Before you continue reading this, please read my review of the Nokia E71 first so youâ€™d get a better perspective of where I am coming from and so I donâ€™t have to repeat the sections where the Nokia E63 is similar to the E71.
Nokia dropped some of the features of the E71 when they introduced the cheaper Nokia E63, but with good reasons. Remember that with all the number smartphones going around, consumers will be price sensitive when making their next purchase. Nokia’s price-point for the E63 (expected to be at Php11,000) combines a good set of features with a really attractive price.
What went missing â€“ GPS, HSDPA and a lower megapixel camera. Not everyone needs GPS and for most people, it’s not that essential anyway. You still get 3G speeds of which maxes out at 384Kbps â€“ a broadband speed not normally achieved in the real world for most mobile 3G networks. And since the E63 is more geared towards productivity, the reducing the camera from a 3.2 MP autofocus down to 2MP might not disappoint a lot of people who are into this segment.
The Nokia E63 also shed off all of the external buttons on the sides â€“ the volume control and the special back button of the E71. Even the dedicated power button at the top is gone as well as the sound volume at the sides.
There were some minor complaints about the qwerty keyboard of the E71. Some say it’s too cramped and though I donâ€™t agree, those who were comfortable with the E61 will tell you size and spacing matters. It’s not really a design flaw but rather an engineering limitation â€“ the smaller the phone, the smaller the keyboard and harder to type.
Nokia addressed this with the E63 by making the keypads protrude/bulge a bit more and giving each key press better feedback. Likewise, it’s much softer to type. Theyâ€™ve also slightly increased the keyboard size and the individual keys. It’s not much but it’s fairly noticeable except fot the space key which got shortened.
Since Nokia dropped the metal construction in favor of plastic, the Nokia E63 feels lighter to the hands. It has a matte finish so you donâ€™t have to worry about fingerprint smudges.
What puzzles me though is why the Nokia E63 is a bit thicker than its predecessor (by more than 2mm). It’s possible that the 3.5mm headphone jack has something to do with it (that’s 1mm). Then, the construction of the back panel that covers the battery was also changed from a clip mechanism to a latch mechanism. Since plastic is not as strong as metal, the latch mechanism works well with it without worrying youâ€™d chip it off. That’s another 1mm.
Value for Money
Donâ€™t think of the Nokia E63 as a downgrade of the E71. Better yet, think of it as an upgrade to the E61 — but much cheaper. That way, you clearly see how much value you are getting with the Nokia E63. You also get the long-lasting 1500mAh battery life. No doubt, I believe the Nokia E63 will be a huge hit to those who bought and loved the E51 and the E61.
I still like my E71 because I am willing to pay premium for those extra features. However, for those who are in a budget (which most people are nowadays) but are looking into a fine qwerty smartphone, the Nokia E63 is the better option because of the bargain price-point.
Update: The Nokia E63 is now shipping with an SRP of Php14,200 (inclusive of 12% tax and foreign exchange adjustment).