After two weeks with the Nokia E71, I have prepared the first part of the review for this phone. I’ll talk about the physical aspects of the Nokia E71. A lot of people will be considering this phone because of the QWERTY keypad, slick shape and 3G compatibility in North America, but interested buyers need to consider if they can do with the multimedia features not up to par with Nseries phones.
I always show off the phones I have to my friends and family. The Nokia E71 looks really good according to whoever I show it to. The main keywords that get mentioned are, “shiny” and “thin.” On the Boy Genius Report’s Nokia E71 review, they wrote that the Nokia E71 could be one of the sexiest damn phones they’ve seen in a very long time.
Build Quality. The Nokia E71 feels good to hold. It does not look or feel cheap at all. The battery cover takes up most of the space on the back and is made of stainless steel instead of plasticky material we are all used to. The front surface is smooth with rounded corners, while that shiny material is striking to the eyes.
To get nit-picky, I notice a space between the screen and keyboard, leaking light out that is noticeable in the dark.
Light leaking between display and keypad on Nokia E71.
Color. I am playing with the grey steel version of the Nokia E71. A white version is available, but I have not had a chance to see one in person. I love how the black keypad flow with the shiny steel color on the front, and then seamlessly flush with some sort of a hard see-through plastic or glass on top of the display. Yes, the Nokia E71 is sexy-shiny! take a look at All About Symbian’s Nokia E71 review with the white version.
The Nokia E71′s screen is 2.36 inches compared to 2.8 on the Nokia N95 8GB and 2.4 on the Nokia N82 although having the same 320×240 resolution. You can check my Nokia E71 vs Nokia N95 8GB vs Nokia N82 Screen Size Comparison for a closer look.
Nokia N95 8GB vs Nokia E71 vs Nokia N82.
Even with the smaller screen, web browsing is actually more convenient on the Nokia E71 than on the Nokia N95 8GB because the display is already in landscape mode having a wider view. With the Nokia N95 8GB, you have tilt to the side or open the slider, and then have to put it back to portrait mode to login or search websites.
It’s barely noticeable but the screen on the Nokia E71 is not as bright as the Nokia N95 8GB. However, the images are sharp and I have no complaints in this area.
I’ve been a long time numeric keypad user on my phones, but now I see what I’ve been missing. Qwerty on the Nokia E71 makes it so much easier and faster to write emails, text messages, or fill out forms on websites. Common characters like the question mark (?) and the @ sign are accessible to one press instead of pressing the shift button first on our regular pc keyboards.
Great keypads. They keypads are great, but not perfect. People with bigger fingers might accidentally press the wrong buttons, but I did not have any problems with it. The buttons are raised so that if you run a finger from side to side, you can easily distinguish buttons. For the phone’s size and weight, I think Nokia did an excellent job on the qwerty keypad. Cnet UK agrees on their Nokia E71 review by saying, “E71′s keypad is one of the best Qwerty keypads we’ve ever laid fingers on.”
Side buttons. On the side, there are three buttons: dedicated record button, and the volume control. If you press and hold the record button on the main display, voice dialing gets activated and you can say a contact to to dial. On the Nseries phones without the dedicated button, you need to press and hold the right soft key.
Power. The power is the only button on top of the Nokia E71. There’s nothing special worth mentioning here. You use to turn on/off the phone, as well as change profiles to silent, normal, outdoor,etc.
I’m impressed with the loudspeaker on the Nokia E71. Try playing a movie on maximum volume on the Nokia E71 and you’ll find it too loud! That is actually a good thing! The handset speaker is normal during phone calls (yes it can make calls). Increasing the max volume a little bit would be better, but it’s not a big deal. The Nokia E71 review by My-Symbian agrees that the speaker is “very loud and clear.”
The Nokia E71′s speaker is loud and clear.
There are two rubber flap doors on the left side of the Nokia E71 covering the micro USB and microSD ports. They seem to do a great job locking and staying in place. There’s also an infrared port for those who want to use it to transfer files with other compatible devices.
Micro-USB. The Nokia E71 connects to your computer through a micro-usb port. It’s not as common as the mini USB, but expect to see more phones use these types of ports. Unfortunately, the USB connection does not allow charging.
MicroSD and MicroSDHC. The Nokia E71 comes with 2GB microSD card. I’m glad Nokia is getting generous about this, since I remembered digital camera companies only provided 256mb or 512mb cards leaving the customers to spend extra for bigger storage. The Nokia E71 should also be able able to support microSDHC cards to expand your storage. Currently, the maximum capacity of cards available is 8GB.
2.5mm jack. You can’t insert your standard earphones on the Nokia E71 so you either have to stick to what Noki gives you with the phone, or get an adapter. Not a dealbreaker, but thumbs down.
Standard 3.5mm earphones will not fit on the Nokia E71
Protection. The Nokia E71 does not have a camera lens cover and is raised above the rest of the back surface. I wondered why it was designed like this since I thought it will attract scratches to the camera. After a closer look, the raised hump actually protects the camera on flat surfaces. The angle created by the hump slightly raises the camera lens away from the surface.
Image Quality. At the current firmware version, I am disappointed with the 3 megapixel camera on the Nokia E71. Expect to see your object covered with a purple tint. The autofocus is works fine by pressing the ‘T’ button before snapping the picture, but the end result is a letdown considering I had this problem with the original Nokia N95 when it was released more than a year ago. I would have thought that after a year, Nokia can fix the problem. Take a look at a color comparison with the Nokia E71 vs Nokia N95 8GB vs iPhone photos.
The slim design and full QWERTY keypad on the Nokia E71 makes it optimal for messaging on the go. Its great looks puts the icing on the cake. I’m not happy with the camera quality, but many will say they are not buying this phone for the camera.
On the next part of my Nokia E71 review, I’ll cover some of the features and actual user experiences. Make sure to stay up to date by subscribing to the Nokia blog’s feed.