Claus’s Blog

Not just another Claus‘ Blog since there are not many Claus‘ out there

Why my E71 has to go

Posted by daClaus - Donnerstag, 20. August 2009

Prologue

Actually I had planned to title this post „Things that could drag me away from the E71“, but, as you can see, that has changed during editing. Why? Read on!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having owned my bright white E71 for almost a year now I felt that it was time for something new, so I chose to have a closer look at the E75. Not that I’m not satisfied with the E71 but… well, as a committed mobile phone nut you do such things from time to time.

This ain’t gonna be a full review of the E75, it’s rather a summary of things and features that simply left a positive (or negative) impression, compared to my beloved E71.

The looks:
I really like the E71 for it’s good built quality and the high amount of metal used in the housing, and I love the white steel version simply for it’s elegance. Thin device, no squeaks, no creaks.

What really annoys me are tons of dust under the display that seem to enter the device through the AV port, but dust is a well known problem and can be solved at any Nokia Care Center. The USB/ card slot cover also turned yellow after 2 months. Furthermore, the paint on the soft keys is starting to chafe.

A more serious problem caught my eye about a month ago: The white middle housing is also starting to turn yellowish-golden around the edges on the back. Two Nokia Care Centers refused to change the cover because this is a “cosmetic issue” not covered by warranty, Nokia Care told me to send it in to determine if this was “normal wear” (after not even a year! C’mon!) or a material problem. You shouldn’t encounter these problems on the grey or black steel versions. Well, if I keep the E75 I’ll send it in.

keys

Paint on the softkeys is starting to chafe

usb

Yellow-ish USB/ card slot cover, though I have clean hands and a clean job. Pictured with E75 in macro mode with flash

housing

Yellow-ish housing. Pictured with E75 in macro mode with flash

 

Contrary to the majority of the E75 reviews I don’t feel that the E75 is cheap looking because of it’s glossy plastic front. The keypad material reminds me on the material used on the SE W960i and actually feels more like rubber than plastic, just like a pretty girl in a latex dress. Huh? Filthy mind? Bet on it! 🙂

Back to topic:
The combination of black and the stainless steel rim around the edge almost gives it a distinguished look. The overall built quality is slightly under the E71, issues on my device are a creaking battery cover and a slightly loose lower rim. It looks like it is bent a little and makes an audible creaking/ klicking sound when typing on the keypad. The slider mechanism leaves a good impression, no wobble (so far). Since I’m using the E75 for a week now I can’t comment on the quality of the plastic housing. Time will tell.

The keypad/ D-pad:
On the E71 the keypad is integrated into the QWERTZ keyboard, there’s nothing special to mention. You’ll find 2 programmable soft keys and 4 function keys (home, calendar, messages, contact). The D-pad has a nice size for my thumb, no problem to use.

The E75 sports a traditional mobile phone keypad (0-9, *, #, green and red buttons) on the front panel with 2 programmable soft keys and 4 function keys (home, calendar, messages, backspace). The D-pad is smaller than on the E71 which results in frequent misclicks of the center button when navigating through the menus. The buttons are flat, the rubberized finish makes them pretty slip resistant. 0 and # are rather hard to reach with the thumb, the function keys are crammed together which also produces misclicks from time to time. Maybe it gets better when I get used to this.

The keyboard:
The E71 is a monoblock device with a full QWERTZ keyboard under the display. The buttons are small, curved and easy to hit, since there’s enough space to the edge you don’t have to break your thumb to reach the buttons in the lower right corner (or the lower left, if you’re a leftie). To make it short, it’s really a joy to use. One hit, one kill 🙂 It’s a thumbboard in the true sense of the word, you can hit any button on the keyboard with both thumbs which makes it easy to type with both thumbs in either half of the keyboard. One handed texting is easily  possible.

On the E75 the QWERTZ keyboard can be slid out to the left and the display switches into landscape mode. The buttons are flat and have a nice size (so I thought), but actually it’s neither a thumbboard nor a keyboard. For me it takes much more time to type on the E75 than on the E71 because it’s not really possible to type with both thumbs on one half when holding it. Left thumb for the letters left of the silver bar, right thumb for the letters right of the silver bar. Typing with the index fingers while having it on a table is also not possible, too unstable. One handed typing on the QWERTZ keyboard is not possible.

I did a test and took the time while typing the following text (575 characters, from a E75 review I found on the web):

“Die kompakte Verpackung ist schlicht und spricht die Zielgruppe sehr gut an. Die Front ist weiß mit der Abbildung des E75. Zusätzlich sind der Schriftzug des Herstellers, die Produktlinie E-Series sowie die Bezeichnung des Handys aufgedruckt. Die Seiten sind mit einer Ausnahme komplett weiß. Die rechte Seite ist Signalrot und mit dem Nokia- und dem E-Series Schriftzug bedruckt. Die Rückseite wiederum ist weiß und mit viel Text versehen. In sechs Sprachen wird u.a. auf das durchdachte Design für die E-Mail-Kommunikation sowie auf die aufschiebbare Tastatur hingewiesen.“

E71: 4’ 55’’
E75: 6’ 27’’

Sure, I’m more used to typing on the E71 than the E75 and maybe I get faster on the E75, but a difference of more than 1’ 30’’ tells a lot. Hitting e.g. SHIFT with the left thumb and S with the right thumb at the same moment is faster than hitting SHIFT with the left thumb and then S with the left thumb.

Punctation marks and most important additional character are easily available on both devices by pushing a button for some seconds, for the rest you have to hit ALT and select them with the d-pad.

Other buttons:
Yes, the E75 has a dedicated camera button. No, the E71 has not, but that’s not really a problem.

On my E75 the camera is activated by pushing the camera button for a looong time (4 or 5 seconds), the contacts are on the left softkey. Push the camera button softly to focus (btw, this is NOT mentioned in the manual!), green brackets appear in the display when focused, red brackets if not, push it hard to take a picture.

On my E71 the contacts are on the contacts button and the camera is on the left softkey. Push T-button to focus, green brackets appear in the display when focused, red brackets if not, push the middle D-pad button to take the picture.

To me there’s no real advantage in the dedicated camera button of the E75. It would be fine if it had a contacts button AND a camera button, but since the contacts button is missing there’s almost no difference to the E71.

The battery:
To keep the device small, even with a full QWERTZ slide keyboard, Nokia equipped the E75 with the BP-4U 1000mAh battery. That fact has been criticized in many blogs and reviews, but is no problem for me. To me it makes no difference if I have to charge it after two to three days (E75) or if it last a little longer (E71 with 1500 mAh). I’m online with push mail and twitter from 8am to 10pm, do some talking, almost no texting, about 30 minutes surfing over GPRS or WLAN and install and test applications from time to time.

Camera:
We all know it, the E-series has never been famous for it’s camera quality. After 4 (or 5?) firmware updates Nokia hasn’t been able to remove the purplish tint from the E71’s pictures. It got better, but it’s still there.

So, it has a camera, but I hardly use it. The lens is way too small which results in dark pictures.

Actually, calling this cheap transparent piece of plastic a lens almost makes me cringle.

The E75 has a slightly wider cheap transparent piece of plastic aka lens but the pictures produced have a much better quality. The colors are good, there’s no purple tint and the pictures are bright. The macro shot almost impresses me.

Click on the thumbnails for full resolution images.

E71

E75

 

 

Indoor, no artificial light, auto mode

 E71-2small  E75-2small

Outdoor, sunlight, auto mode

 E71-1small  E75-1small
   

Indoor, no artificial light, auto mode, no flash

 E71-3small  E75-3small
   

Indoor, artificial light, auto mode, no flash

 E71-4small  E75-4small
   

Indoor, artificial light, macro mode, flash

 E71-5small  E75-5small
   

 

Feature pack 2 features:
Feature pack 2 has been restricted to a special AT&T NAM branded-to-death version of the E71, the E71x. I really am angry about that, because FP2 for the E71 already exists, but who would buy the E72 if FP2 was available for the E71?

The E72 is definitely an option if I won’t go with the E75, I just hope it has all the advantages that I’ve found (up till now):

First and foremost – network destinations:
Better described as access point group management. Works like a charm and THE feature that I really miss most on my E71. There are solutions like Psiloc Connect and Birdstep Smart Connect, but both don’t work the way I’d like.

NO clock that eats up precious Homescreen space:
In FP2, the clock is integrated into the menu bar which means that the full homescreen can be used for text, opposed to FP1 where you lose about 1/4 of the homescreen width because of the clock.
 
Music player:
FP2 player delivers a remarkably better sound than the E71’s FP1 Player, but I think that’s more a hardware issue since the E75 has a dedicated soundchip which is missing in the E71.

One thing I’m missing is the filter function to exclude audio files less than 1 MB from the music library. I really _hate_ having ring tones or other non-music files in my music library. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It almost makes me mad! My current workaround is to set the file attributes of the ringtiones etc. to „hidden“.

<side rant>
Nokia, why don’t you give us the chance to select custom folder(s) where our music is stored. After all these years since customers demanded this, where’s the problem in implementing this? Nobody needs ring tones or other sound clips in the music library! Nobody!
</ side rant>

Bluetooth:
I use A2DP a lot, either with a headset or with my car radio, a Pioneer P65BT, to listen to my music and as hands-free equipment. This solution worked flawlessly with my old SE W950i, W960i and with my wife’s W850i, everything connected fine, I just had to turn on Bluetooth on the phone.

That stopped with the E71 and it took quite some time to work out a more or less acceptable solution: Turn on Bluetooth on the E71, turn on the radio. Wait for A2DP to connect to the phone, manually connect the hands-free part after the A2DP connection has been established. That’s the ONLY way I can connect these two devices. When I try any other way the phone immediately cuts the connection and I have to reboot it because it won’t connect any more.

When I turn off the car, go to the mall and turn it on again sometimes it works, sometimes it won’t.

The E75 works as it should, hands-free connects to the E75, when I’m in the mood for music I just start the player, it connects to the radio and music streams through my car.

Nokia Email (actually, a E-series feature):
I’ve been using Nokia Email on my E71 since it came out and really like this email solution. The only problem is that I simply can’t sync some of my custom Gmail folders (labels). The folders are visible and checked in the web client, but not on the phone.

This works without any problem on the E75, which also has a lifetime Nokia Email licence included.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I’m writing this I realize that my biggest gripe about the E75 is the keyboard. I like the style, I actually like the camera (a bit), and I like FP2. Nevertheless, the E75 is not my device of choice. I’m waiting for the E72.

 So, to sum it up:

E71 WHITE steel

 

E75 Black / Silver

 

Housing

 
 
+ strong built quality

 

+ strong built quality
+ nice material mix + nice material mix
 
– USB/ card slot cover turns yellow

 

– battery cover doesn’t fit properly
– Housing turns yellow  – lower rim is a little loose
– paint on the soft keys starts to chafe  
– dust under the display  
 
 

Battery

 
+ 1500 mAh

 

– 1000 mAh
 
 

Keypad

 
+ curved buttons, good to hit

 

– some keys are hard to hit due to their size and location
 
 

QWERTZ-Keyboard

 
+ fast typing with almost no misclicks   – pretty slow typing due to the keyboard width
+ one handed texting possible – one handed texting not possible
 
 

Other buttons

 
– no camera button

 

– no contacts button
 
 

Camera

 
– purple tint indoor

 

+ good colors
– faint colors + bright picture
– grainy picture in less than optimal conditions + pretty good macro mode
  – some focus problems in darker conditions
 
 

Feature Pack 2

 
– no network destinations

 

+ network destinations built in
– player sounds „flat“ + player sounds good
+ filter to exclude files less than 1 MB from being added to the music library – NO filter to exclude files less than 1 MB from being added to the music library
– kinda bad A2DP Bluetooth implementation + Bluetooth works like a charm
– Nokia Email won’t sync my custom Gmail folders + Nokia Email syncs anything I want
– Clock makes it impossible to use the full screen width + Full screen width usable as homescreen
– Caller picture has the size of a microSD card + Full screen caller picture function built in
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2 Antworten to “Why my E71 has to go”

  1. Great site…keep up the good work.

  2. This site rocks!

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