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Nokia E66 and E71 mean business

Nokia improves on the popular E65 and E61 with sharper designs and some incremental improvements to the features lists.

Nokia may not be officially taking part in CommunicAsia 2008, but the Finnish mobile giant is in Singapore during the same week to show off a duo of new E-series business smartphones, the E66 and the E71.

On paper these new E-series phones may not seem to differ too greatly from their predecessors or indeed from one another. Both devices feature HSDPA data (3.6Mbps), Wi-Fi and A-GPS, and they both run on Nokia's S60 Symbian operating platform with support for Microsoft Exchange servers.

In person these phones strike a very different impression. The E66 is a compact slider with a numeric keypad under the slide, and the slightly wider E71 features a full QWERTY keyboard with an astoundingly slim 10mm thickness — sure to make BlackBerry addicts look twice. Both phones feature 2.4-inch QVGA displays, however, the E66 has a vertically aligned screen while the E71's screen lays in a landscape position.

In a brief hands-on with the E66 at Nokia's Connection event, we were mildly disappointed to see some of the lag issues which plagued the E65 were still evident. The software now features a sleek fading transition when switching applications which almost gives the impression that the pause is more spectacle than lag, but not enough to be convincing. Hopefully we were looking at pre-release software which will see optimisation before its release — slated for the end of July in Australia.

Joseph Hanlon travelled to CommunicAsia as a guest of Samsung.