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.
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 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.
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.
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.