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The softmenu keys and Call and End keys are elongated making them easy to find without really looking for them very hard, and there are two further dedicated keys, sitting either side of the joystick, one of which opens up the Nokia menu while the other takes you to the messaging centre.
Overall the E61 is large and not exactly pocket friendly, but its 117 x 69.7 x 14mm and 144g of weight put it on a par with many PDAs and are not outrageous dimensions. There is no camera, either front facing or rear mounted. That means no sending of 3G video calls, but then BlackBerry devices are cameraless too and as yet there are no 3G devices available in the UK.
Moving on to software Symbian Series 60 version 3 is a nicely rounded suite, with the kinds of things business users will need such as calendar, contact management and task management present alongside Nokia’s music player and image viewer. A voice recorder is activated by a press of a button on the left edge of the casing and there is also voice command software activated by a longer press of this button.
Nokia bulks out its Notes application with a set of software with which you can create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint presentations, as well as a utility for sending the screen contents to a projector. I haven’t a suitable projector with which to try this, but it should mean you can create a simple presentation on the move then deliver it without a notebook PC. You wouldn’t want to do too much work using the on-board software, but there is enough here for you to create or edit documents fairly effectively.
Mobile email support runs to both corporate and personal email with on the former side Intellisync Wireless Email, Visto email technology, BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink and Seven all supported and on the latter POP, IMAP and SMTP protocols catered for. I set up my gmail account and used that to test the E61.
I read Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations sent as attachments, but sadly .rtf and PDF documents were not supported out of the box. A nice touch is that email is left on the server, and when you choose to delete it from the device you can opt to delete it from the server as well or leave it there and download in the usual way when you log on from your PC.
After the positive experience with email, the Web browser proves itself to be a bit of a let down. As with the Nokia N91 it fails to format pages to the full width of the screen. Horizontal scrolling to read Web sites should really be a thing of the past, and the first third party upgrade you are likely to want for the E61 is a Web browser that deals with that issue.