Initial impressions of the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 (video and gallery)

Summary:Nokia is getting ready to launch the Lumia 710 on T-Mobile next week and I have a demo unit to check out for a while that I am comparing to the HTC Radar 4G.

It has been over a year since I bought my HTC HD7 from T-Mobile when Windows Phone 7 launched in November 2010. We have seen some great new Mango-powered devices launched on AT&T and I have been envious of those customers. The HTC Radar 4G launched in late October and is a decent device, but I was looking to check out a Nokia Windows Phone. Nokia announced the Lumia 710 at Nokia World and next week we will see it appear on T-Mobile USA for $49.99.

An evaluation unit arrived yesterday and I have spent several hours using the Lumia 710 and comparing it to the HTC Radar 4G and Dell Venue Pro. It might not be the high end device phone geeks are looking for, but it is fast and speedy with decent specifications. You can check out a few photos of the Nokia Lumia 710 in my image gallery.


Image Gallery: Check out some photos of the Nokia Lumia 710 on T-Mobile.
Image Gallery: Lumia 710 retail box
Image Gallery: Back of the Lumia 710

In the box and first impressions

T-Mobile has an excellent box design for their smartphones and the Lumia 710 comes in one of these attractive and well constructed boxes. There is a full color glossy image of the 710 on the front and a list of the primary features on the back. Inside you will find the Lumia, battery, USB cable, A/C adapter, and some guides.

The first thing I noticed when I took the Lumia 710 out of the box was the smooth soft touch back that is curved to fit well in your hand. I like the width and the physical Windows Phone buttons on the front below the display. After turning on the Lumia 710 I was very impressed with the bright Clear Black Display (CBD) that we saw on other Nokia devices.

Specifications

Specifications for the Nokia Lumia 710 include the following:
  • 3.7 inch ClearBlack display at 800x480 pixels resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 single core processor
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
  • HSPA+ 14.4Mbps
  • 8GB internal memory, no microSD slot
  • 512MB RAM
  • 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video recording capability
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and compass
  • 1300mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 4.69 x 2.46 x 0.49 inches and 4.4 ounces

As you can see these specifications are improved over the original T-Mobile Windows Phone device, the HTC HD7, but are not as high end as the HTC Titan or Samsung Focus S. For $50 though, $350 with no contract, this is a pretty compelling product.

Walk around the hardware

The front has a very nice 3.7 inch display and the Clear Black technology looks great. I can see the difference between the 3.7 inch Lumia 710 and 3.8 inch HTC Radar 4G, but it is still a usable size for most functions. There is a solid single hardware button below the display with areas for the back, Start, and search functions. There is no front facing camera, but I have only ever used this on any phone for testing and find it is not a very practical need for most people.

The typical, and required, camera capture button and volume button are found on the right side. There is a small opening on the left side for prying off the back cover. A lanyard opening is down at the bottom. On the top you will find the microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, and power button.

This is the first T-Mobile device I have seen using a microSIM card and one comes in the box. I already cut down my own SIM for the Nokia N9 so I simply put it in the Lumia 710.

I like the fact that I can swap out the battery on the Lumia 710, which is a bit unusual given that most of the latest Nokia smartphones have integrated batteries.

First impressions and experiences

The Lumia 710 runs Windows Phone 7.5, aka Mango, and does so very well. T-Mobile includes a few apps, they can be removed, including ESPN, My Account utility, Netflix, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, TeleNav GPS Navigator, T-Mobile TV, and We care. The great thing is that you can easily uninstall any of these that you do not want.

The Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps apps are a couple of major apps that currently set the Lumia 710 apart from the HTC Radar 4G. Nokia Maps is supposed to eventually come to all Windows Phone devices, but the Nokia Drive voice guided navigation and offline maps support are only going to be found on Nokia Windows Phone devices.

The display keeps impressing me, especially when used side-by-side with the HTC Radar 4G and I am also finding that the RF reception on the Lumia 710 is quite solid. I took a few photos and a couple videos and so far find they are acceptable. I am noticing that the camera seems to capture the photo a half second after I tried to make the capture and photos are not turning out as sharp as first appears on the display.

If you are a T-Mobile customer looking for a new Windows Phone device your current choices are the HTC Radar 4G and Nokia Lumia 710. The Verge has a good comparison table of the two devices. The Radar 4G is currently priced at $100 and the Lumia 710 will launch for $50 with two year contract and mail-in rebates.

I plan to spend more time trying to figure out which of the two devices meets my needs better, including a camera comparison, battery performance, RF reception, and call quality.

Other reviews and experiences

I have only had a day with the Nokia Lumia 710, but several other websites have spent a week or more with the device and if you are considering the Lumia 710 for T-Mobile next week I recommend you check out these reviews:

Topics: Nokia, Hardware, HTC, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Wi-Fi, Windows

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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