I get through a fair number of smartphones here at last100 HQ — hey, it’s my job — but there’s one handset that continues to be my primary device. I’m talking about the Nokia E71, which admittedly doesn’t have the fun factor of the iPhone and nearly as many quality third-party apps (I have an iPod touch to compensate) but does have the best QWERTY keyboard on a mobile device that I’ve ever used, in a form factor that is perfect for my own particular needs.
Today, the Nokia E71 got superseded by a new handset from Nokia, the E72, which thankfully keeps the physical design relatively untouched, improves the keyboard layout, and ups the fairly feeble camera (my main complaint of the E71) to a more respectable 5 megapixels capable of shooting 30 15 fps VGA video.
Another “fix” is the addition of a 3.5mm head phone jack, replacing the 2.5mm one on the E71. There’s also a mini trackpad sitting in the middle of the D-pad for easier scrolling through email messages and web pages.
The OS has also been upgraded to S60 3rd Edition FP2, which adds a few user interface refinements and should be speedier too.
Another potential selling point of the E72 is that it comes with a lifetime subscription to Nokia’s own push email service. This is a messaging oriented device after all.
Besides the keyboard, the other reason why I’ve stuck with the E71 is that I’m able to operate it one handed, particularly important to me as my disability poses dexterity issues for devices that need to be supported by two hands, such as certain touch screen models or those that feature a landscape keyboard. It’s not that I can’t use or test those devices, I’m just not as efficient using them (try driving an electric wheelchair while texting). That’s why I celebrate the amount of competition between mobile handset makers, with different form factors flooding the market in recognition that one size doesn’t fit all.
In terms of third-party apps, my E71 is currently loaded with: Skype (via carrier 3), YouTube, Gmail, Nokia Messaging, BBC iPlayer (yay!), SkyFire, Gravity (Twitter), eBuddy (multiple IM), and Google Maps, to name just a few.