That's why Nokia--like RIM--has plumped for a hybrid solution on this E55.
As ever with Nokia's E series, the boot time is very impressive, and your phone is ready to go in just ten seconds. It might not sound much, but when you're on the go all the time it helps to be able to get up and running quickly. The E55's brushed aluminium finish impressed us, leaving us with with the feeling that this is a robust handset.
The most surprising thing about the E55 is how small it is. A lot of people here in our lab use large smartphones: there are iPhones, Blackberrys, Samsung multimedia phones and HTC phones running Windows Mobile, to name but a few. Given the size of this new Nokia then, it would be easy to think that it was a basic, entry-level model. Its compact size may be misleading, but the ability to have a real PDA in such a small format is an undeniable advantage!
No need for deep pockets or big hands--the E55 is smaller than other smartphones
Symbian OS proves once again that it's a reliable choice for professional users. The interface isn't the most modern we've ever seen--and that's where RIM is clearly streets ahead--but it's very efficient. Plenty of phones aimed at the consumer market could learn a lot from the clear, well-organised menus. If some phones with larger screens are in the pipeline, it might need a more thorough makeover, but it works fine on the E55's screen.
Despite having a regular layout, the keyboard still fits into a relatively small space
And let's take a look at that screen: it really isn't very big at all. Nokia didn't have a lot of room, given the size of the handset, but this where the clash between usability and portability really becomes evident. Although using the Internet is entirely possible and Opera Mobile works well, it's very frustrating to only see a tiny preview of the page in question before hunting out the area that has the content that interests you.
The same is true with e-mail. If you're hoping to sort through hundreds of messages a day, you'll soon find that it's frustrating. However, as with the E71, the e-mail application is very well thought out and allows you to flip easily from one account to another.
The next step is trying to write a message using the keyboard with two letters per key. If you're used to the Blackberry Bold, then it's quite a shock. But if you compare it to an onscreen virtual keyboard, or an old-fashioned numeric keypad, then it becomes clear that this hybrid format really does save time. Typing on it isn't the same as a full-sized keyboard, but that's not the point. The E55 is a real alternative that anybody who doesn't need a super-powered smartphone should consider.
- Very small for a smartphone
- Easy to manage system for contacts and e-mails
- Hybrid keyboard is better than a standard numeric keypad
- Slightly weak battery life holds you back from making the most of it
- Small screen makes surfing the web difficult
Just because you want a professional phone doesn't mean you want something as massive as the Blackberry Bold or the Nokia E75. The E55 meets that need, adding an interface that easily beats a traditional handset.