It is the extra buttons that grab the attention, though. Surrounding the silver navigation key and its large central select button are no less than nine other buttons. Call and End, the two Nokia softkeys and the Nokia backspace key are accompanied by four ‘one-touch’ keys.
Each of these has three functions. The one marked with a calendar icon opens the calendar software if you tap it quickly. Hold it down and you jump straight into creating a new meeting. Tap it twice and the first tap takes you to the calendar so you can view the current month, the second tap takes you out to whatever application you were previously using.
There are similar functions for the email and contacts keys. The fourth key, marked with a home icon, takes you to the applications menu with a short tap; back to the Active Standby screen with another tap; and if you hold it down, gives you an application switcher so you can move between opened applications. All rather slick stuff, once you’re used to it.
Moving on to the hardware and software, the E51 is a quad-band GSM phone with 3G and HSDPA. It has no front-facing camera for two-way video calling, which some could find a real pain. On the other hand there is Wi-Fi and it supports SIP which means your favourite VoIP software should work fine as long as its supports the S60 Nokia platform. Bluetooth is here, too, and so is infra-red.
Under the hood the software shares a lot with other up-to-the-minute Nokia handsets. It’ll play video and music for example, handle mobile email and has a PDF reader as well as readers for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There is an FM radio too.
There is a generous 130MB of built-in storage, and you can bulk this up further with microSD cards. The slot is under the battery cover, but not under the battery, so it is really easy to swap cards.