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Nokia E71

Nokia E71

Telstra recently brought the Nokia E71 to their network, and sent over a review unit for us to have a look at. While it’s getting a little long in the tooth, and now competing with a range of exciting new devices running Android and webOS, I found a lot to like about the E71. Read on for the full review.

Hardware

The build quality of the Nokia E71 is stunning. While it’s a good deal thinner than the BlackBerry Bold, it’s weighted perfectly and just feels right in the hand – and the 320×240 screen is gorgeous.

Nokia E71 vs BlackBerry Bold

Nokia E71 vs BlackBerry Bold

Browser

As is relatively standard in smartphone browsers these days, the E71 will resize the content column of a standard, unoptimized-for-mobile website to fit the screen – although it won’t resize images.

My main gripe is that text looks decidedly average, which is a let down considering how beautiful the screen is.

There’s an elementary RSS reader built in, but it only allows you to view one feed at a time – there’s no “show me all new feed items” option, which is my favorite way to do RSS.

I recommend replacing the browser with Opera Mini.

E-mail

HTML email is supported, but for some strange reason, there’s no way to enable it by default. For each message, you have to open an attachment to view it as HTML. Even worse, if the email uses inline CSS (which many do), it displays at the top of the text version (although if you use Nokia Email, this issue is resolved.)

Push email is supported using Mail for Exchange and Nokia Email, which is currently in beta, and free as a result.

Keyboard

While at first glance, the keyboard looked cramped, it’s actually very easy to use despite using much less real estate than the QWERTY on the T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream). The keys are protruded evenly, unlike the BlackBerry Bold. I could type accurately from the moment I picked up the device, and don’t need to resort to tips of the thumbs (or nails) to hit the right key. The main issues are the Z key being directly underneath the A key, and the navigation square protruding enough to make hitting the T and Y keys underneath it a lot more awkward than it should be.

Battery Life

The T-Mobile G1 and the iPhone 3G proved that no matter how capable the smartphone, poor battery life quickly establishes itself as a frustrating Achilles’ heel.

Thankfully, the battery life on the Nokia E71 is right up there with the BlackBerry Bold. You could safely forget your charger on an overnight trip, and not bother with a second battery.

We didn’t get anywhere near the promised 17 days of standby, it was more like 7-10 days, but hey – that’s plenty.

Tethering

You can tether via Bluetooth or USB. If you’re on a PC, Nokia PC Suite makes this achievable in one click, if you’re on OS X or Linux you’ll need to get your Google on – or use an app like JoikuSpot which makes it relatively painless.

Application Support

Having never used an S60 device before, I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of applications available. Much like the iPhone, there’s an app for pretty much everything. The fact that Nokia is only now attempting to establish a centralized distribution mechanism like Apple’s App Store has its pros and its cons. The fact that developers aren’t required to adhere to a carriers terms and conditions (like iPhone and Android developers) being one of the major pros, and the fact that you’ll need to get your hands dirty with a search engine to find the apps your looking for being one of the major cons.

Tech Specs

  • Processor: 369MHz ARM
  • Memory: 128MB
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixel with auto-focus and LED flash
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g
  • Battery: 1500mAh
  • Bluetooth: 2.0 with A2DP
  • GPS: GPS receiver with Assisted GPS
  • Connectivity: Quad-band GPS/GPRS/EDGE and HSDPA
  • Storage: 110MB, with microSD expansion
  • Operating System: Symbian S60

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One Comment

  1. Michael
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Got this phone recently, lovely piece of technology. Agree with the writter on the ease of use with regards to the keyboard. The only complaint that I have is to do with the bugs in the OS. Top left key was set to open contacts but had to change it to something else as the device kept crashing. I have also noticed that the phone can freeze every now and again for no reason. Hope Nokia comes out with a firmware update. Very happy with the battery life.

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