flash Player, Youtube and Battery Life

The Bad:Symbian is confusing. Takes a while to get used to. No Widgets, Facebook App. Camera Low Quality

Purchased this phone a short while ago. As an upgrade from my Sony Ericsson W595. An excellent product. The build is fantastic, and the keyboard is super easy to type on, and even has predictive text, so if you muck up, it'll correct for you.

Media wise, its an excellent playback and download device. Mp3 player, Real Player for videos, Live Streaming for Audio and Video, A dedicated YouTube App, photo sharing app and FM/Internet Radio.

The phone has all your bases covered for messaging, You've got excellent Email support with homescreen notifications, SMS and MMS (You can download an update for threaded text conversations, like the iPhone). And has a built in IM app called 'Chat' its a little odd, but supports most major services like MSN Yahoo and AIM.

Of course if you don't like these, you can always download Skype or eBuddy Instant messengers from the Ovi App Store.
Ovi is something of a let down. There's barely any content available for the E63, and the app is a pain to boot up.

App wise, it supports a whole bunch of stuff. There's an app called Socially, that does Twitter and Facebook in excellent style, complete with homescreen notifications. Skype for free calls to other skype users, and the Google Suite, The Google Search App, Gmail, Google Maps (with latitude and street view) and YouTube.

But it doesnt stop there. The phone comes with the ability to create, edit and share Office Documents. Its really easy to write up a document or create a powerpoint and share it via email. It also supports PDF files, has a built in dictionary, and file browser. It also supports wireless printing, wireless keyboards, online file storage and has a Zip Extractor.

Thankfully there's also an excellent search application provided that will search all your apps, media, messages and the internet available straight on the homescreen.

The Contacts application synchronizes with your facebook contacts and pulls their display pictures.

The phone also has Nokia Ovi Maps, their Navigation application. However seeing as the phone lacks a GPS reciever, you'll have to purchase a seperate bluetooth receiver. Alternatively you can use the free and much better, Google Maps application.

The web browser is fantastic. It has Flash Lite 2.4 and plays Youtube videos directly in the page. You can zoom in or out, check out a full layout of the page, find a term, and a bunch of other stuff.
That said, the bookmarks section is confusing, and is loaded with links that you can't delete. Theres also no tab functionality.

Thankfully, you can download Opera Mobile 11 from the Ovi Store. It supports tabbed browsing, most visited pages, and a crapload of stuff. I'd highly reccomend it.

You can switch between apps quickly by pressing the homescreen key. Closing an app is similar to how you would on a blackberry. Options >> Exit.

When you first get the phone, chances are you'll be bewildered by the phones confusing menu layout. Thankfully, because its Symbian, you can re-arrange and re order anything in any part of the menus. Move one app to another folder, rename things and move them around. The same can be said for the homescreen. Which can either be full of mini-apps for Email, Search and Shortcut icons, or empty.

The battery life is excellent, and the flashlight key is probably the most handy thing you could have on a phone.


Downsides? The camera is really terrible. Coming from a Cybershot phone, the picture quality and interface are horrid. The flash automatically turns on and has the ability to ruin any picture. Pictures come out grainy and it doesnt handle low light well.

The phone interface is in general, ugly and confusing. it'll take most users a while to get used to the quirks and oddities of the system. And its labyrinth of menus for settings. Take my advice and download a theme from the Ovi-store. The updated icons and UI make it much much easier to use.

My only other complaint is the lack of a GPS recieiver. It makes Google Latitude results so much less accurate. HSDPA would be nice too. but 3G speeds are sufficient for IM and internet.

Considering a $600 iPhone? Think not.
This phone does everything the iPhone doesnt,
KEYBOARD, FLASH PLAYER, FM RADIO, MOBILE OFFICE, MUTLI-TASKING AND BLUETOOTH.

LukeM2 Facebook
10
Rating
 

"Best Smart Phone EVER Created!!!"

LukeM2 posted a review   

The Good:Apps, Camera, Flashlight, Fast, Handles pretty much anything you can throw at it, Robust, How Nokia used to be!

The Bad:Choice of ringtones, lack of 3.5mm headphone jack, charger doesn't always stay in so well

Whilst living in the UK I used to use a Nokia E63 on the 3 network. I could pay ?5 (which is what, about $8?) and get 150MB of data, some free texts and unlimited use of Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook and some other nice little extras. I paid ?99 for the phone. It may be made of an entirely plastic construction but it's solid as a rock and can take anything you throw at it.

I miss the phone so much. Since August 2010 in Brisbane, I've been through a BlackBerry Storm 9500, a BlackBerry Curve 8520, and a Nokia E71 - all because despite getting it unlocked, the features of the E63 I loved the most didn't work on Vodafone here. A massive shame. Not even over WiFi would they work properly and I was gutted.

However, after months of struggling to get by on Vodafone I have today purchased a Nokia E63 in black on Optus Prepaid's Turbo Cap Plus. I have a sweet deal! It cost just $119 and I got a $30 recharge from a store in Brisbane after my BlackBerry Storm got wet. The water got under its screen and screwed the whole phone up.

As soon as I get the E63 in my hands it's like a marriage made in heaven. It's a little bit bulky, but that's because it's robust. It handles absolutely everything perfectly: it's got 3G going for it, the Ovi store, it sits comfortably in the hands and texting is a breeze.

Everything has to have some drawbacks though right? Unfortunately I don't want to look too biased as this is my second E63 handset... so I suppose I best at least TRY and fault SOMETHING about the phone?

The camera isn't that great - only 2 megapixels. To be fair if the E63 had been released a few days ago, it would've probably had a better camera as the cost of such hardware seems to be plummeting. But that's ok, I'm not really a photographer, I'm only going to use this camera to take embarrassing little photos of my girlfriend to wind her up later! The only real thing I can find to possibly fault in the Nokia E63 is the fact that sometimes the charger cord slips out of its socket a little bit (if for example I sit the phone on my desk and have it charge off a power strip on the floor, if I knock it slightly, the cord will come loose and it'll stop charging). It doesn't come with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but that's not the end of the world and it does include a fairly good little headset. Nokia have never been one for producing the best ring tones and we all know the good old Nokia tune by now... I quite like it, personally. But it's not the end of the world and we can get it some fresh tones from somewhere else!!

Sarah
10
Rating
 

Sarah posted a review   

hey.

this is my 2nd nokia. my first phone ever being a 3315 lol, the old school brick phone.
since then I've had samsung, LG. and i have to say Nokias have always been the best. this phone, although sometimes drives me crazy just with my long nails and the small keys on the qwerty keyboard, its great. i love it. my LG KU990 died on me randomly, so i got a cheap replacement and for only $120AU its great. the cheapest phone at Kmart that had WIFI. i was expecting a piece if poo but its great!
free games on ovi store (although they're full of ads and need to be connected to the net) lol.

i love it especially after having a cheap touch phone, its great to get back to buttons.

yay nokia!

 

Aditya posted a comment   

The Good:qwerty keypad,screen,internet

The Bad:icons are small they dos'nt look nice.

some features are good and some are bad

MrsPhoneFantic
9
Rating
 

MrsPhoneFantic posted a review   

The Good:Apps, Browser, Looks, Wi-Fi, Planner.

The Bad:Camera, Lack of GPS

I personally find this phone awesome! I don't care about GPS much, so it would rate a 10/10 if it weren't for the camera. Cool zoom, though! It looks very sexy, the browser is actually pretty good for a mobile and I have never had a phone with Wi-Fi. I recommend this phone for anyone who wants a pretty cheap and cool phone.

 

everlast posted a reply   

hey , is the wi-fi free or do u have to pay for it ? :)

 

Lankanman posted a reply   
Australia

you have to have your own internet connection at home. if you have a router you can just connect to that network

Mark
9
Rating
 

Mark posted a review   

The Good:Sturdy, well made, handy features

The Bad:Doesn't have iPhone 'wow' factor. Doesn't seem to support flash

I've had this for about 20 months, and I love it more than I did when I first got it. This phone has been dropped repeatedly (by accident of course ;), and it just keeps on ticking. The speaker is great, very loud and clear, and the loud-speaker option while listening to radio and music stored on the phone is fantastic. The camera isn't bad, and the flash is very bright, which makes a surprisingly powerful torch also, which I use often. It has a good planner section, and is easy to use. This phone ticks all the boxes. It doesn't have GPS (big deal, buy a navman), it doesn't have a massive screen (thought the screen is very good), it doesn't have lot's of useless apps, but it's a rock solid all round performer. It's like a dependable and reliable if a bit boring best friend, not a pretentious moody piece of eye candy, or should I say iCandy ;)


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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia E63

  • Oliveerrr

    Oliveerrr

    Rating7

    "I've had the phone for almost a year now, and it hasn't been all to bad! One of the better phones I've had, but not quite THE best.
    The stylish QWERTY keyboard is simple and very easy to us! ..."

  • LiamS1

    LiamS1

    Rating9

    "Purchased this phone a short while ago. As an upgrade from my Sony Ericsson W595. An excellent product. The build is fantastic, and the keyboard is super easy to type on, and even has predictive te..."

  • LukeM2

    LukeM2

    Rating10

    "Whilst living in the UK I used to use a Nokia E63 on the 3 network. I could pay ?5 (which is what, about $8?) and get 150MB of data, some free texts and unlimited use of Skype, Windows Live Messeng..."

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