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Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget

Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget
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Nokia's Lumia 710 is designed to make Windows Phone 7 accessible to the masses. How does it fare under our test suite? You might be surprised. We're starting down the path of smartphone testing with a different take and a few exclusive benchmarks as well.

Over the past few years, the influence of integration has completely changed the mobile phone's role in our lives. What was once made cool for its ability to flip open now lets you browse the Web, listen to music, stream video content, fire off email, play games, and take pictures. The inflection point where we stopped using cell phones and started playing with smartphones was pretty darned defined.

The addition of functionality gives each vendor its own opportunities to differentiate. If you've followed our tablet coverage over the past six months, then you know that no two products, however similar-looking, are quite the same. Among the tablets sharing an operating system like Android, we've seen vendors optimize their devices in unique ways. Sometimes they use hardware; other times software makes the difference. For example, Sony's Tablet S is a phenomenal addition to any home theater thanks to its awesome DLNA integration and a built-in IR remote. Meanwhile, the SuperPLS display found on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the best tablet screen we've seen yet.

The selling points on a smartphone are oftentimes even more important. Since not all carriers offer the same phones, you're not just marrying a piece of hardware, but also a service provider. If you find a phone you like, you'd better be ready to put up with the coverage areas and interruptions inherent to whichever company offers it. You're generally talking about a two-year relationship, too, unless you want to pay the exorbitant price for getting action without any commitment.

Meet Nokia's Lumia 710

It's been a long time since we've had our hands on hardware from Nokia. The company was one of the last Symbian holdouts, and it recently made the decision to turn to Microsoft for its operating system. Nokia’s decision makes a lot of sense. Frankly, even the most current build of Symbian can’t compete with Android or iOS. Naturally, Nokia hopes that Windows Phone 7 (WP7) enables a better ecosystem. If a new operating environment does turn out to be the missing link, it stands a better chance of fending off competitors with serious momentum, which currently threaten its top market share spot.

Picking a more competitive software platform will only get Nokia so far, though. In order to achieve true effectiveness, the company must complement the operating environment with great hardware.

Nokia is trying to demonstrate its ability to deliver in that regard with its Lumia 800 and Lumia 710. The company sent us the latter for testing, and that's what we'll be reviewing today.

Model
Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 710
SoC
Qualcomm MSM8255 (single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion)
Qualcomm MSM8255 (single-core 1.4 GHz Scorpion)
Graphics
Adreno 205
Adreno 205
Memory
512 MB RAM LPDDR2512 MB RAM LPDDR2
Storage
16 GB
8 GB
microSD
No
No
Camera
8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual-LED flash5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Video
720p
720p
Display
3.7" AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, ClearBlack display3.7" TFT IPS capacitive touchscreen, ClearBlack display
Size
116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm
Weight
142 g125.5 g
Baseband
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
WiFi
802.11 b/g/n (no 5.0 GHz)802.11 b/g/n (no 5.0 GHz)
OS
Windows 7 Phone Mango 7.5
Windows 7 Phone Mango 7.5
Battery
Internal 5.37 WhRemovable 4.81 Wh


The Lumia 710 is the newest phone from the Nokia, and it's considered an entry-level version of the flagship Lumia 800. Both phones are powered by a third-gen Snapdragon SoC. Clock for clock, Qualcomm's Scorpion core is able to outperform SoCs that employ the Cortex-A9, such as the A5 and Tegra 2. However, considering that Lumia family uses a single-core SoC, expect lower performance than competing dual-core solutions.

The graphics component of Qualcomm's SoC centers on a component called Adreno 205. Based on IP derived from the-company-previously-known-as-ATI (now just Imageon), Adreno 205 is one generation older than the engine found in more expensive phones like Motorola's Droid X2. Given performance numbers seen in the GLBenchmark database, the Adreno 220 is between two- and four-times faster in a comparable 3D environment.

Most SoC performance comparisons are based on scores generated in Android, due to the greater availability of benchmarks. There simply aren't many metrics available for WP7 yet. The one program we are comfortable using is WPBench, but it's only able to provide results relative to other WP7-based phones.

Based on the results, it's fair to say that the Lumia 710 and 800 fare decently. However, Samsung's Focus S employs the same SoC and more consistently serves up even better numbers. As we know, just because two phones employ the same hardware and operating system doesn't mean you should expect identical performance. Each vendor takes software optimization to a different level, and you see the result of that disparate behavior here.

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    Anonymous , 9 January 2012 21:16
    Incredibly interesting review given how different you approach the phone to other mobile oriented sites (engadget etc) making it worthwhile reading both. I work in a retail phone store, and it is very much a case of customers just not being aware of windows phone as a great, easy to use platform, as most people come in asking for an iphone, teens want a blackberry, and increasingly an android phone.