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Straight Talk's E5 - Is it an upgrade over the E71?

Straight Talk is starting to roll out a replacement for the venerable Nokia E71icon (right), one of the two smartphones (the other is the Nokia 6790icon) offered under the Straight Talk brand. The new model is the Nokia E5 (left). Like the E71, it's a Symbian smartphone with the QWERTY bar form factor. The specs of the two phones are somewhat different.

So, how do the E5 and the E71 compare? Is The E5 an improvement over the E71 or a downgrade? Lets compare the specs.

E71 E5
Year Introduced 2008 2010
Operating System Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1 Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
Screen 2.4 inch, 320 x 240px transflective LCD 2.4 inch, 320 x 240px transmissive LCD
CPU ARM 11, 370 Mhz ARM 11, 600 Mhz
Free RAM 80 MB 170 MB
Camera 3.2 megapixel auto focus with LED flash 5 megapixel EDoF with LED flash
Video Camera Resolutiont 320 x 240 px 640 x 480 px
Size, Volume 4.49" x 2.24" x 0.39", 66cc 4.53" x 2.32" x 0.5", 75cc
Weight 127g 126g
Battery Capacity 1500 mAh 1200 mAh
Talk Time 4.5 hr 4.8 hr
Headset Jack 2.5 mm 3.5 mm

In most respects, the E5 is an upgrade over the E71, newer OS version, faster processor, more memory and slightly longer battery life are all good things. The new OS brings with it a newer version of Nokia Maps which includes turn by turn voice navigation, 3D maps and transit lines. There's alo a better email client and a rudimentary Facebook and Twitter client is included on the E5.

The E5 camera has more mega pixels and generally takes much better pictures than the E71 camera. However it's EDoF (fixed focus) which means that there is no macro mode, objects less than about 2 feet away are out of focus. So, unlike the E71 camera, it doesn't work very well for scanning barcodes or capturing readable images of documents.

The one significant downgrade is the screen. The E71 has a transflective screen which means it has a reflective layer which makes it easy to read even in the brightest sunlight. The E5's transmissive screen lacks the reflective layer and washes out and becomes hard to read in bright light.

There's one other difference that's not obvious from the specs. The E71 was a top of the line model when it was first released. The body is mostly metal and is very well made and finished. The E5 is more of a mid range phone. It's solidly constructed and should be very durable. However the E5's body is plastic and the phone feels a bit less elegant in the hand.

Overall, I feel that the E5 is an improvement over the E71 but not a big enough one that current E71 owners should consider upgrading.

At the moment the E5 is only available from StraightTalk.com where's it's priced at $199.99, the same price as the E71, which is still available. Walmart.com lists the E71 for $169.00 but doesn't have the E5 in stock yet. I expect that the E5 will show up on Walmart.com soon so you might want to wait if saving 30 bucks or so makes a difference to you.

One of the most exciting things about both the Nokia E71 and the 6790 is that they were the only Straight Talk phones that come with an unlocked SIM. The SIM in other Straight Talk phones is locked so that it can only be used in the phone it was sold wit<hhhh. The E71 and 6790's unlocked SIMS work in any AT&T or unlocked GSM phone, including Android devices and the iPhone. At $45/month Straight Talk Unlimited is considerably less expensive than even AT&T's cheapest smartphone plan which is about $65/month including taxes and includes only 500 minutes of voice, 200 MB of data and no included messaging. People have been buying the the E71 just to get the SIM to use in an iPhone!

It looks like the E5's SIM is may also be unlocked. The SIM is marked with the code TF64PSIMC4, which is the same one that's found on the unlocked SIMs in the E71 and 6790. Ordinary locked Straight Talk SIMs are marked TF64SIMC4. I haven't heard of anyone actually using a E5 SIM in another phone yet but the SIM's coding suggests that it will work.

A word of warning, using a Straight Talk SIM in a non-Straight Talk device violates Straight Talk's terms of service. I suspect that AT&T and Straight Talk will eventually crack down on the use of Straight Talk SIMs in unsupported phones and either terminate the service of users caught doing it or block the non-Straight Talk devices from accessing the network.

Sources: FoneArena - QWERTY Battle: E5, E71, E72 Extensive Table & Pictures Comparison, Phonescoop.com, SteveLitchfield.com - S60 History


Comment Page :
  1. can the e71 use or process software download android software online apps...For example, there are golf android apps I wanted to download ...will the e71 allow me to use that android software?

  2. in retrospect can I use android apps with e71 phone?

  3. No, only Symbian and Java ME apps work on Symbian phones.

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