The Nokia E71x’s performance is a bit of a mixed bag. On one side you have that already solid hardware bolstered with the update to Symbian S60 Feature Pack 2 (v3.2), yet on the other side there is a load of AT&T software that just seems to be all over the place, even more so than the usual display of Nokia/Symbian software and hierarchal menus.
That’s not to say that the E71x is slow. It’s actually pretty impressive in going from task to task. I noticed some slowdowns when pushing it in terms of heavier webpages plus streaming media, but its really a solid performer all around.
Productivity and Email Apps: The E71x is as well equipped as smartphones come. The usual PIM applications are present (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, and Messaging). These are the usual Symbian S60 apps here, and compared to Nokia’s other recent messaging device, the E75, things are simple and relatively stale.
That’s not to say they don’t work. You’ll just be looking for something else (via the Ovi Store or a web search) if you need more capabilities.
Interestingly enough, there are a slew of default applications on the E71x. From QuickOffice, to a mobile banking application, to several games. This was one of the few times that I could say that the out-of-box experience just might be enough that many users won’t need additional applications.
Except for email. The traditional Messaging application is left to handle email, and does do poorly. At least the Exchange Active Sync support is seamless. The E71x would have benefited well from the recently released Nokia Email application.
Web and Multimedia Apps: Thankfully, the web and multimedia sides of the E71x are much less the let down. From the WebKit-based Nokia web browser (renamed MediaNet Browser on this device), to the Music player which supports stereo Bluetooth (because the 2.5mm headset jack can be a turn-off for many), its a very solid device.
Another notch working for the E71x is the outstanding battery life. Pushing the device garnered about a day and a half of use. This is based on being constantly connected to Exchange, the automatic swapping between cellular and Wi-Fi in various areas, and a few hours of calls. This part of the original E71 is carried over well.
The 3.2mpx camera is better than the purple-tinted pics found on the E71. Camera controls are the same found on many S60 devices, and pretty much get you into and out of a picture quickly. There is some considerable noise if you choose to use the digital zoom. But for the most part, pics work great whether using natural light or the built-in flash.
AT&T Apps: As this is an AT&T device, I know there would be a lot of additional software. I just didn’t think it would dominate the user experience like it does. Here’s a list of what’s found on the device:
- AT&T Music
- Cellular Video
- AT&T Maps
In addition there’s a link to purchase Games or Applications from an AT&T-branded web-shop, but both links were dead throughout my time testing. It’s a really loaded device.
I stated in the beginning of this review that the Nokia E71x seemed poised to change the perception that Nokia is unable to make solid devices for U.S. carriers. To that end, this device is very successful. From the excellent hardware design, to the carrier-branded add-ons, its clear that Nokia wanted to make sure that its already well-received E71 stayed that way.
Nevertheless, the E71x is somewhat marred by timing. Devices such as the Palm Pre and iPhone are clearly in the eyes and attention of consumers. And its oft-mistaken perception of being “one of those BlackBerries” makes its road to redemption steeper than it should be.
The low entry price ($99 w/2yr contract) helps its rise. And rise in the eyes of consumers the E71x should. It’s not a game changing solution, but does show what’s possible from the Finnish phone giant when they do work with U.S. carriers.
An excellent QWERTY device, and hopefully a sign of better things to come.
- battery life
- great amount of pre-installed software
- good keyboard feel
- 2.5mm headset jack
- confusing menus
- older and less-featured PIM applications than recent competition
Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) w/ North American UMTS+HSDPA (850/1900 MHz)
320×240 pixel (QVGA) landscape screen
116 MB memory (application storage)
microSDHC card slot (supports up to 16 GB)
1500 mAh battery
micro-USB cable connector
Bluetooth 2.0+EDR w/A2DP
built-in voice command software with text-to-speech support
3.2 MPx camera with Flash, Auto-focus, and support for 640x480px video recording at 15fps
Nokia S60 Web Browser w/Flash Lite 3.1