New to the AT&T Nokia E71x? Here are some tips to make it better
As a S60 power user I was justifiably quite disappointed by the AT&T Nokia E71x as I clearly laid out in my blog post yesterday. However, I also know that the E71/E71x is an awesome piece of hardware with a very functional QWERTY keyboard, rock solid construction, and now a decent camera. I also believe that this device will be very compelling in the AT&T store next to the much clunkier smartphones and with the $100 price point it may do quite well. That said, I decided to dive into the device some more and see if I could customize it to my liking where I could accept it as a smartphone in my collection. With the possibility that many people may also pick this up I also decided that I would start making New E71x user posts to help those people out if they happen to find this site.
Customizing the menu layout
Since many apps and folders cannot be removed, I decided to do a little housekeeping and arranging to make the E71x more efficient.
I first created a “Junk” folder by selecting the left soft key (Options) and then New folder. I was able to move three default folders from AT&T (My Stuff, MEdiaMall, and CellularVideo) around and put the MEdiaMall one in here, along with things like Help, About, and Settings wizard that I never use or use only once.
I then created a few more folders I like to use and called them Office, Comms, and Media. I usually create a GPS folder, but the AT&T GPS one is not changeable so I just used this one. Here is what I placed in each of these folders:
- Office – Address Book, Quickoffice, Adobe PDF, Notes, and Calendar
- Comms – Recent calls, fring, Wordmobi, and Gravity
- Media – My Stuff (AT&T’s folder that is movable), Recorder, Camera, RealPlayer, ShoZu, and Cellular Video
- AT&T GPS – AT&T Nav, Where, Shop GPS, Google Maps, Sports Tracker, Landmarks
I then did some rearranging of my main menu screen with the following arrangement:
- Top row – AT&T GPS, Yellowpages (an AT&T app that looks helpful), Messaging, Office
- 2nd row – MEdia Net (S60 web browser), Opera Mini, Gmail, Comms folder
- 3rd row – Media, Tools, Settings, AT&T Music
- 4th row – Junk, Games&Apps
Since you only see three rows on the E71x, I can keep things I never access down “below the fold” and it helps me out. With this arrangement I am getting more and more pleased with the E71x.
Installing helpful applications
The E71x has over 100MB available to install 3rd party applications so you can pretty much install to your heart’s content. I also put in an 8GB microSD card for even more capacity. Here are the applications I personally installed and enjoy on the E71x:
Nokia Email: If you want to use email on your Nokia E71x then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read this post I just put up and get Nokia Email on your device ASAP.
Google Maps: I am posting a full review of the AT&T Navigator application here tomorrow, but for those quick fixes when you don’t need navigation and voice directions Google Maps is always a great application to have on your devices. To download simply go to www.google.com/gmm in the MEdia Net/S60 web browser.
Mail for Exchange: MFE is used to connect to your Exchange server and sync your email, calendar, contacts, and to-dos. It is downloaded when you select it in email setup and is essential for me. I may also try out and switch to RoadSync 4 since it is a superior product with HTML email support.
RoadSync 4: Even better than the free MFE is RoadSync version 4.0. I will have a full review up shortly, but if you are an Exchange user who wants HTML email and a much more functional client then go try this one out.
Wordmobi: Wordmobi is a S60 WordPress client that lets me blog from the E71x to this blog on the go.
Opera Mini: I know the default browser is quite good, but I find the shortcuts, ability to sync my bookmarks across all my devices, and sheer speed of Opera Mini to be useful enough to have it loaded on my S60 devices. Simply point your browser to opermini.com to download and install the application.
Gmail: I am not happy about the lack of support for Nokia Messaging on the E71x, but have faith the Nokia Messaging team will get this worked out In the meantime, I like using the Java-based Gmail client for multiple accounts. You simply visit gmail.com in your phone browser to install this cool utility.
fring: I wasn’t sure if VoIP applications would be restricted or not on the E71x and I am happy to report that so far at least one works quite well. fring is a slick all-in-one VoIP application that lets you make connect via voice and chat using various clients like fring, Skype, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, and more. You can also set it up to work with Facebook and Twitter. Last.fm support is also part of the S60 client and it really is a cool utility you should try. To install, simply visit the fring website from your PC and fill out the phone number boxes to have a text message link sent to your E71x for simply installation. So after leaving the device and coming back into fring I was stuck in a loop where it would start and thenn get hung up on logging me in. I couldn’t get out of the loop without shutting the E71x down and then fring went back into it again. I uninstalled it and then reinstalled and it worked fine again for that particular login. I REALLY want this to work, but am not going to install and uninstall everytime I want to use an application. I know the fring team is good about updates so maybe I can help them test things out and get it up and running soon. UPDATE: fring was quick to respond and has an update version that works on the Nokia E71x that you can download from here.
Gravity and Twittix: I gave you all a comparison of these two Twitter clients and since that review both have been updated a couple of times and are even better today. I like them both, but do tend to gravitate towards using Gravity more. These both costs money, but there are free trials and I recommend you try them both to see which works best for you. There is something going on with text entry in Twittix that is not letting me enter my password on the E71x so I cannot test it out right now. Particularly I cannot enter any numbers in my password without it erasing all text and jumping back up into the username field.
Nokia Sports Tracker: This is a fun application found over at Nokia Beta Labs that lets you use the GPS in your E71x to track your runs, bike rides, walks, and more.
ShoZu: ShoZu is an application used to help you share photos and video, while also subscribing to media channels to enjoy content yourself. I have used it in the past to share photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. It has evolved and now there are a ton of different supported sites for sharing media, including Ovi. Since Ovi Share doesn’t seem to work on the E71x, this is one way to access this service. Simply visit m.shozu.com in your phone browser to download and install this application. One issue I seem to be having is that Twitter and Facebook feeds never seem to download.
A couple of apps I tried do not run at all so you can skip trying them for now. These include Nokia Podcasting, Conversations (threaded SMS client), and Share Online. If Nokia Podcasting can get working on the E71x I will be SO much more happier keeping the device.
What else do I want?
While using these 3rd party applications and performing a bit of housekeeping on the E71x helps there are a few things I mentioned in my previous post that I still have to get over. These include the lack of contact smart filtering on the home/standby screen, lack of support for Nokia Email/Messaging, customized month view, and home screen apps support. A couple of these items can be addressed with software updates (Nokia Podcasting and Nokia Email) so I am hopeful here. And as I showed above, the AT&T bloatware can be hidden from view for the most part.
The E71x is worth $100
As much as I ranted yesterday, keep in mind I am a user who likes to push the limits of my devices and doesn’t like to be locked down. For $100 thought, I still do think the E71x is a great buy and 99% of the people who buy it will probably be pleased with their new device. I am leaning further and further towards keeping the device, if for now other reason than to help out readers with their questions.
Speaking of that, if you have any specific questions or want to see tutorials or something on the E71x (I do have a few planned already), please post them here.