The screen’s size and resolution is nothing to write home about – it’s just 2.36in across at a standard 320 x 240 and it isn’t a touch screen – but the quality is outstanding. It’s bright, clear, and transflective, too, so when you take it outside in bright sunshine it’s almost as readable as it is indoors.
In terms of core componentry, the E71 beats RIM’s finest too. It has full HSDPA support, on top of GPRS, EDGE and standard 3G. It’s a quad-band phone, for use all around the globe. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an FM radio tuner, for when the email gets too much for you. And it has a 3.2-megapixel camera complete with LED flash on the rear coupled with a VGA video call camera on the front.
And, of course, what modern smartphone would be without a GPS receiver? The E71 is equipped with an assisted-GPS receiver (A-GPS) – this uses location information gleaned from the mobile cell you’re connected to with the aim of providing a quicker satellite fix. I’ve seen this before and not been impressed; on the E71, however, it’s an entirely different kettle of fish. I fired up Google Maps while sat indoors with only a partial view of the sky, turned on the GPS option and 15 seconds later the E71 had an accurate location fix. Not many dedicated sat-nav devices can boast speeds that quick, let alone phones, which often can take minutes on end or fail to get a lock entirely.
You don’t have to go and download Google Maps, though – the E71 comes with Nokia’s own mapping software preinstalled. Though this isn’t as quick and responsive as Google Maps, you can use it as a proper sat-nav tool, complete with turn-by-turn driving instructions. But the latter is a £7 per month additional subscription after the free three day trial runs out.
Where Windows Mobile devices often stumble, at this point, is on responsiveness and battery life. It takes a lot of processing power to render Microsoft’s OS nippy, but put a powerful CPU in a phone and the result is, too often, very short battery life. The E71 uses Symbian’s S60 3.1 platform, so responsiveness isn’t an issue – you’re hardly ever left staring at an hourglass or its equivalent when launching applications or navigating around the phone’s interface.