The Lumia 710 is the second of Nokia’s new wave of Windows Phone handsets and cuts down on the spec of the higher end Lumia 800 while retaining some of its best features.
So it has much the same software treats while compromising on a few of the hardware accessories such as camera and casing.
Design and build
It’s ever so slightly bigger than the 800 at 119x62x13mm but weighs a little less at 126g. The casing isn’t quite as sleek either, though it comes with a cheaper, but arguably more cheerful rubberised plastic back plate that’s available in a range of colours – blue, black, pink or white, the same colours as the 800.
The sides feature a volume rocker and dedicated camera shutter button, with a 3.5mm headphone jack flanked by a microUSB power/sync slot and power/sleep button. Unlike the 800 however, the microUSB slot isn’t covered. It also uses a micro SIM card by the way, but this time it’s under the battery.
Some elements of the 710 have been compromised, and unfortunately the screen is one of them. Like the more expensive phone it still measures 3.7in resplendent behind the sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass which covers the entire front face of the phone.
This one however is ClearBlack TFT, rather than ClearBlack AMOLED, which drops the sharpness and vibrancy a little. Still, it offers a beautifully sharp resolution of 800x480 pixels and compares well against the screens on more expensive devices.
Interface and OS
The operating system is Windows Phone 7.5 Mango of course and it has all the advantages and disadvantages that that brings, whatever the price of the phone it’s on.
It looks lovely, with lots of little graphic swooshes and pictures, and its tile-based system is very easy to organise, even more with this latest version which allows you to group your tiles.
With simplicity comes a lack of complexity, and that won’t suit everyone, especially if you like the busy widgets and versatility of Android. No such distractions here, though more of the tiles are now interactive, displaying updates from your contacts for instance, or offering real-time updates on travel info.
A 5 megapixel camera replaces the 8 megapixel model from the 800 and it does without that phone’s Carl Zeiss lens. It can manage a maximum resolution of 2592x1944 pixels (a drop from the 800’s 3264x2488) and picture quality is correspondingly less sharp with a reduction in detail.
It’s still unduly light sensitive and quality diminishes quickly in less than ideal conditions. Still, it comes with an LED flash, autofocus, touch focus (so you can tap on the screen to establish where your focal point will be), exposure compensation and geotagging.
As with other elements of the phone, it’s also easy to share your snaps on Facebook with a single button push.
Video recording in 720 HD at 30fps is still a reality though, but the results aren’t quite as sharp as those through the Carl Zeiss lens.
Apps and browser
The default browser is the latest Internet Explorer 9 which is nicely intuitive to use but while it can handle HTML5, it doesn’t support Flash video.
Nokia Maps may not be quite as detailed and advanced as Google Maps, but there is the advantage of Nokia Drive – virtually free satnav directions. For Android users, that’s so far, so what, but the big difference is that you can download any of the world maps and directions for free, load them onto your phone and you won’t end up with a hefty roaming bill while you’re exploring abroad.
What’s more of course, you won’t find it on any non-Nokia Windows handsets.
The Windows Marketplace may be lagging well behind Apple’s App Store and the Android Market in terms of the sheer number of apps available, but at least these days it’s far from empty. There are over 60,000 apps available now, with many popular titles covered. And it’s growing…
Media and connectivity
Microsoft’s Zune software is the medium for syncing your media with your computer. It’s easy to set up which files and folders you want to match and you can also drag and drop individual files onto your phone when it suits you.
The Nokia Music hub allows you to buy tunes online, but there’s also the rapidly developing bonus of Nokia Mix Radio, which allows you to listen to streams of themed music along the lines of ‘rock’, ‘soul’, ‘pop’ etc. It’s more limited in scope than Last.fm for example, and you can only fast forward seven songs in any 24-hour period, but at least it’s free – you have nothing to lose but your data allowance.
Performance and battery life
The Lumia 710 uses the same single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor backed by 512MB RAM as its more expensive brother. Since its impressively fast in all areas, it’s heartwarming to see that Nokia didn’t compromise on this issue.
No Windows Phone handset has yet been able to expand its memory via microSD card and there’s no change here. Unlike the 800 however you’re stuck with 8GB of memory which may fill up all too soon if you’re a fan of HD video.
The 1300mAh battery didn’t disgrace itself but then again, didn’t really impress either, delivering around a day’s worth of heavy use.
- Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
- 5MP camera
- Bright, sharp 3.7in screen
- Fast processor
- No expandable memory
- No front-facing camera
- Windows Marketplace lagging behind rivals
Verdict: If you need Nokia’s best camera, you might be better off with the Lumia 800, but otherwise the Lumia 710 offers lots of good stuff like a fast processor and good screen at a cheaper price.
More info: Nokia Lumia 710 spec