The E55 has onboard Assisted GPS plus a digital compass and as a result comes pre-loaded with Nokia’s Maps navigation software. It’s fast to get a lock on your position and while Nokia Maps isn’t our favourite navigation app, it does work well. And because the maps are downloaded on-demand from the server they’re as up-to-date as possible.
Of course, with its QWERTY keypad, this handset is aimed at those who frequently use email while on the go. Setting the phone up to work with our Gmail account was very fast and uncomplicated and once everything is configured you can quickly jump to the email client by just hitting the dedicated messaging button on the front of the phone from within any menu or application, which is neat.
The email app is very straightforward to use and makes it easy to search your mail box or quickly sort emails by a range of options including date, sender or subject. You can also have the phone read out messages in a synthesised voice, which may come in handy from time to time.
Manufacturers don’t tend to go the whole hog with cameras on their business phones, but the shooter Nokia has used on the E55 is not too shabby. It’s got a pretty standard 3.2-megapxel resolution, but it does have an LED flash and it actually takes quite decent shots. Unlike many recent smartphones, the E55 also has a front-facing camera for video calling if you feel the need.
As with most Nokias, the E55’s call quality was hard to fault. The phone has good reception and is able to hold onto a decent signal even in weaker areas. The earpiece and mic both produce crisp and clean sound for the most part and the speakerphone also works well, picking up voices at a decent distance so you don’t have to be standing over it to be able to hold a normal conversation.
Traditionally, battery life has been one of the strengths of the E-series and thankfully the E55 is no different in this regard. Nokia quotes a talk-time of eight hours and standby time of up to 23 days, but obviously these are maximum figures so if you hammer it with 3G downloads, Wi-Fi usage and by using the GPS chip you’re likely to reduce this by a significant margin. However, during our time with the phone using a range of its core features we got around two and a half days from it before it needed a charge, which is pretty impressive by smartphone standards.
Nokia’s phones have been a bit hit and miss of late, but it has to be said that the E-series has remained consistently strong throughout this period and the E55 continues this trend. Its combination of large screen, very usable keyboard and impressive messaging capabilities make it a good choice for those who are happy to stick with a traditional candybar design.