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Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget

Lumia 710: Nokia Is Back At It

T-Mobile scored the rights to this phone in the U.S., and you have to pay $350 to buy it without a contract. If you're willing to enter a two-year relationship with the carrier, you can get the Lumia 710 for as little as $50, qualifying it as a fairly entry-level smartphone. So, although we've been comparing the Lumia to Apple's iPhone 4S, that's only because the iPhone will serve as a reference in our lab for smartphone testing moving forward. Nokia's offering actually has a big advantage when it comes to the price comparison.

If you buy the Lumia under contract, you end up with a data plan to pay for. If you'd rather not have that bill, and are find using its features in range of Wi-Fi, bear in mind a couple of restrictions. First, the ESPN and Netflix apps work very well. However, the streaming T-Mobile TV service is problematic. Moreover, Nokia Drive requires a some sort of connection for looking up addresses. Though it runs autonomously after that step, you'd need to be in range of Wi-Fi at the start of your trip for GPS navigation.

Needless to say, signing the contract and getting the Lumia 710 for $50 seems far more likely for most folks.

The Lumia's biggest challenge is neither related to T-Mobile nor Nokia. Rather, it's the Windows Phone 7 operating environment. While we're intimately familiar with iOS and Android (not to mention the fact that Ice Cream Sandwich looks spectacular), WP7 isn't yet a mobile staple. As we progress through 2012, approaching the launch of Windows 8, it's quite likely that we'll all become much more comfortable with Metro, making WP7-based devices more natural extensions of our PCs and consoles. 

Until then, we're mostly missing the rich selection of apps enjoyed by Apple and, to a lesser extent, Google's ecosystem. Like, where are all the games? We asked the Tom's Hardware audience for some of their favorites on Facebook and received a pretty tepid response. As with any other emerging environment, developer momentum is slow until a larger enough market exists. And that market doesn't really take off until attractive hardware and software elements come together, including available apps. 

We think that this phone's attractive price tag will help compel mainstream buyers into Windows Phone 7, despite the fact that it's bolstered by fewer apps. The Lumia 710 is budget-friendly, but it doesn't sacrifice build quality in any way. When you hold the phone, nothing feels loose or imprecise. We like that. Better still, the 710's screen has a gorgeous color palette, and we see that its blue hues are particularly striking. Watching video on it is truly a pleasure.

  • DjEaZy
    ... M$ owns skype and partially nokia... but there is no frontfacing camera to do videocalls?
    Reply
  • joytech22
    DjEaZy... M$ owns skype and partially nokia... but there is no frontfacing camera to do videocalls?
    Not quite sure how many people even use the feature.
    Out of everybody you see when you go out, count the amount of people video calling compared to making a regular call.
    Reply
  • alikum
    DjEaZy... M$ owns skype and partially nokia... but there is no frontfacing camera to do videocalls?Not for the first Lumia line. They were on tight schedule. Other WP phones have it, check out HTC Titan and Radar.
    Reply
  • zybch
    DjEaZy... M$ owns skype and partially nokia... but there is no frontfacing camera to do videocalls?MS hasn't had time to do much with skype yet, the sale hasn't been long approved despite being announced a long time ago).
    The mid-year WP7 update, Tango, will reportedly add skype functionality.
    As for actually using skype, I have had android phones and tablets with it but I have never bothered to use it. My HTC Titan has a nice front facing camera, but I'd have rather they took it out and cut the cost by $20 for all the use its going to get.
    Reply
  • clay9477
    Editor please take note of Title Pg 8 :.
    Instead of "Nokie" it should be "Nokia".
    Reply
  • ksampanna
    "We asked the Tom's Hardware audience for some of their favorites on Facebook and received a pretty tepid response"

    that was the problem ...
    Reply
  • feeddagoat
    I was very impressed with the Lumia 800. Nice screeen, different from everythign else (Yes same as N9 but it was very nicely made and a phone you could get in cyan without looking like a complete tool) Only thing put me off it was lack of HDMI out, frontfacing camera and better apps selection on android. My last phone was a blackberry and it had 2 key things android doesn't
    1. Universal mail box
    2. Browser doesn't close if I switch apps

    My question is simple, how well does the Lumia 710 handle switching between tasks? Does it manage it as well as blackberry and is the mail box universal?

    Personally frontfacing cam, and HDMI out and that phones a winner for me. Add a keyboard and I'll worship it lol.
    Reply
  • theuniquegamer
    I have been using it for last 2 months and i am satisfied with the performance. This is the best wp7 (mango) bang for buck.
    Reply
  • southernshark
    joytech22Not quite sure how many people even use the feature.Out of everybody you see when you go out, count the amount of people video calling compared to making a regular call.

    Depends on where you are at buddy boy. If you live in the USA, then you are probably right (although I have skyped to an Ipod in the US). But move yourself outside of the country, where 95 percent of the worlds population lives. Now you want to call someone from country to country... on a cell phone... its expensive. Or I can go to a free Wifi spot and use Skype absolutely free.

    I know its cool to think that every product on earth will only be used in middle class America, but that may not be such a great view point if you are actually in business (even though it is the same viewpoint that caused the USA to fail).
    Reply
  • grillz9909
    WP7-based phones have three non-touchscreen keys: Back, Home, and Search.

    Just nit-picking here, but the samsung focus has touchscreen keys for the back, home, and search. Just saying.
    Reply