Portable and efficient, Nokia's E71 beats the iPhone for business. Patricia M Santos explains.
Bite out of Apple
Being a confessed iPhone fan and a proud owner of Apple's gem, I was reluctant to venture out to find another mobile. However, entering a new job demanded a slightly different handset in my purse. As awesome as the iPhone's touch screen is, while working on the run nothing beats the existence of an actual keypad. Happily, after braving the sea of choices, I have found my ideal business aid. Top of the line in Nokia's business phones, the E71 not only has those desirable keys, but is one of the best looking and thinnest phones to date from this well known brand.
From the first touch, the 10mm-thick, chrome-bodied handset is incredibly portable and extremely comfortable to hold and use. Unfortunately, those dreaded finger smudges cannot be avoided, but then again, one would be hard pressed to find a mobile that doesn't suffer the same fate. Besides its handsome looks, it comes packed with an array of features, such as a full complement of office, e-mail and personal information manager software, including the capability of switching on the fly between business and personal accounts, complete with separate mailboxes and home screens. I easily set up my personal Gmail and Yahoo accounts, and was reading e-mails in a matter of minutes.
Your portable office is made complete with A-GPS, which is relatively new to Nokia's E-series. Similar to the GPS maps one might find in cars, once co-ordinates are set and your position is determined by your mobile you can map your trajectory much like you would with your car's system, albeit with fewer details and less accuracy, within about 30 to 50 metres. However, if you get lost it won't be the phone's fault. I was able to connect to satellites in seconds, and once you download the required maps getting to that meeting won't be a problem.
All the features that one would expect to find in Nokia mobiles are here, along with additional software and the option to download other applications onto the 2GB memory card that comes with your phone. And when you decide you need more memory, just pop in the available 8GB memory card. The E71's internet browsing experience is a treat and is one of the best available on the market. Your pages are displayed in full and, interestingly, the E71's browser supports Flash, which allows you to watch YouTube videos, although at a fairly slow pace. Audio definitely streams faster than video here. Unlike many other handsets, this business-savvy mobile houses a battery that comfortably handles a day and a half of 3.5G connection, Wi-Fi scanning, push e-mail and the pleasure of listening to at least one hour of music a day, all while handling moderate calling and messaging.
Coupled with several power-saving options, the E71 keeps you connected better than many of its competitors. By comparison, my first-generation iPhone, operating under the same conditions, would require recharging before the end of my business day. Sadly, nothing is perfect. The 3.2 megapixel camera is not up to the standards of the rest of the phone's features. The shutter speed leaves much to be desired and pictures come out unfocused more often than not. The flash truly struggles to illuminate subjects properly in night conditions, leaving your images hazy. If you're looking to travel light and leave your camera at home, don't count on this phone as a suitable substitute.
All in all, this mobile is not to be overlooked. Although it might not have the rabid following that the iPhone enjoys, it definitely keeps you connected, on the job or out of the office, in great style. The Nokia E 71 can be found in most mobile retail shops and sells for approximately Dh1,900.