After having phones without cameras half of my teenage life at 15 when I wrote my Christmas list I asked for camera phone. My parents got me the Benq- Siemens el71 Which was the first camera and flip phone. For me at the time the phone was good for texting and calling but to look back now thee features were poor. This phones came with a 1.3mp camera with flash,music player,stopwatch ,voice memo,organiser an stores an micro sd card which I had to by myself. I liked the phone at first it however the camera is very poor and I got fed up with not being able to connect the phone to computer with cable that came with it. This was a present and the phone was ok for about 6 months before I got bought the Sony Ericsson w495 for my 16 birthday which had much better quality features.
Basically this phone is perfect for the first few months or so. The music capabilities are by far one of the best I have ever seen & it has so many more extras that make it the perfect phone. however, aftrer a year or so the phone slowly deteriorates. buttons stop working, the phones battery has a short life span and the phone stops recievin texts and calls. fortunately enough, it sorts itself out a few months later and is back to its normal self.
alarm clock: this can be set for certain times on certain days and has a snooze button and changeable alarm tones.
torch: this can be easily adjusted so that it can be turned on or off by holding don the camera button on the side of the phone.
music capabilities: this phone is fantastic for music, the headphone can be clipped onto your t-shirt so they dont flap around if you start running or doing exercise.
not so usefull features.
freezing: the phone actually freezes like a computer and sometimes turns itself off. this is incredibly frustrating and can drive you up the wall.
simple problems: if you look around on the net there is a site that, for 24 hours, allows you to download free skins for you phone and after that 24 hour period begins to charge money. one of the best skins, with the trees, makes the green light that usually flashes when you have a message just randomlyflash. this too is annoying. also, the phone appears to display random german startup messages which can be rather strange at times.
THE FULL STORY >>> Benq Siemens have CLOSED DOWN. Benq bought out the Siemens factorys in japan. this was due to the fact that there are strict laws on building new factorys in that country so it is easier to purchase factories from other companies and use them instead. this meant closing most of siemens production (apart from the exclusive phones in japan). So now, they no longer make phones or parts for benq siemens phones & the only way to repair your faulty Benq Siemens is through the Carphone Warehouse. This costs money & a lot of time & usually they cannot repair the phone. they can however replace it with a new phone but there is no guarantee on the quality of that new phone.
SO, if you can get this phone for a good price that works fine, do it. But if you are looking for a phone that is reliable, will last and is easy to get new parts for, stay clear. this is a great phone for the price and i can assure you if you can look past the problems, is a great buy.
This is the penultimate time that I will be writing a review about a Benq-Siemens product. For once, however, especially given the recent peformance of handsets from this manufacturer as I have been going through my review back catalogue of them, I have come up with something positive to say about one of their handsets. The EL71 is a good phone. Unlike many phones these days, the EL71 was not an imitation of some other phone, but rather an evolution of the many slider phones which Siemens have produced in the past, and done in a classy and imaginative way.
The EL71 is a middle-sized slider phone, made of not plastic, but aluminium. The phone is probably one of the most attractive phones the company has ever produced since the award-winning S55, and it certainly looked far more expensive than its £100 price tag upon its release. Up against the Samsung E370 and the Nokia 6111 to some extent, the EL71 wins hands down on looks, build quality and features alone. I remember getting one of the first ever models to hit the shop where I worked, and I sold quite a number of them on the virtue of the looks of the phone alone. Simply because I was working in mobile phone sales, and I owned one of the phones myself as my own personal everyday model, that seemed to give some credibility to the EL71, and indeed, there is much to like about it.
Taking the phone to London for a weekend during its early weeks on 'general release', many people asked me what it was, whether it was 3G (due to the fact that there was a light sensor on the front which looked a little bit like a camera) and, in some cases, where they could buy one. It certainly looked more like a £150 phone rather than a £100 phone. For an old Siemens fan too, it was good news. Unlike many of the new Benq-Siemens models, this was one of the last models to be built at the Munich plant, and has a very similar menu system to the S75. This means an easy to use, icon driven interface with the old Siemens texting layout, and this is usually very simple for many users. Certainly, I did not have any people bring the phones back because they were unable to use them properly, which sometimes happens with certain new models. The buttons themselves were of varying quality, however.
The top half of the slider carries on the aluminium theme, and even the selection keys appear to be made of metal. The bottom half of the slider consists of a number pad of rubberised keys which are a completely solid block, and only separated into rows. This gives fairly poor feedback and does slow things down somewhat, despite looking rather nice with its blue backlight. The four way selection button, commonly known as the D-pad, is clearly silver plastic, but there is also a large selection key in the middle of this, and this is easy to manipulate. In addition to the usual selection keys and the 'send' and 'hang up' keys, there are also dedicated shortcut keys for the play/pause and MP3 player functions, which are very useful indeed.
The MP3 player can also be minimised and maximised by using the shortcut key, which is handy if one is in the habit of replacing the dedicated MP3 player with such a phone which can also play music. The sound output is surprisingly loud, both through the built-in speaker and the supplied stereo handsfree kit. The MP3 player itself is easy to set up for playlists, and displays the proper ID3 tags for artist, song and album, which is a major advantage. In fact, I would go so far to say that the MP3 player is almost as good as that found on Sony Ericsson phones these days. The one problem with this excellent functionality is the EL71's disappointing battery life.
For some reason, Benq-Siemens brought it upon themselves to include a much smaller capacity battery than usual with the EL71, and 570 MAh, it is certainly not up to the job. With a huge 240x320 pixel 262,000 colour screen, a fairly good quality camera and the superb MP3 player, it should have been clear to the company that the EL71 would be fairly power-hungry. The physical size of the battery in comparison with the phone is also surprising: the phone is of average sizer for a slider, but the battery is probably the smallest I have ever seen. No other new phone I have owned has had such appalling battery life, and normally requires charging at least every night, especially if the MP3 player is used. Another issue, of course, is that the stereo headset cannot be used with the charger and USB data cable as they all share the same port. One would have hoped that this would have been fixed with later Benq-Siemens models, but since the company no longer exists, this will not happen. Another issue with Siemens models every since the release of the 65-series of models in 2004 has been the terrible reliability.
The EL71 shares most of its menu system with the old S75, which was a phone plagued with reliability problems from the start. The issues included a very slow response to key-presses, the phone crashing and also turning itself for no reason. I am very glad to report that the EL71 finally seemed to provide a solution which had hampered the user experience for so many users in the past. Providing a data cable in the package was a masterstroke, and before the Benq-Siemens website was partially shut down in preparation for the company's impending bankrupcy I was able to perform a much needed software update for my brand new phone, after which I did not have that many problems. Although the phone is much slower in keeping up with user input than a modern Sony Ericsson or Samsung, say, it did seem to be better than the S75 or even other more modern phones such as the EF91 and S88. This would be perfectly acceptable to the majority of users, I should imagine. This hurdle thus being overcome, what is the EL71 like as a device for making and receiving calls?
Like many Siemens models, the EL71 holds a good quality of signal, even in poor signal areas, which is a good sign. It also uses conventional red and green call keys, and the phonebook can be accessed by simply pressing the down direction on the keypad. It is also possible to have a combined list of phone and SIM card contacts, although adding contacts to the SIM card, as opposed to the phone, is not as easy as it could be. The ringtone volume is also very loud, especially when used with an MP3 ringtone, and the vibration alert is very strong. This excellence does continue with text messaging.
Aside from the fact that the keypad is of varying quality and the phone does lag to a large degree, text messaging is fine. For some, the fact that the phone will only hold 100 messages in addition to the SIM card (my Panasonic VS6 will hold 500), and that it is impossible to deactivate the 'save after send' function will be a problem, but most users will be fine. The screen will show text at three different sizes, there is an excellent character counter, and toggling between predictive text, multitap and numeric is very simple. It is also possible to have a custom message alert tone (using a WAV, MP3, MIDI or AMR ringtone) and, in addition to this, to vary the length of this ringtone. So, if one only wants the beginning of a song played as the ringtone, this is possible, unlike even on Sony Ericsson phones. There is also one final reason for buying an EL71.
Like many modern phones, the EL71 supports Java for games. These look fantastic on the large QVGA screen, and one particular selling point is the fact that the entire version of the popular game New York City Nights, which is very appropriate for the game's target audience. Unfortunately, the exceptionally poor battery life hinders over-enthusiastic gameplay. There are also other games which can be installed, of course, but NYC Nights is addictive enough alone.
Multi-Media functionality on the EL71 culminates in the 1.3 Megapixel camera with flash, which seems to be slightly better than the one on the S75, and certainly surpasses the one with identical resolution on the old S65. Unfortunately, the video recording is as terrible as any other phone I have had. At least the phone supports Micro-SD cards for extra storage capacity, although these cannot be set as the default saving location for camera or downloads via the built-in Bluetooth function.
Overall, then, it is easy to see why the EL71 may be disappointing. The battery life is poor, no memory card comes in the box, and the early firmware versions of the phone were just as unstable as seems to be usual with Siemens phones. However, the phone exudes a degree of class unusual even for expensive models, is very easy to use, and the unreliability can in fact be cured to an extent. If this is the pinnacle of what was achieved through the Taiwanese-German partnership, then it can be said that it is a shame that there will be no more models.