It's not often that Nokia releases a new range of business phones, and when it does you'd better sit up and take notice. The last time round, it was the E61 that had us in raptures, with its Blackberry-beating keyboard and good range of software and features. But it's been a while, and since 2006 much has changed in the smartphone market.
Roll on 2008 and Nokia has a new range of business handsets for us to drool over. And I mean drool, because if the forthcoming E66 I have in my hand right now is anything to go by, Nokia is onto a winner again. It's a business phone, but far from being drab and grey, like many business handsets, this one is slim, sleek and beautifully built.
It's a slider design and the mechanism feels wonderfully smooth and solid, popping open with a thunk that BMW engineers would be proud of. And the phone's exterior is full of other luxury touches. The glamorous chrome trim around the 2.4in screen catches the light in way that catches the eye, the mirror-finish buttons below the screen light up with a cool white glow when the E66 is unlocked and the patterned steel panel on the rear adds a touch of lustre and sparkle. This is a business phone with bling, make no mistake about it.
It's slim too, for a slider, at a 13.6mm, and the simple numeric keypad (this is a phone for the purist) allows for an extremely narrow profile too. Compared with HTC's Touch Dual, which boasts a similar design, it shaves a millimetre off the thickness and a good half a centimetre off the width. And that screen, though fairly standard in its 240 x 320 pixel resolution, is absolutely brilliant when you take it outside. It's transflective and is perfectly visible in bright sunshine, as long as you don't mind being blinded by the gleam from the chrome trim, that is.