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Nokia E51 review: Nokia E51

The Nokia E51 doesn't have any tricks up its sleeve -- it looks good, it's simple and it works. It sticks to Nokia's old school winning formula of a simple phone that's easy to use. Plus, it comes with a few extra features, like Wi-Fi and HSDPA. What else do you need?

Andrew Lim
3 min read

Forget Nokia's N-series and all its fancy features -- feast your eyes on what the E-series has to offer. We think the business-centric Nokia E51 is worth looking at whether you're a business-type or not.


Nokia E51

The Good

Design; Wi-Fi; HSDPA; easy-to-use keypad.

The Bad

Camera could be better; dedicated keys around the edge are tough to press.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia E51 isn't about showing off. Even if it does look really good, it's about good old fashioned ease of use with fantastic features to boot. Avoid it if you're looking for a high-end camera phone, otherwise definitely consider it

The E51 is currently available SIM-free for about £210 and free on a monthly contract with several networks.

If you liked the Nokia 6300 then you'll like the Nokia E51. It's slim, encased in stainless steel and looks classy without overdoing it too much. However, unlike so many other attractive phones, the E51 also delivers when it comes to ease of use.

The E51's keypad is well designed and features large, easy-to-press keys. There are dedicated shortcut keys around the navigation key that take you directly to your contacts, the menu, the calendar and your emails.

The Nokia E51's keypad is very easy to use

While not massive, the E51's screen looks sharp and works in conjunction with a light sensor, adjusting the screen's brightness depending on the ambient light. It displays 16 million colours and is fine for perusing emails and browsing the odd Web page on.

Overall, we really like the E51's design but the power, volume and recording keys around the edge of the E51 are very hard to press, and while that means you can't push them by accident, it's not very comfortable when you do need to press them.

For such a slim phone, it's impressive that it manages to pack in HSDPA and Wi-Fi, so you have plenty of choices when it comes to connecting to the Internet. The Wi-Fi receiver impressed us with its range and managed to pick up a connection very fast.

Although the Nokia E51's screen isn't massive, it's large enough to read comfortably

Because the E51 runs on the S60 platform there are a plethora of third party applications that you can download on to it, including IM and VoIP apps and a variety of others that will hopefully help you with your everyday life.

While there isn't a built in GPS receiver, the E51 does come with Nokia Maps and if you buy yourself a Bluetooth GPS receiver, then you can turn the E51 into a satellite navigation device -- albeit a small-screened one.

Being a business phone, the E51 comes prepped to handle email and supports POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP, in addition to Exchange. There's no Qwerty keypad but if you're just looking for a phone to check emails and compose short replies then it's fine.

There's an MP3 player, an FM radio and a 2-megapixel camera that isn't great but works well for MMS messages and small prints. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack so you have to contend with a 2.5mm pair or stereo Bluetooth headphones.

Audio quality during calls sounded good but there were times when it was slightly distorted, which may have been caused by network interference. The loudspeaker worked as expected but isn't fantastically loud.

Picture quality from the 2-megapixel camera is grainy when blown up but fine for MMS messages and small prints. You can also record video using the E51's camera but don't expect to shoot a hi-def short film.

The Nokia E51 only has a 2-megapixel camera and no LED photo light or flash

The battery lasted for over two days with moderate use and drained much faster when HSDPA and Wi-Fi were used for prolonged periods. Given its size, we were satisfied with the E51's battery life.

You may have started the review expecting something spectacular and then been disappointed that the E51 doesn't have a trick up its sleeve, but that's what makes it great -- it looks good, it's simple and it works. Do you need anything else?

It's not perfect and it's a little rough around its literal edge but overall we fell in love with this phone because it sticks to Nokia's old school winning formula of a simple phone that's easy to use and comes with a few extra features to boot.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday