My rationale for the Nokia E71

Submitted by dag on Sat, 2008/07/12 - 17:20

Last week I bought a Nokia E71, a few days before the iPhone 3G was available in stores. You may think I must be crazy for not giving into Apple, but I have my reasons.

I had the following list of requirements:

  • Full keyboard (and not an on-screen keyboard)
  • OS that I could develop for (Symbian ?)
  • Not based on Windows
  • Needed Wifi, GPRS, UMTS
  • Wanted an SSH client (preferably putty)
  • USB connection and bluetooth
  • Small enough to fit well in my pocket

Looking at the Nokia E61i and E90, the E61i was lacking some features and the E90 is simply too big. The Nokia E71 actually combines a lot of both phones and is smaller, thinner and lighter. So when I read about the E71, I was sold.

The fact that Nokia is Open Sourcing Symbian is a welcome surprise as well, even when currently I am a bit disappointed about the availability of Symbian Open Source software. I hope a surge of Symbian developers can address that a bit, although I am happy with the Symbian putty, OGG player and Google apps.

I am still looking or hoping for:

  • OGG support included in Symbian
  • iCal integration in Symbian calendar
  • Task manager for Symbian (Keep Home key pressed)
  • Good alarm clock application that can fade in and play OGG files (oggplay not sufficient)
  • Open Source VOIP application or Skype for Symbian
  • Pidgin for symbian
  • Open Office document support

I was also pleasantly surprised about how well the Nokia E71 keyboard worked. The raised keys on the keyboard makes it very reliable for keyboard input even on this small format. That was one of the more important reasons for not going for an on-screen keyboard and ignoring the iPhone.

The Nokia E71 is also 100 Euro less expensive than the iPhone, but at these prices I bet that does not make the difference.

I have bluetooth working with CentOS to access the micro-SDHC card or use it to have Internet access over UMTS from my laptop. A future blog article will detail how to do this.

making symbian work with linux
maybe this could be of any help (Ok some stuff is ubuntu specific and it was written with the E65 as primary target but I think the E71 is not that different)

Rationale for choosing the Nokia instead of Openmoko?

If you ever get over the fear of a touchscreen keyboard I guess the Openmoko will be your next phone? I handled a development kit version a couple of times and it looked really cool. Not as polished as an iPhone or a Nokia, but the concept of a fully open and modern touch-phone is rather cool. The development kit wasn't bad either.

But I understand why you prefer the good old full keyboard, for example: I can't even type an SMS message while walking with my iPhone in hand I comfort myself I'm much more safe standing still and looking down ;-)

And you're right: with all the hubbub on Belgian (i)Phone prices, any smartphone with all the features you listed is gonna cost you more than 350 Euro's if its unlockable. I remember I paid 400 Euro a while back for one of the first phones that had that crazy technology called 'Bluetooth'.

Developing on the iPhone is quite fun too, although I'm pretty sure you would not enjoy the vendor lock-in (need a Mac) and developer tax (99$) that comes with it. It's fun having a home-made app running on your phone though!

Are you planning to do some developing on Symbian in the near future?

Future Symbian development

If time permits :-)

The python development environment is already installed and the examples seem straightforward. I am mostly interested in having a Revelation viewer on my phone as well as a decent alarm clock that can play OGG and fade in.

In the meantime I discovered that there is a built-in task switcher if you keep the Home key pressed. So one less item on my list ;-)


Welcome to the club. Here are some sites to check :

- software
- themes
- Tweakers gathering

re: My rationale for the Nokia E71

Clearly a very discerning mobile user we've got here... Welcome to the club :-)

VoIP client

I too am looking at this phone in lieu of an iPhone and as I understand it the E71 has a SIP client built in does it not? Perhaps not open source though.

The big deal for me and the main reason why the iPhone is not cutting it at the moment is the ability to use the device as a modem. SSH on either platform might be ok for tapping out a quick command or two, but if I am on the road and need to do some more in depth diagnosis I need the laptop.

Yes, it has a SIP client as

Yes, it has a SIP client as well as the Gizmo VOIP client. Sadly for calling for free you require people to have Gizmo VOIP as well and I don't know anyone who does. Gizmo also allows you to dial out to normal phones if you subscribe with them, not sure whether I really want to do that.

I wish for a Skype version for Symbian. I haven't really looked at SIP myself. I am mostly clueless as to what it can do for me and ho much time I have to spend it make it working.

You are right about using it as a modem. I am using it via bluetooth and UMTS to have a working Internet connection everywhere. My old phone's GPRS just didn't do it :-/ Today I went to work by train and it was a joy to have an Internet connection the whole ride...

kewl! i have the same reason,

kewl! i have the same reason, connectivity and practical usefulness, that's why no iPhone for me. too flashy if i might say so myself.

well done *commander* wieers. i hope lord vader will get us a symbian putty client too.

Actually there are two

Actually there are two methods of connecting via SIP with the E71. The Gizmo service makes it a bit easier, but you can do the same thing by connecting to your favourite ITSP (or Asterisk box, as is my case) using the built in SIP stack.

I've seen other pages describe how to configure it, but this page below actually mentions a couple of issues that I wasn't exactly aware of (like you can't just change the IP address of a previously configured SIP connection; you need to start again).

Note that if you're using Asterisk, your phone won't register cleanly if you don't match up the realm configuration in your phone with the realm that Asterisk has configured in sip.conf (that bit me for about 30 mins).

Hope that helps! No Gizmo required!


thanks dag! this post was the

thanks dag! this post was the reason why i bought a second hand e61i (my budget didn't fit the e71). the fact that symbian is an open platform (developer-wise) and is becoming more open is one of the most important reasons for me to choose the nokia.

free on my $49 plan

I just upgraded to this sight unseen. I was planning on getting the Nokia 6220, but the salesperson advised me I could get the Nokia E71 for free on my new plan, so I ordered one.

Everything I've read so far about it has been positive, except for its camera being worse than the 6220 and it only supporting slow USB.

Skype on the Nokie E71

I bought a Nokia E71 three days ago.
So far I'm quite pleased with it.

However, I would like to install and run Skype just like it runs on my PC.
I bought "IM+ for Skype" from a German company (SHAPE Services GmbH) based in Stuttgart, however this version does not allow me to mantain Skype-to-Skpye voice chat, only text chat.
Can anybody suggest a better option?

How about fring? I've been

How about fring? I've been using it for Skype for
a short while, and so far it works ok.
Not great, but ok.

SIP Client

I'm still using a the predessor of the E71 (a 2 year old E61). I got the phone with the soul purpose to use it with a SIP capable PBX (asterisk)

Using the SIP client in the phone allows me free communication to my home office, my own conference bridge, my own voice mail, my own unified communication and I can use any free minutes or promotions that I have on a fixed PSTN line at my home office.

The phone is defined as an extension in my home/office setup and I can pick up the phone when somebody rings the office from around the world, as long as I have wifi.

This setup works perfectly in a certain French banking/insurance company you know well.

If you want to use the SIP client in the E71 without to much setup I can give you 2 test accounts accounts to play with.

I wish for a Nokia Suite for Linux version however.

SIP client accounts

im interested in the test accounts u have.

Re: SIP Client

I'm wondering if anyone can help me, I've tried to configure my office SIP account on my E71 but everytime it says "Registration Failed". The same account I configured on the same device with Fring and it works fine. After reading on few forums I found out that its because the NAT, because my Asterisk box is behind the firewall.. can anyone help me to configure the device for an Asterisk PBX behind the firewall, I don't wanna use the Fring as I dont like my Fring to always connect on my 3g Network I just want to use it as needed as Nokia's SIP client.

My admin gave me only 3 credentials for my sip account:
UID: 555
Pass: 555

You need to make sure the

You need to make sure the ports are forwarded to your Asterisk box, and you also need to verify you've configured the 'localnet' and 'externip' options in sip.conf so that the SIP headers can be re-written with your external IP correctly.

The peer definition also needs to have 'nat=yes' configured in sip.conf.

Make sure you forward ports 5060, and the RTP ports (the range in rtp.conf) to your Asterisk box, or you won't get any audio.

Also verify that you've configured the 'realm' in sip.conf to match the same name as the realm you configure in the Nokia E71.

Skype compatible plugin for the Symbian platform

Hey Dag ..
While Skype doesn't seem interested in releasing a skype client for Symbian, i found Fring that works perfectly on my Nokia e51 .. and Fring acts as a gateway for your Skype accounts (and others) hope that you'll find this (and others reading your blog) interesting ;-)

alarm function

I also wondered where the programmable alarm was.
Struck me that one can put in a calender event, repeated daily or weekly, and set it to use chosen alarm tone (it'll play any mp3, aac file)
Different alarm tones for every day of the week, different times - what more could one want?

Skype alternative on e71

I have an e71 fring is a good alternative to access your skype account (amont others).

even tried skype out and it works out fine..

E71 Reading PDFs

Do you have a solution of the problem of reading lines of text in E71 that has line breaks beyond the screen.

It is becoming too difficult for me to read because of needing to scroll left/right for EVERY sentence.



frings is pretty good , but there is no possibility to add new skype contact , can't change skype status...
Probably frings and skype beta {only chat} is a current choice .

thinking about getting one

So how do you like your E71 after three months? I am thinking about getting one. Seems like a perfect solution for SSH on the go.

Nokia e71 is Great value for money & alternative to blackberry

I chose the e71 as a cheap but high quality alternative to my work blackberry curve.
I wanted:
Querty keyboard, even for my big hands
Fast internet, 3g & wirelss network access
Emails on the move with attachments + multi email support
Phone can be used as modem/dongle 4 pc
Adobe pdf & word reader
skype, msn messenger, facebook access (free on 3)
slim phone as i have 2 carry my work blackberry curve as well & i wear tailored suits so i dont want a bulky phone
Good gps maps
Dont want to spend £30+ per month on a contract
Good music & video capabilities
Built in + card, memory
Outlook synchability, for backing up calendar & contacts
Good reception & sound
Online share account access
Clear screen
Easily unlockable to other networks
Well supported with add on applications

The E71 does all of this well, all of this is provided built in on 3 + you can add on items. The cheapest sim only deal ive seen is solo+1gb internet on 02, £19 but im still in my 3 contract, £22+£5 1 gb internet. Where reception is bad i just change to wlan so i dont use up my 1gb

It has more features than my blackberry 8230 . i can do 1 handed texts/emails if i want, & the internet is much faster. The phone is much faster at everything than the curve. I toyed with getting a bb bold but its too big & too expensive in comparison. Also ipod touch screen i dont like & couldnt use it as a modem. It doesnt crash like the curve

Its very good value for money

E71 as a dongle on 3

I am about to get one of this for preciely the reasons just above. Does anyone actually use E71 as a dongle with Ubuntu?

Also, if I read Sam's post correctly, you can take 3's Internet Max addon at £5/mo for internet access through the handset *and* through the PC (with E71 acting as a modem). Is that correct? I am asking because 3 seem to try to sell handset and PC connectivity as two separate products, even if you use a handset as a dongle. Their sales people can't give me a straight answer.



Works fine as a (usb/bluetooth) modem with Proximus on CentOS

Hi Michael,

I am using this both via bluetooth as well as via a USB cable to connect my computer to the Internet and both work fine using wvdial. Should work fine on Ubuntu too.

I don't see why that would be different with "3" (provider?), as long as you know your configuration (APN, username, password)...

Dongle on 3

I am replying to this topic doing exactly that. Connected to my ubuntu laptop and using the internet from my e71. Works perfectly. Sometimes it disconnects. Turn off the phone and turn back on again and you'll get back on in no time. :)

I use the internet through my

I use the internet through my phone in both ubuntu and windows vista using an E71 on 3. Works great.

Now acting as a wifi router!

Thanks, dag. I am not familiar with wvdial but it's good to know there is a way to make it work. In another forum I was also told this:

'There is software such as joikuspot (which works on s60 v3 phones) and walkinghotspot which will turn your wifi enabled phone into a wifi hotspot and therefore using your mobile internet on your laptop.'

I haven't tested this myself yet but if it works it creates some very interesting possibilities. Among other things, connectivity becomes interdependent from the computer and whatever OS runs on it. Presumably, this also means you can connect several PCs to the handset, which now acts as a wifi router!

(Yes, 3 is a 3G mobile telco in the UK)


Automatic Phone Turn-Off

Can anyone tell me how to set the E71 to automatically turn off at night and turn on in the morning please?

If the phone can't do it, is there an app that will?

There is a freeware

There is a freeware application called betep switchoff which is used to schedule shutdowns...

For waking up the phone, just set an alarm. The system boots up in order to sound the alarm when off. Then it asks if you want to load the rest of the operating system...

option for set a nokia e71 to a field test

Hi every body, I am a spanish technical and I am searching some help.
How can I set my nokia e71 mobile phone to a frecuency scan?
This it s possible with a lot of mobile phones.

Thanks for help and sorry for my bad english

E71 + Skype + India


I recently bought an E71 and still a novice! Is there someone who is using Skype successfully on E71 (in India) and what the local Mobile service provider issues and costs are, if any? I will appreciate any reply.


A year later

I bought the N97 and it was shocking, it's a broken phone that doesn't talk to anything. Unfortunately I couldn't return it and my wife enjoyed it so I took her E71, I must say that it's a real pleasure, even a year down the line (from this original post) I suspect it's a top choice!

The next big thing is coming

I'm waiting for the N900 ala Its going to give me exactly what I've been waiting for, a touch screen that isn't the ONLY way to interact with my phone, a Linux based OS, and a wonderful multimedia experience.

As some of you already

As some of you already mentioned. I opted E71 for - exchange sync (email, calendar and contacts), use as modem while on move in my laptop and great thumboard.

I also chose E71 as I love to write codes in leisure and using self developed apps for storing passwords, fianacial calculator, network testing tools :)

Can wi-fi replace a modem?

I'm reading this compelling conversation since I'm strongly considering getting an E71 as my first new phone in three years. I'm also tempted by the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic though: on spec it's got a faster processor, twice the memory card capacity, better video, bigger screen and also an AV output with a standard 3.5mm connector. Unfortunately though it has no onboard modem, and I really need to use one. I'm wondering now if it's possible to use the wi-fi from a mobile to set up a personal hotspot and, instead of a modem, using that to connect my PC to the Net. Has anyone got any brainwaves?

Also does anyone know if the headphone jack on the E71 is a video out as well as audio? The spec on the nokia site says it has a '2.5 mm Nokia AV connector', but the manual mentions nothing about a TV out.

Yes, you can use it as a

Yes, you can use it as a normal modem as well, via bluetooth or USB cable.

And you can make a hotspot using software like JoikuSpot (which one can get cheaper via FON).


Can anyone teel me of any website where i can check that my E71 has the factory software still installed,,think some of it is missing.Is there a site where i can get this from and download thru my pc to the phone.

skype for symbian

skype for symbian exists and works pretty well on E71, try to download it from OVI store or try from skype web site! ;-)