Nokia E71: 40 years of progress in handheld devices

I just got me a Nokia E71 smartphone. It looks like a particularly well-constructed gadget, though I reserve judgment until I’ve used it a while – stay tuned!

However, I can already share one observation: the incredible amount of technology crammed into this tiny device. A few years ago we’d marvel at its slimness if it were only a cellphone; but it isn’t only a cellphone. It’s a cellphone, and it’s a PDA, and it’s a GPS, and it’s an MP3 player, and it’s a video player, and it’s a recorder, and it’s a radio, and it’s a web browser, and it has bluetooth, and it has WiFi, and it has Infrared, and…

Nokia E71 smartphone and JRC VHF transceiver

You get the idea: this device has everything under the sun, and it’s still tiny. So for comparison, I present it here next to another 2-way communication device, a VHF transceiver made by the Japan Radio Co., Ltd., sometime in the sixties. I won this at a raffle in the annual meeting of the Israel Amateur Radio Club in the early seventies; and at the time I had to get a special license for it, it was such a big deal. It was also considered very miniaturized, since it used transistors and could be held in the hand – just like the Nokia beside it; however, this JRC was not a PDA, and it wasn’t a GPS, and it wasn’t an MP3 player, and it wasn’t a video player, and it wasn’t a recorder, and it wasn’t a radio, and it wasn’t…

You get the idea: back then it was all they could do to pack a radio transmitter and receiver into this 9 inch long box; today, the sky is the limit. And so, one can safely state, we’ve come a long way… and I can’t help but think that, with all respect to Kubla Khan and his stately pleasure dome, it is Nokia’s engineers who should be credited for giving us a miracle of rare device !

10 Responses to “Nokia E71: 40 years of progress in handheld devices”


  1. 1 TDDPirate

    Two questions:
    1. Is it possible to receive and send FAX messages via Nokia E71 (at least using an add-on application)?
    2. How easy is it to switch between Hebrew and English when entering text?

  2. 2 Nathan Zeldes

    Hey Omer,

    1. I don’t see any reference to faxing in the manual… as to third party apps, you can check that as well as I (to be honest, that’s one capability I don’t foresee needing – share if you have a use case I missed!)

    2. Language switching is done by pressing CAPS+Space together, which brings up a menu with a language item – select it and you get the choice of Hebrew and English. Not as fast as on a large keyboard in Windows but reasonable for a handheld, I suppose.

  3. 3 Jerry Smith

    I like my E71 too, it is amazing smart business phone, though it doesn’t have 3.5mm headjack.

  4. 4 Candee Black

    Remarkable feature crammed in a compact size – the E71 must be the slimmest business phone ever. Stainless steel casing makes the phone look very solid built and of high quality.The QWERTY keypad makes it a strong alternative of Blackberry Bold. Somebody accused it not having better camera and 3.5mm audio jack but I think 3.2 mp is enough because the E71 is business dedicated.

  5. 5 Nathan Zeldes

    Indeed, Candee, an excellent phone. However, IMHO the camera is really nothing to write home about – not because of the megapixels, but because of the image quality (visual noise, color fidelity, etc).

  6. 6 Nokia Themes

    wow, that is pretty cool, never saw a nokia phone that old!

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