Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nokia E51 impressions

I was aiming to replace my XDA Orbit (HTC Artemis) as my daily everyday phone and decided to seek for an upgrade. It was a toss between this or the N81 8GB, but I did not like the 'plasticky' feel of the N81. And I certainly do not need 8GB of storage especially now that I have an A818. I finally decided for the E51, my first Nokia monoblock phone since the 7610. The phone has a very unique hate it or love it design. It is very slim and has built-in WiFi, HSDPA and Bluetooth A2DP, thus achieving almost every requirement I wanted (missing is GPS but I will let it slide since I already have the Orbit). The built quality seems to be excellent and the use of stainless steel material reassures me. It feels particularly weighty when held, in a good way. I accidentally dropped it 3 feet onto our hard wooden floor whilst charging it, and it survived with no scratches or dents on it. Impressive, though it doesn't say much about my clumsiness when it comes to handling new gadgets.

It is hardly bigger than the 5310 and the A818

After installing the bloatware known as Nokia PC Suite, I immediately fired up Nokia Updater. Alas, there were no firmware updates provided for my partially software branded phone even if it was factory unlocked. Thankfully O2 has not branded the phone in the same manner like their competitors. There are no physical branding, and any clues of from where I bought the phone from is limited to a theme, a screensaver and booting screens, plus a small note on the box. Suffice to say I won't be rushing to debrand the E51 any time soon so at least my warranty is protected. But I digress. So I got on to syncing with Outlook. This process was as smooth as butter and did not once conflict with my firewall (the same can't be said with Microsoft's own ActiveSync).

I started installing the applications I acquired during my N80 days, some of whose certificates has already expired, in which case I simply turned back the clock and continued the installation, while downloading the latest Nokia Maps 2.0 dataset. With the E51, running multiple softwares is no longer a problem. One of the things I disliked about the N80 was how slow it was, making S60 almost unfriendly to the point I almost wanted a Samsung. Running multiple programs simultaneously will often cause the N80 freeze, where as on the E51 the amount of available RAM after boot (around 50MB) allowed me to run multiple applications including resource hog Java without a hint of slow down. It certainly allowed me to appreciate Series 60 more.

The camera isn't that amazing though. It so happens that I brought the E51 along with me to St. Albans and gave it a couple of test shots. It performed slightly better than the one found on the Orbit, but was worse than the N80. The 2Mp sensor, lack of auto focus, cheap lens and Nokia enterprise division worked against it. Despite that it is an OK camera that may prove useful than the one found on the 5310. Still it is a standard camera module that I won't brag about. Here are some examples:

I had a couple of chance to call out and receive calls. Unsurprisingly the incoming call quality is far better than the Orbit, though I am not so sure about outgoing. Well, that's it for today's quick impression of the Nokia E51. I'll post a bullet point review some time later after I've more time with it and then decide if I want to keep it (I've got two weeks).


Geoff said...

I demand more game reviews

Jon Choo said...

Hei it's summer. In any case, Lego Indiana Jones review should be done by the end of the week. And maybe MGS4 preview if I can get more hours into it.

Erick Lamothe said...

I think you did the right thing in deciding upon the E51. As a very satisfied user I can honestly say that unless a top camera and sat nav is required, this impressive device has it all and is a lesson in what a mobile device should be. Built to last and offering a speedy user interface it proves that Nokia's E series is the company's most robust practical and quality division.