Nokia E63 review: E for Economy
Retail package - no way to start
Unboxing the Nokia E63, we stumble upon an unsettling discovery. A memory card would've been too much to ask, we know. But the lack of a data cable is just hard to swallow. We're surprised to only find a stereo headset in the box. And that`s it. We guess when Nokia go budget, they really mean it. At least the headset looks OK and has a 3.5mm audio plug.
The retail package also holds a user manual, quick start guide and a travel charger (bigger than the Nokia E71 variety, though).
Nokia E63 360-degree spin
Nokia E63 stands 113 x 59 x 13 mm, which adds to a volume of 87 cc. That makes it just a tad wider and thicker than the Nokia E71, which however has a notably reduced volume of 66cc and measures 114 x 57 x 10 mm.
Nokia E63 is still among the slimmest QWERTY handsets on the market but its rounded edges and bright colors make it look and feel way chubbier than the graceful Nokia E71.
Design and construction
The success of the QWERTY business tool E71 is a good enough motivation for Nokia to aim at the mass market with the lower-end E63 twin brother (obviously a case of two-egg twins though).
The E63 is trying hard to set itself apart from the steel E71 and the red and blue paintjobs do give the newbie some identity, even if the choice of color is questionable. The all-plastic outfit is quite alright - after all, affordability is key here.
The earpiece of Nokia E71 is placed dead center at the top of the front panel. A little to the right is the ambient light sensor.
Below is the 2.36" display, followed by the main bank of control and navigation keys and the QWERTY keyboard. The screen, keyboard and controls will get their due coverage in a short while.
There's nothing on the right hand-side of the handset - nope, no volume rocker this time. The D-pad will do just fine of course during calls and in media players, but it still means a few extra clicks to turn the volume up or down when the music player is playing in the background. Another thing gone is the infrared port - but it doesn't feel like it will be badly missed.
On the left you'll find the standard microUSB port and the microSD card slot. Both apertures are sealed with plastic caps to hold off dirt and dust, and keep the contour of the handset intact.
The microSD slot is said to support cards of up to 8GB, and this was as far as went testing it. The handset handled even a full 16GB microSD card problem-free.
At the top are the loudspeaker and the 3.5 mm audio jack. Delighted as we are to see no sign of the unsightly red power knob of Nokia E71, the 3.5 mm AV connector is the real treat here - one thing the newbie has over its high-end sibling.
The audio jack is sealed but we actually doubt it the protective cap will last long enough: it's not attached to the body and can be easily misplaced.
The bottom of Nokia's latest messenger features the mouthpiece and the charger plug on the left and the lanyard eyelet on the right.
The front frame that encloses the keypad and the screen is made of glossy plastic. It gets no visible smudges - another benefit over E71 - but it does get greasy and slippery after a while of use. It's quite easy to clean though.
The Nokia E63 rear - though hardly as classy as the E71 - is truly fingerprint-proof. It's made of matt plastic and the soft rubbery finish makes the handset a pleasure to handle.
Rearside Nokia E63 features the 2 megapixel camera lens, with LED flash and a self-portrait mirror. The whole combo (except for the LED flash) is covered by a transparent layer, which in turn has no protection whatsoever from scratches, except that it is a tiny bit recessed.
To remove the battery cover you only need to gently slide the latch at the bottom of the rear and lift the cover. Fitting it back is easy as pie - just repeat the same steps backwards.
What's under the cover is truly worth cheers: the 1500 mAh BP-4L Li-Ion battery is the same unit we saw - and loved - in Nokia E71). With a power plant like this one, seems like there's no stopping Nokia E63. It is quoted at 432 hours of stand-by time and 11 and a half hours of talk time and that's more than impressive.
Considering the excellent battery life of the E71, we are more than sure the E63 won't let you down. And this time around the power-hungry GPS is not even in the picture.
The build quality of Nokia E63 is commendable even if this is not the kind of handset to turn heads like the flashy E71. Nokia E63 handles nicely and ergonomics haven't been sacrificed. It even dares to challenge the haughty original with a 3.5 mm audio jack placed at the top and fingerprint resistance. It only feels the E63 could've been notably lighter than the steel-clad E71. That would've been another definite asset.