Nokia E65 review: Nokia E65

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

3 stars 5 user reviews
Review Date:
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The Good Slim design; easy-to-use keypad; 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity; battery life; Web browser.

The Bad Lack of autofocus and flash on the 2-megapixel camera.

The Bottom Line This is one of our favourite Nokia smart phones so far. It's slim, it looks good and the keypad is easy to use. Our main niggle is that the camera can take blurry pictures and doesn't work well in low light. But add the Wi-Fi and decent battery life and you've got a winner

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The E65 is a slim, stylish smart phone that manages to combine some of the best features available on mobile phones without piling on the pounds. From the design of the keypad to the fast Wi-Fi connectivity, this phone handles work and play well.

If you're looking for a phone that combines form with functionality then the E65 is definitely worth considering. It's currently available for free on a monthly contract from several network operators and for about £300 SIM-free.

Design
In the past, unlike the majority of its competitors, Nokia never seemed that bothered about making really thin phones. While other mobile phone manufacturers put their line-ups on the Atkins diet, Nokia seemed happy to keep producing relatively chunky handsets.

But like a teenager caught up in the fickle world of style magazines, Nokia is rapidly becoming aware of its love handles and is starting to produce thinner and more stylish mobiles, like this one, which is only 16mm thick.


The Nokia E65 is slim and feels comfortable in a trouser pocket

The E65 a stylish slider phone that wouldn't look out of place inside a Jaguar X-Type. It has a bright colour screen that's surrounded by an attractive silver frame.

Underneath the screen there's a set of soft keys and a four-way navigation key, which makes accessing different parts of the menu easy and fast. The spring-loaded slide mechanism that pops the E65 open is smooth and feels solid.

Once you slide the top section up, a well-sized keypad is revealed. It's one of the best slider phone keypads we have ever used. The keys are large, well shaped and there's no lip at the bottom of the keypad to get in the way of the bottom three keys.

There could be a little more space at the top of the keypad, but overall it felt comfortable to use. Our only niggle is that the cancel key is on the top section, which makes accessing it when you're composing a text message a little fiddly.

Features
To make sure you're not caught out on a business trip, the E65 comes with quad-band connectivity so it will work anywhere in the world that uses a GSM network. There's also 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity giving you high-speed Internet on the go.

We were really impressed with how fast the E65 picked up a Wi-Fi signal. You can use the 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity to browse the Web, download data and make VoIP calls using applications like Truphone.

The Web browser is great, giving you the option to view sites as you would on a computer with a small overview map on the top right-hand corner to show you where you are in relation to the rest of the page.

Other connectivity options include Bluetooth, infrared and USB, which among other things lets you sync the E65 with your PC.



Using Nokia's PC Suite software, you can synchronise your calendar, to-do items, contacts and notes from Outlook or Lotus Notes. Unlike Microsoft's ActiveSync, however, which works with Windows Mobile handsets, you can't synchronise your emails.

Via Bluetooth, you can also display documents and pictures on a compatible projector. The E65 supports a variety of file formats including PDF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

It also supports third-party satellite navigation software such as Route 66 or Navicore (compatible versions of the software will be available soon) that you can use in conjunction with a separate Bluetooth GPS receiver.

You can store all your work, pictures and music on the 50MB of internal memory and on a microSD card. The E65 will take up to a 2GB microSD card, allowing you to store around 480 songs that you can listen to on the E65's music player.

The music player supports MP3 and AAC files and lets you play tracks in shuffle mode. You can search for songs by artist name, album and genre, and adjust the equaliser.

Unfortunately you can only use the proprietary headphones to listen to music, which are okay but we'd have preferred it if there was support for a pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones or a 3.5mm adaptor.


On the back there's a 2-megapixel camera but we're disappointed that there's no autofocus or flash

The E65 also comes with a 2-megapixel camera that shoots still photographs and video. It's pretty basic -- there's no autofocus or flash -- but it's acceptable for MMS messages and mementos.

One feature we particularly like is the text message reader that reads out your messages.

Performance
We were really impressed with the Wi-Fi connectivity, which was fast and easy to set up. We tested it out in the office and at home and it found more wireless routers than some laptops.

The audio quality during calls was good and we didn't notice any distortions or muffling during calls. The loudspeaker worked as expected. The quality of the music from the MP3 player was acceptable, but we would have preferred to be able to use our own headphones.

The picture quality from the camera was unimpressive and most shots came out blurry due to the lack of autofocus. The lack of a flash also meant that low light shots didn't come out very well.

Battery life was better than expected. With moderate use of all the features including the Wi-Fi connectivity, the battery lasted for about three to four days, which is much better than other phones with similar features.

Conclusion
For a phone that's just 16mm thick, it's very impressive how much Nokia has managed to cram into it. The Wi-Fi connectivity is fast and easy to set up, the keypad is well designed and the office features are useful.

The BlackBerry Pearl remains the best way to get your work emails on the go, while the HTC S710 has the better synching software and a Qwerty keyboard.

If, however, you're more interested in the phone's other features and aren't put off by the lacklustre camera, the E65 is one of the better smart phones available at the moment.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield

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Where to Buy

Nokia E65

Part Number: CNETNokia E65

Typical Price: £280.00

See manufacturer website for availability.