A week or so back, Nokia introduced the Lumia 710, a budget smartphone equipped with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango software, a 3.7-inch screen, and a $50 price tag. Today, the Lumia 710 made news again – this time thanks to Wal-Mart, which is literally giving away 710 handsets, provided consumers sign a two-year voice and data contract. So how does the Lumia 710 stack up? Let's go to the scorecards.
The opening assessment
"After a week of testing the Lumia 710, my verdict is that it's a good value for the money, and a good choice for people moving up to their first smartphone, or those looking for an alternative to Android and Apple," Walt Mossberg writes in The Wall Street Journal. "It has some notable weaknesses and drawbacks, and it doesn't compare with the iPhone 4S or elite Android models like the Samsung Galaxy S II. But it's a decent phone that gets the most common smartphone tasks done."
"The Lumia 710 looks and feels like a decent device," writes Todd Haselton at Boy Genius Report. "The back cover is plastic but it has a nice soft-touch rubber feel and the entire face is glossy black, although a white version is also available from T-Mobile. There are three hardware buttons below the phone’s 3.7-inch display, which actually isn’t that impressive. While the curved glass AMOLED ClearBlack display on the Lumia 800 was very impressive, the standard ClearBlack display on T-Mobile’s Lumia 710 is not. Colors are washed out and the brightness is not where it needs to be, but this was likely required in order to keep the cost of the phone down."
The hardware, part two
"One differentiator I liked is the fact that, unlike on other Windows Phones I've tried, the main navigation bar beneath the display uses physical keys," writes Paul McDougall at Information Week. "Call me a sucker for tactile feedback. What I didn't like is that the side buttons, for power, volume, and camera, are virtually flush to the casing. This was particular irksome when trying to depress the camera button for a quick pic."
"The Lumia 710 has a 5-megapixel camera capable of capturing video at resolutions of up to 720 pixels," writes Ginny Mies at PC World. "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. The Lumia doesn't have a front-facing camera for video calls or self-portraits. This omission is somewhat surprising because the Mango update adds support for front-facing cameras."
"I was able to use all the main features of Mango, which distinguishes itself from its competitors with a user interface made up of bright tiles that can show live data, like the weather or favorite photos, even before you tap them to open apps," notes Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. "Mango's 'hubs'–features that aggregate information such as your friends' contact info and social-networking status–also worked fine." However, Mossberg warns, consumers would do well to remember that "Windows Phone has about ten percent of the third-party apps as the iPhone."
Mango, part 2
"One benefit of the Windows Phone OS is that the live tiles and icons are large and the design is clear-cut, so a smaller screen isn't as much of a hindrance as it could be, at least in terms of navigation," writes Stephen Shankland of CNET. "While on the compact side, the 3.7-inch screen didn't feel claustrophobic in the hour or so I had the phone in hand."
The bottom line
"Contrast the 710 with its other budget [Windows Phone] 7.5 peers, factor in that super affordable $50 on contract pricing and, hands down, it's easily the most attractive of the single-core lot," writes Joseph Volpe of Engadget. "Will it succeed in giving Nokia the US market traction it's long sought after? Probably not. The Mr. and Mrs. Johnny-come-latelies of the mobile world will neither make nor break the company's stateside success. That heavy lifting will surely fall to future Lumia progeny of the higher-end sort. No, the 710 is a solid smartphone for first-timers marred only by its faltering camera and nondescript construction. If you're just learning how to surf the internets and / or send a text, this phone's for you."