[Ringtunes] [Images & Video] [Battery] [PC Connectivity] [Software Updates]
Update: This handset is no longer offered by "3". It is by far the most popular from the range offered and has sold out quickly. Its successor is the NEC e616
The NEC e606 phone is OK style wise, there are many other flip phones that are more stylish and more compact, this one is bulky but surprisingly light.
The User Interface is also OK but is no where near the user friendliness of the Nokia phones. Eventually you get used to it.
The Screen is one of the phones best assets, it is huge (35x43 mm) and support 65K colours.
The phone supports 3G (WCDMA) and GSM which means that if you can use this handset on GSM networks. Some features like Video and 3 Services won't work of course but at least you don't have to throw the phone if you want to go back to a 2G provider.
The phone has an excellent Phone book with many of the Nokia features and more. You can store multiple phones (and phone types) as well as other information (like email) per contact. You can attach a photo for that contact and it will appear when you call or receive a call from that contact. Additionally, ringtunes can be attached down to the contact level.
One can talk through the phone directly (as is expected) although the microphone and speaker aren't well positioned and one has to be precise in positioning the phone onto the ear to hear clearly. The "3" salesman recommended that I always use the headset (which you get two of - a mono and a stereo). Both work fine but sometimes you just don't want to be bothered with the untangling of wires.
The phone doesn't have a speaker phone feature which is very disappointing as they have an external speaker that only
works when playing Video (without the headset). It would have been very convenient to be able to make calls (video or audio) by just
speaking to the phone.
The phone supports blue tooth but only to communicate with a PC as a modem. You cannot get a blue tooth headset to work with it straight away. "3" are now offering a Jabra FreeSpeak Headset and Bluetooth adapter for the amazing price of only $229!!
phone supports polyphonic ringtunes and comes with 13 built in tunes, some of which are acceptable, others are ridiculous. You can
download additional ringtunes from "3", during the first 3 months it is free then it is $1.50 per ringtune. (I wouldn't
download but I suppose the younger generation wouldn't mind).
What I found though with these ringtunes is that you can easily miss calls if you are in a noisy environment (a shopping centre) or slightly away from your phone. Even at the highest volume, the ringtune sort of blends with the ambient noise and doesn't get noticed unlike the ringtones of the older phones which have a distinctive tone that can be heard meters away.
Having said that, these tunes could be very embarrassing if you are in a serious meeting and all of a sudden a song starts playing!
My advice is to keep the vibrate option on when in a noisy environment or outdoors.
One very annoying feature is that you have to assign a ringtune to messages as well and there are no default "beep beep" tone for messages. Sometimes you'd want to take messages but not calls and you can live with a beep sound but not a tune.
Another improvement that the NEC people should implement is the ability to set the volume for calls, video calls and messages independently. At the moment you can't.
The phone has 4 preset profiles (Normal, Meeting, Pocket and Car) and whilst you can customise those, you cannot add any new profiles.
Images & Video
The phone has 2 built in cameras ('towards you' and 'away from you') and the photo quality isn't bad, video quality is pretty average though and whilst one can select the quality level if you select high then the video isn't smooth and if you select low then the video quality is very poor. Additionally, you can only record 12 seconds of video at a time which is way too short that it becomes impractical. (The handset has 32 MB of memory and should support recording of up to a minute at the least!)
life on these phones is fairly short especially if you use the phone a lot, the LCD display when on must consume a lot of power. It
is similar to running the screen on your digital camera.
For this reason, "3" give 2 normal batteries as well as an extended life battery (this one I got more than 2 months after I bought the handset!)
The battery low tone is very low that the phone has to be close to your ear (or have the headset on) to hear it. Unlike the Nokias that have a very distinct and power "battery low" tone, this one is ridiculously soft and can barely be heard in a very quiet environment. The fact that it is a flip phone doesn't help either as you cannot tell that the battery is getting low unless you open the phone.
They do have an LED on the outside cover and they could send an intermittent signal to the LED signalling a low battery.
Additionally, the battery charge level only has 3 levels (low, medium and high) reminding me of the older phones. Nowadays most have 5 levels or even more to give a better indication of when one may run out.
The phone has a shared Power/USB connecter which may be a good idea (to save space) but if you plan to use the phone as a modem (using the USB) then you can't charge it at the same time. The same applies if you are uploading or downloading data to or from the phone and you run out of power. You'll have to either charge your battery then reconnect or replace your battery and then reconnect. In both cases, very frustrating.
Speaking about PC connectivity, the phone comes with a CD Rom to install the USB drivers on the PC so that
your Phone and PC can talk. By following the instructions (provided on the CD), you won't be able to find the USB drivers cause the
folder path mentioned in the manual doesn't even exist. (The manual refers to the "\USB Driver\Win2000" folder in the
"e606 Tools and Utilities" CD-ROM and the CD-ROM simply does not have that folder!!) for the USB driver installation
location. Being reasonably computer literate, I managed to find those drivers and there were placed under a folder named
USB_Unistaller out of all places. (The actual path is Assets\USB_Uninstaller\UK\Win2000. Don't know if they've fixed this in newer
version of the CD, drop me a line if you didn't have this problem)
You'd expect someone at "3" to have the courtesy of notifying their users about this but when I called "3" to let them know about it, the person I talked didn't seem to even know what I am taking about! (See the Customer Service section)
Once I got the drivers sorted out, the Data transfer Application on the PC side is OK, I managed to download the address book, video and audio clips but couldn't download ringtunes (and after several calls with "3" I was told that they have disabled this so people can't share ringtunes!!)
There are several firmware versions available (138F, K, Q, U and Z) but I am not aware of any utility that allows for upgrading the firmware. (Click here for an e606 FAQ from the Aussie 3G Site)
There are PC Transfer S/W updates available from the Aussie 3G site
If you know of any other tools/utilities please drop me a line.
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If you want to share your knowledge on the NEC e606, please send me an email to comments@3GinOz.com and I'll add your comments to the User Comments page
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