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.

The Price: Around US$500—official price not announced yet.

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

The E66 is the first number-pad mobile phone 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-arse 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.

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-optimised 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.

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

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