The memory card format supported is miniSD, and our review unit, which came from Nokia, had a 128MB card in the box. Cards live on the top edge of the handset behind the clamshell hinge. It is a real fiddle to get to cards when the handset is opened, but I doubt Nokia thinks you’ll be doing that too often. The hinge area is also where you find the Pop-Port and mains power sockets, incidentally, with both the Pop-Port and memory card slots protected by covers.
While on the subject of memory, you’ll obviously need a card for tunes too. Sound output quality was on a par with what I’ve found in other N series handsets (which means ‘good’), and alongside the Pop-Port connecting headset you get a converter to a 3.5mm mini-jack so you can also use any other headset you prefer.
The N71 runs Symbian S60 v3, and as such it offers a seriously strong complement of built in software. I’ve already mentioned a lot of this in passing and along with PC Suite for sharing data with your PC it provides enough for most smartphone users to be productive out of the box.
It is nice to see infrared here along with Bluetooth, but the N71 is not one of the N series handsets that supports Wi-Fi.
Battery life was not all it could have been. But then any dual screen phone is going to suck up more than its fair share of power. During testing I did push the battery hard, setting the main screen power save time out to the maximum available which is 30 minutes and the light time out to 60 seconds – again the max. The front screen was set to its brightest and its power save also set 30 minutes, with its screen saver on for 15 minutes. I got eight and a half hours of music, which is not bad and a slight improvement on what I gleaned from the N91.
Despite the strong qualities of Symbian S60 v3 I can’t help feeling antipathy towards the N71 because of its poor hardware design. If Nokia intends to produce any more clamshell handset, it should think about the usability features that format lends itself to. Not least it should consider spring-loading the mechanism, which, as it stands on this large handset, feels very unwieldy and needs two hands to open.