As I mentioned I saw Steve's Nokia E70 at Linux Expo and was quite impressed. After various bits of investigation into the cost of an unlocked version I thought I'd try ringing Vodafone to ask about an upgrade (thinking that I had 6 months left on my contract, but that they still might be able to do me a better deal than £290). Turns out my contract had expired back in August. Excellent. So I've been the owner of an E70 for a couple of months now.

First, the bad. AFAICT this is mainly Vodafone's fault. There's a new version of the E70 firmware out, v2. However only certain variants of the E70 have been approved for this version. Vodafone haven't yet done this for their handsets. The main manifestations I see of this are the phone being slow to rotate the screen when it's opened up (at least a few seconds) and the wireless being flakey. In particular it really doesn't like my WEP enabled house network - it'll associate, get an IP address via DHCP, exchange some packets and then stop. It can see my neighbour's non protected wifi fine, and another WEP network I tried (though I saw pauses with that). This is a pain, but as most of the time when I'm using wifi out and about it's not WEPed it's not a showstopper.

As a phone it's fine. I'm not a demanding user; I expect it to make and receive calls. It does. The addition of the keyboard is very useful for the few occasions I send SMSes. I haven't tried the funky SIP stuff (partly due to the WEP issue, partly as I already have a SIP hardphone).

Where it's really neat is mobile web and ssh. The web browser is quite nice (suitable for checking airport flight departure boards and cinema times as I discovered last weekend). The addition of PuTTY really makes the phone for me. It's small enough that I carry it with me most of the time, and yet it has a screen that can do 80x43 (even if it's very small) and a keyboard. It's really neat for checking my mail/irc while on the move. And because it's all built in I carry it with me in a way I never managed with the Zaurus.

Battery life seems better than my old v600i; with 3G turned on that managed 2 days max whereas with 3G enabled the E70 can happily manage at least 3 days and that's with a bigger screen and probably more use in general. I haven't felt the need to try it with 3G disabled yet.

The main thing I need to do with it still is get round to putting some games on it. Of the sort suitable for playing while waiting for a pizza order to be ready, or waiting for one's wife[0] to do whatever it is she's doing. I'll get round to it. I like the phone though.

Oh, I have a rant about the firmware upgrade. I emailed Vodafone to ask when they might approve the upgrade and moan about the wifi. They got confused about my mentioning wifi and assumed I meant GPRS, but pointed me at Nokia for firmware upgrades. I rang Nokia and they pointed me to my local Nokia Service Centre. I went to them and asked for a firmware upgrade and they said no problem and took my phone off me for 24 hours. In order to reflash the same bloody version I already had back on wiping my settings (which I'd backed up, but that's not the point). Muppets.

[0] I need to blog some more on the whole wedding thing, but I thought I was due something slightly more technical.