Repair or replace my shiny little friend?
June 11, 2009 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Keep my beloved Nokia E-51 or buy a replacement? Any experience with time and cost of Nokia repairs, or input on replacement model options? I'm in a quandary.

I have a Nokia E51 smartphone, purchased off Amazon 13 months ago (with a 12-month manufacturer warranty) for USD$270. I love almost everything about this phone, but its sleek metal case makes it a little slippery in my clumsy hands.

I dropped it yesterday and either broke the microphone or disconnected it internally. Everything is still working perfectly except that the other party on a voice call cannot hear me at all. Obviously this is inconvenient, although I can get by for a few days with texting, email, voicemail, etc.

I have a spare phone, an older Nokia, that I could get by with for a short period of time (a week or so), but it won't suffice for use with work email (MS Exchange) and other work functions (documents, etc.).

I have no idea how much it would cost or how long it would take to get it repaired by Nokia. I've heard horror stories about others sending phones off for repair and it being expensive or taking what seemed an unreasonably long time. Do you have any experience with this in general, or with Nokia in particular?

It looks like the price to replace this phone with another E51 is running around $240, only $30 less than I paid over a year ago. Although I think it's great that the phones hold their value on the marketplace, I'm wondering if I might want to go with another model if I replace instead of repairing. I am leaning toward the Nokia E-series and N-series phones, largely because they're the closest to this phone. My factors:

- Nokia reliability. Family, friends, and co-workers have had all kinds of problems with other brands that I simply have not had with Nokia. This is my 5th Nokia phone.

- The Mail for Exchange and document-handling (Word, Adobe, text, etc.) features are extremely useful for my job. Yes, the Exchange server has IMAP enabled and I could use that, but I love the automatic calendar/task synching as well.

- WiFi is awesome for fast internet on the phone.

- The Symbian OS, in this case, S60 3rd ed., which is fantastic for the interface and add-on apps like Google Maps, Opera browser, Flash support.

- I like a nice camera and multimedia functions, but the primary purpose of my phone is as an information management/exchange device, secondary is telephone. Media and games are tertiary.

- I'd rather not have touch screen, slider, or flip phone, though I can deal if that's the absolute best option out there for me.

- I am willing to spend up to $300 for a truly kick-ass phone.

So, what do you think? Repair or replace? And if replace, what's your favorite E-series or N-series phone or your best argument to persuade me I should be looking to a different brand/model?
posted by notashroom to Technology (8 answers total)
Hope it's not really tacky or anything to post a FatWallet link here, but I saw Amazon is currently selling Nokia E63s for $149 (after $50 rebate). Cheaper than a new E51 and a generation newer, so unless the repair option is really cheap...

(I have an N73 that will not die despite years of abuse, sorry to hear about your loss)
posted by substars at 12:48 PM on June 11, 2009

Best answer: Are you aware that the E52 will be available soon?

I am an E-series addict. I started with the E50 a couple of years ago. It was ok, but slow. The E51 and was everything the E50 should've been -- fast, reliable, most of the features you could ever want. I love it and I still keep it as my spare phone.

I now have the E71 -- better camera than the E51 and it's nice to have the GPS. But the tiny keyboard takes some getting used to, and is crap for dialing numbers by touch. I must admit that a QWERTY keyboard is good for banging out lots of emails or text messages, but I was almost as fast using T9 before.

So if you like the form factor of the E51, I would be patient and replace it with the E52. If you wanna give QWERTY a try, the E71 is a great little machine. The E75 or N97 are all worthy candidates too if you don't mind the thickness.

Forget repairing -- it'll be at least $100.
posted by randomstriker at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2009

Oh and forget the E63, it's a poor man's imitation of the E71 with none of the features and a lot more heft.
posted by randomstriker at 2:53 PM on June 11, 2009

Best answer: I've been using an E71x for a few weeks now and am happy with it. (Would love to be able to unlock it and kill the AT&T bullshit on it once and for all, but it didn't take much work to uninstall the crappy proprietary applications and demos it came with.)

It hits your main points (Mail for Exchange, GPS, 3.2 mp camera, WiFi, S60 3rd FP2, not a flip or slider). The E71 won't be locked in to AT&T, but you miss FP2 on it. Opera is usable but with the AT&T lockdown I can't make it have access to the file system, so you can't download anything with it which is a major pain. You can however pick up an unlocked E71x for around $340, so it's not too much more than you budgeted.
posted by caution live frogs at 3:08 PM on June 11, 2009

Could you use a headset with your phone?
posted by Salamandrous at 8:54 PM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, all.

substars, thanks for the link. I don't know about etiquette as far as that goes, but I appreciate it. I am definitely interested in sale pricing on E-series and N-series phones! :)

randomstriker, the E52 looks like a sweet uprade to my phone. I'm also very fast with T9 and inexperienced with QWERTY keyboards. I figured those tiny keys would make voice dialing that much more important and require a lot more focus to text. GPS would be nice to have, and it looks like about all my phone options have it on board, though Google Maps with cell tower orientation has worked great for me on the E51. Lots of good info there, thanks.

caution live frogs, the operator lockdown stuff is why I stopped getting my phones from my carrier (actually T-Mobile rather than AT&T, but when I could not make Opera work due to their lockdown on a previous phone, that crossed the line for me). I will definitely be looking into price & availability for the E71. I'm weighing the potential annoyance of QWERTY keyboard and a phone that doesn't fit my purse well vs. the convenience of a larger screen.

Salamandrous, I kicked myself when I thought of that last night. :) I'm betting a headset will still work, and buy me time. Very sensible idea.
posted by notashroom at 6:47 AM on June 12, 2009

I really love my E71-2 so far. It's an exceptionally well-built phone compared to the 8525 I was using previously. The only disappointments have been low headset volume and poor camera performance (which may be fixed with a firmware upgrade but I don't use the camera often enough to bother). You should be able to pick one up for less than $300.
posted by healthytext at 6:49 AM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I ordered an E71 today. I almost went with the E66 to avoid the QWERTY keyboard, but figured it wasn't worth paying an extra $50 or so.
posted by notashroom at 12:29 PM on June 12, 2009

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