Nokia E6 review: The E spirit

GSMArena team, 08 July 2011.
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Unboxing the E6

With an ample 8 GB of inbuilt storage, the Nokia E6 doesn't come with a memory card in the box. It's a basic package featuring a compact charger, a microUSB cable and a single-piece headset. That's that.

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A basic set of accessories

Nokia E6 360-degree spin

The Nokia E6 stands at 115.5 x 59 x 10.5 mm. A reasonably spacious control deck separates the 2.46” landscape touchscreen from the comfortable four-row QWERTY keyboard. The phone weighs the respectable 133 grams – a solid piece with a stainless steel battery cover.

Design and construction

The E6 is a looker - in the traditionally sober, understated style of the Eseries. The premium materials and high build quality go without saying.

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The Nokia E6 in gray and black

We had the chance to use both the black and silver version for our review. There should be a white paint job available too. A limited but carefully chosen selection, considering the target audience.

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Nokia E6 compared with HTC ChaCha

The front of the black Nokia E6 tends to get all smudgy, while the silver variety is good at hiding fingerprints.

At the rear, the battery cover and camera deck are made of metal, with bits of matt plastic top and bottom.

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The front • the battery cover and the camera plate

The landscape 2.46" 16M-color capacitive touchscreen of VGA (640 x 480) resolution takes almost half of the phone’s face. We never missed an opportunity to slate the Eseries messengers for their poor QVGA screens. Even in their prime, they were put to shame by BlackBerries. The E6 will have no more of that.

A VGA screen with a 2.46" diagonal has about the same pixel density as the iPhone 4’s Retina display: 326ppi for the Retina and 325ppi for the Nokia E6.

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The 2.46” VGA touchscreen

The capacitive screen of the Nokia E6 is as responsive as they come. It is quick to register even the slightest of touches and even pinch zooming is enabled (in the gallery and web browser). Viewing angles are quite good, the colors vivid.

Here's the table with our brightness measurements. You can learn more about the test here.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
LG Optimus Black P970 0.27 332 1228 0.65 749 1161
Nokia X7 0 365 0 630
Motorola Atrix 4G 0.48 314 652 0.60 598 991
Apple iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242
HTC Sensation 0.21 173 809 0.61 438 720
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S 0 263 0 395
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
Nokia E6 0.52 757 1456 0.57 1004 1631


Our dedicated brightness test confirmed our observations and showed that the Nokia E6 screen is really bright. In fact it's the brightest unit we have seen, dethroning the LG Optimus Black. Its blacks, on the other hand, aren't the deepest we have seen, but they are okay for the LCD league. This means that the overall contrast is, among the best we have seen from an LCD.

Something else that the test shows is that the E6 brightness setting has little effect on the actual brightness of the screen. You can see that the difference between the 100% and 50% settings is minimal.

The D-pad is welcome when you need to hit small links on websites - and it is perfectly usable to navigate the menus. You can pretend there's no touchscreen if you want. Just one thing: a trackpad would've made quite a lot of sense – especially in the web browser. The touchscreen is fine but they didn't get rid of the D-pad. Could've easily used the E72 combo and thrown in a trackpad.

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Make sure you're comfortable with the screen size

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

Underneath the screen is a spacious navigation deck built around a reasonably tactile and palpably raised D-pad. Call and End knobs are on both ends of the deck, the One Touch keys closer to the D-pad. Soft keys are moved over to the screen. The One Touch keys have the usual varying short press / long press functionality.

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

The QWERTY keyboard is virtually the same as those on the E5 and C3. The keys are reasonably sized and spaced, with good press feedback. They do feel just a tad softer than the E71 but other than that you shouldn’t have any problems.

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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, with an extra key squeezed in for activating voice commands (long press) and the voice recorder (short press). Just below is the typical Nokia lock slider.

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

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The crowded right side

The lock slider has another job too: it turns on the Dual-LED flash to serve as a flashlight. You just slide down and hold.

The left side's only feature is the microUSB port covered with a small plastic lid. There is USB charging and USB-on-the-go functionality provided by the port.

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The microUSB port on the left

The top accommodates the hot-swappable microSD slot with a plastic flap, the 3.5mm audio jack and the Power key.

The only thing at the bottom is the charger port.

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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 find the loudspeaker grill, the dual-LED flash and the 8 megapixel fixed focus camera lens sharing a slightly raised strip of metal.

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The rear side • the 8-megapixel camera has no autofocus

Under the metal cover is the 1500 mAh Li-Ion BL-4D battery, which powers the Nokia E6. The battery is quoted at up to 672 hours of stand-by in a 2G network or up to 14 hours and 40 minutes of talk-time. Nokia is quick to call it one of the best performers on the market. In real life, the battery lasted two and a half days of really heavy usage: playing videos and music, continuous Wi-Fi connection and 3G data transfers, browsing, social networking, document editing, heavy camera action, etc.

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

Eseries have long been the standard-setter for build quality and the E6 is well on target. This pocket friendly QWERTY messenger has good ergonomics and high-end looks. It's a solid attempt to bring the Eseries up to date and we found the touchscreen / D-pad combo to work fine. The screen resolution is a major upgrade, and about time too Nokia showed its messengers the respect they deserve.

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The Nokia E6 held in hand

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