The built quality on this is great, but not as great as the E51. For one the amount of metal has been cut down to just the battery cover and applications keys. The rest are just plastic. This may have to do with cost cutting as well as to reduce the weight of the phone. The E51 has survived many drops on concrete and I occasionally even use it when it is raining (not advisable as it isn't certified as a rugged phone). The E55 feels solid, but fragile because it feels too light and I would not dare it abuse it as I have done with the E51. Here's hoping Nokia will see sense and the successor to this model will feature a stainless steel body. I am sure many would gladly pay more for one.
The E55 is Nokia's first phone to feature a half-QWERTY keypad, and it does take some getting used to. I had to unlearn everything I ever know about the standard 12-key numerical pad to get to grips with half-QWERTY. This is hampered by the fact that I have growned used to the standard 12-key pad for the better part of a decade ever since I got my first mobile phone.
The GPS fix on this little thing is quick! I fired up Ovi Maps for the first time today and it took less than 10 seconds for the application to show my exact position! I even had Assisted GPS and Network-based positioning disabled. 10 seconds for a cold fix! This may just be down to luck and may be purely a one-off, but it still made an impression. I've decided to keep my SIRFstarIII equipped Navman B10 external Bluetooth GPS receiver just in case, but if the E55 can consistently get a fix under a minute, the Navman may never see action, ever again.
The camera on this is pretty good for a fixed focus lens. I dislike the fact that I can't disable the shutter sound. I am not into snapping people's fine bottoms, but it is irritating to hear the shutter every time I try to snap something. This isn't something I would use in say, a library or museum. I may have to download a software that suppress the shutter sound (anyone knows a good one?). Like the E75, the shutter button is located half way on the right side of the E55, a very awkward position. I wish that Nokia would allow people to use the d-pad as a shutter button like on my old E51. It makes for a more pleasant experience having not being forced to turn the phone sideways just to take a quick snap. It also makes it difficult to use the phone one-handed.
Finally the E55 is a speed demon. The only application that suffers is the built-in Gallery application, but Gallery has always sucked anyway (download a third party picture gallery and you will be fine). Feature Pack 2 on this is just wonderful. Coming from the trial N97 where it crashes about 5-7 times a day (that was before applying the V20 update) and is slow despite having not a single background application running, I can't tell you how much a relief it is to have something that is to have something that works out of the box and has yet to require a reboot despite more than 12 hours of installing, testing and customisation.