Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sleek and stylish smartphone
- Design, QWERTY keyboard, switch mode feature, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, interface speed
- Keyboard and display a little small, menu isn’t as visually appealing as competing models
The E71 is one of the most stylish smartphones on the market. If you can get by with a slightly small display and keyboard, this beast offers plenty of features and grunt.
Price$ 709.00 (AUD)
Nominally aimed at business and corporate customers, Nokia's latest E-Series handset features a sleek and stylish look that also makes it appealing to regular consumers. The E71 features a full QWERTY keyboard and has a wealth of features; its thin build is particularly impressive.
This is perhaps the most stylish smartphone we've ever reviewed. Despite featuring a QWERTY keyboard and plenty of business features, the E71 is just 10mm thick and its sleek body fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. Despite the compact size, build quality feels superb — the gloss metal finish does attract fingerprints, but it also helps to make this handset feel like it's capable of taking a few knocks.
The full QWERTY keyboard is generally comfortable to type on, though we prefer the keys of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 as they are a little larger. The spongy keys of the E71 have reasonably tactility but they are small and slightly squashed — a particular issue is just how close the first and last column of keys are to the edge of the handset. The shortcut keys — home, calendar, contacts and mail — are a welcome addition and the five-way navigational pad, selection buttons and call keys combine to create a pleasant user experience.
A slight compromise of the compact size is the display — it's a little smaller than other competing smartphones, but it does a reasonable job regardless. It's not as crisp or clear as the BlackBerry Bold's display, but the slight lack of size is an issue you'll quickly forget about.
The E71 runs the popular Symbian S60 platform, so it includes most of the bells and whistles synonymous with smartphones. Among these are the ability to read and edit Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents and access PDF files. One of the best features of this handset is its speed. Applications opened and closed in a flash, and despite running multiple programs we didn't experience any lag or slow down. A minor point is that the menu interface isn't as visually appealing as the BlackBerry Bold's; however, there are plenty of Symbian themes available to download.
In terms of features, the E71 is a beast and should keep even the most demanding user satisfied. In addition to boasting HSDPA connectivity, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with the A2DP profile. The E71 works with the Microsoft Exchange Server in addition to personal e-mail accounts like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. Setting up an e-mail account is a hassle-free experience; entering your name and password automatically searches for the settings required. We were up and running in just a couple of minutes. The E71 also includes a GPS receiver along with the Nokia Maps application.
A handy feature is the E71's ability to switch between business and personal modes. You can edit a number of settings including enabled applications, notifications and themes. You can then toggle between the two modes — for example you could block access to your work e-mail and tools when in the personal mode if you wish.
For multimedia, the E71 is a fair but not outstanding device. The screen displays video quite well, but it's a little small to use frequently. The 2.5mm jack is handy, but you'll need to purchase an adapter to use a standard pair of headphones. A 2GB microSD card is included in the sales package, which should be enough for moderate multimedia use. For Web browsing, the Nokia browser conveniently supports flash. Navigation, despite the lack of a touch screen, is excellent. We managed to browse sites like YouTube without any major issues.
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