Nokia E50 review: Economy business class

GSMArena team, 03 October 2006.
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Ergonomic valley

Nokia E50 keypad is made of a nice plastic which makes touch and feel quite pleasant. Writing with it is not a problem at all. It is divided in two parts: functional and numeric. The numeric part is absolutely standard, the buttons are separately leveled for user’s convenience. The upper, functional part consists of two soft keys on the top row, the joystick in the middle, the Menu and correction C buttons in the seconds raw and the Green and Red “receiver” buttons on the bottom row. The only controversial thing about the keypad is the plastic joystick. It is quite hard and sharp in touch and leaves awful first impressions. But after some time of use you get more than used to it and appreciate its severity as an advantage.

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E50 keypad • functional buttons & joystick

The keypad of E50 assists for fast and easy writing as it is made ergonomically positioned for easy access of the thumbs. The buttons are leveled in an stair-like way which navigates the user’s finger when sliding to find the correct button. Writing in dark conditions shouldn’t be a problem too as the backlighting of the phone is great. It glows in a deep blue color.

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The display implemented in this phone is a TFT one capable of displaying 256K colors at 240 x 320 pixels resolution. As the phone is aimed for the cheaper market hole, it is not packed with a QVGA display of 16 million colors but this one performs quite well. The picture is quite vivid and clear. Regrettably, when looked under direct sunlight the display is almost illegible. Backlighting, on the other side, is quite good.

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Nokia E50 display • backlighting • compared in the dark with N93 display

A phone after all

The signal strength of the phone is great, as can be expected from a 2006 model. The clarity of sound during conversation is also good.

The expensive Symbian comes cheaper

Symbian 9.1 with Series 60 user interface was by far an expensive toy. With this latest addition on the smartphone shelve, Nokia have unlocked the door for everybody. We have done several reviews of other phones with S60 interface running on Symbian 9.1 so we might use some extracts from previous reviews as they stand correct for E50 also.

The active stand-by display is made of 6 icons of frequently used applications. Below this row is a list of calendar events, currently played songs, missed calls or received messages. If none of this events occur, the list is empty and displays “No cal. entries for today”. The top part of the stand-by display is for the signal strength bar, the date and time, the operator name, and battery level bar.

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Active stand-by display

The main menu can be viewed as a matrix grid of 3 x 4 icons or as a list. Most of the sub-menus can be also viewed as grid or list but there are several sub-menus which are in list view only. The speed of the menu is remarkable and Nokia deserves complements for it.

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Main menu • Media sub-menu

Nokia E50 has 70 MB internal shared memory and a microSD card slot for further extension. In a previous chapter we mentioned the hotswap card slot under the battery cover. The phone has no preinstalled themes except for the default blue one. The Send Msg function is available in this phone. This feature allows you to send a predefined message to the caller if you cannot answer now.

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Dexter is calling. Should I answer him or send him a message?

The ringing profiles in Nokia E50 are 6 predefined and the user can create new ones. There is an offline mode which deactivates the phone features of the device. This can be used as a Flight mode. The File manager of the phone can be substituted by the Gallery application which performs perfectly as well. The Clock application in the Main Menu is for defining the current time and adding other cities and time zones.

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Profiles menu • Images view from the Gallery • several cities with their time zones

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