One and a half years after originally obtaining my Nokia E71, my contract has come up for renewal – new phone time! Before I talk about my new phone though, a few words on how the E71 has performed for me while i’ve had it.
Overall, it’s been really good. I’ve taken the phone pretty much everywhere with me every day and used it to keep track of emails, add appointments, browse the web, watch YouTube, prevent myself from getting lost and listen to music. As expected, the phone’s initial battery life has decreased over time especially considering the heavy usage i’ve put it through – it now lasts for about a day with light usage. If I bought a new battery however i’m sure it would be restored to it’s former glory. Of course, having used it for a year and a half there are also a few long-term gripes i’ve had with the device;
If you add a new song to your phone the music player application takes a long time to rescan your music collection if you have more than about 250 songs. With an 8GB memory card, you can fit quite a few songs on the device so this ended up being a major problem when I added anything new.
Video Player (‘RealPlayer’)
The included RealPlayer video player is just as pathetic as the desktop version, it supports extremely few formats and those formats that it does support to be encoded in a special way in order to play. This became annoying when trying to transcode video to play on the device.
By default, my European version of the phone only had support for western-European characters. A lot of my songs have non-English titles and attempting to distinguish between different artists, albums and songs by the number of squares became quite an art. However, I eventually found a way to load Unicode fonts onto the phone (via the Memory Card, a quick google should find the method) and I was able to see the proper titles of my music tracks.
The phone has two ways to connect to the internet, via the mobile network and via WiFi. Unfortunately, there is no way to say “Use WiFi if available, if not fall back to the mobile network”. Consequently, all of my access was via the mobile network which, while functional, isn’t as fast as what i’d get over WiFi and eats some of my data allowance.
A lack of a native HTML email client made reading some emails awkward. Nokia now offers it’s Ovi Mail service, but i’d rather connect to my exchange server directly rather than through them. It’s reasonably good for POP/IMAP accounts though.
The headphone socket takes a 2.5mm connection, so you can either use the terrible earbuds that came with the phone or get a cheap adaptor off eBay, so you can use your 3.5mm headphones. I opted for the latter solution, but the only downside is that the adaptors are cheap and nasty – they break every few months and consequently I have to order a new one.
Once the device was fully charged, it would switch to battery power, which would deplete slightly and trigger charging again. Aside from the annoyance of having the screen activate every 15-30 minutes to inform me that it was charging, I don’t think this did much good for the longevity of my battery.
As I mentioned earlier though, I have been very pleased with the device overall. So if you’re looking at getting a cheap 2nd hand Nokia E71 off eBay, go for it. You may need to buy a new battery though! The newer E72 fixes a lot of the hardware issues I noted above as well as shipping with a newer version of Symbian. If you’re able to get a good deal one one, then give it a go. Otherwise, i’d highly reccomend getting an Android-based device.
In my original post I noted that at home I received hardly any signal, but it was perfect everywhere else. Since then, i’ve gone to uni (for over a year now) and the signal all over Bath and the uni campus has been perfect, even inside buildings. It seems 3 is the only mobile network with decent coverage on campus too! Anyway, when returning home i’ve noticed that the signal is now full, 3 appear to have increased coverage in the area. Now, the only time I get no signal is when i’m travelling on the tube.
And for anyone who is after my old E71, sorry, you can’t have it. It’s been passed on to a family member – recycle!
Recently, my phone has been complaining that it is out of memory, and hence disables automatic retreival of email amongst other things. Try as I might, I just couldn’t free up any extra space – I install programs to the memory card and keep all of my files on there. I couldn’t see anything on the phone I could delete.
However, all it seems all messages (Text and Email) are stored on the phone’s main memory, for someone who has a lot of emails and never deletes text this amounts to a surprising amount of data.
Thankfully, it’s possible to move the messages from the phone on to the memory card. Simply go Menu > Communication > Messaging > Options > Settings > Other and set “Memory in use” to Memory Card. You’ll then be asked if you want to copy over the messages, select Yes and your messages will be copied to your memory card and all future messages will be stored there. Doing this freed up a whopping 55MB of space on the phone memory!