Nokia E71

With its combination of excellent features and performance, matched with sleek design and its affordable price tag, Nokia's E71 manages to outshine recently released smartphones as our business phone of choice.


9.5
CNET Rating
8.6
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design
Nokia has taken last year's E61 to the guillotine and, after a few simple strikes, has returned with one of the most attractive smartphones on the market at this time. Interestingly, this is where the smartphone market is finding the battle-lines drawn. The list of available specifications has become somewhat stagnant, and with Apple teasing the competition with the super-desirable iPhone, everyone else has been forced to play dress ups to catch the eye of fashion hungry business types.

In this regard Nokia has travelled down a more conventional path with its latest E-Series offerings. Devoid of the glossy piano-black casings of the N-Series, the E71 has a striking stainless steel finish, and avoids being the magnet for fingerprints most mobile phones tend to be these days. At only 10mm thick, the E71 is also one of the most portable smartphones available.

The most obvious concern for such a taut, trim business phone is how to pack a full QWERTY keyboard onto a device that still travels well in your pants pocket. Nokia has found a decent middle ground with its 37-button pad. Each of the keys is raised with a gentle pyramid shape distinguishing them from their neighbours. These keys are tiny, and miss-hits were a common occurrence for us during testing, but the more time we spent with the E71 the better we got. We had more trouble with the five-way navigation button where hitting the menu buttons to the sides by mistake opens new applications and menus and does become very tedious.

On-screen the latest Series 60 home screen and menus seems like a step back in time; the simplified graphics immediately reminded us of using Windows 3.11. This is obviously a deliberate move by Nokia to sacrifice visual flare for speedy performance, and as you'll read later, this trade off pays off.

Features
As a combination of hardware and software, Nokia's E71 is one of the best featured smartphones we've seen this year. Indeed, smartphone hardware advancement is reaching a plateau with most of the phones in this category featuring a very similar combination of HSDPA data speeds, Wi-Fi and A-GPS connectivity.

Where the E71 really impresses is the raft of included software tools. Like Windows Mobile, Nokia's Symbian Series 60 operating platform has enticed hundreds of developers to create a wide variety of interesting and useful third-party applications, but all too often this software is tucked away on the internet. Browsing the pre-installed software on the E71 is a very pleasant experience with discoveries like pre-programmed voice-commands, a business card scanner, a QR barcode reader, Windows Live and Yahoo Go messaging clients, a dictionary, measurement converter, plus several more.

In regards to enterprise specific features, the E71 has all the major bases covered including support for Microsoft Exchange for syncing email, contacts and calendars with Microsoft Outlook, plus the ability to access the virtual private networks (VPN) set up in your office. Similar to trends in other major smartphone operating systems, Series 60 now supports automatic retrieval of personal settings from your remote mailbox service, meaning that when you set up a new email address you only have to punch in your address and password and the E71 takes care of the rest.

When the working week is finished and you feel like escaping from the stranglehold of business messaging, the E71 features a profile switching mode to change not only the phone's appearance, but also active email accounts and settings. This profile switching is fast enough that you could switch over to your personal profile at lunchtime and respond to your mate's emails on your GMail or Yahoo accounts.

Performance
Reading the white sheet for the E71 you may think this new Nokia is drastically underpowered. Its 369MHz ARM processor and 128MB RAM seem underwhelming on paper compared with the 620MHz processor Apple use in the iPhone and the 192MB RAM HTC has crammed into the Touch Diamond. However, spec-crunching aside, the E71 keeps up with its competitors with lightning fast navigation and processing, even when multitasking. Lag spikes are infrequent and the Series 60 operating system has been impressively stable during our tests.

Some people may disagree, but we've found the E71 offers one of the best Web 2.0 browsing experiences we've come across in recent smartphones, and this includes the touchscreen handsets which are tailor-made for online activity. Whether we used Wi-Fi or HSDPA network data, we found Web browsing to be very fast, and page rendering for standard sites to be mostly accurate and zippy. Navigating sites with the five-way nav key may not seem as intuitive or accurate as using fingers on a touch display, but we've had a much more pleasing online experience than with the competition.

A-GPS is relatively new to Nokia's E-Series (the E90 features inbuilt GPS), but Nokia is certainly no stranger to GPS chipsets, as is obvious from its stellar performance. Similar to our impressions of the GPS in the iPhone, the E71 finds satellite signals in record time. Coupled with Nokia's impressive Maps 2.0 software and Nokia's Mobile Holder CR-106 (not included), the E71 may just be the phone that has you listing your TomTom on eBay.

With its smaller display, some handy power-saving options and its massive 1500mAh battery, the E71 manages a handy three days of battery life between cycles. To replicate everyday use we maintained a 3.5G connection, left Wi-Fi scanning on, activated push email, and listened to at least one hour of music a day in addition to moderate calling and messaging.

Overall
When we saw the E61 last year we loved it: a BlackBerry-esque handset that connects to anything and everything. Nokia steps it up to the next level with the E71, improving its connectivity with A-GPS, adding a camera, improving the 3G speeds to HSDPA and managing to slim the handset across all dimensions. This is exactly what we expect to see in the successor to a popular product line.

Perhaps the most astonishing fact is that on top of E71's list of improvements, Nokia has also trimmed the price with its RRP listed at AU$709. All things considered, this is an absolute bargain for one of this year's best smartphones.

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LisaL Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Have had this phone for two years and ready for an upgrade"

LisaL posted a review   

The Good:QWERTY keyboard, Camera, Easy to use. Came with a slip on case meaning my mobile still looks new despite numerous falls

The Bad:Internet. issues with battery holding charge in recent months

I have been a loyal Nokia customer for 13 years. I have enjoyed my E71 for the past two years but am ready for an upgrade. I have checked the reviews for other smart phones and the iphone and don't feel like any of the new models are any better than the phone I have.

I am hoping to hold out for the first Nokia windows 7 mobile but may bite the bullet earlier when the Nokia E6 is released.

All in all nothing is perfect and some phones of the same model will perform better than others. If the only thing I have to complain about is the battery not recharging after having the phone for 18 months than consider me a satisfied customer. How many iphone users can say that???

LukeM2 Facebook
7
Rating
 

"Gutted because it broke... :("

LukeM2 posted a review   

The Good:Battery life, camera, call quality, features and software

The Bad:Location of antenna makes phone awkward to use at times...

I loved my little Nokia E71. It broke though. The backlight on the LCD display is gone. It just randomly died whilst writing a text message and I'm gutted because Vodafone can't fix it and such... they won't give me a refund or exchange because I'm out of the 28 day refund/exchange period.

Rubbish. If you're going to get one of these phones don't get it from Vodafone or 3.

This is essentially a thinner version of the E63 made of metal with GPS and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Everything else is the same (partly due to the OS) and some features work better depending on your carrier.

I would recommend it to anyone but just not on Vodafone/3

The only real thing I mentioned is the location of antenna inside the phone can make it a bit of a pain to use. It appears to be located somewhere along the bottom left side of the device and it's certainly in a place that's well covered by the hand. I did an experiment by holding the phone between finger and thumb at the sides to see whether this suddenly boosted or dropped the signal. Results: holding the phone by the sides improves the signal heaps. Covering the back seems to have a detrimental effect. But holding it by the sides obviously means it's harder to type on... so I used to hold it by the sides when sending messages and making calls, but actually for typing I'd hold the phone as normal to avoid looking like a freak!

amzyy
9
Rating
 

amzyy posted a review   

The Good:Great Battery, Slim, Good Texting, MIRROR :D

The Bad:Sometimes crashes, sometimes unresponsive, camera sounds, no 3.5mm headphone jack

I love love love my phone :)

THE GOOD: its really good for texting, fast internet, good facebook application, my battery lasts for dayssss, it is a slim design and there is a small reflective mirror on the top of the screen that i use to check my teeth ahahah it think its quite a good feature for the phone :)

THE BAD: sometimes however, my phone does crash and restart and it can be slow when exiting applications and the internet. this can be frustrating but i'm happy it doesnt happen frequently. oh and a pretty big let down for me was that it doesnt support the usual 3.5mm headphone jack. it does have a headphone input, but only the proper nokia headphones given with the phone so it can be annoying because i like switching headphones between my phone and iPod. and also you cannot turn the camera sound off which isnt really a problem but can be annoying sometimes.

i have listed more bad than good but its actually a really trustworthy phone...its still alive after many drops :/ so other than these minor problems i strongly recommend if you love texting and its just a good average phone with all the features :D

dasgoalie
2
Rating
 

dasgoalie posted a review   

The Good:Great battery life

The Bad:Dissapoointed that this phone was made by Nokia

Junk wrapped in a fancy housing is all I can say. Annoyed me so much I threw it into the Yarra River one night while getting frustrated with it. All I can say is Nokia raised the bar when it came to good companies making crap phones. I always trusted Nokia and nothing has held a torch to my old N97. Thats why I replaced the E71 with a Nokia C6.

jbbbbbbb (:
10
Rating
 

jbbbbbbb (: posted a review   

The Good:everything about the phone i would never return it ! (:

The Bad:NOTHING ITS ALL GOOD

well the people tht do have problems you just might have had a crappy cheap mode i got mine for $249 from dick smith in black very pretty have had no problems very fast phone !

greyeagle
3
Rating
 

greyeagle posted a review   

Can't shut of Navi light comes on every 6 seconds approx. It is so bloody annoying. Now one knows how to shut it off including nokia tech services, dumb

 

lach posted a reply   

Tools | Profiles | (select yr profile) General | Personalise | Breathing light (on/off)...

If you switch off the "breathing light" then when the screen drops into power saving it will display a clock screensaver.

 

LisaL posted a reply   

tools / settings / general / personalisation / notification light / blink light for - off

this should help also with turning of the light.

Unless its a glitch with your phone this and shutting off the breathing light through the profile should work. I remember being frustrated with this feature when I first got the phone. Good luck!

Reschs Monkey
9
Rating
 

Reschs Monkey posted a review   

The Good:Excellent pre-android phone

The Bad:Very rare but frustrating crashes

I've had my Nokey E71 now for almost two years. I use it as a 'semi-smart' phone for daily train commuting from Sydney to Newcastle, the Internet connection gives me the latest Bureau of Meteorology weather maps and CityRail information, and the GPS tells me where I am at night. I've created a virtual jukebox of over 1000 audio tracks loaded on the 8Gb SIM (which is still 48% free). A set of fold-up AKG K420 head phones (I highly recommend these for travel, they have the best thumping bass sound) makes a long trip quite comfortable. Next time I'll probably get an Android phone, but for the time being the E71 is solid and 99.9% reliable.

Reschs Monkey
9
Rating
 

Reschs Monkey posted a review   

The Good:Excellent pre-android phone

The Bad:Very rare but frustrating crashes

I've had my Nokey E71 now for almost two years. I use it as a 'semi-smart' phone for daily train commuting from Sydney to Newcastle, the Internet connection gives me the latest Bureau of Meteorology weather maps and CityRail information, and the GPS tells me where I am at night. I've created a virtual jukebox of over 1000 audio tracks loaded on the 8Gb SIM (which is still 48% free). A set of fold-up AKG K420 head phones (I highly recommend these for travel, they have the best thumping bass sound) makes a long trip quite comfortable. Next time I'll probably get an Android phone, but for the time being the E71 is solid and 99.9% reliable.


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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia E71

  • LisaL

    LisaL

    Rating9

    "I have been a loyal Nokia customer for 13 years. I have enjoyed my E71 for the past two years but am ready for an upgrade. I have checked the reviews for other smart phones and the iphone and don't..."

  • LukeM2

    LukeM2

    Rating7

    "I loved my little Nokia E71. It broke though. The backlight on the LCD display is gone. It just randomly died whilst writing a text message and I'm gutted because Vodafone can't fix it and such... ..."

  • amzyy

    amzyy

    Rating9

    "I love love love my phone :)

    THE GOOD: its really good for texting, fast internet, good facebook application, my battery lasts for dayssss, it is a slim design and there is a small ..."

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