The Nokia Lumia 710 is a pretty monumental smartphone. For starters, it’s one of the first two Nokia smartphones to come running Windows Phone 7.5. It’s also the first Nokia Windows Phone to be released in the U.S. While the Nokia Lumia 800 has been out for a while now overseas, T-Mobile has beat other carriers to the punch by bringing the Nokia Lumia 710 stateside. The new Lumia 710 for T-Mobile aims to be a budget-oriented phone, aimed at an audience of people looking to buy their first smartphone.
But while the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 are the first of their kind, these two smartphones are quite different than one another. With its chic design, the Lumia 800 represents the high end, and is really Nokia’s current flagship Windows phone. The Lumia 710 on the other hand feels a lot more plain Jane, especially in its black incarnation. As a matter of fact, we whole-heartedly prefer the white version of the Lumia 710 to the black. Fortunately, Nokia plans on releasing back-plates for the Lumia 710 that will help spruce up the phone and add more personality to it. But although plasticy and not nearly as impressive as the matte polycarbonate body of the 800, we do like the 710′s design. The build-quality feels solid, and its curved back, with its soft rubber finish makes the device comfortable to hold and grip. That said, we’re not crazy about the single solid plastic piece at the bottom of the display that is used to house the back, home and search buttons. This single piece button requires more effort to operate than the usual touch-sensitive buttons that most Windows Phones sport. In our opinion, it’s this aspect of the 710′s design which indicates most that this is a budget device. It’s also worth noting that like the Lumia 800, the 710 works only with a microSIM. This is obviously the future for Nokia’s devices.
Measuring .49″ thick, and 2.46″ wide by 4.69″ tall with a 3.7″ display, and weighing just 4.4 ounces, the Nokia Lumia 710 hits the sweet-spot in terms of form-factor. The display isn’t too big for small hands, yet it provides plenty of real estate. Speaking of the Lumia’s display, it’s a ClearBack TFT display with a 800×480 resolution. While this display isn’t as “high-end” as the ClearBlack AMOLED display on the 800 – believe it or not, we prefer the display on the 710 to the display on the 800. That is because the display on the 800 is actually a PenTile display which creates a somewhat disorienting pixelated affect for those with sensitive eyes. Instead, the 710′s display is sharp as day, with good color reproduction and it gets plenty bright too. Is it a display that will blow you away with vivid colors? No, but the Lumia 710 still offers a very solid display.
Aside from the standard Windows Phone fare, Nokia has bundled the 710 with Nokia Drive – a GPS navigation app. T-Mobile has also thrown on Slacker Radio, NetFlix, the Weather Channel, the TeleNav GPS Nav app, and T-Mobile TV. Other than those few apps, you can expect plain old Windows Phone 7.5 which is in our opinion – awesome, and not being appreciated enough in this smartphone marketplace. But hopefully, Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft will help change all of that. You can check out our more in-depth review of Windows Phone 7.5, AKA Mango, in our HTC Radar review.
The Nokia Lumia packs in a 5MP camera with auto focus and a LED Flash. It also packs in a dedicated camera key which is something that so many smartphones seem to be neglecting nowadays. The camera on the Lumia 710 isn’t one of the best out there, but it’s pretty capable. For starters, it’s able to load up quickly and snap pics fast, as well as auto focus on a subject quickly. It also manages to capture pretty nice shots with detail in doors and in low light conditions. That said, its colors are a bit washed out, and far from bold and vivid.
Going back to the Lumia 800 for a moment, we have to say that although the 800 is designed to be the higher end device, the 710 really doesn’t sacrifice much at all as a smartphone. With its 1.4Ghz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor, it performs well and handles Windows Phone 7.5 with aplomb – and that includes all the modern day features you would expect from a modern day smartphone – including social media, gaming, email, web browsing, apps, and more. The Lumia 710 also comes with 512MB of ram, and 8GB of built-in storage.
Battery lasted 2 days with light use! That includes some short phone calls, the display set to its highest brightness setting, and push email plus social network notifications turned on.This is one of the best battery’s you can find on a smartphone nowadays, even better than the HTC Radar’s battery.
While the upload an download speeds on the Lumia 710 have proven a bit disappointing, when it comes to day to day web browsing, the Lumia 710 perfumes plenty fast. Unfortunately, the Nokia Lumia 710 does not come with Internet Sharing, AKA a mobile hotspot. This is a feature that only some Windows Phone 7.5 handsets currently offer. We sure hope that Nokia offers it eventually via an update.
In terms of design, the Nokia Lumia 710 is quite the drastic change from its brother the Lumia 800. The 800 is all about the high-end, while the 710 is all about being on a budget. Yet at the end of the day, the Lumia 710 is pretty much just as capable a performer as the 800, albeit not as good looking. T-Mobile has told us that the Nokia Lumia 710 is designed for people looking to purchase their first smartphone. And we think that in that respect, it totally hits the mark with its great price-point and the easy-to-use Windows Phone 7.5 OS. Is this a phone that can go head to head with the latest cutting edge smartphones? Hardly. But when it comes to budget smartphones, it’s one of the best budget phones you can buy. The Lumia 710 is expected to retail for $49.99 with a 2 year contract on T-Mobile.
The Good: Very comfy to hold and grip, upcoming back-plates will make the device more customizable and fun, performs very well, sharp bright display, AMAZING battery life, Windows Phone 7.5 is awesome – yes, we said it!
The Bad: Not the most exciting design, 8GB of built-in storage is on the small size – especially considering that it’s not expandable via microSD, why must they insist on using a microSIM, dedicated key for Windows UI keys is annoying to operate, device is a bit of a grease magnet