The E6's combination of QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen in a monoblock form factor is a first for Nokia. In essence, it adds a touchscreen to the popular E7x family, but the internal hardware differences are also considerable; the E6 is essentially two generations of hardware on from the E72.
The 640 x 480 (VGA) touchscreen has four times the number of pixels as the old 320 x 240 (QVGA) screen, which gives a much sharper and brighter screen and allow for more information to be displayed. Internally, the E6 has the same hardware specifications as the other Symbian^3 devices: pentaband 3G, 256MB of RAM, faster performing processor and accompanying graphics co-processor, and USB OTG functionality, are just some of the significant hardware upgrades. Similarly, the Symbian^3 software offers very substantial performance and functionality improvements over S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2.
A key selling point for the E6 is its retention of the 1500 mAh battery of the E71 and E72, which together with the power efficient characteristics of Symbian^3 should give the device (amongst) the best battery life time of any modern smartphone. Nokia give a figure of 31 days standby and 14.8 hours talk time under ideal conditions; in real world usage it is likely to reach two full days under moderate to heavy usage and should manage three or four days under lighter usage.
The E6's keyboard is the latest evolution of Nokia's QWERTY monoblock keyboard. Nokia have honed this over a number of revisions (e.g. the matte 'grip' materials added with the E72 and the 'smile' shaped layout added with the E5) and it's one of the best available on any QWERTY monoblock. The control cluster of keys have been reconfigured, with the send and end keys more prominent with the removal of the left and right function keys. Both the device as a whole and the keyboard can be used one handed, although faster text entry speeds are possible when using two hands.
Nokia describes the E6 as having the best out-of-the-box Microsoft messaging experience on any mobile device. The Mail for Exchange software provides a connection to a Microsoft Exchange server for email, calendar appointments, tasks and contacts. Microsoft Mobile Communicator, which has been designed and certified by Microsoft, provides corporate IM and presence and is currently unique to the Symbian platform. Access to Microsoft Sharepoint is provided through a mobile web interface optimised for the Symbian Web browser. Attachments are handled by Quick Office Premium (editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files) and Pdf. Further enterprise software is available in Ovi Store.
Together with the Nokia X7, the E6 will be one of the first devices to ship with the Symbian Anna software update. This update brings enhanced text entry capabilities (split screen text entry), an improved browser, a fresh icon set and numerous other performance and usability improvements. The E6 also has a number of software customisations thanks to its VGA resolution. The homescreen has five pages (rather than three) because the smaller physical size of the screen made it practical to have only three widgets displayed at a time (usually six on the larger screened devices). The homescreen has also been re-arranged with status information running down the left hand side and customisable to centre and right of the screen. Similarly, in the application screen, icons are displayed in a 4 x 3 grid (rather than 2 x 6).
The Symbian Anna software update also brings a range of enterprise enhancements, the most important of which is an additional security policy (one of six new ones) that provides the capability to turn on encryption on the device remotely from the Exchange remote device management software. The encyption/decryption is hardware accelerated, thanks to underlying Symbian enablers.
Key hardware features
- 115.5 x 59 x 10.5 mm in dimensions, 133g in weight; monoblock touch with QWERTY keyboard form factor.
- Glass and metal materials (Gorilla Glass front screen, stainless steel back and bezel, hard plastics for the main keyboard)
- 2.46 inch, TFT LCD touchscreen; 640x 480 pixels resolution (VGA); this gives a pixel size of 0.078mm (326 pixel per inch) and an active area of 49.92 x 37.44 mm.
- 8 megapixel full focus (EDoF) camera with dual LED flash; video recording at 720p resolution (1280×720) and 25 frames per second.
- Integrated GPS with location support for GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID location techniques.
- 3.5 mm Nokia AV connector for audio in/out and TV-out
- FM Radio (with RDS)
- microUSB (USB 2.0) for file transfers, charging and USB On-the-Go
- BP-4L (1500mAh) battery with easy access battery cover (standby by time of 31 days and talk time of 14.8 hours (GSM) and 7.5 hours (WCDMA). Charging via microUSB port.
- WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 and GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (HSDPA Cat 9 - 10.2 MBps, HSUPA Cat 5 - 2.0 Mbps)
- WiFi: WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0
- Processor: Broadcom BCM2727 - ARM 11 at 680MHz with 3D Graphics HW Accelerator with OpenGL-ES 2.0 support (i.e. graphics co-processor).
- 8GB mass memory and microSD card slot (supports sizes upto 32GB)
- 256MB RAM; 1024MB ROM
- Initially available in three colours: White, Silver and Black
- In box contents: Nokia E6-00, Nokia Battery BP-4L battery, Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179, Nokia Stereo Headset WH-207, Nokia High Efficiency Charger AC-15
Key software features
- Runs Symbian Anna (roughly equivalent to Symbian^3 PR 2.0)
- Symbin Anna additions and updates include a fresh icon set, improved text input usability (portrait QWERTY and split screen text entry), an easier to use and faster browser, the latest version of Ovi Maps (3.6 - improved search and public transport on maps), improved enterprise security features and messaging, and the latest version of Qt.
- Multi-page homescreen with fully customisable widgets (five pages, three widgets per page). Extra pages have been included to allow for additional widgets to be used.
- Symbian^3 improvements over S60 5th Edition (Symbian^1) include the renewed music experience (e.g. coverflow albums), the visual task switcher (see contents of application from the task switcher), a more streamlined menu structure with fewer prompts (e.g. no connectivity prompts), a single tap 'Direct UI' paradigm (compared to the 'double tap' Symbian^1), memory and battery effiency improvements (e.g. writeable demand paging).
- Ships with Ovi Maps 3.6 (free lifetime car and pedestrian navigation).
- Mail for Exchange with enforced encryption and certificate based authentication. Six new Exchange security policies supported in Symbian Anna, including capability to turn on encryption of the device remotely (encyption is hardware accelerated).
- Microsoft Communicator Mobile, which has been developed and certified by Microsoft. Microsoft Sharepoint accessible by mobile website optimised for Symbian Web.
- Support for business grade security solutions such as device lock and wipe, secure intranet access and device management, Cisco SSL VPN support and rich IPSec VPN compatibility.
- Pre-installed third party applications include JoikuSpot Premium, World Traveler, Quickoffice Premium (editing version) and F-Secure Mobile Security.
Nokia E6-00 (left) compared to Nokia E72 and Nokia E71 (to scale)
Here's the launch video: