At the end of last week I got a Nokia Lumia 710 courtesy of Microsoft, with a little help from Rob Miles, to replace my Samsung Focus Flash. Having played with it for a while here is a little review.
Having the Right Brand
The Lumia 710 of course comes loaded with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 OS, which, as you can probably tell, I am a massive fan of. Nokia are also massive fans of the OS and have really been putting a lot of effort into it, including getting exclusive apps from companies such as EA and PayPal and producing their own such as Nokia Drive and Nokia Music.
Having a Nokia Windows Phone simply means you’ll get the best Windows Phone Experience in the future. Nokia’s survival as a company depends on its ability to produce the best smartphones and WP7.5 is their choice of OS, so its an exciting time for the duo.
The main difference between my Nokia Lumia 710 and my previous phones, the Samsung Focus Flash and a HTC 7 Mozart, is that Samsung install a plethora of genuinely useful applications as standard with the OS in order to differentiate the phone from its competition. They have to do this in part to combat how little they are allowed to customize the OS and in my opinion they have done a good job, the applications add a great deal of value to the phone.
Nokia music is quite a cool app, it highlights gigs in and around your local and I actually found that some bands I wouldn’t mind seeing were close by. It also allows you to play music both on your phone and streamed, for free, from Nokias Music Service. Its a pretty app following the metro UI guidelines well and is a must have for any live music lover in my opinion.
Nokia Drive is, in my opinion, the best application Nokia provide with their Windows Phone OS, it adds free turn by turn Sat Nav which I’ve found to be pretty accurate. It even tells you how fast your going and lots of interesting bits of information about your journey. (Quite cool if you’re not driving the vehicle, like when you’re on a bus to uni and want to see how fast you’re going)
The best bit about Nokia Drive though is that you can download complete maps of your country or region. For example I downloaded all 245mb of maps of Great Britain on Wi-Fi and could then use the Sat Nav out and about without worrying about downloading, and paying for the privilege, the maps as I used them over 3G.
The one downside to the application is that its an obvious port from Nokia’s previous smart phone OS, Symbian, and even sports the same user interface, totally ignoring the metro UI guidelines. Hopefully something will be done about this in the future though.
The maps provided by Microsoft as standard in Windows Phone 7, Bing Maps, are pretty good in my opinion and some of the data is in fact provided by Nokia, they’ve even released a unified map style. In my opinion the Nokia Maps app therefore doesn’t add much to the Windows Phone and to be honest it could easily have been truncated into the Drive app.
Nokia provides a few utilities which I’ve noticed some of the other OEMs, Samsung and HTC in particular, don’t include. Simple things such as a contacts transfer application and Nokia Support makes using the phone for the first time a nice experience, though don’t add much value after first-run.
The Phone Itself
The actual phone hardware itself is very similar to that of other Windows Phones, due to the hardware specification laid out by Microsoft. The “Clearback” 3.7″ display is lovely and crisp, and the colours are vibrant, particularly the black — which is good as WP is mainly black and white.
The hardware buttons are a nice change from the usual capacitive touch buttons you find on modern phones as it makes accidently pressing the search button whilst playing a game a lot less likely.
The 1.4Ghz CPU plays Sweepy Cleaner just nicely 😉 and is all round totally smooth on the OS. The phone is a joy to use with no latency and no bugs — especially compared to my Samsung Focus Flash.
In the box when you get the phone comes an alternative back cover — in my case Metro Blue. So depending on my mood I can have a black and blue phone, or an all black one, they look surprisingly good and you can order more online, US customers can even get a few more different colours for free.
- Nokia support the WP OS and therefore this phone very well
- The bundled applications add a lot of value to the phone
- Hardware buttons and free back case make for good hardware too
- 3.7″ Screen is small by modern standards, though still bigger than an iPhone
- The bundled Drive app could do with a UI overhaul to fit in with Windows Phone 7
- Nokia doesn’t support Internet Tethering on the device yet, though most over mango devices have it. Apparently its coming soon.
If you’re looking for a mid-range windows phone, look no further. 4 and a half stars 🙂