This year is a make-or-break year for the Windows Phone platform. Other brands were not quite successful with this mobile platform from Microsoft and it’s now up to Nokia to show them how things are done with the release of their line of Lumia phones.
The Nokia Lumia 710 sits smack in the middle of the pack of Lumia’s offering you quality specs at a friendly price suitable for college students or young professionals. It has the power of the Lumia 800 while using regular materials found on the Lumia 610, making it a nice in-betweener smartphone.
Check out our review of the Lumia 710 to see how Nokia tries to attract new savvy smartphone owners to the Windows Phone platform.
The Nokia Lumia 710 derived its design from the Symbian-toting Nokia 600 with a curved edges on a chunky form that would feel right on your hands. It’s shell is made of plastic that contributes to its light weight (125.5g).
The front sports an all Gorilla Glass, fingerprint-magnet screen with 3.7-inch dedicated to its TFT display, and a piece of strip bearing a button bar for the Back, Home, and Search functionalities that feels a bit stiff to press. Holding the back button brings up the task screen which shows you up to five running apps.
The top side belongs to the tiny Power/Sleep button, the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port for charging and data transfer. Right side has the volume control and the dedicated camera button. Left and bottom side are void of any buttons or ports.
The back panel has a smooth rubbery finish for added grip and houses the 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, and the speaker grill at the bottom. Prying it open from a catch on the left side reveals a removable battery and the microSIM slot. Unfortunately, just like any WP7 phones, no microSD slot can be found here.
Display and UI
The Lumia 710 sports a 3.7-inch (800 x 480 resolution) TFT display with Nokia’s ClearBlack Technology for deeper blacks, a nice solution for non-AMOLED displays. Other than the good blacks, the display is just ordinary for its screen size but the viewing angle is wider than the usual. I personally like this display for the phone rather than the over-saturated colors of AMOLED displays.
The phone runs on Windows Phone 7.5 (still Mango) and if you haven’t seen or used it yet, it’s a really easy UI to learn for first-time smartphone users. It looks really mice and classy as well. The metro UI has a boxy look filled with huge text that’s easy on the eyes. Not much customization can be done with the theme other than changing the colors.
The lockscreen shows basic info aside from time and date such as upcoming calendar events, and unread messages and mails.
The main screen is filled with tiles of apps and features you commonly use. These tiles are customizable, you can rearrange, delete or add new shortcuts when you download new apps. And if the app supports it, you can readily view updates from within its tile.
Swiping to the right of the main screen you will then see every phone features and apps displayed in a list. A lot of scrolling is required if you have plenty of apps already although you can also do a search if needed.
Another nice feature with the UI is the integration of your social network accounts into its basic apps. For example in the People (or Contacts) app, you can also get a glance of your Facebook wall for the latest status updates. The Messaging app not only shows your SMS conversations but also chat threads and friends who are available online for a chat. The Me tile allows you to quickly post a message, check-in, or set a status update to a number of your registered social network accounts.
Powering the Nokia Lumia 710 is the same single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor found on the Nokia Lumia 800 along with 512MB RAM. It may not be as jaw-dropping as the quad-core phones popping up these days but believe me, it’s pretty capable in handling all this phone is set to do without any hiccups.
Whether it’s playing games downloaded from the Marketplace, watching a video, or just browsing with Internet Explorer, you really won’t notice any performance issues at all. I downloaded a heavy game, Civilization, and there was no lag in-game and loading screens didn’t take too long.
Standard HSDPA runs its mobile internet needs although there’s no option to use the phone as a WiFi hotspot even if this Mango update already supports it. Speaking of WiFi, it turns itself off when the phone enters sleep mode and there’s no option to bypass this unless the phone’s connected to a power source or you set screen timeout to “œnever”.
Nokia’s phones are known for having really good reception and call quality and the Lumia 710 is no different. Same goes with the audio quality blasting from its above-average speakers.
Web browsing is done via Internet Explorer 9 which is as quick as mobile browsers can get. Unfortunately, no Flash support here, not even Microsoft’s Silverlight. But it’s still capable for your regular browsing needs.
Apps and Features
First thing you do when you get a new smarpthone is to register your accounts. Being a Windows Phone, the Lumia 710 is heavily integrated to your Windows Live account which will tie in your Hotmail, Xbox LIVE, SkyDrive, and MSN Messenger to the phone. You can still however, add Yahoo! and Google and pull data such as contacts and calendar from those accounts.
For social networking, only Twitter and LinkedIn are pre-installed in the phone. Facebook and Foursquare requires a separate download from the Marketplace and these apps are customized to suit the theme of WP7 which looks really nice and different from iOS and Android.
What you’ll definitely get out of Nokia-based Window Phones are the added useful Nokia apps that’s already been a staple on their Symbian devices. You’ll get Nokia Drive and Nokia map for convenient and decent offline navigation.
Then there are some apps and games available at the Marketplace and Nokia store so you’ll be getting more than what other WP7 phones has to offer. Still, app and game listing is not as comprehensive as on the Android and iOS.
Skype was recently introduced to WP7 and the Lumia 710 can run it despite not having a front-facing camera. It will utilize the rear-camera for video-chat instead so only one person can see the other while Skyp-ing.
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud service and the mobile app (requires download) is also integrated with the phone’s functions. You can upload photos straight to your SkyDrive account from the camera or launch and edit documents into the pre-installed Microsoft Office mobile app.
The Microsoft Office mobile app lets you create or edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and makes sure that everything is retained and compatible to the desktop version which you can pull from your SkyDrive.
All downloaded games are stored in the Xbox Live tile so you don’t have to search for it from the app list. All games in the Marketplace seem to have a trial version so you can check whether it’s worth the price you’ll be paying.
Music, photos and videos are passed through the Zune desktop app (similar to iOS and iTunes) unlike in Android where you have the option to just drag and drop via Windows Explorer. This can be a problem if you have some files from other machines you want to add immediately to the phone.
However, aside from forcing you to have your multimedia collection nice and tidy in one machine, Microsoft wants to control the video formats you put on your phone. Whenever you sync a video, Zune will likely have to convert it first to a mobile-friendly format. This takes time depending on the speed of your machine.
Although the multimedia players on the Lumia 710 looks good aesthetically, I find it really odd that you can’t skip to a middle part of the song. How can something so basic gets missed by the music player?
Videos look good and plays smoothly (thanks to the conversion) although the built-in 8GB storage space can really limit the amount of videos you can store in the phone.
The 5-megapixel camera on the Lumia 710 can be activated from sleep state by pressing and holding the dedicated shutter button. It supports half-press to focus although the button itself is too shallow so half-pressing can be tricky.
Nothing special with the camera functions as the phone supports all basic adjustments you can do. Here are some sample photos taken with the Nokia Lumia 710.[nggallery id=38]
For a 5-megapixel shooter, the Lumia 710 takes good photos in broad daylight or even well-lit indoor settings. Just don’t try to zoom-crop as you can see the smoothing the software does to grainy photos. Still, the photos are well-saturated with just the right amount of contrast.
By the way, if you want to edit your photos or apply filters, Nokia has this free app called Creative Studio which should be a staple download to all Nokia Windows phones.
Again, there’s no front-facing camera here although video-chatting with Skype still works using the rear camera. The phone is capable of 720p HD video recording.
Just like most smartphones, the Nokia Lumia 710 can get you through a day with average use of calls, 3G, WiFi, videos, etc. Although putting it mostly on standby in airplane mode can last you three days.
Despite the paltry 1300mAh battery, you can easily carry a spare one and replace it when needed.
The Nokia Lumia 710 is a fine Windows Phone with an attractive price point. It may not have the looks and build quality as that of the Nokia Lumia 800 but it inherited its power. The phone runs smoothly, the camera is decent, and the battery is easily replaceable. You will also get some nice integration with Microsoft services and apps and make use of Nokia Drive.
What’s not to like? There’s the missing Flash support when browsing, no front camera, limited storage with no microSD slot, Zune-dependency, and limited apps. However, these hardware limitations are very common to Windows phones so you just have to live with it to enjoy the OS. What’s nice with Windows Phone is that software updates are not too hardware dependent so you don’t have to worry about your phone getting obsolete in a year or two.
Outside the gray market, only Smart will carry the Nokia Lumia 710 on their Special Edition Plan 1000 with a monthly amortization of Php450 for two years. However, stores like Widget City is carrying this phone for just Php13,950, an attractive price for a decent mid-range smartphone.
|Nokia Lumia 710 Specs:|
|Single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon|
|Adreno 205 GPU|
|Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango|
|3.7-inch TFT LCD with ClearBlack Display, 480 x 800, Gorilla Glass|
|8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, no microSD|
|HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps|
|5 MP, 2592Ñ…1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, no front camera|
|720p HD video recording @ 30fps|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, EDR|
|Li-Ion 1300 mAh (BP-3L) battery|
|119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm|
|Black, White (front)/ black, white, cyan, fuchsia, yellow (back)|
|Exclusive to Smart via Special Edition Plan 1000|