Nokia E65 Review

Although the E66 is out, the E65 will continue to be popular because the E66 doesn't have the same visual characteristics as the E65.


Compared to the E65, the E66 is wider, uses flat boring soft keys, and loses the round "cute" look that appealed to female users.

I like the look of the E65 more than the E66 which is why I think it's still worth the effort to do a review on the E65 when its successor has already arrived on the market. Read the review after the jump.

When the Nokia E65 came out, it was the first slider available in Nokia's Eseries portfolio and a huge departure from the boxy styling of the E70, E61, and E60 that filled the Eseries portfolio. The E65 brought beauty into Eseries with its leather-life battery cover texture and round smooth shape. It was also Nokia's second S60 3rd edition slider and one of the smallest sliders in Nokia's portfolio - the first S60 3rd edition slider being the large N80. All these gave the E65 a unique position to fill a void in Nokia's portfolio and help sell millions of Eseries devices.

Although there is a later firmware available from Nokia (v4.0633.74.00), my own unit was running firmware version v1.0633.18.01 (11-01-07). I really need to update my firmware.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia E65 (RM-208)
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 2100
Weight: 115 g
Dimensions: 105 x 49 x 15.5 mm
Battery life (stand by): 264 hours (GSM), 336 hours (WCDMA)
Battery life (talk): 360 minutes (GSM), 150 minutes (WCDMA)
CPU: Texas Instruments OMAP 1710, 220MHz ARM926TEJ with Embedded TMS320C55x DSP

My phone was manufactured by: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) Nokia. It's probably China

Closed:


Opened:


The E65 is similar in width to the N82 but a lot shorter (when closed) and thinner. They're both of similar width. The E65 feels a lot more solid with no creaking.



Aesthetics

The E65 is one of Nokia's early S60 slider devices. With a thickness of only 15.5mm, Nokia did an impeccable job in offering wifi and 2MP camera in a package that rivals that of the N80.

The sliding mechanism has won praise from many members of HowardForums for its smooth spring loaded slide mechanism and solid feel with little to no creaking even after months of ownership.

Its rounded edges give it a comfortable in-hand feel and make it pleasant to look at. The textured battery cover give the E65 a sophisticated feel.


The keypad light has little to no leakage. The D-pad is not lighted. As with most phones these days, lighting is controlled by a light sensor.


The SIM mechanisms on E-series are some of the worst designs I've encountered and the E65 is no different .

I side my SIM card out by poking it with my nails through that hole. Note the microSD slot at the top of the photo.

Display
The screen resolution is 240 x 320 and can display up to 16.7M colors. Compared to current Nokia displays, the E65 looks pale in comparison but still performs well under direct sun. It's about the same size as the E71 screen and smaller than the N82.



Keypad
The D-pad is surrounded by a cluster of 4 buttons: Contacts, "My Own" (you can set it to anything) and 2 other buttons that I never use (conference call and mute). Around that cluster is another ring with the soft keys at the top and the call/end keys at the bottom. This ring of buttons are narrow so it can be uncomfortable using the S60 menu key (like holding it to bring up the list of active applications). The D-pad itself also uses a very narrow ring for the up/down/left/right keys so holding it long to scroll through a web page can be uncomfortable. You can tell a lot of trade offs were made in the usability category to suit the asthetics of the design.


The numeric keypad buttons are all flush with each other but curved to form a crease that runs vertically though the middle of the keys. The keys offer a moderate amount of feedback due to the thin buttons.


So how is the E65 keypad for gaming? I loaded up VBoy and VNes to compare it to the pretty decent gaming experience I had with my old Nokia 6682. VBoy and VNes ran very smoothly on the phone but the thin ring d-pad is not comfortable at all to play games and there's no way to perform diagonal movement (say holding up and right) so games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 or 3 were very tricky and games requiring careful side to side movements like Super Mario 3 were difficult. The E65 does not lend itself well to gaming due to the thin softkeys and d-pad. The flush keypad also makes it difficult to feel the difference between keys beside each other.

From a phone perspective, you can comfortably use the E65 with one hand since all the keys are all clustered near the center of the phone.



WiFi
At the time WiFi wasn't common on phones so having WiFi on a phone this small was quite an accomplishment in design.

With high data charge rates in Canada from Rogers and roaming a lot for my work and vacations, having WiFi will save you a lot of money. Unlike other FP0 phones, the wireless scan plug-in is included and found on the home screen allowing you to effortlessly connect.

The WiFi reception is weaker than a laptop's, stronger than my E71 but weaker than my N82.


Connectivity
You can connect the N82 to your computer using Bluetooth or data cable (Unfortunately the E65 is an older Nokia and still uses the pop port). You can install Nokia PC Suite to synchronize the E65 with your computer. You do not need to install PC Suite to install any applications/games onto the E65 as you can install them from the phone.

Bluetooth
You can pair devices, you can send images/files/ringtones/themes and virtually any content via bluetooth to another device. All files received appear in your inbox so it's not obvious . If your BT is off you can still send media, the phone prompts you to turn on BT but you'll need to manually turn it off.

Transfers occur in the background so you can multi-task during this time.

Pairing the E65 with a PC gives you these features in the included Bluetooth profiles:
Dial up networking
HS Audio gateway
OBEX Object Push
OBEX File Transfer
Serial Port


Reception

Sound Quality
The outgoing sound quality has static and the receiver will know you're calling from a cell. I tested out calling to a landline from my N82 by walking along a busy corridor, quiet corridor, to a semi-busy hall. I called two different people and both reported static and I switched roles with one and heard the static. I tried to same call from my W810i to a landline and it was clean according to the receiver. I recorded my voice with the voice recorder and I didn't hear the static in the recording as I did in the call.

Incoming sound quality is clear and loud. A lot louder than my W810i in busy places.

I had the chance to use the N82 in Japan, where they are currently migrating to standardized 3G on WCDMA 2100. The incoming sound quality was loud and clear while outgoing sound quality was loud but picked up a bit of the surrounding noise.

Speakerphone
The Speakerphone works well with a volume just lower than the E71. Voices come out clear.

Headset use
I haven't tested this.


Multimedia Features

Camera
The camera user interface (UI) resembles older non N-series phones and takes pictures in the portait orientation.


A small camera module keeps the E65 size small and your photos low in quality

Although the E65 includes a 2MP camera, it produces very low quality photos that don't even come close to matching the older Sony Ericsson K790/W810i

Surprisingly the E65 does capture photos in the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) format. EXIF is a variation on the JPEG that includes extra interchange information such as shutter speed, focal length, and lens aperture. The W810i provides: Width, Height, Horizontal Resolution, Vertical Resolution, Bit Depth, Frame Count, Equipment Make, Camera Model, Lens Aperture, Focal Length, F-Number, Exposure Time, ISO Speed, Metering Mode, Light Source, Date Picture Taken, Flash Mode, and Color Representation.

Image Resolution
640x480, 1600x1200

Quality
High
Normal
Basic

self timer
Self descriptive, it allows you to set up a timer and get into the shot. Choices are: off, 10 secs, 20 secs, and 30 secs.

White Balance
Auto, Sunny, Incandescent, fluorescent

Colour Tone
Normal, Sephia, Black & White, Negative

sequence mode
single, burst (6), 10 sec, 30 sec, 1 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes

The first takes one photo at a time. The burst mode will take 6 pictures or more until you let go of the shutter button. The other timed settings will take a picture every 10 sec, 30 sec, 1 minute, etc.

Shutter Sound
In most E65 firmware, you cannot silent the shutter sound or the autofocus sound even if you switch to Silent mode in Profiles. EURO firmwares allow you to silence the shutter and autofocus sounds in silent mode.

Automatic mode



Night Mode
There's a night mode as well, but it's fairly hard to use as it requires you to be completely still. These pictures were taken with very little external light.

Without night mode, E65 compared to E71:


With night mode, E65 compared to E71:


The E65 night mode makes a big difference to seeing anything in dark environments but introduces a lot of noise. The night mode is better than the E71 in terms of color and noise management.

The E65 camera is very poor which can't compare to 2MP modules found in either the iPhone or Blackberry Curve.

Macro Mode
The E65 doesn't support macro photos so every close photo turned out blurry.

From a E65 compared to a E71 (macro)


Video
The N82 also records video. You can record directly to the memory card and length of the movie is only bound by the amount of free space available. It's the same settings as the N95.

Different quality settings:
Length - Short (max 176x144), Max
Resolution - 128x96, 176x144, 352x288

Audio Recording: On/Off

The E65 has a really slow shutter so you have to be very still and your subject has to be very still:

You're going to miss a lot of photos with this camera

Applications

Multitasking
The E65 has 20MB of RAM so it's not like the large amounts that adorn current S60 phones. It's enough to run one or two applications at the same timebut if you run too many you will have applications automatically close.

Symbian
The menu and navigation is fast, almost as fast as my W810i.

Seeing the N82 has more power than the N73 (baseline n-gage platform) and includes 3D hardware acceleration like the N95, I don't see any issues running the upcoming n-gage games. It can play vNes and vBoy with no issues. vBag and vSun are not practical to run on this phone with major lag. The E65 doesn't have N-gage and won't likely get it. There are a wealth of S60 applications designed for the N73 that will run well on the E65. But some of the latest Nokia applications won't run on the E65's FP0 like Nokia Maps 2.0 or viNe.

Java
I tried WPT (World Poker Tour) Hold Em 2 on the E65 and it played a lot slower than the W810i version. Bejeweled was equally slow. Java was slow on my 6682 so I suspect it's a Java implementation problem on Nokia's end. I guess it doesn't really matter as they're pushing S60 software/games over Java.


External Memory
The memory card is hot swappable so you can take it out while the phone is on. It only supports up to 4GB with no support for microSDHC.

Battery
The battery life lasts an impressive (for S60) 3-4 days. Not as long as the E71 but a lot longer than the 1.5-2 days of the N82.

Charging from 1 bar of battery to full took less than an hour.


Ratings:
Performance...........7
Build quality...........9
Keypad...................8
Connectivity...............7
Features for $.........9
Software................7
Camera..................4
Battery life.............7

Overall.....................7.5


PROS:
*Beautiful design
*Solid build with little to no creaking
*Smooth spring loaded slide mechanism
*WiFi
*Strong RF
*Great incoming sound
*Amazing phonebook organization
*lots of existing S60 games/apps
*great battery life

CONS:
*Slow CPU
*Small screen
*Narrow D-pad ring
*Poor camera
*No US 3G support
*runs S60 FP0 so lots of Nokia apps won't work like Nokia Maps

The smartphone market is highly competitive and the E65 lacks the horsepower (small display, slow CPU, very little RAM) to keep up with the rest. The E65 still makes a great phone and still highly recommend the E65 to users who are looking for a stylish thin slider with the flexibility of a smart phone.

Nokia E65 Review Nokia E65 Review Reviewed by Eric on 11/23/2008 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I have had the Nokia E65 for about 1 year now and its brilliant. Everything is working in good order and I love the camera, all my images are very clear and I enjoy using the phone. The only think I dislike is the themes and fonts I beleive there should be bigger variety of themes and the font size should be bigger as I wear glasses and find it slightly difficult to read. Rating - 9.5/10

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