It’s Nokia World 2011 and all eyes seems to be on Nokia’s new Windows Phone 7.5 flagship, the Lumia 800. But based on my conversations with other tech journalists here, many believe the real show stealer is the understated Nokia Lumia 710. Read on to find out why.
The Lumia 710 is Nokia’s promise on making Windows Phone cheaper and accessible to the market. At a retail price of EUR270 before taxes and subsidies, the Lumia 710 is currently the cheapest new Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones with a faster than 1 GHz processor.
Like the Nokia Lumia 800, the Lumia 710 runs on the same 1.4 GHz processor and graphic accelerator. In essence the key differentiators that set the two apart are the design, screen technology used and camera. While the Lumia 800 shares the same body as the Meego-powered Nokia N9, the Lumia 710 is a Nokia 603 after undergoing a Windows Phone transplant.
While the 710 is larger than the 800, it is also a bit lighter. Despite the liberal use of plastic, the 710 feels great in hand. My only complaint was, despite the use of hardware front buttons, the buttons do look and feel cheap. It does get the job done, even if the tactile feedback was almost none-existent.
The screen is 3.7″ in size, the same as the Lumia 800. Unlike the 800 however, the Lumia 710’s screen is LCD TFT variety. Even then the Lumia 710’s screen looks awesome and has great colour saturation and contrast level. It is easily one of the best LCD displays on a mobile phone I have ever seen. I honestly thought it was an OLED display I was looking at.
The 5MP camera will not set the world alight, but at least it comes with an Autofocus lens. The camera is quick and easy to use, as are on all Windows Phone 7 devices.
Despite the differences in hardware, the Lumia 710 works the same as the Lumia 800, or indeed all Windows Phone 7.5 Mango devices. Nokia does differentiate a little by providing some key exclusive applications, such as Nokia Drive – the only voice navigation application on WP7 that works offline as well.
Alongside with Nokia Drive, Nokia has also announced their Spotify competitor – Nokia Music, a music discovery app that allows you to download playlists, basically pre-packed radio directly onto their phone. It is well integrated with the OS and takes advantages of Windows Phone 7 features such as Live Tiles.
Of all the phones I played with today, the Lumia 710 is the most exciting one. It is not only affordable, the design is fresh (even if it isn’t too exciting like the 800). This is Nokia’s answer to pushing Windows Phone smartphones onto a larger market and will help them at getting into that all important mid-range market. It also plays well with their next one billion strategy.
The Lumia 800 is no doubt the phone to get, if you can afford one. It is EUR150 more after all, and it won’t get you much more than you can get with the 710. Expect to see these in stores from Q1 2012.