The Nokia E71's phone features include world roaming, a speakerphone, conference calling, speed dial, voice commands, VoIP calls, and text and multimedia messaging. The address book is limited only by the available memory, while the SIM card can hold an additional 250 contacts. Each entry has room for multiple numbers, an e-mail address, home and work addresses, a Web URL, and so forth. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo or one of 39 polyphonic ringtones. The E71 makes it easy to perform certain tasks from your contact list, as you simply press the right arrow button and a pull-down menu appears where you can choose to place a voice call or send a text, multimedia, or audio message.
The E71 works on U.S. 3.5G bands, more specifically the 850/1900MHz bands. This means you'll only get the HSDPA support on AT&T and not T-Mobile's 3G network, which operates on the 1700/2100 bands. Other wireless options include Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi. The smartphone supports a number of Bluetooth profiles, including mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets, hands-free kits, dial-up networking, and file transfer.
The E71 is equipped with a GPS chip, as well as assisted GPS, so it uses the help of cellular towers and Wi-Fi spots to more quickly get a fix on your position. The E71 comes preloaded with the Nokia Maps 2.0 application, which offers plenty of navigation tools, including satellite and hybrid maps, and pedestrian and bicycle modes. For turn-by-turn directions, however, you will need to pay $125.77 for a one-year license or $13.96 a month for the privilege.
Finally, for those times you do want to switch from business to personal mode, there are a host of multimedia features on the smartphone. The built-in music player supports MP3, WMA, W4A, AAC, AAC+, and eAAC+ files, as well as OMA DRM 2.0- and WM DRM-protected songs. The music library categorizes tracks by artists, albums, genres, and composers; you can also create playlists right on the phone and adjust the sound with the built-in equalizer. You can listen to your favorite podcasts or listen to the radio (you must used the included earbuds as it contains the FM tuner). If you'd like to watch other videos, you can use RealPlayer to check out 3GPP and MPEG-4 files. And while there is a direct link to the Nokia Music Store, it's not yet available in the United States.
The Nokia E71 is also equipped with 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities. There are a number of imaging tools, including autofocus, an LED flash, exposure compensation, and digital zoom. You also get multiple scene modes, white balance settings, and color adjustments. In video mode, there are three quality settings, but you only have access to controls for the scene mode, white balance, and color. Once you're done snapping photos or videos, you can share them via multimedia message, e-mail, or Bluetooth; set them as your phone's wallpaper or assign them to a contact; or post them to the Web, whether it be on Nokia's Ovi service or a site like Flickr.
Picture quality was disappointing. Though we could make out the images, there was a grainy quality to the photos, and the colors never looked right, even after tweaking some of the settings. Video, on the other hand, looked quite decent.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; HSDPA 850/1900) Nokia E71 in San Francisco using AT&T service, and call quality was good. We enjoyed clear and loud audio on our end, and we were able to use an airline's voice automated system with no problem. Meanwhile, our friends also reported good sound, though every now and then, they could hear an echo, but not enough to be distracting. Speakerphone quality wasn't quite as stellar. Calls could sound patchy at times, and volume could be a problem in louder environments. We were able to successfully pair the E71 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Active Bluetooth Headphones.
The Nokia E71 was a very responsive smartphone. Long performance lags were rare, and we never experienced any system crashes during our review period. Web browsing was swift, whether we were cruising on AT&T's HSDPA network or via Wi-Fi. One area that could use some improvement was multimedia. Music playback through the phone's speakers sounded flat, even after we fiddled with the equalizer. Watching video clips was fine in short spurts.
The Nokia E71's 1,500mAh battery has a rated talk time of 10.5 hours (GSM) and up to 17 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests, but will update this section when we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the E71 has a digital SAR rating of 1.4 watts per kilogram.