Instead it’s flat and very large. It’s easy enough to carry in a jacket pocket, briefcase or handbag, but far too wide to fit into the average pocket on a pair of jeans. The resemblance to a BlackBerry is deliberate because the E61 comes with BlackBerry support built in – together with support for almost every other business-messaging service available. If you’re a regular user of any of these services, this is the only phone that supports them out of the box.
If you’re not, the E61 falls awkwardly between two extremes. It’s too big to work comfortably as a pocket phone, and the small keyboard is too cramped and awkward for extended typing. Short messages and emails are fine, but anything more than a few sentences becomes a strain. The screen is large and clear, but navigation is by way of a micro joystick, with no touch or stylus support.
The application list is good and includes Nokia’s outstanding web browser, which is the best in this round-up. There’s also Nokia’s Office-compatible software suite, although the hardware limitations mean it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend a lot of time working on spreadsheets or long text documents. There’s no camera, and iSync support needs a third-party plug-in.
Overall, the E61 is perhaps best thought of as a communications device, rather than a full PDA. The full features of a PDA are buried inside it, but the form factor makes it tricky to use them to best effect. However, email, browsing and messaging are outstanding, right down to the ‘message waiting’ LED on the cover and support for corporate, but unfortunately not home, VoIP. It also makes a decent MP3 player. At the price it’s a reasonable buy, but you may want to try one out in person before ordering to make sure the form factor works for you.