By July 19, 2008

Review Nokia E71

E71Following on from the E61,E61i and E62 Nokia have released a largely updated model E71 with new form factor with some exciting new innards. I’ve only been using the Nokia E71 for a few days now and it is my first experience of the Nokia Symbian operating system. My experience is limited to a couple of years on Sony Ericsson, Palm and for the last two years Windows Mobile. Here is an idea of what to expect from Nokia’s business class phone.

Nokia E71 Specifications:

Size – 114 x 57 x 10 mm, 66 cc
Weight – 127 g
Battery life – Standard battery, Li-Po 1500 mAh (BP-4L
Display size – TFT, 16M colors, 320 x 240 pixels, 2.36 inches
OS Compatibility Symbian OS 9.2, Series 60 v3.1 UI
Storage Card slot microSD (TransFlash), up to 8GB, hot swap – 110 MB internal memory
Memory – 128 MB SDRAM Memory
Processor – ARM 11 369 MHz processor
Connections – GPRS (Class 32, 100 kbps), HSCSD, EDGE (Class 32, 296 kbps) 3G (HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps), WLAN (Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g), Bluetooth (v2.0 with A2DP), Infrared port, USB (v2.0 microUSB)
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Camera – 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, video([email protected]), flash; secondary videocall camera
GPS Built-in GPS receiver, A-GPS function
Other features – Java MIDP 2.0, MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player, Office applications, FM radio, Push to talk, Voice command/dial, Built-in hands free

 

I’ve only been using the Nokia E71 for a few days now and it is my first experience of the Nokia Symbian operating system. My experience is limited to a couple of years on Sony Ericsson, Palm and for the last two years Windows Mobile.

First up you’ll notice just how attractive this phone is. You could simply mistaken it for a new Blackberry or perhaps more loosely a Palm Treo. It is just a beautiful design. It doesn’t stop there. The phone is solid, plastic is used minimally in favour of a metal casing. The use of metal and chrome gives the phone nice balance of weight. It certainly isn’t heavy but weighted enough to feel good in one’s hand. The chrome however does give the phone one of its few housing flaws, it is a finger print magnet. After a day’s use the phone appears less silver, more metallic brown with a hint of blue as the oils from people’s finger tips discolour the metal. A cleaning cloth is essential yet not provided.

Nokia E71 (10)  NYX

Another design flaw is the battery access. There are two buttons either side of the device. When pushed the back plate is unclipped. However, you can push one quite easily by accident leaving the back plate sitting out. If the other is pressed the plate will fall and the battery is likely to come with it. NYX

Around the device there are various button and accessories to note. On the top there is a bright red button that acts as both the on/off button and a profile changer. Also on the top is the external speaker. There seems to be a piece of cloth acting as the usual protective mesh covering the speaker and might not last a long as some people will be wanting to use this phone for.

NYX

The bottom is simple enough. The power is the only hole aside from a groove for a strap (provided) to be attached.

Nokia E71 (12)

On one side you have volume buttons surrounding a voice activation button, above that is the 2.5ml jack for headphones.

Nokia E71 (11)

On the other side you can find the infrared port, largely over looked by most manufacturers now, the memory card slot and the USB cable.

NYX

The back  only houses the 3.2mp camera, the LED flash and a self portrait mirror. The large silver plate is for access to the battery and Sim card.

NYX

On the front is a sensor for the back light, ear speaker, video call camera, Qwerty keyboard complete with dedicated function buttons, the “Navi” scroll key and right at the bottom a forward facing microphone. This microphone is perfectly placed giving extremely clear call quality for the recipient of a phone call, unlike most which are found on the bottom of the device. The keyboard is initially rather difficult to type on however it’s easy and quick to get used to. Part of this review is written on the phone and I didn’t have too much bother doing so.

19072008012

In the box is a rather nasty case. This is a tacky plastic case that only really serves as protection if you drop it in a particular way. About 60% of the surround of the phone is covered leaving one corner available for knocks. It’s also quite difficult to pull the phone out quickly. In its favour, it doesn’t expand the size of the phone in your pocket too much.

Setting up the Nokia seems a little odd when I first switched it on. I can’t say I have ever been asked straight off if I would like to start the phone in offline mode. I guess this would make sense if you were using the phone abroad and did not want to chance incurring any roaming charges when you only wanted to access your data.

The main screen is rather well laid out however I found it tricky to find information about what was switched on. The icons are tiny, they only appear if the feature, like Bluetooth, has been activated and the lack of a touch screen means wading through various menus to turn them on and off. I’m sure after continual usage a user
can find shortcuts.

At the bottom of this you will find any notifications as they come in. SMS, Email and answer phone icons all appear. You can remove this if you wish however, aside from the flashing centre button you will have no way of knowing there is a notification.

The camera does its job rather well. I was surprised that at full zoom the picture was very clear and didn’t suffer any distortion, the picture below, on the right is at full zoom. Given that is it .2 of a megapixel better than a Tytn II (Kaiser) the camera performed better, even if there is no dedicated camera button. Taking pictures can be a bit hit or miss as the screen to button set up isn’t the most user friendly. Then again as this is a business phone it is probably only considered for business card recognition and the odd exterior shot.

16072008001  18072008009

Media playback is merely satisfactory. You are not going to be playing MP3’s on here, not because you can’t, but because it’s just not the easiest of things to do. Video playback is a little choppy and formats are select.

Once you have taken a picture you have to change to the gallery to send it onto another device or contact. You can pick to upload it to the web, this asked me to login so I can only assume that it is for the Nokia Lifeblog. In the gallery you can fiddle with and send your pictures, all the traditional methods are here.

I am unable to test the Exchange features on here as I do not run or have access to an exchange server. The Email client on the phone seems to connect and disconnect from the server as you have the client open. When you have finished checking either POP3 or IMAP it asked you if you are sure that you wish to disconnect. There doesn’t seem to be any features of Push and the smallest time for scheduled checking through the “Automatic Retrieval” was 30 minutes.

The Email is pretty good at reading HTML messages. I was surprised that it loaded them better than Windows Mobile. However, there were a few that it flashed up an error and I was unable to view.

The GPS is rather good and I like the simplicity of Nokia’s interface. It was quick in response of the positioning. I am pleased that there is a dedicated chip in here so if you wish to use Tomtom then you don’t have to pay to use Nokia’s maps. I had a free trial on the phone and found Nokia’s maps to be serviceable if not terribly up to date. The hybrid function did not work and I had to logon to my Wi-fi network (I live in a GPRS/3G unfriendly area) to update and use the mapping feature.

A major problem I had was not with the phone, but with the bundled software. Nokia’s PC Suite is annoying. On installation I was unable to synchronise the phone with Outlook. The PC Suite found the phone with no problems however, putting in information was just not going to happen. It did work over Bluetooth, once, hours later at 3am in the morning, without me initiating a sync. The phone and PC suite were set up as continuous sync and just decided to become friend a few hours after being introduced.

PC suite

Magically a couple of days later the USB was able to sync with the phone and I now think everything is ironed out.

I think the aerial might not be as good as some of the other phones available right now. Where I live it is always a challenge to get signal. Most of my phones on one to two bars. This seemed to have three, however, every time I made a call the phone would connect and disconnect almost immediately and sit with no bars for a couple of minutes.

Conclusion

To put it simply I would be pleased to have this phone as my own. There is a nice combination of features and beauty. I wouldn’t recommend it as a business phone to anyone who is currently using a Blackberry or a Windows Mobile phone. I would recommend it to someone who would like a little more of a professional take on an everyday phone. I think it will find a niche with students and perhaps for those growing out of their Sidekicks.

 

Thanks to Clove for supplying the review device

Disclaimer, Nokia E71 featured in this review will be returned to the vendor

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Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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