The E61 has robust e-mail capabilities with support for Microsoft Exchange Server, POP3, IMAP, and SMTP accounts, and a full attachment viewer. You can get real-time message delivery through a number of push e-mail solutions, including Intellisync Wireless E-mail, BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink, Visto, and Seven Always-On Mail. A small LED above the screen, as well as a pop-up box, alert you to new messages. There's also a mobile VPN client so that you can securely tap into your corporate server. The E61 also works with popular instant-messaging clients, such as Yahoo and AOL, and is text and multimedia message capable.
Wireless connectivity comes in many flavors, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, quadband GSM/GPRS, 3G technology (UMTS), and infrared. We like that Bluetooth isn't limited to just hands-free headsets; you can use it for file transfers and dial-up networking, so you can use the phone as a modem to get your Bluetooth-enabled PDA or laptop connected to the Internet. Yet there's no support for the A2DP stereo profile. When surfing the Web with the device, you can configure the E61 to connect via GPRS or Wi-Fi via the Settings menu. The Web browser is worth a mention. Like the one found on the Nokia N80, the E61's browser will present you with a thumbnail of the full Web page so that you can easily navigate to a certain point on the site, rather than having to scroll all over the place. You can also download RSS feeds and blogs, bookmark sites, block pop-up ads, and more. Finally, the E61 has support for UMTS (or WCDMA) 3G technology, which brings data (text, video, and so on) transmission speeds of up to 2Mbps. Though not available nationwide in the United States yet, Cingular is rolling out its UMTS network slowly.
As a phone, the Nokia E61 offers a speakerphone, speed dial, and voice commands, plus it supports VoIP calls. The E61's address book is limited only by the available memory, and each entry has room for multiple numbers, an e-mail address, home and work addresses, a Web URL, and so forth. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo (although you'll have to transfer images onto the phone, since the E61 doesn't have a camera) or a ring tone.
Though the E61 is a business device, it can have fun, too. The smart phone is equipped with a decent music player. It plays back MP3 and AAC files and can sort songs by artist, album, genre, or composer. You can also create playlists right on the device, set songs on random or repeat mode, and tweak the sound settings via the built-in equalizer. For videos, RealPlayer is onboard and is compatible with MPEG-4, MP4, 3GP, RV, RA, AAC, AMR, and MIDI formats. Though the E61 lacks a camera, you can view JPEG, BMP, BNG, and GIF files with the included image viewer.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; WCDMA 2100) Nokia E61 in San Francisco using Cingular's service, and call quality was excellent. Our callers said we sounded loud and clear, and we had no problems hearing them as well. Activating the speakerphone diminished the quality just slightly; voices sounded tinny to us, and our friends said there was a bit of feedback on their end. We had no problems pairing the E61 with the Logitech Mobile Traveler Bluetooth headset.
Though its performance as a phone was great, the Nokia E61 occasionally slowed to a crawl when opening and switching apps. MP3 playback wasn't bad. Volume was adequate through the phone's speakers, but we didn't have a chance to test the quality through a pair of headphones. Video performance was also satisfactory.
The Nokia E61 is rated for seven hours of talk time, and we had no problem reaching that claim; in fact, we squeezed another hour out of the phone in our tests. Standby time is rated for up to 11 days.
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