I rocked the Nokia Xpress Music 5310 for a week or so while trying to get my hands on a full-QWERTY monster. I have to say I really enjoyed the 5310 for its simple efficiency and cool-on-a-budget stylings. But then Nokia was kind enough to re-loan me their E71 smartphone (I reviewed it back when it first came out), and I've spent the past few days getting re-acquainted with it. So far? I'm realizing once again that the old adage is true: life is often about compromise.
What I like about the E71 is that it's very thin, feels very solid and luxurious (save for some light leaks around the navigation buttons), and has a comfortable QWERTY board. I also like that I can download multiple podcasts and RSS feeds at once, get push email via Nokia's Beta Email app (which I have working a bit better now), and connect via WiFi or EDGE via T-Mobile, or 3G if I switch to AT&T. I also like that there's a ton of software available for the S60 platform and that I can customize my home screen via themes to get a look, feel, and batch of shortcuts and notifications that suits me. The E71's "modes" functionality is neat, but I don't really need to set up separate "Home" and "Work" home screens (though I can imagine some folks loving that feature).
What I don't like about the E71 is that its display isn't quite as glorious as iPhone's, its Web browser isn't as fast, and its media player app isn't as sexy - though all three are more than passable. Also, the E71 has a 2.5mm headphone jack, which means I have to use an adapter at the end of my headphone cable. Boo!
I've yet to really spend much time installing add-on software, though I think this could make or break the E71 as the next phone for me. On the one hand, I mainly wanted a phone that could handle Email, MMS/SMS, Web, RSS, and Music/Podcast, and had an easy to use QWERTY board. On the other hand, now that I've got a S60 device to play around with, I want to dive way in the deep end and see what it can do. That's the fun of smartphones, right? If I can do more with the E71, that will make up for missing out on the candy-Apple fun of iPhone. If not, I may get bored with the Nokia and slink back to Apple's walled garden of touchscreen goodness. So if you've got an S60 device yourself and know of any killer apps that I HAVE TO TRY, drop me a line in the comments or forums, wouldja? Thanks!