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Nokia Lumia 710 review: Affordable, solid Windows Phone

Ginny Mies | Jan. 9, 2012
When I learned that Nokia would be teaming up with Microsoft for the next generation of Windows Phones, I was very excited.

The Picture Hub now has a tagging system, which simplifies the task of organizing your photos. When you share your photos on Facebook or SkyDrive, the Photo Hub automatically detects any photo of a person and asks whether you want to tag it. It doesn't handle face recognition, however, so it can't tag images automatically.

Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone adds hardware-accelerated graphics and HTML5 support. Bing Search has some useful features such as localized search (ideal for finding restaurants or other attractions when you're traveling) and built-in music recognition software à la Shazam.

The Lumia 710 comes preloaded with a few apps, including ones for ESPN (which took forever to open on my review unit), Netflix (which required updating before my initial use), Slacker Radio, and the Weather Channel. You also get T-Mobile TV and Nokia Drive, a solid navigation app.

Performance

Equipped with the same single-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor as the Lumia 800, the Lumia 710 felt pretty fast overall. Apps opened right away and scrolling through menus or songs in the Zune player was fluid. I noticed that the phone lagged a bit in certain apps--notably the Weather Channel app and the EPSN app--though this may have been related to the network connection I was using.

The Lumia 710 hooks into T-Mobile's 14.4-mbps HSPA+ network, rather than into the faster HSPA+ 21 network. In a quick test using the WP7 Speedtest app, I recorded upload speeds of 1.37 mbps and download speeds of 0.5 mbps.

We've never had very good T-Mobile coverage in the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco where PCWorld's offices are located. I tried calling a friend three times before I could get through to him. Then, as soon as I said "Hello," my call dropped. Ultimately I had to walk across the street before the call finally connected. Call quality was pretty good once I moved out of that dead zone, however. My friends' voices sounded a bit muffled, but I could hear them clearly. My friends reported that my voice sounded natural and said that they couldn't hear the cars that were driving by in the background.

One stray observation: My cheek repeatedly hit the speakerphone button while I was making calls. This hasn't happened on any other Windows Phones I've tried, so I'm not sure what the cause was. It might be a problem with the proximity sensor, or it might just be due to the way I was holding this particular phone.

We haven't yet formally tested battery life, but the Lumia 710 lasted a full day of heavy use before I had to recharge it.

Mediocre Camera

The Lumia 710 has a 5-megapixel camera capable of capturing video at resolutions of up to 720p. The Lumia 800 definitely has the upper hand in the camera department with its 8-megapixel camera featuring a Carl Zeiss lens. The Lumia 710's photos were mediocre. My indoor photos looked hazy and washed out; and though my outdoor photos looked a little better, they still had that hazy effect.

 

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