Nokia E55 review: Nokia E55

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Nokia E55 is a superslim smartphone that is both business-centric and multimedia-smart. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headset jack, Wi-Fi, support for American 3G bands, and Bluetooth. It is surprisingly affordable for an unlocked phone and has great call quality, too.

The Bad The Nokia E55's hybrid keyboard may not be for everyone, and the keys felt a bit squishy as well.

The Bottom Line The Nokia E55 will please both business-users and multimedia-minded consumers because of its slim profile, packed features, and wallet-friendly price.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

Nokia has branched out quite a bit in recent years with its smartphone line of Symbian handsets. The E series in particular has usually been quite business-centric, like the Nokia E71 for example, but the E 50 series tend to be a bit more attractive to consumers. Take the Nokia E55, for instance. It offers all the smartphone benefits of e-mail, GPS with Nokia's OVI Maps, Wi-Fi, support for North American 3G bands, and PC-syncing, but it also has multimedia goodies like a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording, a music player, plus a 3.5mm headset jack. The E55's superslim profile and hybrid keyboard also gives it that consumer appeal. Finally, the E55 is surprisingly affordable at $339 for an unlocked phone.

Design
When the Nokia E55 debuted last year in Barcelona, Spain, during Mobile World Congress, Nokia boasted that it was the world's thinnest smartphone. While we can't verify this claim, the E55 is indeed the thinnest smartphone we've ever held in our hands. Measuring 4.57 inches long by 1.93 inches wide by 0.39 inch thick, the E55 is long and lean. And though it's so skinny, it weighs around 3.46 ounces, which gives it a solid feel in the hand. The back battery cover is clad in a spun metal surface that provides a nice grip as well. The E55 comes in both black and white.


The Nokia E55 claims to be the world's thinnest smartphone.

The 2.4-inch display dominates much of the E55's front surface. It's a nontouch screen, but it does support up to 16 million colors. It's really colorful, vibrant, and has an interesting light-sensing technology that adjusts the brightness depending on the environment. You can adjust the Home screen's background image, theme, font size, backlight timer, and choose the menu layout as well. You can also change the "call image," which is the image that shows up when there's an incoming call.

The E55 also lets you alternate between "Personal mode" and "Business mode," with the idea that you can easily switch between the two depending on your situation. In Business mode, you'll get access to work tools like e-mail and your calendar, while Personal mode gives you easy access to multimedia applications and the like. This seems a bit arbitrary, since you could easily access these other apps regardless of mode, but it's a nice setting to have if you want it.


The Nokia E55 has a hybrid keyboard similar to RIM's SureType keyboard.

Underneath the display, you'll find the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a middle square toggle with a center select key, shortcut keys for Home, the Calendar, and Email, a Back key, and the Talk and End keys. Below that is a hybrid QWERTY keyboard where two letters share the same key, similar to RIM's SureType keyboard. While we know not everyone likes this style of keyboard, we actually don't mind it so much. Especially since the E55 has pretty good predictive text and can guess our words as we're typing them. The keys themselves are well-spaced and are slightly slanted so we can dial by feel. Perhaps our only complaint is that they feel a bit soft when pressed.


The Nokia E55 has a 3.2-megapixel camera on the back.

On the left is the charger jack, while on the right are the volume rocker, a user-programmable shortcut key, and the camera key. At the top are the 3.5mm headset jack and the power switch. The camera lens is on the back, as well as an LED flash. The microSD card slot is located behind the battery cover.

As for accessories, the Nokia E55 comes with an AC adapter, a wired headset, a USB cable, a 2.5mm headset adapter, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phones accessories, ringtones, and help page.

Features
The Nokia E55 is equipped with the Symbian S60 Third Edition operating system and has features very similar to the ones on the Nokia E71 and the E63. Even though it is slightly more consumer-friendly than its brethren, the E55 still makes a pretty good business smartphone. It supports Microsoft Exchange Server, POP3, and IMAP4 e-mail accounts, plus several push e-mail solutions as well. You can view and edit Microsoft Office documents thanks to Nokia's QuickOffice suite. Of course, you also get all the typical PIM applications like a calendar, notes, a calculator, a currency converter, a voice recorder, Adobe Reader, and more. The E55 supports instant messaging, too--our version came with Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger, but you can download other IM clients as well. There's even a text-to-speech message reader if you need to keep your eyes on the road.

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