Nokia E6 hands-on: First look

GSMArena team, 12 April 2011.
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Nokia E6 360-degree spin

The Nokia E6 similar to its E5 predecessor is on the compact side of QWERTY messengers at 115.5 x 59 x 10.5 mm. The 2.46” landscape display, large controls (soft keys, call keys, etc.), and a spacious four-row QWERTY cover most of the phone’s front. It not only measures but also weighs quite similarly to the E5 – 133 grams – quite normal for a solid phone with a metal body.

Design and construction

Unlike Nokia E5, the E6 is definitely an attention-grabber. It’s made of premium materials, has better design, looks and even the paint seems to be better. We have to admit it’s one of the most handsome Nokia messengers we’ve encountered so far.

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The Nokia E6

We have the pleasure of the silver version and as we pointed out already it’s quite a looker. Despite its conservative paintjob, Nokia did well with designing and assembling all the stuff on the panel – the keyboard, the display, the battery cover, the camera plate and the control deck below the screen. Despite the E6 is not a uni-body device, it might fool you easily.

The front of the Nokia E6 is all plastic which might occasionally get all smudgy and greasy.

The frame around the phone, the battery cover and the camera plate are all made of metal, while matte plastic has been chosen for the upper and bottom parts of the rear panel.

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The front • the surrounding frame • the battery cover and the camera plate

The landscape 2.46" 16M-color capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 480 pixel resolution takes almost half of the phone’s face. It’s Nokia’s first handset with this resolution and the first QWERTY-bar with a touchscreen. There is nothing so special with the VGA resolution, but the screen is so small that puts its pixel density on par with that of the iPhone 4’s Retina display. We managed to take accurate measures of both screens and calculated the pixel densities of both – they turned out 326ppi for the Retina display and 325ppi for the Nokia E6 display.

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The 2.46” display is one of a kind

The Nokia E6 has an LCD display and relies on the capacitive technology and it’s as responsive as they come. As usual it registers even the slightest touches and it’s even capable of pinch zooming (in the gallery and web browser). Its viewing angles are quite good for a regular LCD screen and the colors are vivid and accurate. People with bigger fingers might have some issues because of the combination of a small size and high resolution.

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Small size and high pixel-density will spell trouble for bigger fingers

Just above the screen we find the earpiece, a bunch of useful sensors and the video-call camera.

Underneath the screen is a spacious navigation deck built around a reasonably tactile and noticeably protruding D-pad. There are three buttons on either side of the D-pad. Call and End knobs are on both ends of the deck, the four soft keys surround the D-pad.

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The video-call camera, the earpiece and light sensor above the screen • A spacious navigation pad under the display

The QWERTY keyboard is virtually the same as those on E5 and C3. The keys are reasonably sized with comfy shape and good tactile feedback. You shouldn’t have any problems typing with QWERTY unless you have really big fingers.

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The full QWERTY keyboard promises hassle-free typing

The right side of the Nokia E6 is quite crowded. The volume rocker is on top, but it’s separated with a middle key for activating the voice commands (long press) and the voice recorder (short press). Just below that trio is the typical for Nokia lock/unlock slider.

There is also a lanyard eyelet at bottom end of the right side.

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The crowded right side

The lock/unlock slider has another function too – it activates the Dual-LED flash on the back of the phone to serve as a flashlight. You just slide down and hold the slider for 3s. The same action turns it off.

The right side host only the microUSB port covered with a small plastic lid. There is no USB charging though. That’s strange and we suppose it will be fixed/added further down the road.

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The microUSB port on the left

The top accommodates the hot-swappable microSD slot hidden under a plastic cap, the unprotected 3.5mm audio jack and the Power key.

The bottom hosts only the charger hole.

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Power key, microSD card slot and the 3.5mm audio jack on the top • The charger hole at the bottom

Rearside we wind the loudspeaker grill, the dual-LED flash and the 8 megapixel fixed focus camera lens sharing a common metal plate. Unfortunately, it’s protruding and thus makes the camera lens vulnerable to scratchers.

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The rear side • the 8-megapixel camera lacks autofocus

Under the metal cover is the 1500 mAh Li-Ion BL-4D battery, which powers the Nokia E6. The battery is quoted at to 672 hours of stand-by on 2G network or up to 14 hours and 40 minutes of talk-time. Nokia PR claims the E6 is among the best battery performers on the market. We’ll have to spend some more time with the smartphone to be able to tell you if that's true, but judging by the Nokia E71 and Nokia E72 we feel that just might be the case.

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The 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery is promised to be quite a performer

There is no surprise the Nokia E6 is well built and pocket friendly QWERTY messenger bar. The keyboard and the ergonomics are top notch and the E6 offers quite a power inside. All this plus the long-lasting battery is pretty much everything you need from a business phone.

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The Nokia E6 held in hand

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