And so begins Nokia's long journey back into the U.S. smartphone market. The Lumia 710 represents hope, not only for Windows Phone, but for Nokia as well. Nokia has a long history of dominating the cell phone market. For most of us, the first cell phone we remember seeing was probably a Nokia. However, the Finnish company hasn't done so well in the American market in recent years. Sure, things are still going fine overseas, but they would like to stake a claim in the U.S. market. For Nokia, the Lumia 710 is a good start at reasserting itself in the U.S. and regaining the trust of U.S. carriers.

 

Design & Features

The Lumia 710 may be known as the "cheap" version of the phone everyone really wants, the Lumia 800, but once you get the phone in your hands, you can tell that Nokia didn't cut many corners when it came to hardware and design. The phone feels solid and modern. The rounded sides and curved back give it an ergonomic feel that sets it apart from other phones in this price-range. I have to admit that I was surprised by how good the phone looked in person after ragging on it looking too cheap in photos.

Measuring 4.68-inches tall, 2.45-inches wide, and .5-inches thick, the Lumia 710 is a smallish device but it fits comfortably in the hand. The 3.7-inch display with ClearBlack technology looks spectacular. Not only are dark colors displayed closer to their true shade, but text and graphics overall are crisp and clear. A resolution of 480x800 doesn't sound very impressive in today's world of HD displays, but given the phone's 3.7-inch display, the pixel density of 252 pixels per inch (about the same as the DROID RAZR) is enough for a very clear picture.

Unlike most Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 710's navigation buttons are physical buttons instead of capacitive touch buttons. These are, of course, placed below the display in the typical order of Back, Start, and Search. The volume rocker buttons are on the right spine of the phone while the microUSB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Power/Screen lock button are all on the top. I must admit that the top is an awkward place to have the microUSB port but it didn't cause too many problems once I got used to it. As per most Windows Phone handsets, there is no microSD card slot. The phone has 8GB of internal memory and 512 MB of RAM.

 

Usability & Performance

The Lumia 710 ships with Windows Phone 7.5, also known as Mango. Since Microsoft does not allow for any manufacturer overlays or "skins", you'll get the same experience with the 710 as you will with other Windows Phone handsets. There are live tiles (kind of like widgets); XBOX Live integration; the Zune Marketplace for music and more; direct integration of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as well as any services or accounts through Google, Yahoo, and more; Bing Maps and Search; Microsoft Office; and the Marketplace with roughly 60,000 apps available. Nokia has been allowed to include a few custom apps like Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive. The choice between Nokia Maps and Bing Maps is yours but having Nokia Drive for turn-by-turn navigation is very handy as Windows Phone's navigation system isn't quite fully developed in this area.

Windows Phone is simple and minimalistic. Those who are used to Android and its unlimited customization options will need time to get used to Windows Phone and its virtually uncustomizable interface. For those who enjoy meticulous design, simplicity, and continuity, Windows Phone is perfect. Despite featuring XBOX Live integration, I wouldn't say it's for entertainment and gaming, though most popular titles can be found in the marketplace. Regardless of how simplistic it looks, the OS is very capable and a viable alternative to iOS or Android.

I've had very few problems with the performance of the Lumia 710. It is powered by a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor and, while this processor may pale in comparison to the dual-core processor available in other phones, Windows Phone runs smoothly with a single-core processor. I do notice that some apps take longer to load than is comfortable. Overall, pinch-to-zoom is seamless and transitions are smooth and quick. Using the app WP Bench, the Lumia 710 scored a 90.18. As a reference, the highest score currently recorded using this benchmark is 101.27.

Pictures taken with the Lumia 710's 5-megapixel camera were average but I expected better given Nokia's history of terrific phone cameras. Granted, the 710 does not feature Nokia's Carl Zeiss lens so that probably had something to do with it. Pictures were clear but the lighting seemed to be off. Even images captured in daylight lacked the color brilliance that could be seen in real life. Instead, they looked faded, and some even had a greenish tint. The camera does have an autofocus along with a single LED flash. It captures video in 720p HD resolution. Video and audio quality were exceptional with excellent clarity and detail.

The Lumia 710 is a 4G device and uses T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. While testing it in the Dallas area, average download speeds have been about 2-3 Mbps with a high of 4 Mbps. Average upload speeds have been about 100 Kbps with a high of 600 Kbps. T-Mobile's advertised speeds for the Lumia 710 are 14.4 Mbps, but those are theoretical speeds and you'll probably never get anywhere near them. Keep in mind that data speeds will vary greatly depending on coverage in your area.

I've been pleased with the Lumia 710's battery life. I was worried that the 1300 mAh battery might be too small, but Windows Phone is a pretty battery-efficient OS so I had no problems getting through a full day with even heavy use. With normal or light use, I may have been able to get through two days, but I generally ended up charging it either at night or halfway through the second day. Nokia's advertised battery times are 7 hours of talk time and 16 days of standby time.

 

Conclusion

So, let's be honest. When it comes to Windows Phone handsets from Nokia, the device everyone really wants is the Lumia 800 or even the 900. It was kind of a letdown for T-Mobile customers when they heard that the Lumia 710 was their only option. However, after testing out the phone, I can say that there's really nothing to be disappointed about. The build quality is excellent, the display is crisp and rich, and Windows Phone is as smooth and elegant as ever. If you're on T-Mobile and in the market for a Windows Phone handset, the Lumia 710 is definitely a viable option.

 

Wrap-Up

The Good: ClearBack display is crisp and beautiful; Nokia Drive for turn-by-turn navigation; great build quality and hardware design; smooth performance with no lag; decent 4G speeds; excellent HD video capture quality.

The Bad: Disappointing camera quality; Windows Phone isn't for everyone.

The Verdict: It may be the "little brother" to the more popular Lumia 800 or 900, but the 710 is no slouch. It holds its own in this competitive smartphone market.


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58 Reactions to this post

"What do you think of Nokia's first Windows Phone for the US?"


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Francesco Vincent Parisi Noeske i think 710 sucks, 1300mah it's not enough for such a big phone and i can't understand the lack of the autofocus.
Marc Kennedy That titan2 is about to make me jump ship from android
Maxi Fabián The best windows phone is the latest HTC Titan with the Mango update on it.
Tyler Bullis If want a windows phone I just download windows launcher for Android.
Jeff Koenig I tried this phone and the HTC Radar. They are both very responsive. I wish Android had the "People Hub" as this seems very integrated and useful.
Gerald Mccrae I hate windows 7 phone the only reason it's selling is because they paid Nokia to install there software. They can't even give there software away they have to pay company's to install it and then the company's have to give it away because of low sells
Eduardo Ordaz Sprint doesn't want to sell any of these wp7 because they aren't selling they prefer something else. Sprint doesn't want to sell these wp7 phones nor they do t even want to talk about these phones. I tried wp7 and its boring everything looks the same u can't change it to make it look different nor have a wallpaper behind those toy squares. Its just so boring even WebOS could be better than wp7 all they needed to do is price their products right. Blackberry is even ahead of wp7. I have tried wp7 and its boooring.
Eduardo Ordaz @ Michael benesa I have actually tried it and it stinks and its actually is boring. Couldn't even change the background to have a wallpaper. Its like having a feature phone all over again.
Eduardo Ordaz No way. Wp7 sucks and its boring. I tried it and didn't like it. U can't change anything to make it look unique. The OS sucks.
Roger Rodriguez Might get the 900. Had winmo and everyone knows it sucked!!! I've owned Nokia phones and loved their cameras. I wonder how's the battery life on these Nokia/Windows phones. Hopefully it's better than Android phones.
Paul Davis Pass, get the 900 already! Or the Titan ii
??? I love Windows Phone 7, I like the fonts and the things in the OS like Live Tiles. Nokia Lumia 710 is a very good device in my opinion, just because with its price point on T-Mo, it is not as competitive as the HTC Radar 4G, it is still a decent device.
Orlando Gonzalez Its a little plasticky but still a good device. As a current owner of a HTC Radar and HTC Amaze, I'm finding that i spend more time with my WP7 device over my android.
Chris Robato Oh yeah. Android widgets are animated. The pictures do change and it gives you information without opening an app. I hate these fudsters. Next time check your facts.
Chris Robato Nice phone but lacking in personality and Nokia character. Nokia would end up like a tasteless Dell if this keeps up.
Jacob Grumbles I like the build quality and look of the Nokia 710 but I'm not a big fan of wp7 and I have had a wp7 phone before its just not my cup of tea.
Michael Benesa All these idiots who never used a windows phone have no idea. Good luck getting ICS on your Android phones. Try WP7 before you spew your intelligent insights. If you think wp7 is boring, you actually never used it or downloaded any apps. You only see static screens and haven't seen it in motion. All the tiles are dynamic and in motion giving users current info and pictures unlike ios or your beloved android phones. Try it before you knock it dumbasses.
Mark Belkowski Nokia or not wp7 blows.
AJ Cole now that Nokia has a hot device with the 900 , nokia should bring it to all cariers (Verizon, tmobile, Sprint and more) like Apple did with the 4S and Samsung with the galaxy s2, AND the should bring it to Europe and Asia soon :)
Geoffrey P. Spicer 900 or Titan
Robert Centennial its awesome
Ben Rees WP7 is good. I gave up Android a few days ago to trail WP7 for a few months. Love it so far. Fast and smooth and you have all your accounts in one place, no switching from this to that app. Only one problem is apps but it's early days.
Tim Bunting Windows have a lot of catching up to do, but I hope it is successful as increased competition can only be a good thing for consumers of whatever OS you use.
Arvydas Gr It's a good medium range phone, but I would wait for Lumia 900, which will kick ass. And WP7 is just plain awesome
Tony Valadez I don't think windows should take on apple and android as a premium device just yet, they have a chance to dominate the entry level smart phone market and they should stick to that for now
Andrew Martin I'm staying with iPhone . Android and windowe phone had no luck
Mark Navarro Can't tell one wp7 home screen from another.. they all look the same. BORING!
Mark Hellard I have had ios and android. I have to say that I like wp7 better. And this is my first Nokia phone and I love it. So try it out before you talk negative about them.
Scott Sanstad It looks like a good phone, but it has one major problem: it doesn't support Wifi tethering. I can't afford to get a windows mobile phone without tethering support.
Jerry Parker I think Both Android and WP7 is good
Zach Cline Android sucks
William Martin People automatically assume that because something doesn't appeal to them that that means it's crap. I wouldn't want a windows phone because there's very little in the way of customisation, and my inner geek needs to be always doing something. But windows phone looks like a fantastic os for someone who just wants to get a phone, put it in their pocket, and only pull it out when they actually need to DO something.
Flako Ramirez I wanted but on verizon not at&t :( so if verizon doesnt hurry up i will leave them altho at&t doesnt have unlimited data anymore and i use about 5/6 GB a month, i do a ton of streaming netflix, youtube, hulu+
Gordon Christie its just the first version and the others will get better the newer version looks like the galaxy s2
Jacky On Most the people here are so misinformed. Do some research on the phone before you say it's crap. You may not like the design, but Windows Phone is in no way a bad phone. It has better reviews than iOS and Android. People just need to give it a chance and try it out. Don't single it out just because it's by Microsoft. You don't see people hating iPhones because it's by Apple.
Gordon Christie wp7 is pretty good esp the Mango version im an android fan but i like this os its clean and sharp better looking than ios and some launchers for android all look like apple why would anyone want that?
Kyle James Sherman That should be a co tract with HTC!
AJ Cole people could you please stop complaining about wp7? I mean Android is better in some points but i like wp7 :) i mean some some of you people here had never a windows phone in their hands or people think its like windows mobile... So take a look at it first and then complain -.-
Jeremy Abad Alot of cool tech inside.... Mainly the Camera Sensor.... Other than that ugly ass phone......
Jose Guerrero I think windows phones are a piece of crap!........go Android!
David Koseki its not exactly what you would expect from nokia. The last Nokia phone was the Astound, and despite its lack for luster os, was a beautiful phone. Considering the rumored price point for the lumia 900 is only 50 dollars, why wouldn't you wait till march, or possibly a couple months for T-mobile. It's good, but could be better. Also this Nokia phone is defferentiated from other WP7 divices with: Nokia drice, Nokia music, and obviously with design. Take a look at these phones before your fanboy takes over. You might like what you see!
James Matthews Very nice entry level phone.
Richard Allen Yarrell My thoughts.....Another USELESS devices....
Christopher Robin Linde Its two outdated technologies in one!!!! Remarkable!!
Eugene Yap I changed it to Ics 4.0 android. But its quite slow
Eugene Yap Graphic not so good
Tim Houp Kind of sux for T-Mo, it's a great phone for the price, but since they announced the 900, why even bother with the 710?
William Fazzina They need to put the 900 on Verizon
Thomas Benjamin Robbins Not enough Nokia..too much Windows.
Manda Vue Its the same as any other windows device! Nothing new or different
Eugene Yap Any question ask me
Eugene Yap I'm waiting for HTC zeta
Eric Garrison Jesus has probably never used a Windows phone.
Eugene Yap Its the first time Nokia has windows phone. I like the design
Leandro Arce im waiting for the Lumia 910
Bogdan Mihai could be better




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