Highlights Mobile Personal

Reformed Sony Ericsson fan boy starts the year right with a Nokia

One of the things I did just as 2009 ended was to get a new phone. But months before the actual purchase, I had already decided on a brand and line—the Nokia E series.

After years of using Sony Ericsson phones—starting with the lethal-looking Ericsson R320—I decided early last year to switch to Nokia.

The decision to leave Sony Ericsson was spurred by two things: 1.) I felt that SonyEricsson abandoned its users of the UIQ platform (the system that ran in the P800/P900 and P1) and 2.) the company insists on using proprietary connectors for such things as headphones instead of using standard interfaces like 3.5 mm audio jacks.

I also came to love Nokia units after testing a few of its units. I particularly liked the Nokia E71 and had decided by April to buy the latest unit in the E series line in December.

Nokia E63
NOKIA E63. For just P11,000, you get a phone that excels in messaging—SMS, e-mail, IM and Web connectivity.

Then, I got hooked on running.

My priorities shifted and I found myself choosing to spend more on running-related gear—shoes, apparel, GPS watches—and running books than on a phone.

I wanted the best phone I could get for the lowest price possible.

The E63 is that phone.

For about P11,000, the E63 provides me with all the crucial mobile tools I need to stay connected anywhere—e-mail, instant messaging and Internet browsing via 3G and Wi-Fi.

The E63 is a cheaper version of the E71. Unlike higher-end units such as the E71 and E72, the E63 does not have HSPA connectivity. This is fine with me because whenever I need to do something online, I am usually near a Wi-Fi hotspot.

If I needed high-speed mobile Internet access, I could just use Smart Bro on my Linux laptop. For most other mobile Internet tasks, I can live with a 3G connection.

The E63 is also a bit thicker than the E71, which, in my opinion, makes it easier to handle. The E63 also comes with a plastic casing, unlike the steel casing that comes with the heavier E71. The E63 also does not have GPS and does not come with a data cable.

But for the price difference—enough to buy a good pair of running shoes—the E63 stands out.

In the few weeks that I have been using the device, I found communicating not only easier but much more enjoyable in the E63. Nokia Messaging email, which comes installed in the device, is such an all-you-need-to-do-is-click easy mobile email solution. I bet even my father, a reluctant tech user, can set up his email on the phone using that software. For mobile browsing, social networking and chat, I installed my usual mobile phone software—Opera Mini for browsing, Fring for chat and Snaptu for updating Twitter and Facebook.

The E63 and the higher-end devices in its line gets messaging right.

Yes, the E63’s camera quality and its lack of a decent auto-focus may be atrocious but given the choice between a phone that gets messaging right and another mobile phone that either gets imaging or media playing right, I’d take the E63 anytime.

It got messaging absolutely right.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.