The E71 is a remarkably compact phone given it's feature load and form factor. Standing at 10mm thickness, the Nokia E71 is actually the thinnest QWERTY handset. Nokia didn't miss the opportunity to stress that at the unveiling event in London.
But if you dig deeper and do some comparing, you'll find out that it's the slimmest smartphone ever - regardless of the operating system. What's more, it's the thinnest phone to feature Wi-Fi or a built-in GPS receiver. On top of that, Nokia E71 is powered by a good 1500 mAh battery - now, that's an engineering feat from a company that's never been keen on ultra thin handsets.
But the small size has brought its own drawbacks along - the QWERTY keyboard is small and it can be hard for people with larger fingers to thumb their way across the alphabet. Then, there's the screen - the 2.8" diagonal of the original Nokia E61i looked really impressive back in its day. The Nokia E71 display has shrunk to 2.36", but is still technically what we here call a large display.
The Nokia E71 seems to be using a rather capable processor (369MHz) with very rare interface hiccups only evident in some multimedia applications. But there are also additional resources to help things further - the E71 has got 128MB of RAM (71MB of which are user available). That's triple the amount of available RAM, as compared to the Nokia E61i. So you are basically looking at one fast, lean machine here that will handle all your multi-tasking needs with ease.
The E71 traditionally has an exceptional Nokia display - a trans-reflective unit that deals perfectly with direct sunlight. On a different note, all but the display and keypad is shiny metal all over. That does the beauty trick but leaves a lot to be desired when fingerprints come into play.
The QVGA screen resolution is a standard one and it's enough - all details and colors look nice and crisp. Plus you get compatibility with almost all existing applications. A larger resolution would have also meant a performance hit, so QVGA is really ok. The landscape orientation of the display also comes in handy when browsing images or web sites.
In practice, the QWERTY keyboard seems nice overall - keys have excellent tactile feedback and usability hasn't been hurt by the limited size. It's only some key combos that would make you wish you had a good old desktop-sized typewriter at hand.
Beside the D-pad, there are three predefined shortcuts and - typical E-series - they all mean business. The keys lead straight to Calendar, Contacts and Email.
Anyways, Nokia have added some new features, which are not present in other similar devices. First of all, it's the ultra easy email setup. If you are using any public email service (it has to be among the over 1000 supported providers), all you have to do is enter your email address and password to start enjoying emailing-on-the-go. Nokia E71 takes care of downloading all the relevant settings to get you going in no time.
Next, there's a special Mode Switcher, which practically toggles between two homescreen setups - one for work and one for leisure for example. The Calendar application has also received a face lift - now it offers a much streamlined view of what's on and what's ahead.
Then there's the improved web browser, which by the way is the market leader anyway. It has received full Flash support (Flash Lite 3), as well as seamless secure Intranet support via the mobile VPN client that's also set up on the handset.
And finally, there's a new feature, you might know as Remote Wipe. It's not a new feature per se, but up until now it was usually reserved for corporate scenarios. Now it's available to everyone. In case your Nokia E71 gets stolen or lost, you should simply send a coded SMS message. It gets locked down and after three unsuccessful attempts of unlocking it, it wipes itself clean of all personal or sensitive info. You might not get your Nokia E71 back, but at least nobody will get your personal data either.
So that's about it - we've had a really short rendezvous with the Nokia E71 but we hope to see more of it at the office in the near future. For the time being, enjoy the live photos and hit the next bumpy jumpy for our scoop of Nokia E66.