Nokia E61i review: Lens-wear for the messenger

GSMArena team, 04 May 2007.
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The keyboard is among the finest

Writing messages works like a charm. As always QWERTY keyboards are our favorites when it comes to typing messages. We said enough on the E61i’s keypad previously in this review, but just to sum it up - it is a great instrument to help you do all your emails.

The SMS editor displays a counter of the characters left of the 160 limit. It also displays in brackets the number of separate messages the message will be divided into. The display allows 6 lines to be shown en bloc. Delivery reports appear on the screen when the keypad is not locked. After that, they are stored in a separate folder in the Messaging sub-menu.

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Messaging menu • writing SMS

The MMS editor is very intuitive and easy to use. Multiple email accounts are supported. E61i works with POP3 and IMAP4 protocols. The email client can download either the headers only or the full messages. Attachments are supported as well. This email client manages most user needs regarding email communication. Among its strongest advantages is the support for various third-party mail services such as the RIM BlackBerry Connect for example.

Playing tracks

The Music Player of the Nokia E61i is nice. It has an equalizer and supports Playlists. It’s not on par with the players of some dedicated music phones but it does its job satisfactory. The supported file formats are MP3, AAC, m4a, eAAC+ and WMA. Of course, the player can run in the background. The controls of the player are very intuitive. It also manages M3U playlist format seamlessly and can even handle the file automatically if it is placed in the same directory as the music files. A good advice to the users is to use USB 2.0 card readers for transferring music files to the memory card as this way is much faster than the Nokia Pop-port transfers.

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Nokia E61i music player • Options • Equalizer

The phone also has a Real Player and a Flash player preinstalled. The video can be watched in full screen if you press the 2 key.

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Watching a video with the Real Player: windowed and full screen

As all other E-series devices it has no FM radio tuner.

Old school gallery

Just like in all E-series models, the E61i doesn’t have the rotating gallery we’ve come to know from N-series smartphones. Images and videos are presented in list view only. Other than that, there are no differences in terms of functionality. You can view the pictures and videos both in portrait and landscape framed mode as well as in full screen mode with no visible borders at all.

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Gallery • Image gallery in list view • Opening a picture

Once you pick a picture you can zoom it in up to 8 times and view it in great detail. The actual zooming is generally fast as is the overall multimedia performance of the smartphone.

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Zooming in on a picture

Otherwise the gallery has nice file-manager functionality, meaning that you can select and send multiple files. Besides that the smartphone has the usual file manager that does its job pretty satisfactory when it comes to filtering files according to the memory used, marking, moving, copying and managing files. As for application management there is also a separate Application manager.

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Symbian OS file manager

Nokia E61i features one especially useful application – “Search”. Here is how it works: with the time items in you phone start to pile and you start to slowly lose your grip. Thanks to “Search” you do not have to spend time in organizing them. “Search” helps you search through all your messages, emails, events in your calendar, your contacts, other files, tasks and notes, or even a random combination of the above mentioned items. Even though phone’s content is not indexed anywhere, searching takes no more than a few seconds before you are offered a satisfying result.

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Using the Search application

What’s that thing on the back panel?

The most obvious upgrade of the Nokia E61i over the previous E61 version is without a doubt the added 2 megapixel camera. The camera is a sensitive feature in work environments where information protection is enforced by all means necessary – meaning that employees are not allowed to have cameraphones. But yet Nokia realizes the need for a messenger with a camera – much like Blackberry have their Pearl handset.

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Camera viewfinder

Writing messages works like a charm. As always QWERTY keyboards are our favorites when it comes to typing messages. We said enough on the E61i’s keypad previously in this review, but just to sum it up - it is a great instrument to help you do all your emails.

The maximum available resolution is 1600 x 1200 pixels. The camera doesn’t have any complex settings, which is understandable – E61i is not a dedicated cameraphone. The available settings include: night mode, sequence, self-release, white balance, and color effects. Pictures are stored in JPEG format and carry EXIF information.

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Image settings

As far as quality is concerned we find that 2 megapixel camera on an average level, but still – it does a good job. The picture quality is pretty much the same as the one of the Nokia E70 – they seem to have identical hardware and processing algorithm. Somewhat confusingly, the shutter sound goes off a second or something before the actual capturing of the picture so you really have to keep the handset still even after you’ve heard the sound in order to take a picture of your intended subject.

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Sample camera photos

As far as video is concerned, there are a few innovations worth mentioning. The maximum video resolution is 352 x 288 pixels (CIF) and the videos get recorded at 15 fps in the MPEG-4 video format.

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Video settings

The digital zoom during recording is smooth – unlike that of Nokia N80, N93 or N95. But it seems to create certain jerkiness to the records when it reaches its maximum or vice versa when it reaches its minimum.

Nokia E61i sample video

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