Review: Nokia E71
The E71's screen is an average size for a smartphone in 2008. It isn't tiny, but it isn't large, either. It rates QVGA resolution, which means icons, images and content on the screen look crisp and sharp. Web sites and pictures look really nice, with colors looking bright and true-to-life.
The screen was amazingly readable in full sunlight. The phone's light sensors do their job well, and we were able to clearly read every menu and bit of text on the screen even when outside in bright sunlight. If you walk from outside to inside quickly, you can watch the phone's light sensors adjust and dim the screen accordingly to save battery life.
In our time with the E71, it performed very well in signal tests. In areas with good EDGE coverage, it consistently held onto 6 or 7 bars of signal strength. In areas blanketed by AT&T's 3G network, it ranged from 4 to 7 bars. The E71 performed well in areas we know have poor coverage, as well. We did not drop or lose any calls, nor did we experience any network-related weirdness.
As expected with a Nokia, call quality was excellent. The majority of phone calls were crystal clear, and free of any garbles, burps or other hiccups. We noticed no echoes or delays, and our callers did not report hearing anything, either.
Calls made using the speakerphone were equally clear. We had no problems hearing those we spoke to using the speakerphone, and vice versa.
As for volume levels, the E71 can be quite loud. It doesn't have stereo speakers, but the external speaker (separate from the earpiece speaker) is powerful enough to make sure you won't miss any calls -- especially if you have the volume set all the way up. We found setting the volume to about 50% or 60% was quite adequate for most situations.
If you put the volume all the way up and then hold the phone to your ear for a phone call, you're going to be hurting. The earpiece speaker is able to crank out some serious decibels. We had no trouble hearing people during phone calls, even in moderately noisy environments such as coffee shops, malls, or walking around city streets.
The E71 hides a honking big battery under the back cover. Standby time seems to be nearly endless. We were only able to kill off the battery after taking it to areas covered by 3G signal and using it for playing music via Bluetooth while browsing the web and sending messages. In other words, power users are not going to have any problems getting through a full business day with the E71. In fact, you'll likely get two full days of heavy usage before having to worry about charging it.
More moderate users can expect longer times between charges. The phone beat Nokia's 270-minute talk-time rating (in 3G areas) by 28 minutes. In EDGE coverage areas, it lasted far longer.