Back at CES you may remember I was given a bag full of stuff, and among those things was a Nokia Lumia 710. I have been using it now for over a month as my main phone with my Micro-SIM card inside and the time has come to write a review of my experience. In many countries, you can get the Lumia 710 now in either black or white (although there are swappable back covers in other colors too). It’s a mid range smartphone and targeted at first time smart phone users. So is it for you? Well, hopefully my experience with it will help you decide.
- 3.5 inch Clear Black LCD screen
- 8GB onboard storage
- 5MP Single LED camera
- Quadband 3G up to 10Mbps – 850/1700/1900/2100
- 1.4Ghz Processor
- 512Mb RAM
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 2.0
- Micro-USB for charging and data connection
- 1300MAh battery
- Micro-SIM slot
This device is effectively a slight morphing of the earlier Symbian Belle phone – the Nokia 603, and that isn’t a bad thing. This means it’s curved back makes it fit nicely in the hand and feel comfortable. The body and back are plastic but don’t feel cheap. The matte back (at least on the black) is very grippy while the front is reflective. Actually a bit too much, and to be honest the front is very much a fingerprint magnet.
The front has that Clear Black LCE screen, Nokia and T-Mobile logo’s, speaker, light sensor and the Windows keys – back, start and search. These keys are presented as a single bar, push the left end to go back, the right to start and the middle to go home. The choice to use a solid key rather than capacitive may put some off, but some will like it, and most won’t really care.
The top has the 3.5″ headphone jack, micro-USB slot, and power/lock button. The camera button is on the right along with the volume rocker. They are pretty flush to the side of the phone, though the camera button feels a bit spongy and it can be hard to hit the first stage on the 2 stage shutter button.
The back has the 5Mp camera and LED flash, as well as the loud speaker. The curvature of the back just about means the speaker isn’t blocked/muffled when you lay it down and it gives reasonable volume. The back cover can be removed to reveal the battery and Micro-SIM slot.
The Nokia Lumia 710 runs Windows Phone 7.5 and so for the most part it has a smooth performance with minimal lag. This should be the way of any device running Windows Phone. You can read my full Windows Phone review here.
Phone and communications
As usual for Nokia devices it does a great job here, holding reception well and calls sound clear. For calling, the one minor complaint I would have is that once or twice I found myself pushing buttons on the call screen with my cheek, causing me to hang up or switch to speaker unexpectedly. This could be me just using a phone with a proximity sensor in a different location.
The people hub plays a huge role here – the Windows Phone people hub does a nice job of organizing contacts, and syncing with Windows Live, Google or other services. It also shows a nice history of interaction with each of your contacts. IN connection with this are the usual windows phone apps for Messaging, Email and also the Me hub which do a decent job (see my review of Windows Phone Mango for a more detailed opinion). So, overall, it’s a great experience for communication that does put people first.
Music and Media
As usual for a windows phone, you have the music hub which also integrates various apps such as Last.FM, as well as music and podcasts stored locally or on Skydive. So far, so good. In many areas of the world this phone will come with Nokia music and mix radio. Sadly, Nokia doesn’t provide this service in the USA at this time. However, it is nice to get Slacker Radio and TuneIn Radio pre-installed.
TuneIn radio is not a Nokia exclusive, but I have to say though, this is a really good app indeed. There are thousands of radio stations to listen to and many give program information, schedule, Twitter information, a list of related stations. If the stream you are listening to is less than perfect, you can change the stream too. You can favorite stations and ponders the to the home screen too. Apart from radio, it also provides a selection of podcasts to listen too. And of course, it integrates with the music hub meaning you can pause music from the lock screen, or the music hub if you have closed the TuneIn app.
Slacker Radio is also far front exclusive for Nokia. It does a decent job too and seems to give a more mainstream variety of music than Last.FM does. Its ad supported and has relatively small buttons, but does the job well allowing you to select artists or genres and finding music similar to your choices. You can favorite songs or choose to have it never play that track again.
I should also add that both TuneIn and Slacker performed excellently in Minneapolis 4G network, meaning I was able to enjoy a great music experience on my drive to work and back.
Nokia isn’t aiming this phone at the high end and this is reflected in the camera. It’s 5Mp lens does a decent job, especially outside or in good light. However, it copes less well in low light. All in all, decent, but not great, but it does the job.The Single LED flash is nice and bright though, but this means it works well as a flashlight as much as anything else.
The Windows Phone web browser is generally brilliant on windows phone and seems snappy on T-Mobiles “4G” network here on Minneapolis.
Other Apps and Features
This is Nokia’s navigation app and those of you who have used it on Symbian or MeeGo will be familiar with many of its features and UI. However, compared to both of those versions, the current implementation is somewhat limited.
Still, you do get clear directions, both on screen and through audio. There is offline mapping too which is great, and something missing from the Nokia maps version you can get through the Windows phone marketplace (an SDK limitation means 2 apps can’t share data).
This is basically a list of recommended apps in the marketplace, and to some extent helps with discovery. The lists available are Staff Picks, starter kit, addictive, workin’,turn it up++, health+, and foodies. The starter kit provides a list of commonly installed apps such as Spotify, Adobe Reader. YouTube and Foursquare, and the other lists provide apps related to their headings so productivity, music, health and finding places to eat.
The proof that windows phone can do Bluetooth file transfer, but for some reason they don’t want you to. By pairing the 710 and your current Symbian or MeeGo device you can transfer your current contacts from one phone to the other. This is an all or nothing solution so there is no ability to pick individual contacts. Windows phone will associate them with your windows live account once they have been transfered.
The ESPN app is a quick portal to get scores and tables fir games in your favorite sports. You cant pin teams as love tiles in the current version, just sports, and clicking a game takes you to a web page showing live game updates and pre and post game reports.
Ah yes, the movie streaming service. The app is nice and is easy to use to manage your queue or stream a movie. Streaming quality seems good over WiFi, and the only real disappointment is that there is no support for TV-out cables to show it on a bigger screen.
The Weather Channel
A mixed bag this one. It does a decent hob as a full feature weather app, complete with radar, current temps, and 5 day forecast. You can pin a live tile fir your location, which is fixed-i.e it wont follow your current GPS so if you are travelling you need to re-enter your location each tines you use it. In solution, the live tile fir this seemed stuck showing he same information fir about a week.
This is simply Nokia’s privacy statement.
My Account, Telenav & T-Mobile TV
These are the apps t-mobile installs fir you. My account shows how many minutes/texts you have used, but sadly not how much data. You can see your mist recent bill here too. It works by using your SIM identity to get the details which means it doesn’t work over WiFi.
Telenav is a GPS solution which i didn’t try. It costs $9.99 per month to use and bing maps and Nokia drive provide two decent solutions already for free so there is no good reason to use Telenav.
T-Mobile TV is a 3G tv service, which doesn’t work over WiFi. It allows you to watch live TV from a range of stations on your phone, and watching some stations will incur a charge.
Overall the phone performs well and I have really enjoyed using it. There really isn’t a lot to differentiate between different windows phone’s but with good performance in calls, a nice loudspeaker, decent screen, and despite a average camera I have to say it does the job well. The battery life however, could be better and some days I ran out of juice during the afternoon while I was at work.
One other performance point is that I was highly impressed with how fast and smoothly it connected to WiFi networks and bluetooth devices. Especially with the latter, I have sometimes had to reset the bluetooth connection on phone or the device I’m trying to connect to, but that didn’t happen here and it seemed that no sooner had a bluetooth device turned on, it was connected immediately.
Nokia has aimed this device at first time smartphone users and T-Mobile in the USA has priced it at $50 on contract or $350 at full price. Given it’s low price point, for the feature set it provides it is well recommended, and will preform better than many a cheap android device. Those who will want their entire music collection on the phone may want to try for a Windows Phone with higher internal storage such as the Nokia Lumia 800/900, HTC HD7/Titan/Titan II or the Samsung Focus S. All these also have a higher resolution camera.