PC World - Already available overseas, the Nokia E63 has finally come to the United States. The little brother of the Nokia E71, the E63 lacks a GPS receiver and preinstalled games, and it has a downgraded camera. On the other hand, it possesses the same excellent e-mail and messaging capabilities as other members of the Nokia E-series. And the biggest news here: The E63 sells for $250 unlocked--about half what the E71 cost when it debuted.
The lightweight E63 retains the E71's curved, slim design. Measuring 1.4 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.5 inch, it is only slightly thicker than the E71. Rather than having a metal finish, the E63 comes wrapped in a high-quality plastic chassis, which is comfortable to hold. The handset is available in two attractive colors--Ruby Red and Ultramarine Blue--options that give it a more youthful appearance than the sophisticated E71 (available in white or gray, with chrome accents).
The E63's 2.4-inch 320-by-240-pixel QVGA display occupies about half of the phone's landscape. A row of shortcut and navigation keys plus the full QWERTY keyboard lie below it. A 3.5mm headphone jack is situated at the top of the phone. Oddly, the phone lacks a volume rocker; instead you must use the directional pad (d-pad) to adjust the volume during calls and media playback. I was, however, pleased to see a microSD slot located on the right spine. One of my biggest peeves about RIM BlackBerrys is that their microSD slots are inconveniently placed under the back cover.
Unfortunately, Nokia skimped on accessories for the E63, omitting a data cable and a microSD Card. Other than some assorted manuals, you get only a stereo headset, which delivered mediocre sound when I used to listen to music or calls. Luckily, the standard 3.5mm jack lets you swap in your own higher-quality headphones.
The E63's full QWERTY keyboard has raised, tactile keys, which supported quick and easy typing. The keys are a bit smaller than those on a BlackBerry Curve, but a colleague who has larger hands than I do had no trouble using them. One difference between this model and the E71 is the smaller space key on the E63, a change that makes room for a parenthesis key and a Ctrl key. Though some users may find this annoying, I liked the convenience of having a standalone Ctrl key for cutting and pasting text within long messages.
In my hands-on tests, I found that call quality (over AT&T's 3G network) sounded good for the most part. On a handful of calls, I could hear a faint hiss in the background. A few voices sounded tinny, a problem I experienced with the E71 as well. Parties on the other end of the line reported clean audio quality and couldn't hear any hiss. The E63 has the same 1500-mAh BP-4L lithium ion battery as the E71.
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