The keypad of Nokia N71 is practically good. It is separated in two parts, top and bottom. The top part is with the functional and navigation keys. Alone in the very top is the Multimedia button. When pressed, this key brings up the Multimedia Menu. Below it is the four-way navigation key with confirmation button in its middle. This is quite confusing as the four ways aren't easy to press without special effort and you may press different way by mistake. Surrounding the navigation key are the two soft keys and the red and green receiver keys On the next row are located the Pencil, Menu and C correction buttons.
The bottom part of the keypad is for the alphanumeric keys. They are very well elaborated and can be easily distinguished in the dark. All keys on the keypad, except for the navigation key, are made of grey plastic and leave good touch impressions. The four-way navigation key is made of silver metal. The keypad backlighting is great, except there is one interesting issue. The backlight illuminates all buttons except the top Multimedia key.
Nokia N71 has a 256K colors display with 320 x 240 pixels resolution. The manufacturer, however, has already shown to the public better displays in their previous models N90, N80 & E60 to say for example. This display performs very well both in good and bad light conditions. It is large enough to enable the phone to display its features. The displayed picture is vivid and sharp and the backlighting of the display is very good.
When active, the external display is 65K colors with 96 x 68 pixels resolution and displays the date and time and the operator name. When inactive, it displays the time but the clock is rather illegible. It can also display the played track if you are listening to music and shows the caller's number and picture if any when receiving calls. Missed calls and received messages are also displayed.
Network signal reception is perfect and sound quality during calls is at a great level.
Series 60 3rd edition user interface is not an innovation anymore. It is well known from the reviews of Nokia N80, N91 and E60. Nokia N71 is another smartphone with Symbian 9.1 which runs on the S60 3rd edition user interface. The active stand-by display of the phone shows the network signal strength, date & time, operator name and battery level on its top row. Below it is a row of the most used applications and a list of organizer and calls information like calendar tasks, notes and missed calls and received messages. The labels of the applications assigned to the two soft keys are located in the very bottom of the display.
The main menu is available in two views: matrix grid and listed view. The matrix grid is based of 3 x 4 icons and the listed view shows 5 icons at a time. The sub-menus are both in grid and listed view but most of them cannot be changed. The Multimedia menu is another option in the phone and can be brought up by pressing the Multimedia button. It opens a four-way animated menu with four assigned applications that can be changed by the user's preference. Nokia N71 performs very well in matter of speed. There aren't any major lags in the phone response and that makes working with the phone an easy job.
The phone has 10 MB internal memory and a 128 MB miniSD card in the package (market dependent) for expanding the memory. As the phone supports MP3/AAC/MPEG4 file formats, it can be used as a music player but it is not what it is made to do. It is mostly for satisfying the needs of the users who want their phone to have a bit more than just the basic features of the modern mobile phone.