This article is more than 1 year old

The Revenge of the BlackBerry killers?

Putting the Nokia E61i and Motorola Q9H head to head

Corporate email

Now to the real battleground: push email. Microsoft has targeted RIM for destruction, and has made great efforts to enhance its ActiveSync software and build features that require dedicated BlackBerry servers into Windows Server. Since the Q9 uses Windows Mobile 6, it can take advantage of such features as remote wipe, where the IT department can zap a lost or stolen phone, or global address list. Out of the box, Nokia offers its Mail For Exchange client, which offers the bare minimum of features with some heavy caveats (with v1.x, don't leave more than a few (>500) message in your inbox, according to the README).

For better compatibility with Microsoft Exchange, Nokia users will need to get hold of DataViz's RoadSync. The S60 client could use a bit of a polish, I find, and will set you back $49.

Scoring the relative merits is a bit silly here: if you want to run Good or Blackberry Connect, it'll cost you more for the third-party license fees. Which you may then save elsewhere. But there's no doubt that if you're already running Exchange and want to implement mobile push email, the Q9 is the strongest candidate in the market.

Internet email

In comparing the mail suite from these two heavyweight contenders, I did at times think that sticking a knitting needle through my brain might be less painful. Despite the addition of a "Wizard", Nokia makes setting up an account unnecessarily tedious: you need to return deep into the menu structure to fill out the fields the Wizard didn't ask you for, like er... the password. Nor could I fetch email from multiple accounts at once with the E61i. The Q9 does. It comfortably wins this part of the comparison, not least because of its excellent keyboard. Again, the clarity of the ClearType font rendering and the excellent word prediction made the Motorola feel like a modern device. The E61i, incredibly, couldn't display HTML messages correctly - something its old S80 does with ease.

Motorola's Q9H

However, serious bugs in each of these caused me problems. The Nokia IMAP client is fundamentally broken: it won't fetch the message bodies from a Zimbra server. And after a week of writing quick replies to colleagues and friends from the Q9, I noticed I was getting some exasperated emails in return. It turned out that my replies were still sitting in my Outbox. Turning off SSL seemed to fix this, but isn't a secure solution. Speed wise, the E61i's Wi-Fi is a serious advantage over the Q9 for large fetches, but the advantage is nullified if you're using push, or regular fetches, and your device is more or less always up to date.

Our control device is now showing its age: it was fine pulling down email on WLAN networks, but with no 3G it's best left to trickle collect it in the background. However, one huge practical advantage was being able to see more than one email at a time - and the device has enough stability and memory to keep these around.

The conclusion? Microsoft and Nokia need to produce more reliable and scalable smartphone email software, but the Windows Mobile implementation was far less of a chore.

Motorola 8/10; Nokia 4/10; Ye Olde Communicator: 5/10

Next page: Calendar and Tasks

More about

More about

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like