Pros Exceptionally fluid OS
Nice build quality
Good apps on the Marketplace
A free navigation app included (Nokia Drive)
Cons No microSD slot
Limited internal memory
Very limited OS, you need Zune to add or remove files
Not as many apps available
Nokia Drive and Maps don't offer the expected features
Summary I recently bought a Nokia Lumia 710, from Rogers. Rogers is a Canadian carrier, but the device is the same, so there should be no difference between this and the one T-Mobile offers in the US. I paid 50$ for the device on a 3-year contract, but the device's total price is 250$ and the law here says that if I cancel the contract, they can only charge me for a portion of the subsidy (200$) equal to the number of months left on the contract divided by the number of months of the contract (so 36). In other words, the device is cheap for a smartphone, and gave me access to a cheap smartphone plan.This is an update to my previous review. As of March 20 2012, Nokia has updated its Drive and Maps apps. The main new feature is the ability on Drive to work completely offline, even getting a new destination without a data connection to the internet. Nokia Drive now offers the expected features and is a great asset for the phone. Nokia Maps however doesn't have as much chance, still no offline mode for it.
Despite the device being cheap, the build quality is very good. It feels solid in my hands and the textures are nice to the touch. The screen is of excellent quality too. It may not have the viewing angles of the best screens, but the viewing angles are still very good, the colors are great, the screen can be very bright, and the contrast is excellent. Black is really black on this, I have problems finding where the black bezel starts and the screen ends when most of the screen is black. It's that good. The resolution is decent, but I think the screen is a bit small. I would have preferred a 4,3 inch screen like on my Archos 43 PMP.
The reason I opted for it was WP7 and the low cost. WP7 is a very good OS in my opinion, it is exceptionally fluid, going from one app to the next with never any lag, being simple to use with a great tile display, giving a good view of recent messages, texts or e-mails. In terms of ease of use, this is quite possibly the best mobile OS available. It really works like a charm.
The OS is also optimized for the device, because of Microsoft's strict hardware requirements. Apps also are optimized for the device, so performance-wise, everything runs as well as the OS itself. Truly excellent, even if it's single-core. The internet browser also is extremely fluid.
Talking of apps, I would say that the quality of the apps available on the Marketplace in general is great. Most apps look professional and integrate the OS well. Not a single app crashed on me. However, the selection is much more limited than in Android or iOS.
WP7 also has a neat multitasking system, where you can press "back" for a while and they show you the latest apps in cards you can move around and select. It also takes voice commands by long pressing on the Windows key. For internet search or transcribing text messages, you need a data connection, but for simple commands like "call X" or "open Office", no data connection is required. Not having to navigate contacts or to type in numbers is nice.
The main drawback is that Microsoft went too much Apple's way in designing the OS. Being the owner of an Android PMP and tablet (Thrive), I was spoiled by how open the Android system is. File manager, adding a microSD to expand the internal storage, simply mounting the device through the USB of a PC, wide array of supported file formats, side-loading apps, etc... None of these on the Lumia. The ecosystem is closed, very evidently so, and it's quite annoying for me.
Nokia put its Nokia Drive on the device, with Nokia maps being available for free on the Marketplace. Nokia Drive is a navigation app that demands you download the files of the country/State/province you're in, so you can simply choose a destination, then go off the data and it will still work. It gives you bearing and speed, and it works well, I used it while walking and it gave me my speed accurately, meaning it noticed when I walked slowly or when I picked up the pace. The GPS is great.
However, it seems to me that easy features have been omitted in these apps, namely the offline mode. Nokia Drive works offline, but you need to be online for it to start, or it will refuse to open. This is absurd, I have opened it online before cutting the data and it kept working, even if I had not input any destination. I understand the need of online data to calculate directions at the start, but what if I don't have data and I just want to see the layout of the streets where I am? What makes it worse is that this is already implemented, and has been for a while, on the equivalent apps on Nokia's old OS, Symbian.
Also, though I think both of these apps, Nokia Drive and Maps, use the same data, Nokia Maps doesn't access the maps you downloaded for Nokia Drive so it depends only on data connection. That is insane. Nokia has a chance to offer good synergy and to leverage its expertise and software it has built for its old OS, and they give crippled versions of them? Why? They've been working on these phones for a year at least and they have been released for a few months in Europe. I don't understand where the problem is.
That being said, Nokia Drive is supposed to get an update including an offline mode soon, it's been officially announced, but for the moment, the app is disappointing, because it's inferior to its Symbian version.
Finally, with the light use I make of it, it loses about 25% of its battery power while I'm at work, so for 8-9 hours. So I guess it should last around 35 hours in light use. I charge it every night, so I'm good. It charges through microUSB like most smartphones nowadays, so you don't have to buy proprietary chargers, you can reuse old microUSB chargers.
Updated on Mar 21, 2012
Pros -Very clear and bright screen
-Good practical ergonomic design (more on that in the review)
-The camera is quite good
-The best Facebook integration I've seen on a phone
-Made from good material
-Battery life is good
-Cheap T-Mobile plan
Cons -Slight learning curve with Windows OS, but after a couple of days you realize it is the best thing out there.
-No video chat
-The design doesn't make it stand out.
-Windows app store is catching up, but its growing rapidly
Summary First of all, I think there are good things about Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7.5 operating systems, so I am not a fan boy of any of them. None of them are perfect either. I have an Android tablet and an iMac for my desktop. My phone before this was a Nokia E71, a very reliable phone but the os is so old now and I was ready to move on to a touchscreen with some more current features. I have plenty of friends and family with iphones and androids (My family seems to especially be iphone people) and had some trouble deciding. I always liked Nokia phones so I thought I would give this a shot. I was not disappointed.
First of all, the phone's hardware and design are deceivingly good. In some of the blogs and reviews, they talk about the fact that there are physical buttons on the bottom for going back, home and search and that this is bad somehow. Actually, this is a good thing. Unlike a lot of android phones I have encountered, there is never a question about whether I really pressed the home key or not. Also the phone's power, volume rocker, and camera buttons have been designed with a lot of thought too. For instance, some reviews from the "critics" on the tech blogs talk about the camera button should be more raised. As someone who uses this phone every day, it is raised just enough to press it down easily but it also is flat enough to not accidentally trigger the camera all the time. Nokia knew what they were doing with this because the idea is that you are able to take a phone even when the screen is locked (in other words, you don't have to go through the trouble of unlocking and engaging the camera button if you need to take a photo quickly). If the button was raised too much, you would be taking pictures of your wallet all day! :) The phone is slightly curved on all four edges and the curved back fits the palm well. In fact, this phone feels more comfortable in my hand than any other phone I've owned. And the camera does take good photos. It is probably the best 5 megapixel camera out there. I suspect Nokia made sure it had a good quality lens. The photos are quite detailed. I rarely have to make any adjustments. Just point the camera, press the screen if you need to focus, and then click. At that point, if you want to post on facebook just press the button on the screen. That's it.
The screen is excellent, and I am surprised there isn't more talk about that. With the possible exception of some top of the line Android phones (The phones like the Galaxy Nexus and the better Droid phones) this screen holds its own. The colors are very vivid. The screen is very responsive. One of the big surprises for me was the texting. The screen isn't as big as some of the other Windows and Android phones out there (screen size is probably comparable to the Iphone screen), but even with my big thumbs the predictive text on the keyboard makes it easy to text or post comments on Facebook.
Which brings me to probably why I really love this phone. You can tell Microsoft wanted to do a lot with social networking with the Mango os. The level of integration the phone has with Facebook is remarkable. No os makes it easier to post, comment, update your status, upload photos and videos, etc. In fact, I have gotten to where I prefer doing my facebook on my Lumia 710 over my Mac and that is something I thought I would never say.
The ui is fast. If you have wifi or T-Mobile's 4G in your area, you will see what I mean. This thing is downright zippy. You can go back and forth from one task to another very fast. The games I have played on it so far have worked well. No slowdown or freezing.
Couple of goodies you get with this phone. It has Nokia Drive which is fully preloaded. So if you should be in a non-Tmobile area you can still use it. And it is FREE. T-Mobile also preloads telenav. Not sure why anyone would pay for that when you have Nokia Drive for free, but its there. And of course a new and improved version of Nokia's famous Nokia maps is there. And the ESPN and Weather Channel app that is preloaded is excellent.
Both call quality and battery life are good, especially for a smartphone. With moderate use, you can go a full day without much problem. With light use you could probably go almost 2. Of course, do the normal things you would do to keep up the battery life of a smartphone, but the battery in general has not been a problem. Call quality is good. And T-Mobile's plans are very straight forward (none of the nickel and dimining for every little thing like you would for AT&T). I decided to go prepaid on this and it has been worth it to save money on the monthly plan.
Downsides? Windows phone is different from everything else out there. It is a TRULY unique ui, and although sometimes people say they like new things that are different they actually don't. If you take the time to play with the features and learn it, WP7 is an easy and user-friendly os. You just have to be open to it.
There is not video chat. If that is really important to you, than this is not your phone.
The Windows App Market is still catching up. The big games (Angry Birds, Zombies vs Plants etc) are mostly there, But there are some things that are absent too. Now that the word is getting out that Windows Phone is a great os, I expect that will rapidly change. But that is how it stands as of today.
Even though the design is practical and makes for a good feel good in the hand, there is nothing about the physical design that makes the phone stand out. From the back, it looks like a million Android phones out there. If the screen is on and people are looking directly at it, it looks great. From the back, it looks like just some other smartphone. I suspect that is part of Nokia's reason for designing the Lumia 800/900 the way they have.
Unlike some of the other T-Mobile smartphones, you can do wifi on it, but the wifi calling some TMobile customers use if they don't get a good signal in their house is not available for this phone. So make sure you have checked your T-Mobile coverage where you are before getting it.
In closing, between the very respectable hardware quality of Nokia, the great ui of WP 7.5, the cheap price of the phone, and the great plans T-Mobile has, I would encourage anyone and everyone to give this phone a chance. You will be glad you did.
Pros Easy to use
Cons No Front Camera
Summary Great Phone with an Amazing Price! I got it on the first day and it has been running flawlessly. The screen is very crisp and the navigation is great! Loads of cool applications on Windows Phone. If you have a $150 budget, save $100 and get the Lumia 710!
Pros quick (and easiest) to use interface
lots of innovative features that no-one talks about
integrates all social interactions into one hub
free GPS (you download map via wifi, no need for data plan)
quite a decent camera
no lag, fast zippy response
Cons small app store, but growing fast
no front facing camera
not as much customization as Blackberry, Android or Symbian
wish it had 16GB instead of 8GB (for my large music collection)
Summary The first question people usually ask me when they see me use this is: "what the heck is that?" because it is so refreshingly different considering that it is rougly a 1/3 the price of an iPhone, it does many things that is just not reflective of other phones at this price point, most Androids at this price are laggy, and their interface quite frankly is not that pleasing (depends on user though) if you want an easy to use phone, get this phone, if you need it for business though, this is my second choice after the legendary BlackBerry [if my mother can use it, so can you ;)] the camera is a fairly decent 5mp, it is comparable to many mid-high smartphones. nice little features like linking a person's profile picture to their contact information, being able to start camera from lock screen, and voice commands to call, text people, open apps, and search things on the internet (before siri, search Microsoft tellMe despite the reviews it works quite well for me) there is x-Box integration, the sad thing is, it is actually easier to use than iOS, it it the first operating system to not use icons (the old Symbians used lists, but the newer Symbians, then the BlackBerries, then even iPhone, and Android all use icons in a grid as the main interface) the Windows Phone software uses live tiles that update to see how many messages, emails, missed calls, calender updates, and notifications you have, it ay not be the most beautiful os, but the fact is that it works better than anything else I've seen. if you want a smartphone that does not have an expensive plan, and is not expensive to begin with, please save yourself from the other phones and get this, you will not regret your purchase!
Pros I like everything about it.
Cons The speakerphone quality while moving/driving is poor. However, while the phone is stationary it is fine.
Summary I like the windows interface so much that I have integrated my laptop - and set up all the Windows Live stuff. I have used BB's and Androids - I won't even consider an iphone. I highly recommend this phone!