Thursday, December 25, 2008

Nokia E71 Review

So, I finally, after a long study, bought the Nokia E71.

What was important for me was (in order of importance):
- phone
- sync with Outlook
- email
- GPS
- photo and video recording

After reading such amazing reviews, I was convinced I was getting the best phone in the world. Well, it's good, but has significant room for improvement. Here is a list of the first things that worked and did not work.

Works
  1. WiFi - amazingly smoothly. Easy to enable or disable.
  2. browse the web
  3. battery life seems infinite
  4. screen is good
  5. sync with Oulook, including uploading maps onto the E71 (although it's not really straightforward).
  6. keyboard is really nice for its size
  7. a touchpad would be nice, but the keyboard does just fine
  8. Input: it smartly understands when it's entering numbers; it displays password letters for one second before hiding them (not everywhere, though)
  9. It's soooo much faster than my previous HTC with Windows Mobile! :)

Can be improved (badly)
In general, I am lacking shortcuts from one application to another, or to important functions (to me, but well, I am not so special). I had to read the manual almost from end to end, which is highly unnatural...
  1. the email programme is bad. Just bad. I'm using gmail IMAP, and (too) many unnatural menus need to be navigated to see my folders. It will not download email bodies automatically, which means that I need to wait for many seconds after I clicked on an email. It takes AGES to synchronize with the server, even on WiFi. Features are cumbersome and limited. But it kind of works. I just tried GMail (get it from http://m.google.com) - much better!
  2. When you are on one of your contacts, you can not display its position on the GPS maps. You need to go to the maps, go to "Options > Search > Addresses >
    Options > Select from Contacts" (no kidding...) and finally you can see this address. Why you can not just type "Kennedy" in the search bar and it will propose all Kennedy avenues, but also all Kennedy's you have in your contacts is a mystery.
  3. Also, re. the maps, it is highly un-intuitive to get to display a route. See p. 76 of http://nds1.nokia.com/phones/files/guides/Nokia_E71-1_UG_en.pdf for more details.
  4. Google maps is MUCH more intuitive, but you can not upload maps (and have hence a bigger traffic)
  5. The radio can only be heard through the headset. Not on the integrated loudspeaker, which is quite good, by the way. Why is there a limitation like that? Mystery.
  6. Zooming when browsing is unnecessarily complicated (but needed on small screens).
  7. For some reason, it asks me too often what connection to use, even when I am on WiFi.
  8. If you go on Nokia Switzerland, the E71 is not listed everywhere, so I needed to go to nokia.co.uk to get some software. It was in English, which is much better than the crappy translation that is on my E71 (in French), but I'm afraid that some things will not work as smoothly as they should.
  9. I hate the translation on the phone. For example, it says "Effectué" (which means "done, in the sense of made" for "Done". They should have used Fini or Terminé instead. Everything is like that.
  10. The audio jack is not the standard one. I'll have to buy an adapter, or worse, buy another bluetooth headset.
  11. For some reason, it copied my music on the phone memory instead of the card memory (which is much larger)
  12. Bluetooth did not work, but it might be my computer.
  13. Zooming in and out use litterally (at least...) 3 different sets of key (Function/backspace for GPS, */# in web browser and 0/5 in photo viewer). The most unnatural one is the 0/5 in photo viewer (the keys are not even on top of each other). Why not Shift-scroll or */# like elsewhere?
Summary: in general, a really good phone with room for LOTS of software improvements.

If you have solutions for any of the issues listed above, I would be most grateful to hear about them... :)

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