The first thing that jumps to your attention is the keyboard. It really isn't normal that such a small phone should have such an incredibly usable keyboard, but you won't hear any complaints from us. Except the Moto Q9 which in our oppinion has the best keyboard, the Nokia E71 is the champion in this field. It really does have an amazing keyboard, it's ergonomic, great surface and although it looks really tiny, the perfect doming helps even the big thumb people of the world get all the satisfaction from typing.
Nokia lovers will surely remember the predecessor of the E series, meaning the old S80 phones with their Chr/Ctrl key, a definite logo for Nokia business phones, especially when concerning the typing aspect. Such actions like copy and paste, page up/down, and lots more were a piece of cake using that certain key. It's a bit harder to do all that now, considering that you have to hit the Fn key first, which is diametrically opposed on the bottom left and then you have to hit a softkey. Still no worries should be made, this new model continues the tradition and offers us great easiness in completing these tasks. We used to enjoy the d-pad on the N95, which we considered one of the best in the business, but after seeing the one on the E71, we have to state the obvious; it simply is perfect, making handed navigation as easy as it can be as well as making games seem all the more fun. Surrounding the d-pad are a few dedicated application keys such as home, contacts, calendar and email. Three application keys can be re-assigned in order for you to launch other applications as well as assingning an action to a long key press.
The feature of Nokia's Active Desktop is also present, enabling you to assign 6 applications to the home screen, making everything easier and quicker. You have the option of searching the phone and internet, scanning for WiFi hotspots, seeing upcomming appointments, all this from the home screen. The notification LED can be set to blink almoust everything including new text message, missed calls, new e-mail and you even have the option of choosing the duration which can vary from off up to 2 hours or even no limit. An other interesting feature is what Nokia calls the 'breath', which is a very faint LED ring in the d-pad that pulse very slowly, indicating GSM or Bluetooth status. We enjoy this feature, as it does it's job without distracting us as it doesn't even have the capacity lo light a dark room.