Nokia E51 Review

Introduction and Design

Many of the mobile unit manufacturers dedicate a lot of effort to developing phones, targeted at business users. So is the E-series of Nokia, which has been created for and is intended to encompass the above circles. After the brief introduction it is now time to present the phone that will be reviewed in the following text, namely – the Nokia E51. Being a “successor” to the E50 and, as you may be already aware, meant to serve the needs of business customers, it comes with a very pleasurable and stylish design, compact size, and quite a good set of functions.

The kit consists of:
  • Nokia E51
  • Nokia Battery BP-6MT
  • Nokia Travel Charger AC-5
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable DKE-2
  • Nokia Headset HS-47
  • Nokia E51 CD ROM
  • Quickstart guide
  • User guide
  • Cleaning cloth

Undoubtedly, the box contains numerous accessories necessary for the adequate usage of the phone. Yet, quite a few of us would like to find a carrying case as well, which, regrettably, is not to be found there.


On hearing the words “a business phone”, many of the mobile technology admirers will think of an exceptionally big-sized device featuring an unsightly design. Though true for other models, in our case it is vice versa: the Nokia E51 is both extremely compact and light-weight; in fact, it can be ranked as the smallest of all E-series phones.

ModelDimension (Inches)Dimension (mm)Weight (oz)Weight (Gramms)
Nokia E514.51" x 1.81" x 0.47"115 x 46 x 123.52100
Nokia E504.44" x1.71" x 0.61"113 x 43.5 x 15.53.67140
Nokia E65
4.13" x 1.92" x 0.61"105 x 49 x 15.54.05115
BlackBerry Pearl
4.20" x 1.95" x 0.55"107 x 50 x 143.4096.50

You can compare the Nokia E51 with many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

Still, surprise is not over yet – the front panel is classic black and is framed on the edges by steel lining, contributing to the feel of luxury and perfect quality.

Along with its positive features, a negative one should be noted as well: we consider the small, merely 2 inch display, to be unthinkable of for a business-oriented phone. The type of the display is TFT, with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels visualizing up to 16.7 million colors. The coloration of the images is well-saturated and highly contrasted; the brightness is automatically controlled by a light sensor depending on the environment. At bright daylight the display performed exceptionally well, remaining clearly visible, with easily distinguishable details.

Similarly to E65, the E51 adds keys for fast access to the calendar, the phonebook, the mailbox, and the menu. It is an intriguing fact that despite having precisely the same functions as that of the standard “menu” button of any Nokia S60, it bears a different logo on its surface. The D-Pad has raised edges for better distinction; however, being too small, it will frequently be confused with the one just below resulting in pressing the latter instead. The size of the other buttons also takes its toll; moreover, they are situated too close to each other. This drawback is compensated by their easy-to-feel relief, soft touch, and good tactile feedback. Generally, the positive features prevail over the negative, so handling the phone is trouble-free indeed.

In contrast to the navigation keys, the numeric ones feature a sufficiently large size. In addition to the same good tactile feedback, it provides for their pleasurable and easy usage.

We would be glad if we could say the same about the side buttons, but this is impossible; despite their good surface relief they are so hard to press that using them turns into a difficult and particularly unpleasant job. If you ask us, we will refrain from using them.

Describing what one will find on the upper part of the unit will not take long, since the sole key here is the on/off button. On the opposite side things are entirely different: all the connector sockets of E51 are to be found on its bottom.

Similarly to most of the telephones, the camera here is also positioned on the back. The resolution is only 2 megapixels and, regrettably, it also lacks both auto-focus and flashlight; still, this is normal with regard to the target customers of Nokia E51. You will not find a special button for taking shots, either – this is done through pressing the central part of the D-Pad.

Stainless steel - the material that is used for the frame of the front panel – is what the manufacturers made the entire back lid of. This designer solution forms the overall impression of an elegant, yet reliable and solid device. Besides the battery, one will also find an extension memory slot beneath the lid – a positioning that makes the unit’s simplified design even more conspicuous.

One thing we must note is the discomfort when inserting the SIM card. When pushing it, it is possible to hit the battery connectors, which definitely isn’t pleasant.

We should note here the inconvenient insertion of the SIM card in its place. When pushing it, one’s finger will inevitably press hard directly onto the battery connectors – a feeling that is definitely unpleasant.

Nokia E51 Video Review:

Nokia E51 360 Degree View:


Invalid image meta
Е51 is a phone running on Symbian Operating System with S60 interface. To be precise, the exact version is Symbian 9.2 with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1, which is the latest one used in a Nokia phone up to now. This means that the phone is almost absolutely identical to other using this OS/UI and the only changes are due to minor personalization of the OS.

The top part of the home screen displays a clock and the date, as well as the usual signal strength and battery, while the name of the carrier can be seen in the middle. Just below these is located a row of 6 shortcuts which can be personalized to suit you best. In the area for notifications (below), the E-series smartphone adds shortcuts to the email and the voice mail, in addition to the standard ones for calendar, etc. Located at the bottom of the screen are the two software buttons which can be personalized from the Settings menu. As a whole, the standby screen resembles one of a Pocket PC with Windows Mobile OS and is really useful and pleasant to use.

The main menu can be viewed as 3x4 grid of icons that can also be displayed as a list (it’s chosen directly from the main menu)
With the E 51 we will also encounter the new option (also present in N95 8GB), namely the availability of an animated mode of displaying the icons.


Еvery phone should have a good system for managing the contacts. The phonebook of Symbian S60 phones is one of the best on the market, together with those of Windows smartphones. All the contacts are displayed as a list and if there is a picture ID, it can be seen in the top left corner of the screen as a thumbnail with a very small size (it’s the same when you have an incoming call and that’s why we find this feature useless) when you select the contact. If you want to search, you type in directly from the keypad and searching is done for the whole name (not only the first word), even if the name is saved in more than one field (first and last name for example). If you want to edit a contact , you can only change the already defined fields. For adding more information you need to select the Add Detail menu. When adding a new contact you are provided with the “basic” fields, but with the “Add Detail” function you have almost no restrictions on the fields and their number and you can add a lot of phone numbers.

The phone has a set of voice commands – they are speaker independent and you don’t have to “train” every command, something that can save you a lot of precious time. By holding the voice commands key on the right side, the “recognizer” turns on and you can say a name (from the phonebook) to be dialed. Names like “Father”, “Brother”, “test”, “John” and “Neo” were no problem, but we had no success with others like “Amy” for example.

The commands can activate various programs or perform different functions, like “Silent mode” for example, but a list with different capabilities must be added to the menu - not all of them are added by default so that they’re easier to recognize with any speaker – thus by adding only the ones you need you can achieve best possible accuracy without the annoying training. Аnd it works, the voice commands were very accurate and we rarely experienced mistakes when launching applications.

A voice recorder can record your voice by the means of speakerphone as the duration of the recording is limited to 1 hour. You can record on the memory card, which will allow longer recording times. In that way the smartphone replaces your voice recorder without needing third party software.


The organizer is an important part of a business phone and E51 has paid due attention to these functions.

The Calendar has preserved the functionality of its Symbian fellows. You can add 4 types of entries (Meeting/Memo/Anniversary/To-do), to select Subject, Location,Start/End Time and connect an alarm.

Alarms are located in a third menu - Clock (in Office). In Symbian 9.2 you can add as many alarms as you wish and for each one you could choose whether it should repeat each and every day for example or not. This is excellent and there is no stupid limitation in the number of the alarms like with other even smart phones (i.e. Symbian 9.1 allows for only one alarm that even can not be set to repeat).

The World Clock is also located in this menu and you can add various cities that you like to view – that's very convenient and saves a lot of time compared to the standard way with “moving across the world map". You can easily review given cities, which you are interested in without searching them each time.

In the Office menu you will find other applications, part of the organizer. By the File manager you can view the phone memory and the memory card and copy/move files. Like other phones using this operating system, the calculator does not have scientific functions and the converter doesn’t have the most attractive interface but it works. Notes is for short notes without alarms and reminders.

Preloaded you have a QuickOffice to view Word/Excel/PowerPoint files, and to be able to edit them you will have to order a full version (Quickoffice v3 (activate editing) full license for EUR13.59 or 30-day license for EUR0.68 or Quickoffice Premier (v4 upgrade + editing) full license for EUR20.39). The inconvenience with Quickoffice is that it opens files saved only in the Documents folders of the memory of the phone and the card. Still, if you reach a file through the file browser and select it, it will be opened by the program. A complex Excel file is visualized OK and scrolling in it is easy, too.

Adobe PDF takes care for viewing of the pdf documents in your phone’s memory. Like with the office applications, we loaded a 50 pages document (and over 1 MB) and searched through it without any problems.

The office files are often received with the e-mails archived in series and that is why the phone is supplied with a ZIP manager, which can zip/unzip files.

The Search option allows you to search in your Messages/E-mails/Calendar events/To-dos/Notes/Contacts/Other files which is very convenient. Thus you can find contacts by (part of) a word, coinciding with their profession or company, files in the phone memory, etc. This is an excellent system which must be present in all smart (and not only) phones. Unfortunately, a shortcut to it is missing from the home screen, as it is in the new N-series phones (N81, N82, N95 8GB …).

As a phone of the E-series, E51 comes with several more extra applications, not available in the other Symbian S60 phones. Teams is an application which makes it easy for you to conduct a conference conversation/send a message or use PushToTalk with a preset group of people differentiated as Team.


For a phone to function as a mobile office, it must be able to handle messages very well. Like the other Symbian phones, in the Messaging menu you will find everything arranged. By the New Message button you can start writing a text/multimedia or e-mail message. The T9 system can help you input text faster. It works very easy which is typical of Nokia phones.

Inbox is a shared box for the received text and multimedia messages as well as for messages received via Bluetooth. Unlike the N-series, here the headings of the individual letters are visualized by smaller font so that more can be fitted on a single screen. This is so because it is assumed that the business users use/receive lots of messages and should be able to view them faster.

The email is set by means of a Wizard which saves you a lot of writing by automatically ‘completing’ part of the settings. If you know how to configure your e-mail, this will take one to two minutes and then you will be able to use it in your phone. You can preset your phone to download headers only and then a whole message when you want to view it, or download up to a fixed limit (a limit in KB set by you) or directly download the whole letters together with the attached files. We made the settings using the first possibility and downloaded separate messages via WiFi or using the UMTS operator’s net.


Nokia E51 is quad-band GSM phone supporting 3G UMTS/HSDPA at 850/2100 MHz bands, which means that is has one of the US 3G frequencies and the one for Europe/Asia.

E51 supports WiFI 802.11g which is the standard for a wireless LAN network. By the link in the active standby screen you can find and connect to networks whose range covers you and use Internet connection via them. This is very convenient because you don’t depend on the operator’s coverage.

Using WiFi or HSDPA data, loading and viewing standard HTML web pages is easy job. The phone has no problem rendering all pages and reading phoneArena's news was a pleasure. Scrolling left-to-right and top-to-bottom is done with the phone's d-pad, and a mini-map shows you, which part of the page you are looking at.

What we loved about it is the history: when you use 'back' to see pages you've seen earlier, you see the pages as thumbnails you can open from the phone's cache.


Nokia E51 disposes of a 2 megapixel camera, but regrettably, as mentioned above, it has neither a flashlight nor an auto-focus.

The camera is started in 2.5 seconds and then you are faced with its definitely unattractive interface. It differs from the one of the multimedia N-series and resembles that of the Symbian 6 phones, and is the same as that used in the E50. Thus the manufacturer wants to show that this is not a multimedia phone and defines another difference between the E and N-series.

The camera's interface does not even take up the whole display and the Viewfinder only occupies half of it. When the left or right D-pad directions are used, a toolbar pops up. It houses shortcuts to three options: video, night and sequence mode.

Generally speaking, the camera of the E51 should only be used as a last resort, so one must not expect too much. Shots are of a very poor quality at even bright daylight; as for low illumination, objects in the picture will be rendered hard to make out due to the excess “noise”. We may conclude that this camera is one of the worst 2 megapixel ones on the market.

The video capture allows for up to QVGA resolution, but unfortunately only with 10 frames per second, which is less than enough.

Nokia E51 sample video at 320x240 pixels resolution


The music player is not the one we know from the N-series phones with Symbian 9.2 either, but is quite similar. We’ve seen it in other Symbian S60 phones, like the 6120 Classic for example. In the Now Playing interface you can navigate the directions of the d-pad, while information on the played track is visualized below. Album cover (if one is present) is visualized on the left.

You can sort your music by Artists/Albums/Genres/Composers, as well as by Track lists, including most played tracks, Recent tracks, Recent additions.

The sound of E51’s loudspeaker is not quite loud – a feature that should be considered acceptable since the unit is not intended to be a Music Phone.

In addition to the Music Player comes the built in FM tuner. It is nothing extraordinary but allows you to listen to local FM stations, delivering music or audio information (news for example) over the air. The interface is standard and allows for saving of up to 50 stations to your "favorite" list. As always, wired headphones should be attached in order to be used as an antenna for the phone.

Unfortunately MPEG4 H.263-encoded video clip with QVGA Resolution and 460kbps bitrate appears to be too "heavy" for the device and the video lags, so only lower quality clips should be played.


The telephone disposes of 130 MB built-in memory. However, there is the indispensable option of extending it up to 4 GB by means of a microSD card.

Even without a GPS, Nokia E51 comes with the application Nokia Мaps, which is free and can be downloaded from the Nokia website to be used in any S60 phone. The functionality is standard, you can look up addresses or an exact location, as well as points of interest, including places for shopping, accommodation, eating, as well as different sights of interest. If a GPS device is activated, the program provides a paid option for voice navigation for some regions.


Nokia E51 works with a processor of the ARM 11 type featuring a clock rate of 369 MHz. During the time when we were operating the phone it made quite a few slow-downs, especially at opening heavier applications. The phone even crashed several times and had to be restarted when attempting to close down the Nokia Maps program.

Our test have established that the sound you will be hearing when speaking on the phone is one of high quality and sufficiently strong at that. About the only negative aspect here is the presence of a faint background noise.

At the other end the sound is very similar, so collocutors there will not be disappointed. At your side of the line, though, certain types of voices will be reproduced more sharply – something undesirable if yours is among those.


The general impression E51 left with us, apart from the compact size for a business phone, is one of the inevitable user’s satisfaction by its numerous functions. Compared to E50, the E51 offers better more options for internet connection via the HSDPA technology for faster data transfer, besides the Wi-Fi, also a novel feature for the unit. Moreover, the 3G technology can now be used worldwide, despite the availability of only one accessible frequency in the USA.

Yet, the compromise Nokia have made in order to achieve so small a phone as E51, is the display size – only 2 inches, as mentioned above – too small for the convenient viewing of a site or document. We should also note the lack of a QWERTY keyboard, which would prove useful for business people with a view to the constant need to write e-mails. In case you make it a point to dispose of the above two features, we would recommend models such as Nokia E90 or Motorola Q9m; but if it is a small and good-looking phone you want, and a one that has a lot of functions at that, then the E51 is an excellent choice. It is up to you to make it.


  • Solid and reliable corpus
  • Worldwide 3G
  • Wi-Fi


  • Very inconvenient side buttons
  • Lack of a video-call camera

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

9 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless