Freelance consultant for digital heritage

Nokia E71 Review: Part One

Last week I treated myself to a new Nokia E71 on the 3 network here in the UK. After suffering the crapness that is the text entry system on the 3 Skypephone, I was after something that would run Skype, but have an excellent web browser and keyboard.

I looked at many phones, but settled on an E71 for these reasons:

  • Excellent battery life
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Decent Skype client (provided by 3)
  • 3MP autofocus camera
  • GPS
  • Symbian OS (smartphone goodness without Windows Mobile or Apple walled garden)

I won’t list all of the phones that I looked at, but suffice to say I looked at most of the advanced phones available today. I did settle on an N95, but the battery life would definitely have been an issue for me, being an itinerant fiddler when it comes to gadgets. If it has features, then I will use them. And I want to be able to use those features whenever I want, not think about what I can or can’t use because I want to make a call later. I talked to too many N95 users who too often looked depressed when I asked about battery life.

Anyway, I digress.

I will start my review with a summary, to save all but the ardent reader having to read any further. The phone is all that I hoped for given my budget. Visually, I think the E71 is a great looking device. I plumped for the white version, and with its steel chrome surround, and white LEDs, it’s very shiny. It feels solid in the hand, and there’s no creaking plastic to be found. It ticks all of the build-quality boxes that I had in the back of my mind.

Given that the phone has everything bar a coffee machine inside it, the battery life is phenomenal. As I write this, I have two bars of battery life left. Over the last three (yes, three) days since its last charge I have used just about every function for just about every purpose I could think of. And there’s still charge left. I have:

  • Taken 60 photos
  • Recorded 10 minutes of video
  • Browsed the web for about 4 hours using a mixture of 3G and Wifi
  • Twittered a lot
  • Sent some SMS messages
  • Made some calls (maybe 30 mins)
  • Used the GPS for about an hour
  • Used the streaming internet radio for about 30 minutes
  • Listened to mp3s while surfing the web (maybe about 2 hours)
  • Installed and played with 14 applications (I’ll list them in another post)
  • Played about with Qik (10 minutes)
  • Run Skype in the background for maybe 4 hours

Now, to me, that I have any charge left at all is somewhat amazing (actually, it’s just gone down to one bar as I write this). I’m fairly sure that it’ll last until I get home in a couple of hours to give it a charge. Now that’s what I call battery stamina.

I finally have a phone (well, it’s a mini computer really) that does the things what I want it to do, and has the battery life to let me do them.

I’ll be writing a series of posts about different aspects of the phone in the next few days, so stay tuned.

[Update – I took a couple of 3-4 minute calls on the way home, took a photo, and received a text on the 45 minute walk home. In the last call, the phone began to warn me about a low battery. When I got home I plugged it in to charge, and went to see if it was charged at about 8.30pm (Monday). I’d forgotten to switch on the charger! But the phone was still on, and had received a text! The thing seems to last forever. For reference, it had its last charge on Friday night.]


2 responses to “Nokia E71 Review: Part One”

  1. Please stop persuading me to have this phone! I popped into 3 today and they had a live model to play with. I fell in love. Then I did the sums and it turns out only mildly more expensive, whilst letting me do lots more, than my current awful Razr.

    I’m intrigued – if you are on 3, what sort of data package did you go for in the end? No one can seem to give me a straight answer on what realistically you can get for your money. How good is the camera, and how easy was it to upload to Flickr?

    (I genuinely don’t know if I want positive, or negative answers to those questions. I am on the very cusp of switching…)

  2. Martin Power avatar
    Martin Power

    I have just purchased a E-71 but went for the vodafone deal of the line rental plus the unlimited internet – I say unlimited 500mb per month plus ulimited email which will probably do me fine. I did give the 3 network some serious consideration but have had too many friends with horro stories of their inept customer service so decided to give it a miss. Don’t get me wrong the data deal was better as 1gb per month but as I wanted the phone only over 12 months the other aspect of the deal was a none starter.

    I agree with Tom that the phone really is the bees knees as a multi purpose device but is not like the N95 as a true convergence device. The media playback is good but again not as flexible as the N95 but if you download the right apps the the phone really does it for you. Obviously as a messenging system it is without fail. I have downlaoded the following apps and they are really cracking on the phone and improve it’s media capabilities:

    Opera Mini
    Coreplayer Mobile – $25 (But a real steal at that price)
    Divx player – from divx labs which picks up where coeplayer left off.

    I am looking forward to the Aikonlab website coming back up and running as it will support the accelerometer features as in the N96.

    Overall well impressed – The camera is the like the child which only a mother could love a personal like or dislike and to be honest it will do ok for me