Nokia’s newest trio of E series handsets comprises of a follow up to the keyboarded E61 called the E61i (even for Nokia this name shows little imagination) a new communicator the E90 and the phone I am looking at in this review, the E65.
The E65 comes in two colour schemes. Mine was brown – Nokia calls it Mocca – and silver. The alternative is red and silver. The brown parts are made of a rubbery substance which makes the E65 easy to grip. I don’t like the leather-look stipple on the back, but that is just a matter of personal taste.
This is a slider handset. I feel sliders should be very small when closed, and at 105mm tall and 49mm wide, the E65 is not that much smaller than a standard candybar phone. At 15.5mm it’s not that thin either, though its 115g of weight is acceptable.
The slider mechanism feels solid, is slightly spring-loaded and delivers a comforting click when fully extended or closed, but Nokia has not thought hard enough about the ergonomics of using it. There is no thumbgrip for sliding the phone open, which means that you are forced either to put a thumb mark on the screen or press the edge of the large central select button of the navigation pad. Neither is a perfect solution.
The E65 is a quad-band 3G handset and like others in the E range is unashamedly aimed primarily at business users though of course there's nothing to stop others going for it too. Be aware if you are interested, that there is no front facing camera for video calling.
The front fascia houses ten keys and the navigation pad. I'm not so sure even business people are going to find a great deal of use for the conference call key, though it can be set to call a default number for conference calls should you need it.
The key which mutes the phone's microphone during calls could be handy within and outside the business community. Another key takes you to the address book and a fourth can be configured to do whatever you like. People you’ve assigned it a function, pressing it calls up the config utility – a nice touch that saves you from having to go into the Settings menu.
These four keys are to the left and right of the navigation pad. They are pretty large and easy to find, as is the navigation pad’s centre button. Its outer ring is rather too small though, and the same criticism can be levelled at the soft menu keys Call, End, Clear and Nokia Menu keys, which collectively form a frame for the inner keys.
Nokia’s Edit key is relegated to the right edge of the phone where it sits alongside the volume control keys and one for both voice dialling and the voice recorder. Long and short presses of this indicate which you want to use.
The number pad, revealed when you open the slider is large and its keys are very slightly ridged, which helps you hit them accurately.