It has been over 2 months since I wrote up my first impressions of the Nokia E71. At that time I was getting flooded with review and purchased devices such as the Palm Treo Pro, Samsung OMNIA, Touch Diamond, Treo 800w, MWg Zinc II, iPhone 3G and loads of applications with iPhone 2.0, Touch Diamond updates, and the iPAQ 910. Most of those devices are gone now, but the one that keeps earning the honor of carrying my AT&T SIM card is the Nokia E71. The fantastic hardware, valuable notifications on the standby screen, outstanding 3rd party application support, and form factor keep it in my pocket most of the time.
The device I took you on a tour around before was a European version and since that time I picked up the North American version that supports 3G on AT&T’s network. The hardware is the exact same as I detailed before, with the exception of the internal radio now supporting the U.S. bands so I won’t go over the hardware again. I will say what I keep on saying to everyone that I talk to about the device, the hardware ROCKS!
Looks and feel: The E71 is targeted to the enterprise user and as soon as you pull the device out of the box you realize this is one classy and professional device with the sleek stainless steel and dense body. The front facing QWERTY keyboard challenges the BlackBerry and the business user who have Exchange should be pleased with the device. The E71 is one of the first Eseries devices that no longer supports the BlackBerry Connect functionality, which some people may understandably miss. I use an Exchange service and have been using RoadSync because it provides an advanced Exchange experience compared to the free Nokia Mail For Exchange utility (for example, better folder support).
I did notice there is more light present between the display and keyboard than there was on the European version and haven’t seen folks mention this on the forums so I think this is just a slight device flaw that is not present across the line.
Keyboard: The keyboard is surprisingly very good and I actually like it better than my BlackBerry Curve for the most part because the keys feel more solid and smooth (the Curve buttons are hard and a bit loose) and I rarely enter text I didn’t intend to enter. I love that there is a button for the @ character, comma, period, and question mark that do not require any press of a FN button like they do on my Curve. Unfortunately, Nokia hasn’t fully embraced the keyboard into the device since there are very few shortcuts that you can perform on your device and most shortcuts are application specific. For example, did you see the TON of fantastic shortcuts I listed in my Nokia Email service post I would like to see Nokia integrate these types of shortcuts throughout the system and applications. (full Story)