As I mentioned the other day, Three have given me a nice new Nokia E71 to replace the N96.
I've only had the phone for a few days, but so far I am very very impressed.
First off there is the build quality.
The N96 felt like it was cheap and nasty, while the E71 feels like it was built to last. Take a look at the back of it:
The back is metal, while the N96's was weak plastic. This may seem like a silly thing to focus on, but if the back of your phone falls off it can cause issues!
You'll also notice that the E71 sports a 3.2 megapixel camera. Compared to the camera that comes with the N96 or N95, the E71's camera is quite underpowered and performs very badly in low lighting conditions even with its builtin Flash.
However the E71 is not designed for snapping photos. It's a business smartphone.
And this is where it gets interesting.
The phone has a full QWERTY keyboard, so you can use it for email and sms very easily. It takes a bit of getting used to, but even after a couple of short days playing around with it you soon discover the joys of having access to your email on the phone.
The Mail for Exchange application that Nokia provides is quite easy to setup and allows you to poll your office Exchange server as often as you like, while also offering you "peak" and "off peak" profiles ie. more often during working hours and less frequently in the evening and at weekends.
There are, however, two minor issues with the software:
- It only shows you what is in your inbox folder, so you can't see any of your filtered emails. A lot of my more important emails get filtered off into subfolders so that I can find them easily. Unfortunately I can't see them on my phone
- While the software allows you to set a signature on your outgoing emails the length is very limited. A possible solution would be to setup the "common" part of the signature on the server itself, but I haven't got round to that as yet
You also need to be very careful with your connection options. I have a wireless network both at home and in the office, so it makes sense to use them when I'm there and not use the data from my provider (Three).
By default all the "net" applications that come preinstalled on the phone will use the Three connection, but you can easily set them to "ask" before connecting, which could save you on your phone bill if your plan doesn't include a huge amount of data.
The phone's interface is, for lack of a better word, lovely.
Having a number of buttons on the phone to access common applications makes things just that little bit easier. You can still browse through the installed software like you would on other Nokia phones, but you can associate actions and applications with the nice little buttons that are on the front of the phone:
The battery life on the E71 is also a bonus.
If you've been using phones like the N95 for a while you get used to having a charger with you at all times, whereas with the E71 that should be a thing of the past - it still need charging, but simply not as often. According to Nokia the E71 has a standby time of up to 20 days!
I might find issues and problems with the E71 as I use it more over time, but so far I am very happy with it.
It's slim and fits into pockets easily
I've also ordered a larger memory stick for it, so that I can abuse it as a storage device as well!