Nokia's E62 a smart phone for the masses

A solid if basic smart phone with a few extras thrown in

Nokia's new E62 smart phone may be tough for tech-savvy tightwads to ignore. Bargain-priced at US$149 (plus a service contract), the device offers a slew of useful smart-phone features, supports most popular e-mail platforms and provides handy applications for road warriors.

It's not a device for folks who need speed or for power users who love lots of bells, whistles and buttons to push. And if you want a touch screen, a camera or zippy 3G cellular data access such as that provided by EV-DO, you'll have to look elsewhere.

But Nokia's E62 is refreshingly easy to configure and use, and it delivers all the basics that average business users need, plus some unexpected extras. In other words, while smart phones previously were aimed primarily at enterprise power users, this is a smart phone for the masses.

The feature set

At the top of the E62's feature list is strong support for e-mail. It supports Microsoft Exchange, BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink, Cingular's Xpress Mail and standard mail formats such as POP3 and IMAP. It also has built-in support for virtual private networks (VPN).

It has the usual organizer capabilities such as contact management and a calendar. It also has built-in tools for viewing and editing Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, Adobe's PDF format, a Zip Manager for handling compressed files and an attachment viewer.

Popular instant messaging services are supported, including AOL and Yahoo, as well as text and multimedia messaging.

When you're off the clock, hit the "My Stuff" icon and you can fire up the built-in music player that supports MP3 and AAC formats, an application for viewing MPEG-4 and 3GP video files and an image viewer for showing off photos (JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF).

This is a quad-band phone running in the 850-, 900-, 1800- and 1900-MHz bands, meaning it is usable not only in the U.S. but also in Europe. The only significant disappointments -- for some -- will be that the E62 isn't a camera phone, it has no Wi-Fi support and it only supports U.S. wireless carrier Cingular's old-generation EDGE cellular data network, not newer, faster 3G data networks. Still, the EDGE network is more than fast enough for basic communications tasks such as e-mail and instant messaging. The European version of the device, the E61, supports 3G networks and Wi-Fi.

Putting it to work

Like the Motorola Q and BlackBerry's 8700 series, the Nokia E62 sports a slim, if slightly blocky, profile at 4.6 by 2.7 by .63 in. and a weight of 5 oz. Given its size, using the phone feels a little like talking into a brick, a problem it shares with those other smart phones.

The E62's gray metal casing is not as snazzy as the Q or the newer BlackBerries, but it has a nice solid feel, unlike, for instance, the plastic-clad BlackBerry 8700g.

I found that the E62 operates well as a phone. It features voice dialing, voice commands for menu shortcuts, a speaker phone and six-way conference calling.

The device has full Bluetooth 2.0 support, meaning you can not only use wireless headphones but also transfer files wirelessly to a desktop or laptop PC. The full Bluetooth support means you also can use it as a modem for compatible PDAs and laptops.

The E62's bright, 2.8-in., 320-by-240-pixel, 16 million-color display is impressive, with sharp text and excellent readability in varying types of lighting conditions. An LED blinks just above the screen to indicate incoming messages.

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