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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful phone if you can overlook a few little things and get the right plan, April 25, 2010
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This review is from: Nokia E71 Unlocked Phone with 3.2 MP Camera, 3G, Media Player, GPS with Free Voice Navigation, Wi-Fi, and MicroSD Slot--U.S. Version with Warranty (White) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I'm a 6-year T-Mobile customer. Why? Because frankly, I'm too scared to change! Really though, I have a $29 a month plan (Business 300) that is no longer offered - 300 whenever, unlimited weekends, 100 texts, which has worked well for my needs and budget. Unfortunately all the handsets I've owned (Nokia and Motorola) have had terrible reception much of the time. I was blaming T-Mobile until I got the Nokia E71 and I'm THRILLED with the call clarity! Both on my end and for the recipients of my calls, who say they can't tell I'm on my cell - 'a first'.

I purchased this item as a Gold Box deal after reading online reviews here and elsewhere, that gave it mostly glowing reviews. I also liked that it would work on T-Mobile or ATT, which are both available in my area. I had hopes of using T-Mobile's $10 a month add-on for 'unlimited web for phones' (previously called Web2Go.

Upon opening the box I was surprised to see that the size and thickness of the phone are almost identical to my iPod Touch. Very pretty - sexy even - the phone has an easy to use keyboard (my first phone with this type) with raised keys. I have small hands and didn't find it tough to punch in numbers or texts, but people with bigger fingers might. The keyboard is backlit, which is very helpful, but it's not very bright. I bet there's a setting for that which I've not yet discovered though.

The documentation, a CD for the PC Sync suite from Nokia, an AC charger, earphone/microphone combo, white (slip-in style) case, battery, and phone are in the box. I also bought a OtterBox Commuter Case for Nokia E71x (Black) to protect it. This case takes away from the beauty of the phone, but gives a bit of added protection. The Otterbox Defender series is even better, but more expensive.

Not being a big reader of directions, I tried to wade through the manuals anyway. That was daunting. There is a lot of info on this phone as it has a lot of functions! I found that after I swapped my SIM card from my previous T-Mobile phone and got to the home screen on the E71, I could press 'menu' and then 'help', and again 'help', to be where I wanted to be to learn about this device.

Some cool functions found on this phone and discussed in 'help':

-Adobe Reader
-Activation Keys
-Active Notes
-Barcode Reader... VERY unusual to find on a phone and very cool to save product info and compare prices.
-Dictionary
-Flash Player
-GPS
-Internet Radio
-Modem - you can connect this phone (assuming you have mobile web on it activated) to a laptop for example, and use it as a wireless modem.
-Net calls... it has a webcam built in.
-Printing... add a printer to sync with your device to print docs.
-Real Player
-Recorder
-Wireless keyboard...if you link it to your phone, you can use it!

A 'Tutorial' section is a available in the 'Help' section as well, with short animated videos on 'how-to'. I like this area, but even with these helps... this phone has a lot to offer and a lot to learn.

The E71's build quality is excellent! Metal housing makes a world of difference in the feel of the phone. I expect it would add to the durability as well. My Nokia 5300 with a hard case started cracking within months of light use, as have other plastic phones I've owned, so for me, this is a big deal.

Navigating the phones many functions is relatively easy, but yes, it takes time to get the hang of it. Buttons for specific functions like email, 'home' and others are clearly marked. The side of the phone has a mini-usb port and mini-SD card slot, covered by rubber inserts. Volume controls are on the opposite side of the phone and work easily and well.

The 3.2mp camera is better than previous phones I've owned and it does come with a flash, which is new to me on a camera phone. Images were blurry or 'cloudy' looking, until one reader of the review mentioned taking the plastic film off the lens. "Duh!" Usually I remember these things, but not this time. Taking the film off the camera lens definitely makes for better pictures - clarity wise - however the color of the images taken indoors with the flash, tends to be a bit off. Not a huge deal as photo editing software takes care of a multitude of sins, but you probably wouldn't want this camera to be your only one.

Charging port is at the base of the phone, with the speaker and on/off at the top. I noted the microphone is at the lower left-hand side of the phone. This is great if you are right handed while making calls, but call quality seems to suffer just a bit when you switch to left-handed chats. Microphone placement... who knew?!

The keypad does lock and the screen goes dark rather quickly. Again, probably just a setting issue I've not yet discovered in my 3 days playing with it. I looked it up in the book how to 'unlock' - pressing two buttons - which while a pain, is no big deal either.

The screen is big enough for most things. Not fantastic for viewing web content, but this isn't really a web-maximized phone either. The OS alone should tell you that, and if you're looking for a multi-media phone, keep looking. It will email, do basic web browsing, and open media files if you have the appropriate data plan. I didn't want to pay for the $20-30 a month web plan, so I am trying out the $10 a month unlimited web plan for phones with TM right now. While I have a very basic Facebook interface for example, it's nothing like you would see on your home computer. It is however, handy to Google things, comparison shop while out and about, check weather, etc..., which is good enough for me. **I have been told by some that T-Mobile may try and kick me off this $10 plan saying if I have a smartphone I need the more expensive one. My time with T-Mobile would be cut short if this happens, and I'd be looking to switch to ATT, as for me, this would be simply a way for more cash without 3G! T-Mobile does not have 3G to this phone, but the phone IS capable of it.

I was going to return this phone, but that was due more to T-Mobile issues rather than the phone. I love the clear call quality most of all and the easy texting. Admittedly, basic stuff. The internet, if available, also affords some nice things like email, Skype chat, Facebook, and Internet radio (too bad it's got that 2.5mm port versus the 3.5mm standard).

In conclusion, it's a really nice phone for the right user. Not the best for multi-media or taking pictures, but a quad-band phone that has exceptionally good call quality, nice speaker and keyboard, moves quickly through apps, has built-in GPS (no internet needed) and Wifi capable. I really like it, which I can't say about many phones I've owned. So the only real problems I find with it are linked more to T-Mobile as a provider than the phone itself. Which leads me to the basic question: 'Is the money I paid for it even on sale, worth it?' "Probably... at least for me."

4/26/10:
I have had a full 24 hrs of using this phone with T-Mobile's 'unlimited web for phones' ($10 a month) add on. I lost it initially when T-Mobile figured out I'd switched phones. I went back to their site and put in my old phone as the one I'm using, and so far, they've not cut off my internet service. While it's nowhere as fast as 3G, nor visually as 'wow' as the newest touch-screen phones with Android OS... it's the useful kick I needed to make me happy and at the right price.

Now I have a phone that has great voice quality, speedy bluetooth uploads (took some photos and got them to my desktop very quickly), easy texting, GPS (tried that today too, and had it plot some routes with great success), music player and other assorted goodies that for me, are really sweet!

I'll be keeping this phone and may end up adding more texts or more minutes to my phone plan simply because it's a joy to use. Has held a good charge too, even with lots of web browsing, texting and playing music. I like it and would recommend it to the consumer who wants a feature packed phone, that while not the 'latest and greatest', does a damn good job at the things it was designed to do.

4/48/10:
T-Mobile's Web2Go is called 'unlimited web for phones'. I had added it (free for 1 month), but decided $10 was more than I wanted to pay for this basic stuff (not G3). Today when I went to take it off, T-Mobile offered it for $5 a month, calling it "Preferred Phone First Unlimited Web Only". I snagged it and upgraded to a non-contract extending plan: 'Even More Plus 500 Talk + Text' which is $39.95 a month. Now I have unlimited text (video, IM, Photo, or text), unlimited weekends and evenings, unlimited web and 500 anytime minutes for $44.99 plus taxes. The Even More Plus 500 Talk, Text and Web unlimited is priced at $59.95 plus tax... so I feel really good about both the T-Mobile deal AND keeping this wonderful phone!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 7, 2010 12:35:37 PM PDT
This may sound a bit silly, but regarding the blurry photos: did you remove the clear plastic shipping protector from the lens?

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010 9:30:24 AM PDT
Andrea Polk says:
I did. Now that you mentioned it... THANK YOU. Will revise my review. ;-)

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 4:10:23 PM PDT
geekgirl says:
This is a great review thanks. I am getting close to ordering this phone. I also have t-mobile prepaid for years. If you have wi-fi on this phone do you really need to pay for a data plan? Also do you still have your old phone on the site so as not to get taken off. Anyhow thanks again for the review.
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