Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget

Nokia's Lumia 710, Reviewed

Over the past few years, the influence of integration has completely changed the mobile phone's role in our lives. What was once made cool for its ability to flip open now lets you browse the Web, listen to music, stream video content, fire off email, play games, and take pictures. The inflection point where we stopped using cell phones and started playing with smartphones was pretty darned defined.

The addition of functionality gives each vendor its own opportunities to differentiate. If you've followed our tablet coverage over the past six months, then you know that no two products, however similar-looking, are quite the same. Among the tablets sharing an operating system like Android, we've seen vendors optimize their devices in unique ways. Sometimes they use hardware; other times software makes the difference. For example, Sony's Tablet S is a phenomenal addition to any home theater thanks to its awesome DLNA integration and a built-in IR remote. Meanwhile, the SuperPLS display found on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the best tablet screen we've seen yet.

The selling points on a smartphone are oftentimes even more important. Since not all carriers offer the same phones, you're not just marrying a piece of hardware, but also a service provider. If you find a phone you like, you'd better be ready to put up with the coverage areas and interruptions inherent to whichever company offers it. You're generally talking about a two-year relationship, too, unless you want to pay the exorbitant price for getting action without any commitment.

Meet Nokia's Lumia 710

It's been a long time since we've had our hands on hardware from Nokia. The company was one of the last Symbian holdouts, and it recently made the decision to turn to Microsoft for its operating system. Nokia’s decision makes a lot of sense. Frankly, even the most current build of Symbian can’t compete with Android or iOS. Naturally, Nokia hopes that Windows Phone 7 (WP7) enables a better ecosystem. If a new operating environment does turn out to be the missing link, it stands a better chance of fending off competitors with serious momentum, which currently threaten its top market share spot.

Picking a more competitive software platform will only get Nokia so far, though. In order to achieve true effectiveness, the company must complement the operating environment with great hardware.

Nokia is trying to demonstrate its ability to deliver in that regard with its Lumia 800 and Lumia 710. The company sent us the latter for testing, and that's what we'll be reviewing today.

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ModelNokia Lumia 800Nokia Lumia 710
SoCQualcomm MSM8255 (single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion)Qualcomm MSM8255 (single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion)
GraphicsAdreno 205Adreno 205
Storage16 GB8 GB
Camera8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual-LED flash5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Display3.7" AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, ClearBlack display3.7" TFT IPS capacitive touchscreen, ClearBlack display
Size116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm
Weight142 g125.5 g
BasebandGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
WiFi802.11 b/g/n (no 5.0 GHz)802.11 b/g/n (no 5.0 GHz)
OSWindows 7 Phone Mango 7.5Windows 7 Phone Mango 7.5
BatteryInternal 5.37 WhRemovable 4.81 Wh

The Lumia 710 is the newest phone from the Nokia, and it's considered an entry-level version of the flagship Lumia 800. Both phones are powered by a third-gen Snapdragon SoC. Clock for clock, Qualcomm's Scorpion core is able to outperform SoCs that employ the Cortex-A9, such as the A5 and Tegra 2. However, considering that Lumia family uses a single-core SoC, expect lower performance than competing dual-core solutions.

The graphics component of Qualcomm's SoC centers on a component called Adreno 205. Based on IP derived from the-company-previously-known-as-ATI (now just Imageon), Adreno 205 is one generation older than the engine found in more expensive phones like Motorola's Droid X2. Given performance numbers seen in the GLBenchmark database, the Adreno 220 is between two- and four-times faster in a comparable 3D environment.

Most SoC performance comparisons are based on scores generated in Android, due to the greater availability of benchmarks. There simply aren't many metrics available for WP7 yet. The one program we are comfortable using is WPBench, but it's only able to provide results relative to other WP7-based phones.

Based on the results, it's fair to say that the Lumia 710 and 800 fare decently. However, Samsung's Focus S employs the same SoC and more consistently serves up even better numbers. As we know, just because two phones employ the same hardware and operating system doesn't mean you should expect identical performance. Each vendor takes software optimization to a different level, and you see the result of that disparate behavior here.

  • DjEaZy
    ... M$ owns skype and partially nokia... but there is no frontfacing camera to do videocalls?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • clay9477
    Editor please take note of Title Pg 8 :.
    Instead of "Nokie" it should be "Nokia".
  • 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 ...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.