Freelance consultant for digital heritage

Life with the Nokia E71

I’ve had my E71 for about 6 weeks now, and I thought that I’d write a few words here to let people know how I’m getting along. Would I recommend the E71 to anyone who is looking for a smartphone? Absolutely. Would I recommend it over the iPhone? That depends. If battery life is important to you, then certainly. If productivity software such as word processing, spreadsheets, etc, then yes again. I’d even say that the camera on the E71 is better than that of the iPhone (based on shots that I’ve seen on Flickr).

However, I have found the breadth of software available for S60 series smartphones to be somewhat lacking. I’ve spent ages looking for a native Twitter client (not J2ME) and I’ve only found one (WirelessIRC + Twitter), which is an add-on to an IRC client. The iPhone has lots of clients, many with their own twists on user interface. [Update: As of May 2009, there are a few more options, one of which, Gravity, is superb!]

Without going in to great detail of packages that I have tried and disliked, I do have an iPod Touch with which I can compare some apps. Generally, apps on the Touch are much nicer in terms of user interface. But I do know that battery life and a lacklustre camera on an iPhone would annoy me too.

However, I have a nice core of software on my phone that do most things that I would want to do whilst mobile. I have a phone whose battery lasts me 3 days of normal use (web browsing, Twittering, some music, some photos, updating the calendar, email) and I can coax more days out of it with less use.

So on the whole, I’m a happy E71 user, and hope that the phone lasts me a good 18 months or so before the next best thing is released!


13 responses to “Life with the Nokia E71”

  1. Tom – have you been embedding gps coords into your photographs? I had that going on an N95 (1st gen) but there were memory probs. We have an E71 arriving soon so will give it a go myself.

  2. I will totally agree with you, which is a good thing considering I finally took the smartphone plunge mostly off the back of your recommendation!

    I don’t come from a smartphone background, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it does all I need it to do perfectly well. The camera is fine for outdoors/well-lit areas and it does synch (more or less) seamlessly with Flickr for uploading on the go. I am very impressed with the web-browser and the ability to switch between wifi and 3G networks at choice is great.

    The best experiences so far have certainly been:
    1) Being able to check the cinema times whilst halfway down the A303
    2) Being able to connect to Flickr seamlessly whilst at my mum’s house to show her snapshots of the new house
    3) Being able to facebook perfectly well from my sickbed

    Things I’d like to change/improve/aren’t quite what I’d expected:
    * Do something with the GPS. Not sure what, but it’s not proven to be a useful tool for me yet
    * Be able to define shortcuts to folders – I have a folder called ‘ebooks’ where I store all my ebooks. I can shortcut from the front screen to an individual book, but NOT the folder. Not a huge thing, but irritating
    * The keyboard is good, but I still haven’t quite cracked the whole copy/paste thing and I keep accidentally going back a page when I am browsing. Usually after I’ve just typed a blog comment or tweet, but BEFORE I’ve hit send. There’s no “forward” option, so I keep loosing minutes of carefully input text. Again, not huge, but irritating
    * Twitter. is not bad, but I’m with you Tom wishing for a decent client programme

    I can however highly recommend for free (and legal of course) ebooks. Great for when reading on the train etc.

  3. Hi John,

    Thanks for commenting!

    I have had success in geotagging my photos automatically. You will need to download the Nokia Location Tagger and launch it a few minutes before you begin taking photos. I don’t always remember to turn it on, but the times when I have, it has worked rather well!

  4. Hi Cas,

    Thanks also for adding your thoughts! I am relieved that you do like the phone after my excited new-shiny-gadget enthusiasm!

    It is a jolly good phone for all the reasons that you’ve mentioned. I should write another, more positive post. This one was rushed out a bit, with the intention that comments would take it further (which it did – phew, and thanks).

    I like the GPS and use it mainly for tracking where I am when I travel about via train. Google Maps is far better than Nokia Maps when it comes to getting a GPS fix, and for aerial photographs. And of course, a bit of geotagging.

    Another fun application of the GPS is to use Yahoo’s FireEagle (and their FireEagle location updater) so that certain websites can know where you are (if you give them permission!) and deliver location-based information. It’s worth checking out.

    I agree about the keyboard, and cut/paste. It’s a bit fiddly, but I think I’ve got the hang of it. The keyboard is surprisingly good considering its size, and I’ve written some sizeable emails without thinking about it much.

    In fact, I’m tempted to write my next blog post directly from the E71…

    I recommend Twibble for mobile Twittering. You can run it in the background and have it alert you only when someone replies or direct messages you. It also supports Twitpic, although I haven’t yet managed to get it to work. The reason that I’m after a native S60 client is because it feels a bit clunky to use, and the Twitpic integration seems broken. I’m sure a smoother experience would be had if there were a native client.

    I’ll have a look at BooksInMyPocket – sounds intriguing!

  5. for twittering.. i use fring (you can log on to twitter) or ShoZu (has twitpic,flicker,facebook etc. funcions too)

  6. Digital Rasta avatar
    Digital Rasta

    I took a photo whilst running SportsTracker, and it seemed to geotag it ok.
    Or was that special to SportsTracker ? I’d rather not download another app if necessary.

  7. CHOBiE,

    Thanks for commenting!

    I would use Fring for Twitter, except that there’s no way that I can find to turn off alerts or filter Tweets to only alert you when someone replies to you or sends a direct message.

    With Tweets arriving every 5 minutes or so, it soon became rather annoying!

    I’ve gone back to using Twibble for my mobile Twitter needs – I suspect that I’ll stay using it for some time…

  8. Great article, and I really appreciate the info on apps/widgets that everyone is sharing in the comments. I used a Blackberry Curve before switching to the E71, and I am surprised that there are so many apps for the Blackberry, but for the E71… not so much. At least, not that I’ve found. Widsets seems to be about the size of it. Am I missing something, some great site where you can find a bunch of great apps to download for the E71? Any info/direction gratefully received!

    thanks –
    Tink *~*~*

  9. Beckymaky avatar

    I can not find booksinmypocket. I am getting very frustrated. I previously used a Palm Treo and read lots of books whilst on the go. I can not seem to be able to get my usual Ereader to work on the E71 and mu internet searches for advise has been fruitless. I even bought emobile from Nokia and still no luck. Any suggestions? I miss reading books.

  10. Never knew I could fetch so much great apps by just reading comments! Twibble trumps big time and previously I used Locr for geotagging my photos, but the Nokia Location Tagger integrates with the camera of the E71 way nicer!

    I do however share your feelings of discomfort when using a Java-based Twitter client, Tom. A native client would be such a nice addition! But Twibble will do just fine for the time being.

    1. Hi Maarten,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There’s a native S60 Twitter client coming soon called Gravity. It looks like it will be fantastic, judging by the video demo.

  11. hi there
    Just thought i would share my app list

    – Nokia 3d snakes
    – C2 doom clone £
    – Opera mobile – great for large text sites as it handles feformatting well
    – Skyfire – amazing full desktop browser with full flash suport for streaming video etc inc bbc iplayer
    Twitter clients
    – twibble .. Very good and free
    – gravity .. Very cool but not free
    Ebook readers
    – both Qreader and mobireader are good and free
    Sat nav
    – i use the vodafone client that was pre-installed on the phone.. I think i am in a free trial at present but it is very good vioce delivered step by step sat nav system..
    Video player
    – core player plays everything except wmv.. Grr
    – bbc iplayer client .. Works a treat if you can find anything worth watching
    – symtorrent.. It really works.. So cool

    One of my fav apps is the built in podcast software.. Being able to pull podcasts diect to phone is so cool

    Oh and you can do all of the above at the same time.. More than can be said for a certain popular smart phone!!! It is quite cool driving along listening to music / podcasts which gently fade out for the sat nav to give directions ans the fade in again.. Nice

    Oh and dont forget cut copy and paste is not keyboard gymnastic but a 3 key sequence…
    To copy press
    Bottom left then buttom right then c
    No need to hold them down all at once.. Took me a while to find that out.. Doh
    You can also Select all using the bottom left.. Bottom right and a

    (all sent from my e71 while waiting for a new exhaust.. What would i do without it)

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for sharing your list! I haven’t looked at eBook readers, so thanks also for the suggestions.

      And you’re right – having the E71 means that waiting around for things doesn’t have to be so boring any more!