Hate to break it to you, but there's little more to tell about the E66 that we didn't already cover with the E71. It's basically the exact same hardware and screen in a portrait, sliding form factor, which loses the QWERTY for a numeric keypad. That said, we wanted to go over the specific quality of those differences, and touch on a few things we missed with the E71 review. Oh, and in case you missed our video hands-on with both devices, you can find it right here.
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Nokia E66 mini-review
We got the E66 in black, and like it immensely more than the white of the E71 we played with -- both phones come in both flavors. Both of them show fingerprint smudges just as readily, but there's just something about the blackish gray that seems more for-serious.
The actual slider mechanism of the E66 is golden. We really have no complaints. It takes little effort to pop it open, it slides forth with glorious and stately ease, and then returns to its original state with a minor flick of the thumb. If anything the sliding action is too magical, causing us to fiddle with it incessantly out of sheer joy.
We wouldn't call ourselves keypad connoisseurs -- you'll usually find us with a QWERTY phone in hand -- but if there was ever a numeric keypad worth fiddling with, the E66's clicky, slightly textured plastic keys are texter's best friend.
Oddly enough, the biggest difference we felt between the two devices was the screen orientation -- S60 is just much better suited to a portrait orientation like on the E66, displaying more menu options, more messages, more contacts and the like. Even web browsing felt more efficient, oddly enough.
One area where both phones shine -- that we failed to mention with the E71 -- is the clear talk quality and boosted reception we received in comparison to our iPhone in the same areas. Granted, iPhone is a noted under performer on both accounts, but the 3G radios and strong audio quality of the E71 and E66 were certainly squeezing a lot more out of the exact same airspace. We also got a bit more chance to test battery life, and while we don't have any scientific results on that front, the E66 was able to remain on standby for an impressive stretch, and neither phone seemed to be much phased by regular usage.
It's a lot easier to see how a QWERTY device like the E71 could be a "statement" from Nokia and help it get a toehold in a US market dominated by BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, but the E66 certainly can't be ignored as a capable and svelte performer in its own right.