Hands on with the Nokia E71

17 Jun

On the sidelines of CommunicAsia 2008 here in Singapore, Nokia finally announced the next two devices in its E-series of business phones – the E66 and the E71. We played around with the two phones and were quite impressed with the fact that the Finnish giant is finally sparing some thought to design in its business phone portfolio. Firt up, we take a look at the E71.

The first thing you will notice about the E71 was its thickness or should we say thiness? At just 10 mm, it is a remarkable improvement from the E61 from last year. It is a bit narrower as well, which makes it easier for one-handed operations. A friend of mine, who uses the E61i, always complains that her device doesn’t fit in her tiny palm. Probably the E71 is made for girls like her. Why do I say girls? Take a look at the picture below and you will know.

If you see carefully, the back now has a reflective stainless steel finish. You can see my reflection on it as I click a picture. Nokia is now tring to change the profile of its E-series portfolio from boring to stunning. It will now be more about doing your business in style than just efficiency.

The User Interface has also witnessed some changes. The Product Managers tell me it is still S60 3rd edition with Features Pack 1 with some enhancements. The home screen has also been changed and now you can change the home screen from ‘business’ to ‘pleasure’ at the click of a button. For instance, you have a shortcut to your work e-mail and appointments on the home screen in one mode and have your personal e-mail and shortcut to music player on the other. This means that you can have two different home screens!

I had suspected the due to the narrower body, the tiny QWERTY keypad would be difficult to use. Nokia seems to be one step ahead at this stage, with an intelligent predictive text input mechanism that not only auto-corrects and auto-completes text but also neglects the second key stroke when you press the same key twice. Even the calendar has seen some improvements. Now you can see previews of your appointments on the right half of the screen.

Overall, the E71 seems to be a fitting successor to the E61i. It is expected to be released during the later half of July or early August in India.

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