The retail package of Nokia E66 is much to our liking. For starters, the phone comes with Nokia's fastest and smallest charger. It's so tiny that you can comfortably to carry it around in a pocket. Not that you'll need it too often: the battery is rather good.
A 2GB microSD card also comes with the E66, so you're pretty well covered for the most common scenarios (unless you are among the few that do demand more storage space on their mobile phones).
A nice leather case and a leather lanyard are in the box too, and so is a CD with PC synchronization software. The supplied handsfree, much like the E71, won't let you use the hands-free remote with another headset (no standard audio jack on it). Finally there is a whole load of paperwork including manuals, quick start guides and a few leaflets - nothing essential as usual.
Nokia E66 stands at 107.5 x 49.5 x 13.6mm and has a volume of 62.6cc, which make it really pocket-friendly. In all fairness, the weight of 121g isn't the most flattering but the great finish and solid feel do take their toll. The Nokia E66 is the slimmest smartphone slider currently on the market and this might just be enough for quite a lot of potential buyers.
What most people associate with business handsets is stillborn design, lots of keys and anything but nice to look at, let alone shove in everyone's face. The Nokia E65 did break that rule and we are now happy to see E66 follow suite. The metal accents up front and the back panel look awesome.
The earpiece of Nokia E66 is placed at the top of the front panel, with an ambient light sensor and video-call camera on either side. Below are the 2.4" display and the main controls around the traditional D-pad. All are large enough and very solid to press, especially the two selection keys and the call and end keys. The rest of the controls include the so-called one-touch keys, the back and the solid D-pad with its large and comfortable confirming center.
An interesting detail is that the keys don't have any labels on them unless they're illuminated. This gives the phone really sleek, albeit somewhat strange looks when backlighting is off. The final element on the front panel is the mouthpiece, which is placed on the chin right where the slider rests.
The 2.5mm standard audio jack, the microUSB port and the infrared port are on the left side of Nokia E66. The USB port is covered by a small plastic cap for protection. The audio jack didn't receive the same treatment but our experience shows that those are better left as they are: a lid often gets in the way when trying to plug in a headset.
The charger plug and the lanyard eyelet are at the bottom. There is nothing special to note here.
Lanyard eyelet and charger plug
On the right side of the Nokia E66 we come upon the two volume keys, the voice command key and the dedicated shutter key. They all have sufficient size and tactility and we are more than pleased with them. The one thing we didn't like here is that the camera key doesn't automatically start the camera application, so you have to launch it elsewhere from the interface.
At the top we find an unpleasant, though not unexpected, surprise. It's the same utterly tasteless cheapo red power knob much like the one on the Nokia E71. We would've only understood that styling in a self-destruct-do-not-ever-press button. Another disappointment about the power key is it's quite hard to reach when the slider is up. Be it for powering the phone on or off or for quick switching the active profile - you have to close the phone to press the key.
The steel back panel of Nokia E66 is a true redemption though. The problem we experienced with E71 still stands but fingerprint smudges are the price to be paid we guess. Reraside we find the 3 megapixel auto-focus camera lens, with LED flash and self-portrait mirror. While we can say right away that the LED flash is no good, the rest of the camera performance will be discussed in more detail latter on.
The loudspeaker grill is also to be noticed on the back panel - right in the bottom left corner.
The battery cover is removed by pressing the two release knobs on either side at the bottom. The all-metal part easily pops out, which is another point earned for the device. Under the cover we find the microSD card slot and the 1000 mAh Li-Ion BL-4U battery.
While it is not nearly as impressive as the 1500 mAh monster mounted on the E71, the Nokia E66 battery pulled off a more than decent performance. Quoted at 7.5 hours of talk time and 264 hours of stand-by, it sticks out a little over two full days of heavy usage. Good enough, considering the power-hungry applications in there (GPS, Wi-Fi, 2.4" screen, etc.).
We put Nokia E66 to our usual GPS battery test to see how far you can get with it. We left the device in standstill position with GPS satellites locked and the display constantly on. The E66 kept going for 6 hours straight, which is quite a good achievement, though nowhere near the unbelievable 14 hours of E71. Just as a reference, Nokia 6210 Navigator lasted about 4 hours.
In case you have somehow missed it by now, let's say it again - the build quality of Nokia E66 is tremendous. The phone looks great and, if it wasn't for the eye-soring red power key, we would've been tempted to say it's perfect. Anyway, we are so in love with E66, we're willing to think of it as a beauty mark.