If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I just bought a shiny new Nokia E71, sometimes dubbed iPhone Killer. After several days using this device, I am very happy with it, though it could have been much better.
Keyboard: the keyboard is great though it is a little small for my fingers. The predictive text feature can be annoying, but in general it is helpful. I am not up to speed yet in writing long emails, but it is more convenient than the horrible HTC Tytn I had.
Email and messaging: good and bad at the same time. Some of the features are excellent – you can have your mailbox status on the home screen, and if there are unread messages you can see their subject and sender without opening the email application. Configuring an account on Gmail or private POP3 service was very easy, but it automatically set it to IMAP protocol. I am a POP3 kind of guy, and I found it very annoying. Also, there is no one click SMS sending – you need press some of the buttons several times in order to send a SMS. Email speed is ok – but data services might be expensive, which leads me to the next section.
Connection manager: huge disappointment. Though WiFi works great, there is no way to configure applications to choose the cheapest connection. For example, I’d like to configure the email client to use WiFi if possible, then to try to connect to a free APN, and only then to try to connect to the high cost APN of my operator. This basic requirement is not met by E71.
Menus: I am probably spoiled by Mac user experience but the menus are extremely confusing. It took me ages to understand how to change shortcuts in the home screen.
Stability: in this sense it is a very solid device. Didn’t crash too much (I managed to crash it once), responds quickly and the user experience is great.
Camera: definitely a weak point, which is a shame, cause Nokia integrated flickr sharing service in the camera application.
Video and audio quality: good enough for calls, you can watch some videos, and I listen to podcasts with it when I commute. However, the earphones are of low quality, so it is a cost effective replacement for iPod, but doesn’t match it. The podcasting software is very nice as well.
Synching with Mac: in order to sync E71 with Mac you need to install E71 Plugin for iSync. It took me several tries to make it work properly, and couldn’t sync using bluetooth. Nokia Multimedia Transfer is another application, that is used for, well, multimedia transfer from and to the device. After pairing the phone with the Mac it worked great.
Is it an iPhone killer? No. it is not a media phone. The screen is great but no match to iPhone. the audio is pretty good but no match to iPod quality. If you are a businessman who is always connected, wants to use your phone as a modem, traveling a lot and looking for a strong, stable device, E71 is a great choice. But it is not as fancy nor friendly as an iPhone.
Overall – between 1 to 10 it certainly gets a 9.3 (mainly due to the connection manager).