That old adage of "first impressions count the most" certainly holds true, and for the Nokia E6 this was no exception.
Opening the box and laying my eyes on the phone for the first time I immediately felt this was a very good phone, but the deal was sealed when I picked it up and gave it a serious once-over.
This is a really "smart" phone, with "smart" in this context meaning "stylish". One could be forgiven for mistaking the Nokia E6 for a Blackberry Bold, but here's where the similarity ends.
This is far from being a bad thing though, as the weight adds to the robust feeling and high build quality one has come to expect from the Finnish giant. Aesthetically the lines are sharp and clean and the device has a very distinguished feel.
Sticking with the design theme, the screen could almost be the E6's show stopper.
With the 2.5-inch capacitive display along with VGA (640 by 480) resolution, I'm lead to believe it's one of the most tightly packed pixel-bearers out there.
The screen is small by touch-screen standards, which could be a negative for some, but the sheer clarity and crystal clear images displayed more than make up for this.
The Nokia E6 runs on Symbian Anna, the latest version of Nokia's long-running platform. Much has been made of Nokia's commitment to Microsoft, but that doesn't mean the current operating system offers any less of a decent user experience. There are multiple home screens to play around with and one is able to edit the layout of icons and live widgets.
You do get the feeling that the interface screen is a bit crowded however. You could go so far to say it's overly complex, with too many sub-menus and dialogue boxes popping up from every corner, even for the most common of tasks.
There is also a bit of a delay when moving between applications, as the loading icon appears a lot more than it should. This can make something as simple as changing menus quite laborious as a result.
The touch-screen performs admirably and navigating/swiping between menus and windows is easy enough. The tightly-packed interface and smallish screen size does result in some frustration when accuracy is needed, however.
Typing on the Qwerty keyboard is as easy as with any BlackBerry, and feels almost more 'raised' than its Blackberry counterpart. It takes a while to adjust if you're either a Qwerty or full touch user, but once you get used to the mixed interface, the phone is a dream to use.
This interface provides the best of both worlds with easy touch-screen navigation and the advantages of a physical Qwerty keyboard for text entry.
Features in a nutshell
Nokia also makes things easier for the end-user by preloading the Nokia E6 with some useful apps like Shazam, Youtube, Psiloc World Traveler, Vlingo and a nifty photo editor. Another great addition is the free Nokia Maps for voice-enabled turn-by-turn GPS navigation. This is probably not a bad thing as some out there believe the Ovi Store is on its last legs.
8GB of internal storage is plenty and you can also supplement it with a micoSD card, so there are plenty of storage options available. On the audio side of things, the FM radio works really well while the MP3 and AAC music tracks have a crisp sound to them.
Videos are clear and sharp but due to the small screen, you wouldn't choose to watch movies on this phone.
Nokia is known for camera quality and the E6 certainly does not deviate from this tradition, sporting an 8-megapixel sensor, double-LED flash, and geotagging support. There is no autofocus but I didn't have any issue with this, the test photos come out very nicely.
The Nokia E6 may lean more towards business users as shown by the range of productivity applications such as a full version of Quick Office, PDF Reader and F-Secure to keep everything safe. In addition, Nokia has also stepped up its Facebook and Twitter support through its social hub, bringing updates together in a unified view.
Free turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation with GPS and digital compass is a great asset to have. Nokia's Ovi Maps is a great tool allowing you to download local maps for free. It simply works and having that service for free on a handset remains probably one of Nokia’s biggest advantages.
Nokia's Symbian may get some bad press, but being a first-time user, I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this phone.
The Nokia E6 delivers some delights, not least of all in terms of build quality, screen performance and battery life (which is always a bonus as no-one wants to have the continuous hassle of lugging your charger around).