As for phone features, the E55 has all the typical goodies like a speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, and text and multimedia messaging. It also has conference call support, quad-band GSM for world roaming, and VoIP support. The E55 supports push-to-talk functionality as well. The contacts list is limited only by the available memory (it has an internal memory of 100MB), while the SIM card can hold an additional 250 contacts. Each entry has room for many numbers, an e-mail address, street addresses, a Web URL, important dates, and more. You can pair a contact with a photo or one of 50 polyphonic ringtones for caller ID. From the contacts list, you can press the right arrow button next to any contact and you'll see a drop-down menu where you can choose to call or send a message to that person.
The E55 works on AT&T's 3G bands, but not T-Mobile's. But if you don't want to use 3G, the E55 has Wi-Fi. It also has Bluetooth, with support for stereo A2DP streaming, dial-up networking, and file transfer. Like other E series phones, the E55 is equipped with assisted GPS, and it comes with Nokia's OVI Maps application that gives turn-by-turn directions and even real-time weather and traffic information. We also appreciate the pedestrian-friendly maps. We're also thankful that we no longer have to pay for turn-by-turn directions as before.
We're quite pleased with the E55's multimedia offerings. They include a built-in music player that supports MP3, WMA, W4A, AAC, AAC+, and eAAC+ file formats, plus OMA DRM 2.0 and WM DRM-protected songs. The player categorizes tunes by albums, genres, artists, and composers, and you can create and edit your own playlists right from the phone. Other settings include a built-in equalizer, a podcasts category, and an FM radio (you need to plug in your earbuds to tune in). The video player on the E55 supports 3GPP and MPEG-4 files.
As with the E71, the E55 has a 3.2-megapixel camera. There's an LED flash, plus a few camera features that include autofocus, exposure settings, digital zoom, several scene modes, white balance presets, and color effects. You only get three quality settings in video mode, but you get access to the same editing features as for the still camera. You can then upload those photos to Nokia's OVI or Flickr if you wish. Picture quality seemed above average. Images looked sharp, and colors looked bright and vibrant. We didn't even need the LED flash in darker environments, though it did result in a moodier overcast tone.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; WCDMA 850/1900) Nokia E55 in San Francisco using an AT&T SIM card. Call quality was surprisingly good. On our end, calls sounded really crisp and clear with little static or distortion. Volume was good, too. When we switched on the speakerphone, callers sounded a tad on the hollow side, but still clear overall.
On their end, callers said we sounded great, too. They said we sounded smooth and natural and the volume was just right. It was almost that of landline quality, save for the occasional hiss. As for speakerphone quality, they said they could hear us just fine as well, except there was a bit more echo than usual.
We were quite pleased with the 3G speeds on the E55. We managed to load CNET's page in just 45 seconds, and it took around 29 seconds to load CNN's mobile site. Nokia's built-in Web browser supports Flash Lite 3.0, so we went to YouTube and managed to watch video clips with only a few seconds' buffering time. The E55 showed no sluggishness when transitioning between applications..
The Nokia E55 has a rated battery life of 8 hours in GSM mode and 6 hours in 3G. The E55 had a very impressive tested talk time of 16 hours and 14 minutes. It has up to 23 days of standby time in GSM mode and 29 days in 3G. According to FCC radiation tests, the E55 has a digital SAR of 1.19 watts per kilogram.