The E71 seems to be a culmination of elegance, style, and class, with functionality kept utmost in mind. I think its steel shell gives it a macho look and feel. The display may be a little smaller than the E61i at 2.36 inches, but on the whole the E71’s specs are way better. The QWERTY keypad looks rather compressed, however, and will take a bit of getting used to. But the five-way nav-pad and relevant shortcut keys are located for easy accessibility.
The new tweaked Symbian OS 9.2 (Series 60 v3.1 UI) looks great, with clear and large icons. It doesn’t look exactly like the old interface, but it retains most characteristics, so you’ll still recognize everything. When you enable ‘Active Desktop’, the screen now clearly indicates Missed Call and Unread Message notifications at the bottom. What would have been perfect is an ‘Open Applications’ check feature that can let you close any app running in the background with one simple click.
The E71 is fully equipped with media options to suit all users, business or otherwise. The music player isn’t very different from other Nokia S60 players; it offers EQ presets and the option to create your own with a 5-band EQ. Other options include stereo widening and loudness. The sound quality is superb. It’s not exceptionally loud, but it's enough to drown out any ambient noise. The video player is great too, with no issues. The E71 reads MP3, MPEG4, 3GP and AAC file formats.
Nokia Maps 2.0 makes the E71 that bit more enticing. Its GPS receiver works like a charm; there isn't much delay in picking up satellite reception. The display is clear, which makes it possible to navigate your way through streets with ease. The handset has full support for A-GPS, but unfortunately there's no Geotagging. But that’s easily fixed by installing applications like Nokia’s Location Tagger and LOCR (from the catalog). These apps are freeware.
In this area the E71 is loaded with goodies, from Bluetooth v2.0 with Stereo Bluetooth support, Wi-Fi, microUSB and even Infrared. It also supports 3G with HSDPA. Users can use the handset as a modem, and as an Internet telephone (for which you can download Gizmo, which is available as freeware from the Download section in the handset). The E71 can handle GPRS/EDGE and WAP connectivity.
From a business point of view the E71 handles itself really well. To start with, it comes preloaded with QuickOffice that has all licenses in place. This enables users to create/edit new and existing documents in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. A PDF reader is present, along with a ZIP application. Also included is a preloaded dictionary, printer connectivity, support for a Bluetooth enabled wireless keyboard, and my favorite – Active Notes, which allows you to create notes in which you can insert media such as audio, video, and images.
Unfortunately, the 3.2MP autofocus camera is the biggest downside of this otherwise great handset. The image quality is below par, and that's an understatement. The camera has plenty of options to choose from – such as white balance, exposure compensation, and effects – but none of them help improve the overall quality.