"A quality phone with a fluid OS... but limited"4.0 starson by kchoze
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