My New Cellphone

Its a Nokia E61i.

The Nokia E Series smartphones are currently the most advanced in the market. Some may say iPhone but there is no more than great usability and fancy-ness on it.

These are a few characteristics I like in E61i:

  1. QWERTY keyboard. I’m tired of loosing stylus pens and even use them to point things.
  2. WiFi with power save features. This is unique and as far as I know only Nokia and now the iPhone have it. E61i can also connect to Cisco WiFi networks with LEAP authentication, as used by my company. At work, at home and everywhere it finds a WiFi network I stay connected all the time with a sort of smart roaming, without running out of batteries.
  3. A wide screen and great web features as integrated feed reader and full XHTML browser based on KDE’s Konqueror that perfectly render very well all pages I need.
  4. Integrated Java support so I can install a practical mobile Google Maps application amongst others.
  5. Media features as MP3, MPEG-4’s AAC, MPEG-4 video (low profile DivX/Xvid) and MP4 container support.
  6. 2 megapixel camera for pictures and video.
  7. Can syncronize PIM data with anything that supports the SyncML Open Standard, for example the ScheduleWorld.com service.
  8. Has Text To Speech capabilities, so everytime somebody calls me, the phone actually speaks his or her name as it is written in the contacts database. There are options to install and use different voices and language accents.
  9. Has voice recognition capabilities, so I can press a button in the wireless bluetooth phones to make the phone as for a name, I speak it and it recognizes by how it is written in the contacts database. I did not have to record each contact’s name as previous phone models. Nokia E61i actually recognizes what I speak.
  10. And, to keep me hacking, the most important: integrated VoIP support through the SIP standard.

This last point deserves an explanation. To use VoIP you usually have to install a softphone in your computer and be close to it to make calls. Well, this phone kind of has a standards compliant softphone already installed in the OS. Together with great WiFi support, I can carry my work extension and other SIP accounts with me all the time, to make cheap international calls and also receive free calls.

This is all very geeky and I love it.

In further articles I’ll explain how to configure advanced features I’ve been using in my new Nokia E61i, a very portable computer.

22 comments on “My New Cellphone

  • I’m not sure what cellphone plan you use, but unless you have a free data plan (which I really doubt any cell provider offers), incoming SIP calls are only free when you are connected to a WiFi network. Otherwise – incoming SIP calls may be cheap or expensive depending on your data plan, but not free, while in most countries incoming cellular calls are always free.

    BTW – I’m about to replace my phone, and currently (mostly as the iPhone isn’t available in Israel 😉 ) my candidates are:
    – E61: because of everything you mentioned.
    – E65: same platform as E61, but w/o the qwerty keyboard, which I can manage, and a narrower screen. It does however feature a newer operating system and location based services.
    – N95: same as E65 but also a cool media player (for which functionality I currently use a Palm TX, which is not the most comfortable thing in the world).

    What do you think should I get ?

    Reply
  • Oded, you are correct about data transfer rates. I’m not planing to use them. But wherever I’m wifi, a SIP phone might be handy mostly to make long distance calls. Not too many people will call me through SIP anyway. The good thing is that some VoIP services are providing free calls to landlines in Brazil (my country), so I can make free local calls :-D.

    And I heard rumors that VoIP over GPRS sucks. Never tryied though.

    Also, since you’ll use it mostly in hebrew, a QWERTY keybord may be useless. At least this is what I heard from an european user. The keyboard also makes E61i a little bit too wide.

    Forget E61. Look for E61i. It has camera and newer OS.

    How the E65 provides location based services? Does it has embedded GPS? E61i has them but needs an extra bluetooth GPS device.

    The media player in the N series is nicer than the E series, but I think they have same functionalities. The E61i classifies by author, album, etc whatever I put in the memory card. Media browsing is similar to [but not so nice as] the iPod.

    And I suspect the E series have more business oriented functions as over-the-air sync, more [proprietary] wireless authentication methods as LEAP, and other things you may find useful.

    Reply
  • The E65 offers integration with the cellular provider’s location based services so you can trigger actions based on location information from network cells. It also can be coupled with a bluetooth GPS receiver and offers some software bundled for that.

    I’m not worried too much about Hebrew – the new phone is meant as my “business” phone, which I don’t do any Hebrew on it. I can live with its width as it’ll be mostly living inside my messenger bag where it’ll have plenty of room. Ok you convinced me 🙂 , I think I’ll look for an E61i. I’m a bit worried about screen scratches – I wonder if you can get screen protection for Nokias like you can for Palms.

    Also – thanks for the heads up, I’m still investigating it but I can’t see to find the vector they used.

    Reply
  • The iPhone… I have Nokia E61 as well. And I watched the iPhone-introduction with great interest. And as Steve Jobs was showing off the features and capabilities of the iPhone, I kept asking myself “does my phone do that?”, and the answer was usually “no”.

    Yes, if you think about it, E61 has most of the feature iPhone has. But the similarities end here. Yes, E61 has a browser. But it’s clumsy and awkward. I have push-email on my phone, just like iPhone has. But it too is clumsy and it doesn’t have inline images for example. Contacts? Contacts on the E61 don’t include picture of the person for example. E61 does play music, but that feature could be described as “crappy” at best. And it does not play back videos at all. No YouTube either. Google Maps? havent tried it, but I’m not holding my breath. And all those features are accessed through plastic keyboard and a tiny joystick. And iPhone has those cool little touches everywhere, like rubberbanding in the lists. E61 does not have any of that. Its UI could be described as “utilitarian” on a good day.

    So yes, while iPhone seems to have the same features as other phones do, it simply does them better than others do. And what’s more, iPhone actually looks and feels like a modern device, as opposed to a devices that has its roots firmly in 1980’s.

    Reply
  • Paulo Aragão says:

    Well, I got myself the Nokia N95. Extremely cool mobile, i am very happy with it. Wifi, Bluetooth, 5MP camera, 2GB mini-SD, everything that i ever wanted in a mobile. It only lacks touch screen, but that’s seems not to be something Nokia uses on their phone.

    On the iPhone, all I can say is that I am eager to try it, but it seems I’ll have to wait a bit for that. I think the user experience on the iPhone will be very cool, but I doubt it will do something that my mobile don’t.

    About apps on the Nokia N95, I’ve installed F-Secure (antivirus), Gmail (nicer, faster UI than using the browser) and Fring (which is kind of a Trillian, you can connect to MSN, GoogleTalk, Skype). Using Fring, whenever I have wireless connection I can make SkypeOut Calls or free VoIP (via Skype or MSN). It is very cool because it imports your contact list and merge it with your mobile’s phone list, so basically you can SkypeOut whoever you want in your mobile’s phone list or you can make free calls with those that are in your Skype/MSN contact list.

    The only thing I am lacking is LEAP authentication. I can connect to WEP, WPA and WPA2 encrypted networks. But it seems there is another firmware I can install that will get me that. Well, gotta research a little bit more about it…

    By the way, Fring does work on the Nokia E61 and other Symbian S60 mobiles.

    Reply
  • Janne, I’m having connections problems wright now, but for YouTube you must access http://m.youtube.com – the mobile facet of the site. Its the same for iPhone.

    The iPhone browser interface is superior, and the touch screen with all that zooms…. But the software behind is the same. Both phones use same KHTML/Konqueror code.

    For Google Maps you have to install a separate application. iPhone is the same, but the app is already there.

    I extensively tested the iPhone and agree that its design and usability are superior, best of breed today in the market. But it doesn’t work in my country, doesn’t have business capabilities yet as LEAP, and doesn’t have enough applications.

    Reply
  • Paulo, back to Brasil, I’ll show you how I connect E61i to our work wireless LAN, using LEAP.

    And stay connected the entire day.

    And use Sametime.

    Next step is to configure the phone’s SIP module to connect to our voice infrestructure, as Sametime 7.5.1 Voice Suite [a regular SIP client] does, and have my extension with me all the time.

    Reply
  • “The iPhone browser interface is superior, and the touch screen with all that zooms…. But the software behind is the same. Both phones use same KHTML/Konqueror code.”

    Well yes, but it still feels crummy. For example: Yesteday I was doing some web-browsing on my E61. I spent maybe 5 minutes trying to hit a link in a website, because the cursor did not hit the link, it jumped over it. I had to resort to ninja-like pointer-positioning to get it hit the link so I could access it. And does the website rotate when I turn the phone sideways? No it does not. Also, typing messages on a textbox in web-forums is an excercise in agony, since the broswer does not scroll the text inside the textbox.

    “But it doesn’t work in my country”

    Well, Nokia wins there: E61 is available everywhere, whereas iPhone is only available in USA at the moment. Well, if you do manage to buy iPhone it should work in just about everywhere, it would just be roaming and that’s very expensive.

    “doesn’t have business capabilities yet as LEAP, and doesn’t have enough applications.”

    I don’t have any extra apps installed on my phone, and I don’t see the need. Well, I have push-email app installed, but it’s nowhere near the email-client in the iPhone. Email on the E61 seems like glorified text-messaging.

    I think that the difference between iPhone and other phones is the same as it is with iPod and other music-players. On paper there doesn’t seem to be that much difference between them. But during actual use, the differences become obvious. Zune might have more features than the iPod does, but it feels clumsy and big, whereas iPod feels elegant and smooth. Same thing with phones: give one user a E61 and iPhone, and ask few hours later which phone is more impressive in his opinion. Any guesses which one he would choose?

    All in all I find the E61 to be an OK phone. Certainly the best I have used so far (haven’t used iPhone), but that’s not really an ringing endorsement, since I usually find phones to be frustrating and archaic on many levels.

    Reply
  • Hi,

    I chance upon this website while searching for a tool to help connect my Nokia E61i to the Leap network. Can you please show me how?

    Regards

    JAson

    Reply
  • just bought e61i. love it. I bought it in the US so I don’t have hebrew, which is mostly OK, however sometimes I would like to use hebrew chars for SMS, etc. Any suggestions on how I do that?

    Reply
  • I have the e61i and love it! I noticed that you said it supports LEAP. How do you set this up? I looked and it supports WEP and WPA/WPA2. Am I missing something? Is there a download I need to get? Assistance is greatly appreciated.

    Kevin

    Reply
  • Setting up EAP/LEAP on the e61i. Its built in. Just have to go to Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Connection -> Access Points -> select your LEAP access point then scroll to WLAN security sett. -> WPA/WPA2 set to EAP then select EAP plug-in settings. EAP-LEAP is at the bottom. Check it and your off and running.

    Kevin

    Reply
  • don corleone says:

    hell yeahh.. i just bought my E61i last two weeks and it has been a great experience for me. Great wifi, satisfactory 2mp cam, cool stuff basically. It might have a few bugs here and there, but u can just re-install the firmware and voila! it’s working again.

    No regret burning my 600bucks over the phone. Nice feeling qwerty pad, wide screen for a change and overall, outstanding from the other phones in the market. Why? Cos it’s not too bulky nor it is too fragile.

    In conclusion, I’m in love with it.

    Reply
  • zahoor says:

    Hi, I bought a Nokia E61i, when somebody call it is not showing the contact persons name which is already copied into the mobile what is the problem where can I find the solution. How can I fix it. pls need a solution ASAP.
    thanks

    Reply

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