Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nokia E71-2 White Steel hands-on.


Well, its almost been a week since I got this bad boy as a replacement for my Motorola Q9h, and I have to say that E71 blows alot of smartphones today right out of water (a quick side note, ATT recently updated the housing of the Q9h to a much better looking silver with black stripe pattern which I loved, but N71 still looks alot better). Now, where to begin...

The #1 thing any phone and especially smartphone should have- battery life. Q9 averaged a day or two(on standard, BT60 Li-Ion 1100 mAh battery) of some bluetooth music, IMing, maybe a little web browsing. This isn't that shabby, but nowhere near what E71 managed to accomplish. I've personally tested stereo BT and IMing via gprs edge and each one averaged 4 hours straight per 2/7 power bars. That means constant net and backlight or bluetooth activity which is very impressive for a powerful and supposedly power-hungry device like this. My initial "test" lasted 3 days since monday night's charge ending up with 2/7 bars. I played with most features in moderation including the infamous GPS chip that eats juice like an animal. All and all, this is quite impressive and stands up to Q9's extended 1800 mAh BT90 battery.

Now lets look at the Symbian 9.3 OS and its features.

First thing I'd like to mention is the auto-lock setting and the clock that stays on the screen inside a bar and moves down a little every minute, then resets to the top, and trickles down again. If you can't see that clock, then press and hold any of the Dpad buttons and the clock will appear across the whole screen with backlight for exactly as long as you hold any of dpad's buttons. A great power-saving feature that won't keep your screen lit longer than you need it. To add onto this feature, the backlight and screen light settings can be as low as 5 seconds each and conserve the power extremely well. So far so good.

Office tools include calculator; QuickOffice for viewing and editing MS office word, excel, and power point documents; calendar with scheduling options; file managing application to explore the content of the phone and memory card; the clock with alarm feature(even tells you time remaining until the alarm you set when you activate it!); unit and currency converter; dictionary with english included and other languages up for download; and other misc apps. Overall, pretty decent for a business communicator device. Here's the fun part about software, you can install just about every cracked software via very nice and each hack so E71 can ride for free and arm itself with plethora of great "commercial" applications.

Now for the 2nd essential element of this phone- the design, weight, and dimentions. One of the few phones these days to sport 70% metal housing: whole face plate and the battery door that takes up 80% of the back area. This guy is about as thin if not thinner than the iphone, as wide/tall as Blackberry Pearl, and outclasses them both in every category. It does feel unusually heavy, but this weight gives E71 a solid feel of an expensive devise as opposed to a cheap plastic feel of N95 and most other phones on the market. Keys, though small, work quite well and save width thus separating E71 yet again from competitor's and Nokia's own qwerty candybar phones. Only real flaw I see is the fact that the camera area is raised as opposed to be hidden away for safety. Nothing a screenguard can't fix ( and you SHOULD use these on anything above $100 in my opinion). The white plastic is semi-glossy and sparkly- nice touch for phone's overall stylish looks.

Finishing notes: plenty of housings on ebay right now, so if you mess this guy up (well, if you get a black one since I haven't seen any white replacement battery doors yet. They have a different pattern than the black ones) its pretty easy to give its guts a new home. Also the stock leather sleeves are in great abundance for 10$ or about and they work very well. As mentioned above, please buy and apply screenguards, self-cut or pre-made. It'll make you smile to see a few months old device with mint-out-of-box screen.

If you like a powerful communicator for a reasonable price and a higher class, you can't go wrong with this Nokia. They finally made something few people, regardless how picky, can resist.

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