In the past, Nokia ruled the market with their S60 smartphone OS. Of course that was then and now S60ís market share is shrinking faster than a snowball in summer (or this year, Feburary). Anyways, Nokia saw the writing on the wall and last year switched from S60 to Windows Phone. While Nokia has the Lumia 800 and 900 in the upper to high-end the 710 is their mid range device.
Probably the most interesting thing about the 710 is how similar it is to the 800. There are basically 5 differences: The 800 shell is a single piece of plastic while the 710ís isnít. The 710 has a 3.7Ē LCD display while the 800ís has what appears to be a 3.7Ē Super AMOLED. The 800 has a slightly larger non-removable battery (1450mAh non-removable vs 1300mAh removable) a higher resolution camera (8mp vs 5mp) and more built-in storage (16GB vs 8GB).
Whatís interesting is that the 710 and 800 both share the same 1.4Ghz Qualcomm processor. So speed-wise, there shouldnít be any difference between the 710 and 800.
As I mentioned the screen is a 3.7Ē LCD compared to the 800ís Super AMOLED display. While the 710ís display lacks the deep, even black levels of the 800 itís actually a little sharper.
As far as LCD display goes the 710ís is decent. Compared to the iPhone 4s (which also has a LCD display) the 710 colour is a quite a bit warmer (more red) whereas the 4sí is slightly cool (slightly blue). Horizontal and viewing vertical angles are identical. The display works fine outdoors.
Below the screen are 3 physical menu buttons. Given a choice I always prefer physical buttons over capacitive ones. They make the phone easier to use because thereís no chance you might accidentally press one. Still, the 710ís buttons are too stiff and have very little travel - this makes them feel kind of cheap.
The 710ís back has a nice rubberized finish.The back cover has a slight curve. Those 2 features plus the fact that it has a reasonably sized 3.7Ē screen make the 710 very easy to grip with one hand. Itís quite different from the 800 in this respect whoís organic shape makes it a little slippery. To me, the ability to use a phone with one hand is very important - if I Ďm using my phone itís usually with just one hand.
Both the battery and back cover can be removed. Like the Nokia phones of yore, you can buy coloured battery covers for the 710.
micro USB, headphone jack, power button.
volume buttons, camera button
Despite the low price point the 710 is a very solid phone. While itís made from plastic it feels well made.
There is 8GB of storage built-in. 8GB is a nice starting point but what kills me is that itís not expandable using memory cards.
Software-wise the 800 and 710 are so similar that the next bit of this review is taken directly from my 800 review. If youíve already read that just skip over to the camera section of this review.
Now when you compare Android and iOS, the topic of fragmentation inevitably comes up. In order to differentiate their products from other manufacturers, Android OEMís add their own user interface. This causes 3 problems: First off their interfaces can sometimes slow Android down which generally isnít the fastest OS to begin with. Secondly, it can delay OEMís from bringing out newer versions of Android since they have to spend time and money customizing it before they release it to customers. Thirdly is the issue of fragmentation. Just because a program works on one Android phone is no guarantee that it will work on another.
In order to combat this problem, Microsoft is extremely strict with Windows Phone OEMs. OEMs are not allowed to customize the WP user interface and theyíre pretty limited when it come to what kind of hardware they can stick in their phones.
The benefit to this is that Windows Phone runs really smoothly, itís not like Android where many phones essentially have 2 sets of user interfaces. The other benefit is that almost everybody gets their updates at around the same time. The downside for me as a reviewer is that outside of the design there isnít much to differentiate between Windows Phone from different manufacturers. The Lumia 710 is almost exactly like a Samsung, HTC or LG Windows Phone - itís just faster.
As I already mentioned, the UI and base applications are all identical to other Windows Phone running Mango (that would be all Windows Phones). The home screen is organized into tiles. You can adjust the colour of the tiles plus you can choose a white or black background.
If you swipe the home screen it will bring up a list of all the programs. You can add programs to the home screen by pressing and holding them and then choosing Ďpin to startí.
The Windows Phone interface is both minimalistic and elegant. You take the programs you use most and pin them to the home screen. If youíre an Android user youíll notice that there are no widgets on WP. Instead of the notification area you get on both Android and iOS WP shows notifications on the lock screen.
Some tiles are live, meaning that they change. For example: the tile for email has a number on it depending on how many new emails youíve received since you last read them. Another example is the HowardForums app which shows how many new PMís youíve got.
The phone itself is organized into hubs. The people hub is where your address book is located. It also shows updates from your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thereís a Ďmeí tile which you can use to check in, update your social networking status, see if anyone mentioned you in their social networking, etc.
The pictures hub shows you new pictures from your Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live (but not Flickr, Picasa, etc) as well as photos that youíve taken.
Thereís also XBOX LIVE (where you play games), Marketplace (where you download new apps), Bing maps as well as Bing search which has a built in QR code scanner and a voice search.
You can create, view and edit MS Office files - One Note, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. The Office only syncs up with SkyDrive (Microsoftís free, cloud-based storage), Office 365 and SharePoint servers.
The Music Hub is where you listen and watch music, radio and podcasts and videos as well as access other music-related apps which youíve downloaded. Like other Windows Phones you can use Zune Pass (also available in Canada) to download as many songs as you want for a flat rate. You can listen to them as long as you pay the monthly fee.
All the stuff I just mentioned comes with ANY Windows Phone.
Nokia has preloaded a couple of their own programs which are only available for Nokia Windows Phones: Nokia Drive and App Highlights. You can also download Nokia maps from the Marketplace.
Nokia Drive is a Navigation program while Nokia Maps is strictly for mapping. Nokia Drive works well. It has a very clean interface, voice guided navigation, the voice sounds pretty natural, day and night modes and 2D and 3D views. The best thing about Nokia Drive is that it allows you to choose what maps you want to download to the device. So instead of downloading new new maps when youíre roaming you can grab them when youíre at home using WiFi. Maps are split into province or state - there are maps from all over the world. Just to give you an idea the map for the entire US is 1.8 GB, Canada is 288MB while Ontario is 86MB and California is is 140MB.
App Highlights is mostly a front end for the Marketplace where you can download apps.
The 710 Iím reviewing is the Rogers version. It came preloaded with the Rogers Urmusic and MyAccount apps. You can uninstall them if you want.
On paper the camera is decent, while a 5 megapixel sensor doesnít seem that high from my experience it can be perfectly adequate - just look at the iPhone 4. The lens has an aperture of f/2.4 which is pretty fast for a device at this price point. At 28mm the lens is also pretty wide.
In practice, while the camera is capable of capturing good pictures most of the time it doesnít. I found that it misses focus a lot so pictures are never as sharp as they could be. Indoors, the flash works well though the 710 is a little more reliant on it than Iíd like to see.
Video can be recorded at 720p. It can also be pretty good but indoor it misses focus a lot. I have a couple of indoor videos where the entire video was out of focus. There is no manual focus setting. When youíre shooting 720p the camera Ďzoomsí in itís considerably tighter (more Ďzoomed iní) than the still camera. Sound in recorded videos is good.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 1951.3
Apple iPhone 4s 2252.1
Blackberry Bold 9900 2681.6
Nokia Lumia 710 6711.3
Nokia Lumia 800 6727.4
HTC Surround 7 9694.8
The Lumia 710 has the same processor as the 800 so itís not suprising that itís SunSpider score is more or less identical to the 800ís.
Windows Phones use a browser powered by Internet Explorer. So youíre probably thinking that the Lumia 710 has a much slower browser. Yes and no. It scores terribly in SunSpider but so do all other Windows Phone. In real life I find that the 710ís browser is just as fast if not faster than the iPhone 4sí in side-by-side comparisons (I didnít compare side-by-side with the Galaxy Nexus). So, while I donít think SunSpider is useful for comparing Windows Phone with other platforms it is useful for comparing different WPís with each other.
Check it out, the 710ís processor is clocked 40% faster than the Surround 7ís and its SunSpider score is approx 40% higher.
To test the battery life I used a 7hr long 720x400 video file.The video is of the HowardForums logo and a bunch of text with transitions on a white background. I used the Zune desktop to copy the file to the 710 which transcoded the file to a more Windows Phone friendly format first. I charged the battery to 100%, turned on airplane mode, turned the screen to maximum brightness and played the video until the battery died.
Nokia Lumia 800 141
Nokia Lumia 710 189
Motorola RAZR 242
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 222
HTC Amaze 4G 288
HTC Raider 303
LG Optimus LTE 242
The 710ís test result here is interesting because as far as the test goes the only significant differences between the 710 and the 800 are the screen and the battery capacity (710/1300mAh vs 800/1450mAh). The Lumia 800 has a Super AMOLED while the 710 has a regular LCD. So, itís pretty interesting that the 710 lasts nearly 34% longer despite having a smaller battery.
Still, the 710 does quite poorly compared to the Android phones in this test. I guess that Windows Phone uses more power than other OS when playing back video.
Maximum speaker volume is average - the iPhone 4sí speaker is much louder.
RF performance is about average. Incoming sound quality is quite good as is outgoing. Maximum earpiece volume could be a little louder.
I was impressed with the Lumia 710. It has the same performance as itís bigger brother in a more user friendly form factor. When you look at Android to see what you can get for around $250 (a Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray) you can really see what a great deal the 710 is. The 710ís screen looks better, itís got a faster processor and more importantly it works more smoothly. The 710 has a better on-screen keyboard and it has 8GB of storage though the Rayís can be expanded up to 32GB.
Back to Nokia the 710 is so good that the only reason Iíd buy the Lumia 800 is if I need itís 16GB of storage or if I need a higher resolution camera. And the 800ís camera has its own set of problems which are different from the 710ís. To me the 710 should serve to cannibalize sales of the 800.
In the end I thought that the 710 is really a hidden gem. Itís fast, well made and overall quite a pleasant surprise.
fits nicely in my hand
Same performance as the 800 at half the price
screen is nice
user changeable back covers
camera has difficulty focusing
extra back covers not included
only 8GB of storage that isnít expandable
Same performance as the 800 at half the price