The Gadget Post
T he Nokia Lumia 710 is T-Mobile’s second Windows Phone Mango second generation smartphone, and it’s Nokia’s second Windows phone. For a phone that’s defined by its “secondness”, it’s nonetheless an attractive and interesting example of Windows Phone hardware. It has a sharp display, that distinctive Nokia look with curved corners and pleasing lines, and a few Nokia signature touches like their Nokia Drive app. The Lumia 710 might not have the unibody polycarbonate design and Super AMOLED display of its more high end overseas companion, the Lumia 800,but it’s a great smartphone.
High end or low end, or somewhere in between; Windows Phones all share the same basic specs thanks to Microsoft’s strict guidelines. That means this $49 phone runs on the same CPU and its display has the same resolution as the higher end Lumia 800 and AT&T Windows Phones like the HTC Titan. You get a second generation single core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 205 graphics, a 3.7″ 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touch screen, 3G and 4G HSPA+ 14.4Mbps (currently the fastest data connection Windows Phone supports), a 5 megapixel rear camera and the usual WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and a GPS. Not bad for the price!
Typical of lower priced Windows Phones, you get less storage: 8 gigs vs. 16 gigs on higher end phones. The Lumia 710 has about 5.33 gigs free for your use, and that might be a bit tight for those of you who embrace the Zune ecosystem for syncing music and video. Zune is as ever one of the slickest and most enjoyable mobile music players, and it makes the iPhone’s music player look a bit old school. It has album art, and side-scrolling to see related music, artist bios and more. If you have a Zune pass ($10/month), you’ve got an all you can eat subscription music service and you can stream music to the phone without side-loading using the Zune app in Windows or the Mac Windows Phone Connector (with iTunes sync) in Mac OS X. If you wish to purchase music and videos from the Zune Marketplace, you’ll pay using the Microsoft Points system, just as you do with XBOX downloadable content. The Lumia 710 has good sound quality from the speaker, and very good sound quality through headphones and Bluetooth stereo headphones. The rear-firing speaker is surprisingly loud for a small phone.
Nokia Lumia 800 black 16GB factory unlocked. GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 & 3G/HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100. 1.4 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon chipset, 3D Graphics HW. 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual-LED flash. HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps. Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. ATTENTION!!! THIS DEVICE NEEDS MICRO-SIM!!! be sure to have a Micro-Sim (like Iphone 4) or a cutter!
List Price: $ 899.99
Price: $ 163.99
Thanks to the 1.4GHz CPU, the Lumia 710 hums right along. Windows Phone is optimized for the Qualcomm Snapdragon single core CPU, and speed is always impressive. It’s as fast as the iPhone 4S and you don’t see the occasional lag that pesters Android phones. XBOX Live games play fluently on the phone, and even demanding 3D titles play well. Speaking of XBOX, Windows Phone integrates with XBOX Live and there’s a healthy selection of quality games ranging in price from .99 to $6.99, with most high quality titles selling for $2.99 to $4.99.
Again, thanks to Microsoft’s broad ecosystem, you get very good MS Exchange support and a mobile MS Office suite for viewing and editing MS Office files. In addition it handles Gmail and Google Contacts and Calendar sync along with POP3 and IMAP email. The phone can pull documents and photos from the SkyDrive cloud too. The Lumia 710 has 4G HSPA+ on T-Mobile, and speeds in our solid coverage area were very good, with documents transferring quickly and music streaming without a hiccup. T-Mobile TV streamed perfectly over HSPA+, as did Netflix. When streaming lots of video or music, you might want to use WiFi when available to avoid hitting your data cap. T-Mobile doesn’t cut off customers who exceed their data plan allowance, but they will slow down your connection to EDGE speeds for the remainder of your monthly period.
The Nokia Lumia 710 looks distinctly Nokia. It has that bar design with curved corners, complex curves and a general Euro chic style that sets it apart from other Windows Phones. It’s available in white and black, and though it doesn’t look as wildly unique as the unibody polycarbonate Nokia Lumia 800, it’s not a cheap looking phone, nor dull. It’s not terribly thin though; at 0.49″, it’s semi-chunky by today’s super-thin phone standards. The thickness does afford a removable back cover with access to the 1300 mAh Lithium Ion battery inside, which the slimmer Lumia 800 lacks. The back is made of a rubbery soft touch material and it seems fairly rugged and shock absorbing too. The front and top and bottom edges are glossy plastic, and the 3 standard Windows Phone buttons are the mechanical clicky type rather than capacitive. They score for tactile feedback, but are annoyingly stiff to press.
The “ClearBlack” TFT LCD is very sharp and has good color in terms of saturation and accuracy. Blacks are indeed deep, viewing angles are decent but not 178 degree IPS wide, and brightness is decent though it does fade in bright outdoor light. The display is clad in Corning Gorilla Glass for added durability and scratch resistance.
As you’d expect from Nokia, call quality is excellent for both incoming and outgoing voice. Reception is solid and we didn’t have a signal call drop. The phone uses a micro SIM just like the Lumia 800 and iPhone 4/4S. The smartphone is quad band GSM and quad band HSPA+. It has both T-Mobile and AT&T HSPA+ bands, likely due to the planned (but failed) merger with AT&T. The Lumia 710 works with Bluetooth headsets, car kits and Bluetooth stereo gear. Audio quality over Bluetooth is particularly good both for music and voice. Alas, the phone has neither a mobile hotspot feature nor WiFi calling.
The 5 megapixel rear camera takes very good photos that are sharp, colorful and well-exposed. Nokia knows how to make a good camera. The phone can shoot 720p video that likewise looks good, but there’s no 1080p video recording here due to the single core CPU. The camera has an LED flash and Windows Phone offers a healthy selection of settings and the ability to upload photos and videos to Sky Drive and social networking sites.
There’s a lot to like in Nokia’s first US Windows Phone. The bargain price belies a solid set of features; quick performance and an elegant though not thin design. Call quality is excellent, the camera takes good photos and the phone is fast. Gaming is fluid and fun, the Zune music experience is as ever enjoyable and streaming video plays well over T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. If you’re looking for an easy to pocket smartphone that’s wallet-friendly, the Nokia Lumia 710 is worth a look. It beats the HTC Radar 4G Windows Phone on T-Mobile for both price and specs, and it’s a lovely introduction to Windows Phone. We do wish the front buttons weren’t so maddeningly difficult to press and that the Lumia 710 had the mobile hotspot feature, but those are our only two complaints