While the N97 was free to fondle, the slightly less exciting E63 was decidedly bolted to a table, so we had to take what angles we could get. The phone is basically a cheap-o version of the E71: Nokia figured it had a good thing going on in that QWERTY candybar, and decided to spread the love at a lower price point, with a slightly thicker, plastic handset. The good news is that no matter what you do to cheapen the phone, the E63 comes from good stock, and is really a compelling form factor. The slight bump in thickness is negligible, and while the cheaper materials are easily distinguished from the luxury feel of the E71, the phone by no means feels cheap. Except for the keyboard. For some reason Nokia opted to remove the hardened, clickier E71 keys and replace them with a softer, rubberier keyboard with a considerable amount of distributed give to it -- that still leaves it as one of Nokia's best QWERTYs to date, but we greatly prefer the E71. The other compelling difference between the phone and its inspiration is the inclusion of a full 3.5mm headphone jack, instead of the mini jack found on the E71. Not bad at all, but we'd guess Nokia saved a lot more money in materials and manufacturing process than with the sorry removal of GPS and HSDPA.
Gallery | 18 Photos

Nokia E63 hands-on

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