Retro-Review: The Nokia E71

…aka: How’s life without a proper smartphone?

About 4 days ago, my trusted HTC Desire fell down some stairs and wouldn’t respond to my PCR attempts. That’s when having a great roommate came in handy. After I got home that day, I asked my roomie for a spare and I could choose between a Blackberry Curve [insert random number] and a Nokia E71.

Naturally, I chose the Nokia. Now that I’ve been living with that messy thing for a few days, I thought it would be fun to do a review of it, so here we go.

Please keep in mind that the E71 came out in 2008.

## Industrial Design

Naturally, it feels great. Nokia’s design is and has been at the top, when it came to their flagship-ish phones. The back cover is made from metal which has been printed, to give it a nice feel. The surrounding body, has been made from some kind of plastic – not the cheap stuff, nice plastic. The overall size feels great as well. With a diagonal of about 12cm, it fits nicely in the palm of my hand and the thickness of about 1cm let’s it slide into my pocket effortlessly. The screen cover is made from plastic as well. Not the best choice, but at the time it probably was legit. The speaker sounds very good. The buttons are laid out very nicely for one-handed operation, although the rockers on the side, probably would have been better on the left other than the right hand side.

Speaking of buttons:

## The Keyboard

I’ve been using a virtual on screen keyboard for 26 months and I thought it was great. But yet, I have to admit, that the physical keyboard of the E71 feels much better. Although the buttons are TINY it feels very precise and not as fiddly as one might imagine. I guess Blackberry users know what I’m talking about. Give me one more week and I’ll type as fast, if not even faster then on my desire.

## Camera

Well. It’s pretty bad. It’s not only the 3.2 MP. It’s how the 3.2MP are squished together in an unsharp soup of undefined crap. Even in 2008 that was bad, as far as I can remember.

## Battery Life

This is a Nokia Phone from 2008. Guess what: The Battery life is GREAT. Even with an old Battery, I can easily go through 2 days with HEAVY usage, and I bet I can push it to 4 to 5 days with minimal usage. Charging it takes the whole night, though.

## Software

Now, here is where it get’s ugly. Literally.

2008 was NOT a great time for mobile operating systems. At least if it wasn’t iOS, wich was introduced in 2007. Every other Smartphone felt like shit by 2008. The E71 must have been no exception. First of, it’s extremely sluggish. Loading a webpage takes ages. Opening an APP does at well and let’s not speak about the ecosystem. Symbian was great when it came out, but when the iPhone arrived, you could not help, but wonder why you’d bother to use something else then iOS. There is no Push. There is no calendar subscription service. There is no way to sync contacts but the Nokia PC Suite (sorry, but NO, I won’t). Looking at a webpage feels exceptionally unnatural. Worst pain in the ass: setting the damn thing up. Now, I’ve known my ways around phone settings, but as soon as I turned on my Android Phone in 2010 i forgot most of it, so setting up connections and access points and MMS services, felt like the worst thing one could do to a user. The branded software doesn’t help, by the way. It just cluttered up the settings with connection stuff, you’ll never use but can’t delete. The ONLY convenience I found over iOS and Android was setting up my favorite MP3 as a Ringtone. Choose the file, hit options, set up as ringtone, boom, done. No extra software, no weird app, no iTunes. All in one go.

## Conclusion

I already miss handling my “real” smartphone. Of course I do. The point is that we, or I for that matter, have become so attached to our devices that it’s really hard to let go and dive into a much older system.

Handling Symbian is not fun and I’d say you’re lying if you say otherwise. The other point is: be thankful for how far technology and mobile OS’es have come.

We certainly DO live in the future and damn, it’s good.