Yesterday, I got my grubby hands on the Nokia Lumia 710, which is being offered exclusively by Smart. They were kind enough to let me borrow it so I can play around with it, take pictures and make a video of it in action. I'm glad they did. All the hype the Lumia has going for it right now, I can say that it is promising enough to live up to it.
The 710's big brother, the Nokia Lumia 900, won the CES 2012 Best in Show for handsets. This is the same CES where they announced the HTC One X and those new quad core smartphones from different manufacturers; and out of all the stiff competition, this came out on top. That automatically fired up my curiosity. What's so great about it, right?
I am an Android fan, first and foremost. I love how it is as user-friendly as you make it and I love how everyone in the world can develop for it. I'm not sure how Windows will handle their 3rd party developers (because I haven't read up on it) but if they treat it the way they do their PC platform, then Google may have some stiff competition. I heard that at SXSW, the Windows Phone operating system was the talk of the town.
Now, on to the Nokia Lumia 710 itself. For a mid-range smartphone, it's actually priced pretty nicely. You can get it through Smart's Special Edition Data Plan 1000, with a monthly amortization of P450.00. Outside, it should retail at around $200-$250.
Here are some of the specs that you would most likely care about:
|General||2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Network||HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 - RM-803|
|HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100|
|Body||Dimensions||119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm, 81.1 cc|
|Display||Type||TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass|
|- Nokia ClearBlack display|
|Sound||Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|3.5mm jack||Yes, check quality|
|Internal||8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM|
|Speed||HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR|
|USB||Yes, microUSB v2.0|
|Camera||Primary||5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality|
|Features||OS||Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon|
|CPU||1.4 GHz Scorpion|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, proximity, compass|
|Messaging||SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM|
|Browser||WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML5, RSS feeds|
|Radio||Stereo FM radio with RDS|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support|
|Colors||Black, White (front)/ black, white, cyan, fuchsia, yellow (back)|
|- MicroSIM card support only|
|- SNS integration|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA player|
|- MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player|
|- Document viewer/editor|
|- Video/photo editor|
|- Voice memo/command/dial|
|- Predictive text input|
|Battery||Standard battery, Li-Ion 1300 mAh (BP-3L)|
|Stand-by||Up to 400 h (2G) / Up to 400 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 6 h 50 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 40 min (3G)|
|Music play||Up to 38 h|
|Misc||SAR US||1.06 W/kg (head) 0.94 W/kg (body)|
|SAR EU||1.30 W/kg (head)|
Specs are from GSM Arena.
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
Besides the fact that it is indeed very pretty, it is also very easy to use. Everything you'd likely need often is in front, and everything else sorted at the back. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
The tiles feel alive and dynamic; some of them displaying information even before you click them. It seems like Windows took the iOS icon-only display and merged it with Android's rich widget capabilities and came up with a standardized tile system that works remarkably well.
While multitasking isn't done as well as the more mature mobile operating systems, it doesn't seem to get in the way of jumping from one app to another. Backing out of an app doesn't seem to close it so jumping back into the same app puts you where you left off most of the time. I'm not sure how heavy a toll that is on the RAM but it didn't slow down while I was playing around with all the apps I could find. The OS likely manages its memory usage by closing apps in the background.
Oh, and apparently, it will link to your XBox Live account.
Capacitive touch manipulation
As you can see in the video, I could not stop singing praises to the way the Nokia Lumia 710 responds to your touch. It feels as light, if not lighter, than its iOS competitors. And though it pains me to say this, it seems to respond a little more accurately than any Android 2.3 device I've used extensively.
These days, smartphones all pretty much look alike. They're all black or silver or white or chrome-y; it's like everyone's trying to achieve a level of gadget sexiness and sophistication, as if the capability of one's device is directly proportional to how sleek it looks. The Nokia Lumia pretty much defies this status quo, and you know, I like it.
Its design and feel clearly show that the phone is targeting a specific demographic. Highschool and college kids would likely get into it, maybe even yuppies, and even those who are of the techie persuasion. A cute looking phone, rocking a Windows Phone 7.5 OS makes for good hipster gear.
Remember in the early 2000's, when the Nokia 5110 had a bunch of face plates that a bunch of 3rd party manufacturers were making? Yeah, well, that back plate looks mighty customizable to me.
Soft keyboard/ virtual keyboard
With my fat thumbs, I normally make numerous mistakes on my Android soft keyboard, which admittedly is one of the weaknesses of that platform. With the Windows Phone 7.5 keyboard, I barely make mistakes and it didn't take a lot to get used to. It is wonderfully accurate.
While shooting the video above, I fired this little baby up and the first thing it did was prompt me to download the US map so I just largely ignored it. As fate would have it, I tried Nokia Drive again earlier today on a whim and waited for a few minutes for it to find my location and load up the map. As soon as it did, my mind was blown away.
In the 3D map, not only does it show the street names from a 45 degree angle like a normal map would, it was also populated with little 3D models of real buildings. And they aren't just visual representations or anything, they are freakin' scale models. Moving it around felt like going through a virtual Makati. Sure it isn't complete yet, but I think with enough updates and time, it would fill up. I just hope it doesn't slow down too much when more of those mini-buildings show up.
Fast app launching and data management
One of the best things I've been hearing about the Nokia Lumia series is that it is fast. Despite having only a 1.4Ghz processor, it launches and runs everything at impressive speed and smoothness. Even some of the more taxing tasks experienced very few hiccups, if there were any at all.
The way it handles data is note worthy, too. Downloading files and uploading pics were a breeze, despite having only an HSDPA cat 10 connection. I wasn't able to test it directly against another phone, though my HTC Desire S would've made for a good match. However, the online experience was fast and satisfying.
Micro USB slot
I am a standardization nut. To hell with proprietary cables and slots; all they do is make the life of the end user that much more difficult. Not having standardized cables readily available means companies who produce said proprietary cables, which are used solely on their proprietary slots on their own devices, make a killing off of them.
Good on Nokia to start using standard cables. If you recall, back in the day, their headphone jacks were 2.5mm, instead of the standard 3.5mm and their chargers weren't like any of the other standard jacks.
If there's one thing Nokia was really known for, it's that their phones could be effectively used by a monkey with a learning disability. This is why they were kings of the hill during the feature phone era. No one could touch them there.
Now, with the help of the very efficient Windows Phone 7.5 platform, Nokia is setting its sights on taking back the user-friendly title from the iOS.
Did you hear the YouTube videos on the embedded video? Those things are loud and clear. While, yes, it isn't as good as phones specifically built for music, it can easily hold its own.
I never thought I'd say this but Internet Explorer is really good. Well, the mobile version, at least. Swift, clean and easy to use, very much unlike its PC counterpart. In fact, the mobile version is practically the opposite of the PC version.
While soft capacitive buttons are nice and require minimal effort to activate, they are way too easy to accidentally press. The tactile feel of the Nokia Lumia 710 buttons make for far lesser accidents and provide a greater sense of control. I'm assuming though, that the physical buttons on the 710 are likely going to be the first casualties on your phone after some abuse.
While I understand that this may be the next step in standardization when it comes to SIM cards, I'm still pretty miffed at the fact that there are handsets out there that are arrogant enough that require the Micro SIM. They aren't easy to come by, and they would require that you either change your SIM entirely or cut your old one up. The latter is safe enough and you could have it done by guys with the right tools, but still. You shouldn't have to do that especially since the Micro SIM isn't all that necessary!
From some things I've read on the mighty internet, the Micro SIM practice came about when Apple was enforcing their need for control. At the time, Micro SIMs were much harder to come by and made it a pain for switchers.
For its price, it's understandable. Still, though. HSPA+ is quickly becoming the benchmark, and it makes me feel like the Lumia 710 is a little behind the curve or at least, just not as future-proof as I would like.
Still feels a little restrictive
To maintain user-friendliness, you would have to sacrifice customizability. Along with the ability to customize comes the ability to fuck things up in a major way for you and your loved ones. This is why Android users say that the platform takes a lot of getting used to; it's because right out of the box, there's way too much to do to get it the way you want it. Taking that away reduces learning curve, thus making it easy for people to pick up.
While I believe this to be a temporary problem, the lack of apps on the Marketplace reduces the Nokia Lumia 710's desirability by a lot. Apps are where its at, and Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do.
It looks great for young folks, but it looks like a toy to adults who are dead inside.
In picture: Not for adults who are dead inside.
In a nutshell (TL;DR)
If you are looking to get the best bang for your buck, the Nokia Lumia 710 is a mid-range smartphone that may be right up your alley. The specs aren't very impressive, but the experience is still top notch. If you're the type of guy who likes to be a little different and a little ahead of the curve when it comes to trends (like the goddamned hipster you are), then consider this and leave the sheep to the iOSes and Androids.
Get it at plan 1000 with a monthly cash out of P450 from Smart. Click here to reserve yours now.