After a whole full year (and a few months more), Nokia has finally revealed its next E-series device, aptly named the Nokia E71 in succession of its previous business-centric device, the Nokia E61 (and its further updated model, the Nokia E61i), and in between, there was also the less chunky Nokia E51 that appealed to the feminine crowd. Taking all that into consideration, Nokia has produced a form factor that should please almost everyone, and we'll show you why.
The Nokia E71's chassis is built with a glistening metallic chrome that could put your Ted Baker outfit to shame, but sad to say, it is a fingerprint magnet. Still, that doesn't take away the fact that the feel is great in our hands and it has a very sophisticated look to it. The microSD and USB connection port are situated on the left profile, and is covered by a soft rubber closing that is easy to open, but slightly tricky to push back in. To the right, we have the volume control and voice tag shortcut buttons which is not totally flushed with the exterior, and that definitely made it much easier to press even in the dark or without looking at the phone.
While its predecessor was meant for executive and text junkies, it was on the fat side resembling a medical calculator. And thus, though the design notion for a full QWERTY experience remains constant for the Nokia E71, going through a major design makeover and the result is a slimmer and sexier business device, measuring in at 114 x 57 x 10 mm and weighing at 127g that can be proudly shown off at day or night. Screen real estate is generously adequate at 2.37 inches and images turned out sharp on the 320 x 240 screen, not to mention the comfort level you gain from a larger screen during your web browsing (as compared to the smaller and eye-straining E51).
Due to the new form factor of the E71, the QWERTY keyboard has understandably become more compact or rather more cramped to us. We found ourselves double-tapping on various letters as we typed with our thumbs, and a few mistakes later, we started using our fingernails which set our typos off significantly. Key input can be the deal-breaker for some, so before you decide to purchase the device, try out the keyboard to see if it's to your fancy.
Not surprisingly, the E71 utilizes the Symbian OS version 9.2, Series 60 version 3. But what got us off track, was the fact that the E71 utilizes Feature Pack 1, and not the recent iteration as seen on the Nokia N78. On the interface aspect, the E71 comes with what Nokia proclaims as a dual mode, one of which is a dedicated interface for work purposes that provides you with shortcuts to your calendar, emails and any other productivity suites. And, if you're seeking some alone time, switching over to the Personal interface will leave you undisturbed by emails that will still be received over time, just not visible until you dwell deeper into the interface.
The on-board camera has been upgraded to 3.2-megapixel so you can be assured that your captured moments will be of decent quality. Despite its slim form factor, the E71 is equipped with a bevy of features such as HSDPA support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS for your connectivity needs. More importantly, the E71 comes with a 1500mAh battery that lasted up to almost three days with heavy usage, and we do mean heavy usage based on our high talk-time on top of some sporadic usage of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Besides a certain Cupertino handset, the Nokia E71 has been one of the most talked about Nokia handsets on the Internet and our first impressions of it certainly justifies its tag of one of the sexiest Nokia devices to date, which rivals the aesthetic beauty of the upcoming Blackberry Bold. Available now at major retail outlets at a recommended retail price of S$798, the E71 will be the long-awaited upgrade that E61 users were looking for, and probably rope in a few more converts to the E-series devices while they're at it.