Firstly, a big thanks to the good people at WOM World for sending me the E63 to review. The E63 is a successor to the E62, and a cheaper version of the venerable E71. It has a lot at stake, without even knowing it. Over the next 2 weeks I shall give you all the info on the E63 and how good or bad it is. For now, Let me stick to the design aspect.

With the E51, E66, E71 setting very high standards when it came to design, its no wonder that the E63 has a huge act to follow. The E63 is not sleek or thin. If anything it is thick (going by E71’s dimensions). But compared to a N82, it is 3/5th of the latter’s thickness. The dimensions along with the materials used make the E63 a very comfortable fit in one’s hands.

The handset I have for review is the ‘Ruby Red’ colour. I guess a lot of people have complained about the staid looks of the Eseries phones and the need for some colour. The people over at Nokia, have heard their prayers. The device is available in two colours, red and dark blue. I hope there will be a complete black one as well!

The reactions I got for the colour were surprising. 8 out of 10 people loved the red! They thought that the phone looked ‘cool’. The girls also liked the colour of the phone a lot. If anything, the colour will make them more receptive towards ‘complicated’ phones (that’s what most girls say, even if they use them). In terms of the colour department the opinion is pretty positive. However, a friend of mine who did not like the colour gave me an interesting point of view, he said that, ‘people like the colour when they see it, but when it comes to buying they will prefer the same staid colours’, conformity to standards being the basis of his argument. We will have to see how much of this true, when the phone is available for sale.

Gone are the steel body parts, replaced with plastic. The back panel is plastic with some sort of rubber film treatment. This gives the handset a very good grip. If you had sweaty palms, the E71 would have not given you any grip, but the E63 provides you with excellent grip anywhere, anytime. using plastic instead of metal has also meant that this device is no longer a fingerprint magnet.

The ‘qwerty’ keypad is also different. Now you probably wondering how different is different? Well quite a bit. The keys are now made of softer compound. it is not hard as the E71’s keypad. This means that people who did not like the hard keys will find the ‘softer’ keys on the E63 a blessing. The arrangement is also different on the E63 of the keys. The E63 has a smaller ‘space bar’ key. There are additions too, a ‘Ctrl’ (control) key is there beside the ‘Space bar’ key. On the E71, the the character (Chr) key, doubled as the control (Ctrl) key. There have been quite a few additions and omissions to the keypad overall. It seems, Nokia is keen on correcting its mistakes quickly. A photo with a side by side comparison should show you the difference. The red power button is also not there on the E63, which in my opinion should not have been removed.
E63 keypade71-keypad
Since, the E63 is a cheaper E71, a lot of omissions are there in other departments. The E63 does not have any keys at the side of the device like the E71 or E66. The only things at the sides of the device are on the left, a Micro USB slot, a Micro SDHC slot; on the top, a 3.5mm audio enhancement plug and mono speaker; at the bottom the mic, the 2mm charging slot and the lanyard clip holes. No dedicated volume buttons or camera key for that matter. The E63 also does not have a front camera, because it does not support HSDPA.

In terms of build quality, I found the E63 to be really good. Even though the elements of the design bear strong resemblance to the 1 and 2 series, the build quality is far superior and comparable to some high end phones. This design is however, not without its quirks. The 3.5mm plug for the headset has been given a cover, a cover that is bound to get lost once removed by the user. Also it isn’t exactly very easy to remove it. Secondly, the covers for the Micro USB and Micro SDHC slots are a little flimsy. I fear repeated opening and closing could wear them out and make them useless.

On the whole the E63 is a good phone in terms of design and I would give it a 7/10 in the design department. All the strengths of the E71 and a few of its weaknesses. The usage of plastic has solved problems for the Eseries in terms of fingerprints but will the business customer want a ‘plastic’ phone, when a metallic E71 exists, is something that remains to be seen in the long run. Also the design bears strong resemblance to the cheap 1 and 2 series phones of Nokia. Is that a good decision? Only time will tell.