Although Nokia debuted the original version of its just-announced E71x – the E71 – all the way back in 2008, it didn’t manage to capture too much attention in the States simply because it only became available here in an unsubsidized form. And you would really have to be a Nokia devotee to swallow its $400 price tag without thinking twice. That said, with the magic of carrier subsidizes, the same phone is now making waves around the country thanks to AT&T, which will be offering it for an extraordinarily reasonable $99.
The most notable thing about this phone that doesn’t quite come off in photos must be the considerable weight and sturdiness that the steel frame lends to it. It feels cool and smooth in the hand, and the dark, silvery finish doesn’t show off fingerprints as obviously as some other models. This is the type of phone you flip around in your idle hands while you’re sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the DMV, because it’s just so satisfying to touch. In fact, it almost approaches the jewelry-like feel of the $2,000 Motorola Aura.
The keyboard also possesses that elusive quality tactile feel, and the 2.4-inch screen with 240 x 320 resolution is quite adequate for a phone that doesn’t claim to be any sort of multimedia center. A 3.2-megapixel camera also makes a nice addition to the back.
We’ve made it no secret that we’re not overly fond of the Symbian operating system in the past, but what it lacks in visual frivolities and ease of use, it does make up for running quite quickly and on this phone. And since it’s available on AT&T, you’ll get some carrier extras like AT&T Navigator.
Even though the phone is far from new, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it take off in the U.S. now that buyers can score one for cheap, and come to appreciate its tactile niceties in person at AT&T stores.