Sunday, 19 February 2012

E63 vs E71 keyboards

Because people remain interested in some discussion form about buying an E63 new or a used E71 I would put my vote for the E63 here.

Its often pointed out that on specifications both seem identical. You can compare their specs here.

It is often identified in the quick glancing reviews offered on the web that the E71 has in its favor:

  • integrated GPS hardware
  • autofocus camera
  • a metal exterior shell
  • hardware volume keys on the side of the phone (inconvenient for a leftie I might add)
The E63 somehow seems like a cheap alternative to the (now discontinued) E71 which you could pick up if you don't mind the losses.

Firstly the 'metal' of the case of the phone is just a thin coating of metal over plastic. So its still a plastic phone. So only those who are a bit thin on the comprehension would be attracted to that as a 'rugged feature'. So we're down on the list of benefits to the E71.

So aside from the few 'benefits' and the long list of identical aspects to these phones (including CPU, memory and OS) we are down to what's the E63 got that the E71 doesn't.

Well of course there is the 3.5mm audio jack so you can actually listen to music (without buying some sort of adaptor or specialised headphones), and there is the torch (bloody handy thing that).

Yet still IMHO there are some advantages to the E63 in terms of usability (and of course the much lower price new and of course that you can't buy an E71 new anymore either).

If you actually want to use the phone for sending and checking email, then the E63 snots it in for having a better keyboard.

As you can see above the E63 has more useful keys on the board for anyone wanting to type more and navigate around what they've typed.

/ and @ get their own key (rather than sharing one)
( and ) appear on the board (rather than needing to press a symbol key)

= now has a place on the board
Ctl and Chr each have a key rather than them sharing a needing to press Fn to shift between them.

And of course you get a torch on the E63 which the E71 needs you to rummage around and find an app for activating that. This of course can't be tuned to a key which can be used when the phone is locked as can the E63

For instance, if you were writing an email, you could use Ctl X and Ctl V to cut and paste text around.

It would require the dexterity of a Yoga teaching pianist to do that on the E71 where it would be:

  • (on the left hand) Fn (that little arrow thing on the lower left)
  • and (on the right hand) Ctl
  • and then at the same time on the left hand press X

Of course cut and paste in documents is for advanced users, so naturally a phone designed for an on the go communications tool wouldn't need such a thing.

So sure, the E63 needs you to go and buy a GPS as an accessory (and register your maps to gain access to guided navigation) but the benefit is you then don't suck battery out of your phone when navigating (and you can put the GPS in a better spot in the car for reception).

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