It was finally time to replace my Nokia 6800 with 600 hours and a broken screen from being dropped too many times, so I decided to get a Nokia E70 phone.

It has been a little bit of a challenge, but it is pretty close to cell phone nirvana. It has been able to do I have wanted to accomplish with a PDA or cell phone combined.

The first main issue was getting the phone contacts/calendar/notes synchronized with my PC. My previous phone was extremely flaky when used with the Nokia PC Suite software, and only connected about one in every 10 times. I had to install, reinstall, run a registry cleaner and then reinstall the software but I was finally able to get a reliable connection between my PC and phone. Once accomplished, I was able to get all of my items synced up in a repeatable, reliable fashion. With all their available resources, I am amazed that Nokia was not able to this process worked out better. The second item was seeing how Internet access worked on the phone. GPRS seems to work fine, but I was more interested in the wifi connectivity feature of the phone. The E70 will browse for an available access point and the process for connecting is pretty straightforward. I have to pass on huge props for the Internet browser on the E70. I would prefer using the smaller screen E70 browser than the browser on all of the PocketPCs that I have used. It is that good. It was reliable, viewable, easy to navigate and there have been no weird format surprises. All told - the Internet access components work very well. I have not gotten the instant messaging to work yet, but it looks like other have, so I will still have that to work on.

The last and most interesting piece was the struggle to get VOIP working on a cell phone. My cell coverage at my house and many other places in my service area is very spotty, so I have been looking forward to having a phone that could roam to wifi and keep my roaming minutes down to a minimum. I was able to find a couple of links to guides on how to set the phone up with an asterisk voip server and was finally able to get it to connect to my office voip phone system. After all the hassles and reported problems on user forums, I was very pleasantly surprised by the performance of the voip part of the E70. It is actually clearer than regular cell calls, with just a little bit of breakup when the wifi signal gets low. Best of all, my outgoing calls all go through my office system when I am in range of a wifi access point, meaning less minutes on my cell phone plan. I should also be able to use the voip when I go to remote tower sites that used to not work at all on the regular cell network or incurred roaming charges. All in all, I am very impressed with the E70. I am going to officially retire my iPaqs to other tasks and use this as my primary PIM/phone/voip phone.
Matt Larsen
vistabeam.com

PS - I purchased my E70 from Tiger Direct for about $435, but they are also available at voip-supply.com for $385.


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