Nokia E71 Review

This post is a bit overdue.. its been in notes mode since September. I guess most people who wanted an E71 already have one by now, but I’ll give you a few thoughts on my new toy.

I love it. Best phone I’ve ever had.

Weird how a week before you can get the E71 nobody in the mobile phone market has a clue what you are talking about.. you get the signature George Bush confused look when you ask about an ETA.. and then suddenly it’s advertised everywhere from the airport to girly magazines. The GSM companies really need to have better comms with their resellers.


Before we start, I had an E61 before this, so I’m going to compare these. Let’s see..

  • The best feature of this phone is the QWERTY keypad and the Notes application. I use this everyday. It’s my augmented memory. Keep notes on the phone, process to text and todo list once a week. In fact it has two Notes applications, which is handy to keep those long term notes like bank details, PO box details etc.
  • You’ll notice the E71 keypad does not have the usual alphabet dialing hints.. try dial 0861 AMOBIA :-(
  • The keypad is smaller than the E61, but I think I can type faster on the E71 because of the shape of the keys. Better feedback.
  • The screen is smaller, but works well. Good rez, brightness and contrast.
  • It sucks that you have to hold down 3 keys to do Ctrl-C.. not fun when you use Emacs style editors.
  • It general it’s a much better design than the E61, solid feel, nice size, good looks, rugged. I’ve dropped it twice (actually Mia dropped it once), no problem.
  • Good battery life.. I get 3 – 4 days, sometimes 5. The GPS sucks battery.. as you would expect.
  • It boots up a lot faster than the E61. Very nice.
  • Camera is a bit crap.. but functional. Kinda handy that it has a macro mode (press T).
  • The UI is guru friendly, not user that friendly, bit strange at times. Especially when you want to configure a SIP account on get your Bluetooth car kit to pair.
  • GPS-nav works well. The voice guide is pretty cool. Speaker phone speaker is at the top of the phone, handy when you are driving with the phone in your shirt pocket. Works well if you receive calls while in maps mode.
  • GPS-nav works well with a Bluetooth car kit.. but it gets annoying when your music keeps being interrupted.
  • I found that the calendar syncing works well with my Mac. One snag was that there seems to be a max character length for event descriptions.
  • Would be cool if it had a torch.
  • All the rest of the toys are there.. it’s really an office away from the office, mobile phone, sip phone, car phone, ssh client, watch, camera, calendar, alarm clock, wifi, web browser, podcast player, fashion accessory, thing to play with when people get boring etc..


I think the E71 is the anti-iPhone.. it assumes it has a smart person driving it. It’s geeky and fun to explore. You can spend a lot of time trying all the features and playing with the config until it’s just the way you want it. I’m talking weeks.. if you tend to over-focus on these kind of things like some people. (Not Me!, never)

I like the idea that it’s an open platform.. and it has a SIP client.

This phone may be intimidating for a first time E series user. You have to grin when you see the Sea Point koogirls with this phone.. they can’t be using 5% of the features.

I overheard somebody saying: “the HTC is the best converged phone.. it does everything equally crap!”

The E71 is not perfect, but everything works well. It has my vote for the best phone on the market today.

15 thoughts on “Nokia E71 Review

  1. Hey Joe!!

    I got mine (unlocked, great for stuffing local SIM cards in there when you’re on holiday and only want to be bothered by cool people about parties) somewhere in the beginning of October and now I want to have its babies. Best phone / gadget I ever had, and I’m a gadget geek.

    My favourite apps: Opera Mini 4.1, GMail 2.0 for Symbian (OOOOH!), fring, Google Maps. Just wish someone would make a nice facebook app for it. is usable, but could be much better.

    How do you structure / later find all the notes that you make on the thing?

    See you,

  2. Hi Charl

    It’s a bit of a chaotic notes system.. anything goes, the trick is just to process the notes within a week, while they make sense.

    I find you have to be sober to process the notes, but it’s not required for taking notes :-P

  3. I recently got hold of a Nokia E71 – I love it. All the wannabe’s can keep their iphone, the E71 is pure genius. I especially like the GPS, and the full qwerty keyboard (once I got used to the size of the keyboard with my fat fingers! ;-)

  4. Hi Joe,
    Love the E71 but hating the filing system. I have some photos I’d like to keep seperate and private from my other pics. I tried opening new folders etc, but it keeps popping up everytime I open images…. The memorycard is not half as user friendly as the Sony erricson.Maybe I am just doing something wrong.??

  5. Hi Kobus

    I agree the filesystem can be a bit lame.

    I don’t keep any photos on my phone (after download to my photo collection).. I’m just too paranoid I’ll lose the phone.. so I keep deleting everything.

    I had an issue with finding my Putty config file on the filesystem to change the terminal colours.. I found it pretty easily on my E61, on the E71 they seem to hide it from you. I never found it :(

  6. Thanks for the advice, Joe! I got mine on Thursday and so far am very happy. Battery life certainly is a major bonus over the E61. There were some minor features that surprized me, such as the Business Card Reader and Barcode Scanner! (not that I could get the latter to work)

    Btw, how do you use the torch on the E61? I could never figure it out.

    Oh, and do dial 0861AMOBIA, simply start with the 0861 then press Fn once, and Shift twice to go in to CAPS text mode. The phone interprets the number fine.

  7. Hi Henk

    The Barcode scanner reads QR-codes, it actually works pretty well.

    Hehe, I don’t think the E61 had a torch, but it would be useful.

    Thanks for the 0861AMOBIA tip (-:

  8. thanks for a great blog, does anyone know how to configure Mikrotik Os so I can connect Nokia e71 to asterisk server via vpn. Pretty Please!

    1. Connecting the phone to Asterisk is pretty simple. Try do that first, without the VPN. I’ve never used the VPN client on the phone, but I’d suggest you look at a secure SIP connection before you try the VPN idea.

  9. Hi Joe

    Seems like you are the E71 support person, so here goes…

    Did you get the 1yr license for Nokia Live Navigation? For the life of me I can not get it to recognise the license when I try and activate Walk&Drive – keeps asking for money. Is there a secret serial number somewhere in the packaging I need to find?


    1. I seem to remember it activated my maps account when I used maps for the first time. It just worked.

  10. Contacted Nokia today, apparently this[navigation license] is a knonw issue with older MTN sims – advised that I get the sim swapped.

    For future reference, the symptom was that My licenses showed no licenses, when I would update the licenses the license will be displayed but not saved to the sim – when I return to the “My Licenses” option it would display “no licenses” again

  11. Hi Joe & Riaan

    you’re all a gr8 help…I still struggle though with the GPS (still very new on the thing), everytime i put in my destination i will see the maps and all but how do i activate the kph v/s km v/s time, because mine remain at 0.00 despite showing the road?
    As well, how do i get the device to tell/advice me when getting lost?


    1. It does not tell you when you get lost.. it will just work out a new route and keep telling you where to go.

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