Live photos of Nokia E71
- Design, size, controls
- USB, Bluetooth
- Software department
- Nokia E71 vs Nokia E61i
- Music department
- Battery (BP-4L)
- Charger (AC-5)
- USB data cable (CA-101)
- Wired stereo-headset (HS-47)
- Wrist strap
- Software CD, User Guide
- 2 Gb microSD memory card (size varies by region)
Eventually, even Nokia has stumbled upon the problem of very modest sales of enterprise solutions. Probably it’d be better to put it this way – moderate sales of business-savvy mobile phones. It turned out their target audience does yearn for these phones but doesn’t really want to buy them. For instance, IT-companies that are normally enthusiastic about innovations have been very cautious about the ESeries and still see no real reason to adopt these phones just yet. Surprisingly, they are bent on feature phones, preferably with some business smarts inside, such as the Nokia 6233, Nokia 6300 and so on. This approach is not without merit, in light of the fact that in the corporate environment handsets are viewed more as a way to communicate and much less as devices for handling mail and viewing web-pages and other purposes. In a nutshell, these are all welcome features and abilities, but by no means obligatory.
The main glitch in every phone maker’s approach to corporate devices is that an ordinary clerk has a notebook he (or she) uses every day, at work or in transport; so why would he need some mobile phone with a miniscule display when they already have a bigger and more convenient laptop to assist them wit their routine? But the most important thing is that for the most part corporations are not as charitable as some imagine and normally they have a rule of thumb – the cheaper something is, the faster they buy it. That’s way a lot of managers in average European or American companies use phones worth around 150-250 Euro and very rarely, if ever, get more expensive solutions. And again, the same paradigm comes into play – since they already have notebooks, they don’t really need handsets that can well replace them. Furthermore, many cellular operators still have employees with feature phones in their offices, let alone less IT-savvy companies. Another argument that can’t be ignored is 15 millions of BlackBerry devices sold worldwide, which is nothing but a drop in the bucket, compared to a billion phones retailed every year. It gets even more amusing when you get to calculate the ratio between the number of employees in corporations and the number of enterprise handsets out there. According to a research carried out by Radicati Group back in October 2007, there were 1.2 billion mail accounts in the world, of which 516 millions were used by enterprises. Although it’s not very clear how they figured out who was a corporate user and who wasn’t (either it was everyone working for a large company or everyone with a certain level of income), these numbers clearly demonstrate what kind of niche enterprise-savvy phones occupy and explain the failings in their positioning.
That is, if there was one lesson Nokia learned from the sales of the original ESeries, it was that the enterprise segment was way overvalued. Basically, consumers seemed to prefer mass-market smartphones that weren’t positioned as corporate solutions, lacked some specialist applications, but still could get the job done. As a result they even cancelled the development of their own office suite, since it was clear all investments would end up in vain. Their first successful ESeries phone was the Nokia E65, which benefited from its positioning as a fashion-savvy and contemporary smartphone, rather than an enterprise solution.
Thumbboard-armed smartphones have always been in the league of their own within the ESeries line; while they targeted a really narrow niche, they turned out to be nearly flawless offerings. First the Nokia E61 then its update the E61i – having tried these handsets once, people would cling to them and refuse to part. Unfortunately for Nokia, though, the market for this type of phones was pretty measly.
So, what gear has clicked within Nokia and boosted the popularity of the ESeries devices? Most certainly, not their positioning towards some vaguely defined “enterprise user” and with all ensuing fuss. Effectively, they have designed a phone for the mass-market, but planted a couple of differences here and there, making it less of a business-savvy solution with a much more friendly face. All in all, it’s a good way to approach the problem from a different angle. Nokia failed to conquer the hearts of consumers in a head-on fashion, but they have found a way around the problem.
The Nokia E71 may well go down in textbooks as a great example of what a slightly different way of positioning can accomplish. They have pitched the E61’s huge display, trimmed the casing and the thumbboard, all in an effort to render the new handset more petite. Having sacrificed a little bit of the original device’s ergonomics they have made the E71 a whole lot more appealing to the average consumer. It’s also easy to draw parallels between this phone and IBM’s ThinkPad laptops that had been widely popular with corporate users before this division got sold off. While they were user-friendly and boasted quite long battery times, their aesthetic appeal was thin on the ground. They were deemed more as tools, like pens or staplers, where function should always be superior to design. But this didn’t hamper the ThinkPad-branded laptops in any way – they had their own audience that appreciated their spartan looks coupled decent functionality. However, the recent change of their design bodes no well to this line-up – while the maker’s motifs are understandable, they may well disrupt the original focus of the series, so the average consumers (whom this refurbishing is aimed at) won’t be able to tell “ThinkPads” from an array of laptops from other companies.
The major gripe of most consumers with the previous model was its size – the casing was way too wide and the handset itself didn’t seem particularly svelte.
The E71 utilizes a 2.36-inch QVGA display (320×240 pixels, 48×36mm), capable of up to 16 million colors. It manages to output a pretty decent picture quality-wise that remains readable in various environments (it doesn’t fade away in the sun at that, all thanks to the mirror underlayer).
Since the E71 is a thumbboard-enabled device, its keyboard is what it’s all about – depending on its ergonomics it may be either the selling point of the phone or its major and most crucial letdown that will put people off. All official snapshots of the Nokia E71 out there outline its user-friendly setup that allows for single-handed text input. Indeed, they have trimmed a couple of millimeters off the phone’s waist, so that now every button on its thumbboard is within fingers reach. But is this setup all that essential? Basically, the users of the Nokia E61/E61i praised these phones for their sizable keyboards that enabled them to type with both hands. And on top of that, these two handsets weren’t meant for single-handed navigation – while the user could dial a number this way, entering text with only one hand was much more challenging.
What we are getting at is that should you start typing with Nokia E71 fast enough your fingers will get tired in no time. In fact all you will be able to type up without your fingers going numb are moderately long SMS and emails. The reason for that lies in the casing’s width. You can’t make one device that will serve both worlds well – if you’re making a QWERTY-phone for enterprise users, it should be broad and well spaced-out, otherwise it’ll be difficult to hold and text with. The Nokia E71 is one of the most diminutive thumbboard-equipped handsets out there, and not because of some Nokia’s secret technologies, but simply the fact that they have sacrificed the original keyboard’s ergonomics, making it a secondary feature of the E71. It may sound awkward, but this is one of the first QWERTY handsets where design and size of the casing are above the phone’s defining feature – its keyboard.
Our focus-group comprised of five men, which was quite enough in our opinion. Unlike our previous tests, that time around we opted not to evaluate raw seconds, instead we determined each handset’s performance relative to the time it took the focus-group members to type the text fragment on a conventional keypad with the help of T9 (that’s why he had the Nokia E66 in the mix). Then we calculated ratios between every phone in question and the benchmark (the E66). For instance, if it took us a minute to type that snippet with the E66, and having the iPhone in our hands we managed to do the same thing in just 40 seconds, the iPhone’s score would be 66 percent; so the lower the percentage is - the better.
|Parameter||E71||E61i||E66||Se P1i||Apple iPhone|
|Typing speed (compared to the E66, %)||78||68||100||78||68|
|Average number of errors (not corrected within the typed fragment)||3||1||1||2||1|
The most efficient devices, according to our tests, are the the Apple iPhone, which comes as no surprise since an on-screen keypad is always easier to deal with, and the Nokia E61i. In its turn, the Nokia E71 fares on par with the P1i with its quirky rocker-style buttons, which is still a pretty good result. And obviously all four handsets outrun the E66’s conventional keypad.
So the bottom line on the E71’s ergonomics is pretty obvious – the new phone doesn’t come close to its predecessor in terms of texting speed, but still can beat conventionally designed handsets on this front. By the way, this sort of compromise isn’t that bad at all – I’m positive many will appreciate it.
Also, the E71’s keypad is not particularly handy when typing in phone numbers, which is another drawback stemming from its cramped setup.
Now for the functional buttons. The E71’s trademark feature is a 4-button setup (including the Menu button) that allows for one-click access to the calendar, phonebook and mail applications. On top of that there are actually two ways to press each of these keys – long-press and a short click. This way, with a short press you will jump into the phonebook’s general list of entries, the mailbox or monthly view of calendar. However when you tap and hold these keys, you will be able to create a new contact, entry in calendar or email. Punching these keys one more time will get you back to the main menu.
The handset utilizes a 1500 mAh Li-Pol battery (BP-4L), as opposed to the Nokia N82’s 1050 mAh cell. The E71 is rated for 10.5 hours of talk time (GSM) and 20 days of standby. Music time – up to 18 hours.
- GPS-navigation – 5 hours
- Video playback – 6 hours 40 minutes
- WEB-surfing (EDGE) – 4.5 hours
- Music (in earphones) – 17 hours
- Wi-Fi (non-stop data upload) – 6 hours for non-stop data transfer, 166 hours of standby (according to Nokia)
The device comes equipped with 128 Mb of RAM, after first launch you will get around 70 Mb of free memory at your disposal, which is enough for running a dozen applications and browsing “heavy” web-pages – the word “slow-down” is definitely not in the E71’s vocabulary.
The user almost has 110 Mb of storage available, where any data can be stored.
The E71 deals with microSD memory cards (hot-swappable), the phone comes packaged with a 2Gb unit. There are no restrictions as far as memory card’s size is concerned – our handset easily identified a 8Gb card.
Thanks to its, beefed up memory and a faster CPU (ARM11 running at 369 Mhz, against the E61i’s ARM9 and its 220 Mhz), the E71’s performance has almost doubled compared to the E61i. You can literally soar through all applications and menusalso the handset can have more applications running in the background.
USB. Using the USB settings you can choose one of the following modes:
- Data Transfer (Mass Storage USB) - memory cards is available, no drivers required, as your OS identifies the handset automatically.
- PC Suite – used for device management via Nokia PC Suite, enables all features of the phone, data backup etc.
- Image Print – no explanation required.
The E71’s data transfer speeds top out at 2 Mb/s
Bluetooth. The phone comes with Bluetooth v2.0, with support for EDR. The following profiles are supported:
- HandsFree-AG (1.0)
- SIM Access-Server
The top speed you can get with the E71’s Bluetooth connection is around 100 Kb/s. We also tested its A2DP profile in pair with the Sony Ericsson DS970 headset, which worked just fine – we managed our play list, skipped within tracks and adjusted volume seamlessly, however we couldn’t make current track’s title show up on the E71’s display.
Wi-Fi. This handset comes armed with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 g) support. All security standards are supported, including WEP , WPA , WPA 2, with other advanced settings available. Unlike the NSeries, the E71 doesn’t support Universal PnP (UPnP). Although, it boasts the WiFi Wizard, which can search and tap into available networks in the background mode.
The IrDA’s data transfer speed tops out at 115 Kb/s.
The E71 utilizes a 3.2 Mpix CMOS camera with auto-focus. Its User Guide reads that to focus on an object you will need to press the “T” button – we tried to do that but to no avail, as our shots didn’t benefit from that in any way. I shall say that the quality you get with the E71 is what you’d expect from this type of camera– it is fairly decent for a business-minded phone.
You can go for one of the following resolutions:
- Print 3M – Large
- Print 2M – Large
- Print/e-mail 1M – Small
- Multimedia message 0.3M
The maker doesn’t provide the real image resolutions, so we take this duty in our own hands. The following resolutions are utilized in the abovementioned modes: 2048×1536, 1600×1200, 1024×768, 640×480 pixels. The picture size averages 1 Mb, 600-700 Kb, 250-300 Kb and 75-100 Kb respectively. You can’t adjust the picture quality settings with the E71.
The handset utilizes the digital zoom feature topping out at x20, moreover, there are “normal” and “enhanced” zoom – the latter allows reaching the maximum magnification, yet some artifacts slip into your pictures. When using the standard digital zoom, though, these artifacts are not all that discernible. And since you can perform just the same zoom-in in any graphics editor, using it while shooting is probably not the best idea.
The shooting modes comprise a user-defined mode, auto and macro. Other options include portrait, landscape, night, night portrait, sport.
portrait, landscape, night, night portrait, sport. The flash can be set to trigger automatically, turned off, or work in the red-eye reduction mode. The self-timer can be programmed to go off in 2, 10 and 20 seconds. The handset can take snaps in rapid successions (three at a time), which may come in handy should you work with fast moving objects. The function is intended to be Sony Ericsson’s Best Pic counterpart, yet as it stands now, it offers less flexibility.
Exposure compensation – this feature is interesting in some specific environments, when it will provide for better and sharper shots. It can be modified on a -2 - +2 scale with a 0.5 step.
White balance – Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent. Overlays available are Sepia, Black&White, Negative.
The ISO settings are set to Auto by default, while other options may be selected manually; much like some cameras, here the maker allows choosing ranges, rather than specific ISO values. In other words, when you choose the Low ISO setup, it includes a range of settings from 60 to 200 etc. This is all another step towards the mass market, an attempt to isolate the user from all technical nuances.
The ESeries devices have always been worlds apart from other S60-powered devices in the way of software. Some apps and options that were tested on these phones in the first place are now becoming par for the course in the rest of the company’s portfolio, but some still remain the trademark features of the ESeries. This way, the Nokia E71 sports a unique phonebook, calendar and some other features that are very different from those generic applications built into S60 3rd edition FP1. Let’s see what new feats and abilities the E71 brings to the table.
|S60 3d Edition Feature Pack 1|
Voice dial. There has been a lot of fuss around the E71’s official description on Nokia’s site, specifically around this line - Speaker dependent and speaker independent voice dialing (SDND, SIND). Someone suggested that the handset featured recordable voice tags, just like on old phones. But I have to disappoint him and everyone who believed in this – the E61 runs with the system that can adjust to your voice and keeps improving on the go. Although some think this intelligent system doesn’t really work (and the truth is, it almost never finds the right name at first), in fact it takes the E71 around a week to come to grips with your voice and pronunciation and reduce the number of errors.
Data encyption. Another change of note – the E71’s ability to encrypt data both on the memory card (microSD of any size) and the handset’s internal memory. And this saves you a whole lot of trouble should you smartphone end up in some villain’s hands, who does know how to break a standard password. On the other hand, if you forget the password yourself, you won’t be able to recover the data, which will be a pity, but all systems of this kind have this glitch.
Times have changed – the E71 now caters for the average user’s needs, whereas its predecessor was all business and nothing else. Not all changes in the E71 are good, however; but there are so many of them that in all honesty, the Nokia E71 is a completely new phone, rather than a revamp of an old concept. Let us give you a better idea of how different the E71 and the E61i really are:
|Nokia E71||Nokia E61i|
|Size, weight (mm, grams)||114๕57๕10, 127||117๕70๕13.9, 150|
|Display||2.36 inches, TFT, 16 million colors, protective layer on top of it||2.8 inches, TFT, 16 million colors, no protection|
|Battery||Li-Pol, 1500 ์ภ๗||Li-Pol, 1500 ์ภ๗|
|Memory||128 Mb of RAM (70 Mb available), 110 Mb in the phone, microSD memory card (unlimited capacity)||64 Mb of RAM (23 Mb available) , 600 Mb in the phone, microSD memory cards (up to 2Gb)|
|CPU||ARM 11, 369 ฬร๖||ARM 9, 220 ฬร๖|
|Camera||3.2 Mpix||2 Mpix|
|S60 edition||S60 3rd Edition FP1||S60 3rd Edition|
|Data encryption||Yes||Not available in the default package|
|Enhanced calendar and phonebook||Yes||Standard applications|
|GPS||Yes||No, only external devices|
|Nokia OSS Browser||Yes||No|
|Typing speed||Almost a quarter slower||Faster|
The major update to this department is the new version of Nokia Maps, which you can learn more about in our review of the FP2. Also, we would like to note that the application has become even speedier, the cold start time makes around 4-5 minutes, and we felt that the gears were spinning faster, so to speak. To my mind, the E71 is a tidy navigation-savvy solution, it does the job hands down. But, unfortunately, as far as battery life goes, the E71 doesn’t improve over the predecessors.
A lot of people keep asking me to write about the E71’s music department, which is, in fact, little to no different from what you can experience with other S60-powred devices. I really don’t know what else to add – the sound quality hasn’t improved much, the player interface is still the same. I imagine many S60 die-hard fans would like to hear something along these lines: “Wow, it’s the most advanced player in a non-music savvy phone ever, it’s audio quality is mind-blowing, and it can make coffee!” Not going to happen – for starters, because the E71’s 2.5 mm headset jack is not the best way to go when it comes to music. And if you are eager to learn more about the player’s default functionality – read our comprehensive review of this platform.
Call quality was never an issue with the E71, as it easily lived up to our expectations of a Nokia-branded phone. Ring tones sounded quite loud and we were happy with them even in noisy environments. The vibro alter was of moderate strength.
As of today, no other device on the market can stand up to the Nokia E71, as, by and large, every QWERTY-enabled device these days is unique in its own way. So how do we assess the performance of such phones? In my opinion, the leading criteria should be the thumbboard quality and functionality. As far as the Nokia E71 goes, it retains a pretty mediocre keyboard that fares on par with other offerings out there; it’s quite another matter, though, that its close sibling, the Nokia E61i had an absolutely stellar thumbboard. But when it comes to functionality, the Nokia E71 is second to none in its price segment – no Windows Mobile device can put up a similar pack of applications and features, although some of them boast touch-sensitive displays.
It’s not a coincidence that Nokia has put the E66 and E71 in one line-up – in fact it’s one phone that comes in two designs, each retaining a different keypad and form-factor. The sliding E66 has just as many metallic accents in its casing, and a different display orientation. But given their identical price tags, both revolving around the level of 350 Euro, the choice is not all that clear-cut. Most consumers will definitely go for the E66, and its QWERTY-enabled iteration will enjoy much more modest sales; the ratio will float around 80 to 20 in favor of the E66. Being aware of this situation, in order to boost the E71’s sales Nokia has launched it before the E66.
The Nokia E71 is set to land in Russian early in August. Those of you who are expecting its price to soar down will be disappointed to learn that its price curve won’t see any sharp turns down the road. Later in August the market will see the E66’s release that will retail for around 60-70 USD more, which is well-justified, as it’s a truly decent phone that will outshine its predecessor, the E65, hands down.
The SAR value for the E71 is 1.33 W/kg