Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone

Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone

The Gadget: The Nokia E66, a slim but luxurious GSM slider smartphone running Symbian S60, with Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G and a 3.2MP camera, to name a few of its many features.

Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
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Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
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Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Nokia E66 Slider Smartphone
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The Price: Around $500—official price not announced yet.

The Verdict: It's good, but it's not $500 good, esp without a qwerty.

The E66 is the first number-pad cellphone I've used in 3 years that I wasn't afraid of. Calls on the phone are loud and clear both directions. Its thin form factor and grippy textured back make it enjoyable to hold and you can perform a decent amount of functions without sliding up the top. It has tons of features and it doesn't half-ass any of them. Like the N95, it's got a decent flash camera that takes sharp pictures and video, and has options comparable to most point-and-shoots. The Wi-Fi and 3G load fast in the browser, and GPS found my position when I was outside. (It didn't locate me inside, though, like some phones with assisted GPS.) OTA app downloading was painless and so was setting up my Gmail account.

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Still, I have some beefs. Symbian doesn't feel very fast. Like many S60 devices, apps and options are buried deep in menus. The phone is too quick to auto-rotate between portrait and landscape modes, a feature that seemed pointless given the cramped real estate of the E66's 2.4" screen. Also, though there are third-party browsing options available that are probably much better, Nokia's built-in S60 browser sucks, plain and simple. It loads non-optimized pages in actual size so it's hard to navigate the screen, only allows for one page to be open at a time, and sorely needs touchscreen functions provided by other modern smartphone browsers.

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I hate to mention it, but there's a touchscreen phone coming out in a few days on the same network that costs $300 less. This is the problem with a lot of unsubsidized phones. [Product Page]

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DISCUSSION

VANHAVIRTA
VANHAVIRTA.FI

I have the E61i and I decided to change my web browser to Opera Mini. Some of the time the Nokia's browser (is it.. Safari-based??) can't load the pages completely, i.e. just hangs somewhere between loading 700kB and 1MB, and sometimes it crashes (but these new E-series phones have more RAM and MHz, so they're probably a lot more stable).

Plus, when the page is loading you cannot smoothly scroll around the page but have to wait until the page has finished loading - if it ever does that. Also the loading 'architecture' or what is it - sometimes after almost a minute or more of waiting the browser has loaded a page without CSS and just when you think you're going to be able to start browsing the page the screen goes blank and the browser starts formatting the page using the CSS stylesheet. Very frustrating..

But, I'm only talking about my experience on my E61i, and people with faster and more high-end phones (like N95 for example) surely have varying opinions.