Nokia is perhaps best known for its consumer phones, but it also has a strong line-up of business handsets. The flagship of the current range is the E71, and it’s a fantastic device.
We liked it so much when it was first launched back in June that we put it straight on our A List, and until this month it was still king of the hill. The reason? First, battery life is great. The 1500mAh lithium-ion polymer battery lasted more than 87 hours in our real-world test. Second, its looks and ergonomics are a joy. Although the E71 is one of the thinnest, lightest and most pocketable phones in this Labs – it comes in at third place in the portability stakes behind the HTC Touch Diamond and HP iPAQ Voice Messenger – it’s also surprisingly usable.
The keyboard can’t match that of the BlackBerry Bold for sheer ease of use, but its small, domed, rubbery keys let you get up to a surprisingly swift typing speed. Elsewhere, the Nokia E71 again impresses. It has HSDPA for fast mobile data, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, an FM radio and assisted GPS. Email handling is excellent, including support for Exchange via Nokia’s Mail for Exchange client (although note it doesn’t support subfolders). There’s also a competent web browser, even if it can’t match those with touchscreens.
But technology marches on, and one area where the E71 now looks distinctly old-fashioned is its screen. It’s small at 2.36in, and has a low 240 x 320 resolution. It’s transflective, which means in direct sunlight you can still read it, but otherwise it feels cramped in comparison with the screen on the Touch HD. The email display, in particular, suffers here – even with the text size set to small, you can’t fit much on the screen.
We don’t like the 2.5mm headset connector – 3.5mm is far preferable – and the inability to charge over USB is irritating, but the price more than makes up for these foibles. Not only is the E71 a good phone, it’s also cheap, both SIM-free and on contract, and that earns it a Recommended award.