My bittersweet relationship with the Nokia E71x, part 1

So, it’s been months now and I can honestly say this about the Nokia E71x phone (pros and cons):

  1. It’s a great starter QWERTY device. I love the keyboard layout and the fact that the @ symbol does not need the shift button to be depressed (you’d be dismayed at how often device manufacturers put extra hoops for you to access this all important symbol). I came from my Palm Treo 750 device which I loved so I was sorta of used to the feel of the keys and I didn’t have a problem with the keys being too small.
  2. Out of the box, it comes with a lot of ATT craplets which (to be fair) are meant to be used through ATT’s data connection. If you signed up for this phone as an upgrade or a new line, chances are you had to pay $30 for the data plan. Don’t ask me how I managed to dodge that bullet, but suffice it to say that I would NOT have purchased this phone if I had to have the data plan. The take home message is: you can get more user-friendly phones for the price you’re paying.
  3. If you purchased this phone to use the built-in GPS properties, save your time and money because my experience with the Nokia Maps software has not been positive. It is worth noting that the Nokia E71x device is not officially supported by Nokia Maps. Thus, it is quite tedious and a bit daunting to install by yourself. The entire idea of the E71x phone was to bring the E71 (worldwide version) to the USA market and thusly, the name E71x. I should also note that ATT preloaded the E71x with their own drive/navigation software which requires another subscription fee. By all accounts, the ATT Navigator software is quite good, but it is NOT available if you don’t have an ATT data plan. the take away is: skip the pain and purchase the E71 phone which is free of ATT’s crippled applications.
  4. My disappointment in the Nokia/Ovi Maps software has been the biggest turnoff for me with this phone. As of today, I’ve uninstalled the Maps application because it royally blows on the E71x. I mean, how hard is it to tell the application to take me from point A to point B? At one point, I had a sneaking suspicion that Ovi Maps had my starting location ‘stuck’ as both the start and end point!! To test my growing suspicion, I decided that I was going to follow the Ovi Map directions strictly. Well, whaddaya know? We ended up right where we started! I would definitely recommend that you do NOT depend on Ovi Maps on the Nokia E71x phone in an emergency. It takes at least 10 minutes or more to get a GPS fix so it’s useless for spontaneous joy rides. I’m officially looking for another alternative software for drive navigation on my E71x. This time, I’ll make sure that the software is 100% compatible with the Nokia E71x phone. Handango’s InHand mobile app recommends the Wayfinder Navigator North America, but I’m not dropping down the asking price of $109 until I read some concrete reviews of the application itself.
  5. Emoze, which is a push email application, can’t handle attachments. Shock and awe! I didn’ t know this until a commenter asked me about it. Sure enough, Emoze could not send a test message and an attachment to save its life. I downloaded Profimail to give it a whirl and I was instantly turned off by the black/white interface. It makes me wish that app developers thought like Apple developers do. Give software some color and soft edges. It makes a world of difference to your software’s usability!
  6. The available twitter clients for E71x are Twittix and Gravity. Save your money and buy Gravity. After suffering in silence with Twittix, I decided to give Gravity a try and I fell in love! His application has color (yes!), it does not require a thousand click (yes!!) and I actually get shit done on it! This app is simply beautiful and it makes living with my Nokia E71x device worthwhile. 🙂 It’s awesomeness is more apparently if you use touch phone. Check this review of the Gravity application out!
  7. For medical professionals, there are a plethora of applications for things like drug interactions, manuals of medicine, etc. Being the curious kitten that I am, I obtained the Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference and the Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. It’s safe to say that I’ll soon become a repository of random trivia about the human body and random drug interactions. The user interface could do with some work, but then again, we are talking about a QWERTY device and not a fancy pants touch screen device. 🙂

I wish I could say I’ve never been happier with this phone, but that would be a lie. Sadly. I’ve got all the applications I thought I’d need so what more do I want? Plain and simple, I am bored with this phone. I thought I’d always be a keyboard/QWERTY girl for life, but I’m a bit tired of peering at small screens. So, my issue is not with the E71x per se, but the fact that I want bigger screen ‘real estate’

PPS: In line with my wish for bigger screen, I’ve purchased a used ATT/HTC Tilt phone!

Tweaking the Nokia E71x

So, i think I’ve finally gotten my E71x phone right where I want it: using more free apps than paid-for apps, using Wifi vs. AT & T’s service and being productive while away from my laptop. Before making the switch to a Symbian system, I worried about interoperability with my laptop and I am very pleased to report that the Nokia PC Suite has truly rocked my world by being even better than my Windows Mobile Device center. My appointments, contacts, tasks and files sync back and forth with an ease that makes me wonder why I didn’t try out a Symbian OS earlier.

I confess to having some reservations initially because so-called power users gave scathing reviews of the Nokia E71x phone. I agree with their assessments primarily because that out-of-box experience is littered with the equivalent of PC bloatware/crapware/craplets. For someone who purchased a Wifi-enabled device, the lengths A T & T went to to ensure that your applications went through their portal is mindboggling. However, I got this device under ‘special’ circumstances and I was determined to use my phone’s capabilities to the maximum!

right now, I’ve got the following applications installed on my phone:

  1. X-plore: You need thi program to aid in systematically removing the trials and demos that litter the phone system. Please support these developers because they are invaluable to the ecosystem of mobile devices. 🙂
  2. Emoze: i like checking my email when away from my laptop so this was a no-brainer for me to get. Don’t bother with XpressMail because it’s an AT & T offering. The odds are in favor of XpressMail being preconfigured to use A T & T’s service/data plan. The free version is limited to 1 account and for less than 10 a year, you can upgrade so you can view/send emails from multiple accounts. It’s totally worth it!.
  3. ShoZu: this program is a little killer application that has become an important hub on the train of social networking. It is linked to a lot of sites and I use it daily to post updates/pictures/videos to sites lik Flickr, Smugmug, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube,, Picasa Web Albums, and many more!
  4. Google Maps: A must-have for anyone on the go a lot. I recently used it when I was lost downtown and I was thoroughly impressed by the street view and the receiver strength of my phone.

I would keep going, but my thumbs need a break. 🙂 In short, this phone is a great device. Short and sweet.
PPS: Please see my previous Nokia E71x posts on more recommended applications for your new Symbian S60 device and on tweaking the Nokia E71x phone.