Symbian 9.2, 2.4in 320×240 display
Nokia’s E63 is very similar to our Best Buy award-winning E71.
It’s available SIM-free, and Expansys is offering bundles that include a free phone, GPS Bluetooth receiver and T-Mobile SIM for £30 per month on a 12-month contract. To call it a slimmed-down version of the E71 would be misleading, as it’s 3mm thicker; however, some of the E71’s features are missing or reduced in functionality on the E63.
The E71’s front-mounted video camera has gone, and the main camera has been downgraded from 3.2 to two megapixels. The E63 lacks the E71’s built-in GPS receiver but still includes the Nokia Maps application. Used in conjunction with a Bluetooth GPS receiver, it works just as well as a satellite navigation device. The E63 also lacks an infrared port.
The two phones look very similar at first glance, but the E63’s case is a subtly different shape and includes more plastic than metal. It doesn’t have the same convenient volume buttons on the side of the case, and where the E71 has a textured metal back plate, the E63’s plastic battery cover has a rubberised finish that makes it just as easy to grip. Battery life is as excellent as the E71’s.
The E63 feels much lighter than the E71, although it’s actually a difference of only one gram. The build quality isn’t great, though; the battery compartment is held in place by a switch that on a couple of occasions came loose, causing the back cover to fall off. The battery was slightly loose as well and rattled around when shaken.
Not all comparisons favour the older handset, however. The E63 has the same excellent keyboard, but two extra keys each side of the space key give you a wider range of punctuation without having to access a menu. It has the same screen and operating system, which provides office document editors, a PDF viewer and the Nokia web browser. Email handling is excellent: webmail accounts are easy to set up, and you can access Exchange servers thanks to a free download of Mail for Exchange.
Nokia’s multimedia applications play many common formats and provide access to the excellent Nokia Music Store. Unfortunately, Nokia’s application store isn’t quite as well stocked as its Music Store, and isn’t a patch on Apple’s AppStore or even Google’s Android Market. Nokia needs to encourage developers to create applications for its phones. Its attempt to enter the social-networking arena is also poor – only two services are available, and one of those is Nokia’s own Ovi service.
If you’re looking for a contract phone, we still recommend the older E71, as it’s more robust and has built-in GPS. However, for those who have a contract and need a new phone, or who prefer to use pay-as-you-go SIMs, the E63 is a decent budget choice. It loses a star for its loose battery and cover, but it still deserves a Budget Buy award.
|Main display size
|CCD effective megapixels
|Video recording format
|Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
|Memory card support
|Memory card included
|GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
|GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA
|Microsoft Office compatibility
|Word/Excel/PowerPoint editors, PDF viewer
|Audio format support
|MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+
|Video playback formats
|Nokia Web Browser
|Tested battery life (MP3 playback)