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E71 review so far

IMG_0970So, Ewan’s called me out… the E71 isn’t perfect after all. I still have to make my own tea and women don’t appear to be any more attracted to me than before (for the record, aside from my long-suffering girlfriend, the count is zero interest in the last week – I’d rate that as ‘unchanged’). But it’s easy to find fault – what’s the overall view?

If you want a really thorough review take a look at what Steve has written over at AllAboutSymbian (launch review, multimedia, screen size) – I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time at the launch and the depth and detail of his write-up is top-notch. This are my first usage experience…

The good:

  • I was wrong about the ‘leatherette’ case. There I said it… wrong. In podcast 10 I scoffed and called it ‘low rent’. This evening it came between the E71 and the pavement – not a scratch on either. I love it.
  • The design is gorgeous. Not just ‘better’. People are actually going out of their way to say how nice it is. Even an E51 owner (which shares much styling) commented it was better. My E61 was not a pretty thing… this just is.
  • The size is excellent and its noticeably the slimmest phone I’ve had for some time. The screen is a good resolution and size combination and the keyboard, although tighter than the E61 and E61i feels great – I believe Nokia when they say 70% of people who blind-tested it preferred it.
  • The software that had changes is much better – big ones for me are the customisable home screen and the alert icons that now appear at the bottom to show received SMS, missed calls etc. Also the new calendar is a vast improvement as is the ‘long press’ clock preview screen that shows the time when the keyboard is locked.
  • The battery life is still excellent – I’m getting the same amount of usage as I did on a recent N82 loan for a few days between full re-charges. The N82 often barely lasted a day.
  • The GPS is incredible – 15 seconds is the longest it’s ever taken to get a lock from cold… coupled with the much-improved Maps 2 it’s a life-saver. With the high capacity battery I’ve been geo-tagging and navigating without a second thought.
  • Phone and memory card encryption ‘just works’ with no appreciable speed impact. It’s good to know my personal data on the memory card is safe, at least, from opportunists.
  • The price – at €350 unsubsidised that’s mid-range S60 money and in line with previous models.

The bad:

  • It’s a fingerprint magnet. The back particularly doesn’t just show marks, but visibly discolours until wiped clean. Do the Finn’s not have sweat glands in their hands?
  • It didn’t have Mail For Exchange on by default…. and it’s supposed to be a mail-centric phone. Once on it behaves well, but Roadsync does’t appear to be happy – freezing occasionally. A shame as I’d prefer to use Roadsync for the folders capability.
  • The mail client isn’t updated, nor is the crappy IMAP handling. Really… This is Nokia’s class-leading e-mail phone? To be fair, it’s unchanged, but that means it’s unchanged since the E61 as far as I can tell. I would have traded half the improvements in the now-excellent calendar for something in this area.
  • Media performance is patchy. I asked at the launch if people would be confused by the overlaps in the E and N-series ranges and they said ‘no’. They weren’t joking. Day time images are fine otherwise things get a bit dicey. The processor can only handle the choppiest of QIK streams over 3.5G although local video capture is smooth. To be fair it’s good enough for my business needs (white boards, business cards), but not for anything else. At this price that feels fair, but it does leave me wanting a premium E-series device with something more in this area.
  • The new ‘orchestral’ Nokia ring-tone irritates everyone who hears it except me so far… not sure why – it just does. I think it’s something to do with it being similar, but noticeably different to all the other ‘standard issue’ phones in the office.

Overall? It’s good but not great. Do I feel let down? A bit, but we’d all assumed this would be a top-end all-singing, all-dancing model and in many respects (particularly form-factor it is in many ways), but inside it’s a mid-tier business phone and that it does very well… except for the basic messaging interface which is still too basic and deserves Ewan’s anticipated bile.

Improved in many areas, no worse in the rest. A strong ‘B’.  Will I pay my own cash for it?  Yes… but I’ll secretly long for a premium E-series in a similar shape.


A few demo pictures… The good:


And the pretty awful:


The best QIK I managed on high quality:

The most reliable setting:

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