The good, bad, and too much ugly of the AT&T Nokia E71x

As I posted earlier today, I found the AT&T Nokia E71x in stock at a local Federal Way, Washington, store. I bought the HTC Fuze back in late Fall and wasn’t eligible for an upgrade discount and didn’t want to try to get an early upgrade since I wasn’t sure about the device. Thus, I paid the $299.99 price, plus about $34 in tax. I love my unlocked Nokia E71 (see my full review) for the most part and was excited to see what some of the improvements might be in the E71x. After spending several hours with the device, I am afraid I may be returning it very soon since I have been spoiled by the features of the SIM-unlocked E71 device. I do think that new S60 users will find the E71x to be a very attractive messaging device at $100 or even for 1 penny at Amazon, but us power users will most likely be disappointed.

Thoughts on the hardware

The E71x is physically the exact same as the E71, except for the black color compared to the gray/silver color of the unlocked E71. One minor difference is that the E71x keyboard has a bit more texture than the E71 so your fingers stick just a bit more on the keyboard. There is still the 2.5mm headset jack, single mono speaker, microUSB port, standard Nokia charging port, and 3.2 megapixel camera. It seems there is no FM radio in the E71x. So at first glance, it looked like the E71x was going to be as good as the E71. However, there are some major software differences that really make the unlocked NAM E71 the better choice for S60 buyers, but let’s start off on a positive note shall we?


What’s good about the E71x compared to the E71?

The E71x is the first S60 device with the TeleNav-based GPS navigation software preloaded. The software is branded AT&T Navigator and you get a 30-day trial when you buy the E71x. It is a subscription service that costs about $10/month. While it is debatable whether or not this type of service is a good choice, remember that you can just purchase one month at a time with no contract if you only travel once in a while. I am posting a more in-depth article and video on AT&T Navigator on the E71x soon too so stay tuned for a deeper look at it. Amazingly, the GPS receiver was able to get a fix within just 1-2 seconds on the E71x. I also downloaded Google Maps and found a fix was obtained in just about that same blazing speed so kudos to Nokia and AT&T with the GPS receiver strength.

The device seems to be very snappy and as I was installing apps I was seeing almost 100 MB of available on board memory for application storage. This value looks to be a bit more than the E71 and may help the device to fly around and be zippy.

The camera does not appear to have any purple tint and takes pretty decent photos. As you can see in my image gallery, the E71 actually took purple tinted photos at first, but then started taking good quality photos. It seems as if there is a memory caching issue causing the purple tint or something and the E71 NAM may actually work just fine after waiting a couple of seconds. I did nothing, but close the camera application and restart it to go from purple to clear photos with the E71 NAM and have no idea what is going on with it.

Quickoffice is included as well, but the Office 2007 support requires an upgrade. Many of the other standard apps are found on the E71x too, such as Adobe PDF, Notes, Clock, Converter II, RealPlayer, and more.

Major disappointments for me

No contact search: One function on the E71 that you can experience on Windows Mobile phones is the ability to just start typing away on the keyboard and have your contact smart filtered. This is EXTREMELY useful and I use it every day, yet this capability is not an option on the E71x.

No support for Nokia Email; When you select to setup your email you are given an option for Xpress Mail and Mail for Exchange. Selecting Xpress Mail takes you through a wizard that just ends up creating an inbox in the standard, lame Nokia Messaging application. I popped my SIM back into my unlocked E71 and started getting constant text messages from 1111302000 and it turns out it is related to Xpress Mail. With only 200 text messages this can be an issue so I deleted that account and service. Selecting MFE takes you to the download for the MFE application that then ends up as an inbox in Nokia Messaging. MFE is fine, but the lack of support for the new Nokia Messaging/Email client is not good. The Nokia Email/Messaging client is very good and makes email bearable on the Eseries devices. I even went to the Nokia Email site and download the setup utility only to find out it just creates yet another folder in the Inbox of the limited Nokia Messaging client. This actually works like a champ! You need to go to the Nokia Email site on a PC and send the install link via SMS to get the install to work properly though.

Where the heck is my cool Month view? Nokia did a good job finally making some improvements in the Calendar application on the E71 with the appointments dynamically scrolling up and down on the right of the month view calendar. On the E71x all you see is a larger month view of the calendar that makes the device look like a BlackBerry with the DOS look and feel to PIM apps again.

No Mode switcher or Home screen apps: I don’t use the Mode switch capability much, but along with this utility comes the functionality to select Home screen applications. You can choose to show up to 17 different types of data on your E71 Home screen, including E-mail notifications, music player controls, search, and more. You do not get to customize the Home screen on the E71x except for the bottom left and right soft keys and shortcut bar apps.

No Download! utility: I have complained about the Download! utility in the past being inconsistent and rather limited. However, there were some good apps in there and it is the precursor to the Ovi Store. Without Download! even being available on the E71x, I have to wonder if we will see the Ovi Store on the device when the store launches next month and I am beginning to doubt it.

No support for Nokia Podcasting application: OK, I might be a minority here and this one may be a bit picky, but I LOVE the Nokia podcatcher and use my S60 devices all the time to download and listen to podcasts. This application is not on the E71x and after transferring the install file to the device it refuses to install. With every application you load you see a pop-up stating “Checking certificate validity” and with Podcasting you then get an error that it cannot install. It seems that AT&T doesn’t want you downloading podcast files over the air on the E71x.

No one-touch hardware customization: On the E71 you can setup your hardware buttons to launch different applications and perform different functions. There is no such utility/setting on the E71x and you are stuck with the default apps. The press and hold capability on the E71 makes you much more efficient. Also, you cannot control the one-button email function.

Where are the Nokia Ovi services?: I didn’t see any supported Ovi services on the E71x, including the lack of Share on Ovi found on the E71. Nokia Maps is not present and there is no FM Radio on the device that I could find.

AT&T bloatware

If all these limits (compared to the E71) weren’t present then I probably could accept the E71x with the bloatware. Here is a list of what AT&T includes on the E71x out-of-the box:

  • AT&T Navigator (actually a nice service/application)
  • Where
  • Yellow Pages
  • Monopoly trial
  • Mobile Banking trial
  • Brain Challenge trial
  • WPT Hold Em trial
  • My-Cast Weather trial
  • Collapse! Chaos trial
  • Wiki Mobile (doesn’t seem to be a trial and useful)
  • MobiTV (subscription service)
  • OZ Instant Messaging client (be aware this uses your allowable text messages)
  • XM Radio (subscription service)
  • MusicID (subscription service Shazam application)
  • Cellular Video (subscription service)
  • mSpot Remix

Hyperlinks to the following are present and unchangeable:

  • GPS apps
  • Shop games
  • Shop apps
  • Mail for Exchange
  • Xpress Mail
  • Music apps
  • Community

I understand that AT&T wants to make money on their subscription services, but please allow owners to at least be able to move these icons to a custom folder. I always create a Junk or Stuff folder on my S60 devices and put utilities and apps I never use in there. The only two icons I have found the ability to move are MEdiaMall and Cellular Video. You can move most of the rest of them, but only within the root folder or folder where they can be found. You cannot move or even uninstall the trial games and apps found in the Games & Apps folder so that is one cluttered mess. Thankfully you can move out apps you install yourself and Quickoffice so you can pretty much forget about this folder.

More experiences with the E71x

I loaded up JoikuSpot Light to check on the ability to tether the E71x and it worked just fine. I understand there is an additional $30 charge that AT&T may charge you if you tether often so be aware of this additional fee.

I didn’t yet try any VoIP apps so I can’t comment on whether or not those work.

Some closing thoughts for now

While I like the black color and improved camera performance and want to be as supportive as I can of Nokia devices being available on US carriers, I just don’t think I can compromise so much and keep the E71x. I have 13 more days to make my final decision, but key things like the Contact search, Nokia Podcasting, customizable Home/Standby screen, and lack of support for Nokia Email is just too much for me.

My recommendation

As much as I want to support this device I cannot really recommend it for those who read this site. I suppose it will be OK for new users, but they may also be expecting things like threaded SMS and the ability to use the device without being beaten down by AT&T services and demos. I recommend you look for a NAM E71 and skip the E71x. Even better, you may want to hold out for the E75 NAM when it is released. I find myself using the E75 more than the E71 due to the fantastic Nokia Messaging application and MFE integration, along with the larger QWERTY keyboard.


78 Comments to The good, bad, and too much ugly of the AT&T Nokia E71x

July 25, 2009

I have had this phone for about a week now. I have had many Nokia phones and I love them. This is my first smart phone and I have to say that I love it. I am not a power user. I do not use a data plan, nor do I plan on getting one. I like the calender, although a little more color and better variety of “Entry” types would be nice. I love Ovi Maps, when it works. and the PC suite software is very nice to transfer files and tweek calender and phonebook entries. I downloaded a bible software(very nice)from Olivetree. The best part is the help that this site gives. I chose this phone over a Samsung Jack because of this site. It pushed me over on my decision. I’m learning new things everyday about my new toy. Thanks Matthew

August 5, 2009

How do u do a master reset for the nokia e71x!?!?!?!??!?!!? Please help!!!

August 8, 2009

tried to install the nokia maps according to the method described above

i.e. dowloading the maps file for express music 5700 but did not work

August 11, 2009

does it have WiFi to access internet for free without buying an additional data plan? will this phone allow me to add Twitter as an App?

August 13, 2009

It is a shame what the American carriers do to devices. I work on Windows Mobile, and we face the problem. In our Beta programs, our software works nicely, but by the time it hits the consumer it is ruined by the mobile operators. Unfortunately in the US they control the mobile ecosystem and keep all subscribers hostage. The best best is to pay the $ and buy a non-branded unlocked device.

September 6, 2009

If anyone figures out how to get Nokia Podcasting running for real on the e71x, please post it here. Let’s stop complaining about AT&T’s tech-stifling greed and get to work undoing it.

October 18, 2009

Has anyone else noticed if there is a song limit on the e71x? I’ve added a lot of mp3s and many of them I’m not finding. I wondered if it was like the motorola SLVR in that song limit regard.

November 2, 2009

I bought the E71 unlocked but I have a subscription with ATT navigator. Is there a way to download this to my unlocked E71?

November 8, 2009


December 9, 2009

how do I download joiku spot… unable to find a reliable link. Thanks

December 16, 2009

I have a question… can i put customized sms tones on the e71, well i have the smaller one and if yes, in what format should it be thanks for replying fast

Ron H.
January 7, 2010

Toxoido!!! I have the same problem. I have a 4 gig memory card and about 460 songs. I’m only using a little over half of it and it consists of music, pictures, videos, and ringtones. Some songs play and some don’t. Once i download the songs, they go to the “data” folder of my memory card, like everything else that i download. If i move the song, it won’t show up in the music library, like it used to before. So, there might be a limit, unfortunately. And my music player won’t refresh at all!!! Also, my pics won’t edit, at all!!! And my phone will not allow me to save any messages to my memory card, only the phone memory, which gets deleted every few days, rather than staying until I’M ready to delete them! Other than that, great phone???? LOL

March 21, 2010

can i use the e71x at&t unlocked in india? with airtel?

May 30, 2010

Hi im from Ireland i bought a nokia E71X in miami it worked grand when i got home but soon after the light on the screen went and can figure out how to fix it tryed everything it so annoying because i cant see anything or read messages and it under a 1 year warranty..can anybody help me??

Paul Williford
June 15, 2010

Would purchasing an “unlock code” for this phone simply allow me to use it on other carriers or does unlocking it also enable me to do the things Mr. Miller said he couldn’t do on his “locked” E71x:
remove AT&T “bloatware” (including game trials) or customize the hardware buttons (which he could do on his unlocked E71)?

June 18, 2010

Nokia Podcasting on e71x –
I confirmed it working on me e71x, go here to get it working for yourself:

July 22, 2010

I just upgraded our at&t contract. instead of going to sprint. Got unlimited text and the new 200MB data on 3 phones. got 2 e71x phones ( free ) and a blackberry for the kid. So far I like the e71x. But this is my first smart phone. Its not bad, im not a huge power user tho. ( yet ) I do like the unlimited text messaging tho. Since now i dont have to worry about the kid going over on that. Shes not huge on the web on a phone yet so thats good for now. Im just wondering if i tether my cell to my laptop. even tho it is only a 200MB line, even if i want to use the tether for ashort time for a few pages or whatnot. how does at&t know that your tethering vs normal usage?

August 27, 2010

I am shopping for a new phone. I am/will be new to texting and I am electronically challenged. I am an ATT customer. After reading numerous reviews, I have concluded that the E71 would be a smarter choice over the E71.

Can I purchase and E71 phone from somewhere else and have ATT activate it for me?

Also, what is the difference between a locked and unlocked phone?

August 28, 2010

What is the advantage of an unlocked device?

December 1, 2010

I have an unlocked Nokia E71x and I want to do a HARD reset, using 3+*+GREEN Button and I was just wondering if I do a Hard reset will I have to unlock the phone again. I bought the phone from a gentlemen who unlocked it for $70. Thanks, hope to hear back from you guys soon.

May 17, 2011


I have had this phone for almost a year now. I use AT&T Go Phone and I get 200 MB of data each month. Up until last month, I had NEVER went over this amount. The primary reason I have the data package is just to get my work email which is only about 5 to 10 emails a day and I NEVER open the attachments, I wait till I get to my work computer. On 5 occassions in the past month, my phone has sucked EVERY bit of my 200 mb of data PLUS I have put an additional $40 on my phone and they have taken all that as well. AT&T Prepaid is NO help on the technical end. I had to do a Factory reset right before all this happened because I added another email that I could never get to work. Could someone please help me before I throw my favorite phone out the window!!!!!!!

September 17, 2011

I want no minor youngs lady working here, no one should be forcibly working here… I need to shut down this blank space!.

convert flv to avi
December 14, 2011

I hear nokia is a very reliable brand. Though the buttons in the picture are really small, it would be inconvenient even for my small girly fingertips :) That’s a shame you had a problem with Nokia E71x. Personally I like LG, i never had a phone of any other brand. Now I have touch, loving it so far

open source audio editor
January 10, 2012

Oh. This cellphone looks great. I like the design. And the functions sounds alright. Too bad it’s no longer in use. I’d love to have one.

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