Nokia E63 review: E for Economy

GSMArena team, 07 January 2009.
Pages: 1234567

Nokia E63 is the next QWERTY messenger by Nokia, set on the glorious path of the E71. Only this time it slips off the high heels to walk it in plain straight and simple boots instead. And the matching price tag leaves little doubt of what this Working Joe here is all about.

No fancy spoils, the Nokia E63 means business and brings connectivity and messaging together in a sharp and reliable package. Certainly a no-thrills mobile, the E63 does its jobs with no fuss and at a fair wage. Well, who would frown at that?

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Nokia E63 official photos

Now, comparisons to E71 are clearly inevitable and maybe we know better than expect Nokia E63 to impress us as much. But who says it can't persuade through common sense.

Key features:

  • Quad-band GSM support
  • 3G support
  • Landscape 2.36" 16M-color display of QVGA resolution
  • Symbian 9.2 OS, S60 UI with FP1 (sprinkled with some FP2)
  • 369 MHz ARM 11 CPU and 128 MB of SDRAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • 2 megapixel fixed focus camera with LED flash
  • 120 MB of internal memory, microSD expansion
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP support
  • microUSB v2.0
  • FM radio
  • Comfortable full QWERTY keypad
  • Convenient shortcut keys
  • Provider-independent VoIP support
  • Office document editor
  • Nokia Maps
  • User-friendly Mode Switch for swapping two homescreen setups
  • Great battery life
  • Remote Lock and Wipe feature
  • One-year free subscription for Files on Ovi

Main disadvantages:

  • Poor camera performance
  • Video recording maxes out at QVGA@15fps
  • No GPS
  • No RDS in the FM radio
  • 3.5mm jack protective bud is not attached to the body
  • No USB cable in the retail package
  • No preinstalled games at all

Nokia E63 is undoubtedly a trimmed-down version of the E71 and almost a return to the E61i roots - with a 2 megapixel camera and no built-in GPS receiver. Well, the camera of the E71 was largely disappointing in the first place plus, an external Bluetooth GPS receiver is always an option, so we hardly count these as serious drawbacks.

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Nokia E63 at ours

The styling of the E63 is where the difference is most significant. Nokia E63 still looks OK and feels sturdy, but it sure lacks the solid metal charm of the E71. Anyway, the mild price tag may as well make you forgive the cost-effective approach to the exterior.

The potential market rivals of the E63 aren't that many but there are still a few affordable QWERTY smartphones out there.

Before we get to the actual competition, let's briefly look at the ageing Nokia E61i. It's got a pretty much identical spec sheet to E63 and boasts some really nice metallic accents. But Nokia E61i keeps the price quite high even 2 years now since its debut and it's got half the RAM and a slower CPU than the E63. Probably the biggest selling point of Nokia E63 is that it's relatively compact for a QWERTY device and Nokia E61i is no match here.

Nokia E61i
Nokia E61i

Then there's Samsung C6620, which runs on the WinMo smartphone (no touch) platform and trades Wi-Fi connectivity for GPS. In case you have a subscription plan that covers a sufficient amount of data you might just find it a viable option.

Samsung C6620
Samsung C6620

The good old Samsung i600 can also come in handy. Its Windows interface isn't nearly as snappy as Symbian on the E63 but the i600 is a neat QWERTY-enabled handset with Wi-Fi that does really great.

Samsung i600
Samsung i600

And finally, as UIQ is waltzing off the stage, you might find the last UIQ devices getting quite affordable too. The Sony Ericsson P1 has a QW-ER-TY keyboard (that some find usable), Wi-Fi, a large screen and a decent camera but it is way bulkier than the E63. Still, for the price it currently retails at it's definitely worth checking out.

Sony Ericsson P1
Sony Ericsson P1

Now that we've covered some of the main competitors, join us on the next page, as we set Nokia E63 loose. Boy, there's quite a bunch of buttons we need to press on this one.

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Reviews > Nokia E63 review: E for Economy