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First Impressions: Nokia N71 Phone

So yesterday I officially received my Nokia N71 phone. I’ll be working on a full review in the next few days (weeks?), but here are a couple first impressions.

Nokia N71 - First Impressions

The first thing you’ll notice when picking up the N71 is that it has a sort of plasticky feel to it. Mine makes some “creaking noises” when shifting around, opening up the flip, etc. It feels cheaper than a razr, but we know that any Nseries phone will blow the razr out of the water any day.

I’m very satisfied with how the phone looks – Nokia has done a great job with their new line of flip phones (considering all they made were candy bar form factor phones in the past) and the N71 is no exception. The inside has a “brushed aluminum” look but to be honest most of it is plastic.

The Nokia N71 phone is definitely a little thicker than your average flip/clamshell type cell phone. It’s not really that heavy (all that plastic does have a benefit), but it’s at least two razrs stacked together.

There’s a single dedicated button on the front of the phone for silencing calls – the thing is, you can’t answer calls while the phone is closed. Being able to answer calls without opening the flip can be a lifesaver while driving and you don’t have a Bluetooth headset (like me). Volume control has changed to the old style where you can’t change the volume unless you’re in the middle of a call (no dedicated volume keys). I’m not sure if this is a plus or not.

What I am not liking with the N71, and incidentally all Symbian 9.1 devices is software compatibility. Many of the Nokia’s Nseries and Eseries lines of phones are using Symbian 9.1 (N80, N91, E60, E70, etc) and sadly, there’s no backwards compatibility with previous versions of Symbian. Software developers will need to make Symbian 9.1 version specific applications and games from here on out for the 9.1 devices. As of now, there’s a pathetic amount of 9.1 software available, and something like 75% of these are different Sudoku games. Ridiculous.

Nokia’s strategy of using dual cameras on the Nokia N71 (and the other Nseries phones) is kind of a hit and miss. It’s cool to have two cameras until you realize you can only take a self-portrait with the internal camera – in order words the 0.3 megapixel one. Having a camera positioned directly on the front definitely has its drawbacks. And I don’t video-conference anyway.

The N71 has the best external speakers I have ever heard. Ever. The mp3 sound quality is amazing. I almost can’t believe how clear these speakers are. I thought the N90 had impressive speakers, but the N71 definitely rips it apart in that respect.

Rounding out some of the odder aspects of the Nokia N71 is the placement of the power button (on the bottom of the top flip). It’s a little unconventional, but it does look very cool.

Ok, I think that’s it until my real review comes along.

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