Nokia E61i Cell Phone Review: Part 3 Delve into the Smartphone
The E61i is horse of a different color when compared with Nseries cellular handsets in terms of included applications and the way they operate.
The E61i takes about 32 seconds to start, and this is the longest boot-up time I’ve ever seen on a Nokia S60 handset. I can’t tell what is behind this slow start-up, but if it has to do with its software peculiarities, Nokia should do something to expedite it a little. It is worth mentioning that the E61i isn’t as sluggish as handsets like, say, Nokia N73 and N80 in spite of the fact that its boot-up time is way longer than the ones mentioned. Also, with the V2.0633.65 firmware release the Powerboot effect is missing, but I’m not sure about the V3.XXX firmware update as currently Nokia Software Updater doesn’t work with Windows Vista.
There’s not much of a difference between the E61i and Nseries handsets as far as call functions are concerned; however, on Nokia E61i “Key 2” mutes and unmutes the microphone while on a call whereas “Key 2” activates and deactivates the loudspeaker on Nseries handsets in the same situation. What “Key 2” does on the E61i better suits my needs as I don’t make use of the loudspeaker much.
Configuring the MyOwn key
As mentioned in the first part of the E61i review, the MyOwn key is located to the left of “Key 2” and allows users to tie an application to that key press. If it is pressed for the first time, users can opt to select its associated application – I’ve attached the “Music player” to it. Once configured, a single press of the MyOwn key activates the predefined application. What if you decide to change that application? Simply press and hold down the MyOwn key and the “Add application” dialog opens. The same can be done through the “Own key” item in the Tools folder.
The menu structure
Unlike many Nseries handsets like the N82 and the N95, Nokia E61i doesn’t have an “Applications” folder. Instead, installed application icons are placed in the “Installations” folder. The “Office” folder can also be found on the main menu whereas you should find this folder in the “Applications” folder when working with Nseries handsets. By the same token, with the E61i the “Connectivity” folder is on the main menu not in the “Tools” folder. If you start working with the E61i you’ll notice that the “App. Manager” icon can be found in both “Tools” and “Installations” folders whereas it is located in the “Applications” folder with Nseries handsets.
Memory and RAM
As mentioned in a previous post, the E61i package doesn’t offer a memory card. This smartphone provides 61.2MB of phone memory and 45.0MB of RAM, according to Handy Taskman. When the phone starts, I get about 22MB of free RAM. Granted, I’ve not yet seen a single instance of the “memory full” problem on the E61i and the handset is snappier than many Nseries S60 3rd Edition smartphones.
The E61i’s Music player can be found in the “Media” folder along with other applications including Camera, Real player, Gallery, Flash player, services, and Voice recorder. When opened, it shows the last played track. When it is closed, it doesn’t remain in the memory, but it is capable of remembering the last played track. The following is a list of playback functions along with their associated keys.
- Play/Pause: 5.
- Stop: 8.
- Volume down/up: Joystick left/right.
- Previous track: 4 (pressed twice quickly).
- Next track: 6.
- Beginning of track: 4.
- Rewind: 4 (pressed).
- Fast forward: 6 (pressed).
The main Music player window displays the following options:
- Music library,
- Open now playing,
- Track downloads,
Random play, submenu:
- Off (selected),
- Off (selected),
Add to track list, submenu:
- New track list.
- Set as ringing tone,
To help the Music player application recognize your recently added tracks, you should go to the “Music library” and select “Update music library” from the list of available options. The Music library allows you to see tracks in different categories such as All tracks, Genres, Albums, Artists, and so forth. The Music player does a great job of organizing your tracks and the speaker generates loud and crisp audio, but the fact that it comes with one speaker and lacks A2DP Bluetooth profile support forces us to not use the phrase “an audio-centric device” for it. When the E61i is paired with a stereo Bluetooth headset, you’ll hear a highly distorted mono sound and you won’t be able to control the music via the headset’s dedicated audio keys. BTW, the E61i doesn’t have FM/Visual radio.
If you compare the E61i with an Nseries best-seller like the N82, you’ll notice that it offers a number of extra applications and settings which are missing in its Nseries sibling. For instance, Nokia E61i comes with an application called “Voice aid”, found in the Tools folder. It helps users hear their contact names, recent calls and time/date without looking at the screen. Also, it can be used to dial numbers. If you go to the main menu and select Tools, followed by Settings and then Phone, one of the options titled “Notification light” allows you to determine how long and for which notifications the screen should blink. This is a nifty feature.
MP3 recording and microphone sensitivity
I used ALON MP3 Dictaphone to check if Nokia E61i is capable of recording good-quality MP3 files. With the N82 I can record 96KBPS/32kHz MP3 files, and with the E61i the highest sample rate is 96kbps/16kHz – quite acceptable for an Eseries handset. Also, my tests indicate that the E61i’s microphone is slightly less sensitive than that of the N82, but the difference is hardly noticeable.
The next E61i review article will focus on the camera and other important handset features.