Windows optimize

Nokia Lumia 710: Less is not more

Find out why Jack Wallen thinks that no one in IT will want the Nokia Lumia 710 Windows smartphone.

The Nokia Lumia 710 is the first of the series to reach the states, which is a shame because the 800 series phones are quite powerful. And although the 710 is a snappy little guy, it suffers from a few tiny hurdles that will ultimately see this phone fall into the land of obsurity, where only fans need apply. Who are those fans? The scant few members of the Windows Mobile Chorus who are desperately clinging to the idea that the mobile platform from Microsoft stands a chance.

I should preface all of this by saying that I have yet to meet a mobile that has me accepting the idea that the Windows mobile platform is a worthy contender in the market. And although the Windows mobile OS is one of the more spritly interfaces (making lesser-powered phones run like champs), the UI is horrible. Unless you like to do a lot of scrolling, don't really care about configuring your interface, don't mind that your mail and social network clients look NOTHING like what you are accostomed to (and aren't even remotely efficient), the Windows mobile UI is one of the single worst interfaces ever designed. Now, with that preface out of the way, let's take a look at a well designed piece of hardware.

The design

I realize that I've already doomed this little guy, simply due to the interface. But even a poorly designed UI cannot completely detract from a well designed piece of hardware. The trend is for going big these days. With the Verizon-branded Motorola line of Android phones getting increasingly larger, there's something to be said of the smaller form factors. To this day, one of my single favorite handsets is the Incredible II. The size, weight, and feel is perfect. The Nokia Lumia 710 is the first phone I've tested that comes close to that -- close, being the operative word. Whereas the Incredible II looks and feels like a classy, sleek, expensive device, the Lumia screams (at best) middle-of-the-road. At first blush, it seems a notch above its actually price point, but once you hold it and use it, you realize that it's an entry-level phone.

The real indicator of quality for this handset is the button bar. Instead of three individual buttons for Back, Home, and Search, a single bar has been put in place. This bar will be cumbersome for anyone with beefier fingers. Not only does the phone feel cheap, but this bar is also somewhat recessed and awkward to press.

The specs

  • Display: 3.7" LCD
  • Storage: 8 GB internal (out of the box is more like 6 MB)
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • CPU: Qualcomm Single core 1400 MHz
  • Battery: Maximum 3G talk time is 7 hours; maximum GSM standby time is 400 hours

As you can see, the specs are all fairly low-end. And, like most other Windows 7.5 phones, there's no microSD card support. The only thing saving this phone from the trash heap is the one redeeming quality of the Windows Mobile platform -- it's speed. I can say, with assurance, the same hardware using the Android OS would bog down as soon as you attempted to use a single app. This is not so on the Lumia 710 with Windows. Once you get beyond the horrible UI design, the response of the OS, on underpowered hardware, is quite impressive. After a solid week of use, I found no lag whatsoever. The phone was as snappy as it was straight out of the box, even with numerous push-type accounts enabled.

But even with the snappy feel to the OS, the hardware and the clunky interface simply wasn't enough to make me want this phone. And as for anyone in IT? No way. Why? Two reasons: First and foremost, no one in IT is going to want such an underpowered, kludgy smartphone. Second: It's already a challenge for many companies to support both IOS and Android. Adding Windows into the mix complicates this beyond what few benefits the platform has to offer (and they are few).

In the end, the Nokia Lumia 710 is little more than a toy for anyone who is used to the power and flexibility of modern Android and IOS devices. Although the size and the feel of the handset (minus the button bar) is quite nice, the weaknesses of the phone far outweigh the strengths.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

19 comments
cbslc
cbslc

I don't get this review. First he states " it???s speed. I can say, with assurance, the same hardware using the Android OS would bog down as soon as you attempted to use a single app" then "no one in IT is going to want such an underpowered..." So if its really snappy... how is it underpowered? Cause some spec out there says you need dual cores? You look at performance metrics on most any server and you will see its highly underutilzed - its just sitting, eating power. This is the whole concept of virtual machines - so we can take advantage of overpowered systems. This reviewer needs to get over cpu cycles and cores. They are meaningless. If I can do the same amount of work on a single core, then why would I need a dual? I think less is more - period. I have an android phone and am tired of forced quits, endless email in my trash (and no easy way to empty). How about a review from someone less wrapped up in GHZ and more in tune with time it takes to get stuff done!

langedtay
langedtay

As mentioned in my previous post on here I am a Windows Phone fan and use my phone daily for all sorts of social networking, e-mail, phone calls (obviously) and lots of other things. I work in a military environment where 'banter' is the norm and gets you through the day. I constantly receive 'banter' about being a Windows Phone user which I don't mind at all. The majority of my colleagues use iPhone and Android phones but in my opinion they are literally 'blinded by the light' in terms of what the Windows Phone can do. They're all hung up on the fact that Windows Phone 6.5 wasn't very good. I am constantly berated and being asked if my phone had crashed or experienced a BSOD?!@@!! I just laugh it off and sit there with a chuffed look on my face since I know that I own a superior phone operating system. Let's all 'BIG UP' the Windows Phone!! (the Apollo update looks like it's going to be awesome!)

ariasolo
ariasolo

I just bought myself a Nokia 710 from T Mobile and like it a lot. Because you have use of the Skydrive feature you can store many GB of documents and photos in the cloud at no cost and they won't disappear if your phone is stolen or lost. I bought this phone as a replacement for my old Windows PDA because I can sync my Outlook calendar and contacts directly from my home computer and TMobile has an inexpensive prepaid plan with data for the few times I will use the 3G network rather than free wifi.

DanielRP
DanielRP

I take it this was meant to come out 1st April as a big joke? Cause the entire article is terrible. I can understand a Linux fanboi wanting to hurt the (obviously more efficient) competition, but this article is really just an awful read. I was on Android, I had a Galaxy S - Still probably one of the best android devices ever released, and I loved it! I loved the customisation, the hacking, the ROMs, the freedom.. But I did NOT love the stability. Having to switch it off and on again a few times throughout the day, force closing of apps, severe slowdowns for just mo reason! I've since moved on to the Lumia 710 slightly bigger bro, the Lumia 800, and am truly glad I've traded in customisation for a stable system.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

Stupidest review I have ever read. It reminds me of this movie reviewer for the Austin American Statesman about 25 years ago. If it was Science Fiction, he hated it because it was Science Fiction. He never reviewed a single Science Fiction movie. Each time a Science Fiction movie came out he reviewed the entire genre of Science Fiction. Windows Phone isn't burning up the sales figures, but it still beats Android by a mile. Android is a rip off of the outdated iOS. Both lag well behind the innovation of Windows Phone, but of course Windows Phone isn't trying to copy anything, so it must be terrible. And, for the last time, how is scrolling up and down (like Windows Phone 7) worse then scrolling endlessly side to side (like Android)? Explain that one to me please. Is side to side somehow better than up and down? I don't get it. Crawl back under your rock, Jack Wagon, and leave the smartphone arena to people who understand it.

petin_y
petin_y

This guy is an iDiot!

Xenon8
Xenon8

Are we talking about the same phone? It is snappy, fast and for the price you can hardly find a better build quality for a phone. Windows OS is streets ahead for usability and the most social OS I have ever used. I was shocked to read such a review, you are either biased or simply ill informed.

Fravio
Fravio

The Windows Mobiles came from Handhelds, then it was adapted for cellphones. Accept it or not, WM 6, 6.1, 6.5 are great operating systems, very reliable and stable. I've had a HTC Touch Diamond. But as the world turns, a new product is necesary. iOS and Android are great but if you prefer a VM over a Linux, crashing, needing a lot of resources and constant weird updates, the problem is yours. WP 7 is a great OS, stable and reliable too. I'm very satisfied with my Samsung Omnia W which is a mid-end device as Lumia 710. It has everything I need: nice navigation (with IE 9), Exchange Active Sync, GPS apps, Office suite, some games and so on.... Linux geeks can't bear with any MS product.

ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org
ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org

Never figured out why so many people think so badly about WM6. I am currently using a Touch Pro 2 with WM65 and once I stripped it down to 6.1 level (MS and other needs to figure out that sometimes trying make something simpler sometimes makes it harder to use) I have been happy with it. I had the options for both Android and iPhone (and Blackberry) and went with a WM (WP7 was not available yet). My company provided me with an iPad2 that I don't like and I have experimented with Android but cannot get it to sync with Exchange without buying Touchdown. So I think when my contract comes up I am just going to get another Windows phone (WP7 or 8). (Office is a bonus)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

If you think iOS and Android reviews are biased, this one goes far beyond them. Merely the assumption that WP7.5 is no different from it's previous WinMob predecessors exemplifies the level of bias seen here. In fact, the level of bias almost indicates a probable fear that WP8 may just steal Android's thunder by simply being easier to use and more reliable. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing how well the new Windows phones will do. Admittedly they have a horrendous reputation to overcome but from what I've read so far the difference between WP7 and previous WinMob versions is almost night and day. It seems Microsoft has finally learned that you can't put a desktop OS interface on a mobile device and expect any kind of reliability. On the other hand, the quality of the hardware makes a difference as well and Nokia is well noted for reliable handsets compared to most of the other OEMs.

jfuller05
jfuller05

seems superior to this windows phone. We support the samsung focus at work, along with iphones.

langedtay
langedtay

Come on, give the WP7 (.5) OS a chance. Your review above as you quite rightly stated was doomed from the start. Considering you've been writing about this stuff for over 12 years I would expect better in the fact that you slated it right from the start and to have given it a chance. You also quite rightly state that the OS in no way slows the phone down and even after a number of apps have been installed the phone still seems to want to give more. I am a WP7 fan and currently own the HTC HD7 and soon intend to upgrade to the HTC Titan (with a forward facing camera). This is in anticipation for the forthcoming Apollo update which from what I understand will be as big a leap as 6.5 to 7 was (despite not having ever properly used WP6.5 I do appreciate that this was a very very poor offering from Microsoft although I cannot say this with any authority). I mention Apollo since it is understood that this update will include the newly acquired Skype as well as bringing more synergy with Windows 8; an update that will also update the phone to WP8. Please no more Microsoft badgering, at least give it a chance. Remember, this is a Windows world!! A huge percentage of corporate servers are in fact running Windows Server a fact that I can indeed testify to.

NerdHerder
NerdHerder

You complain that the phone feels cheap and is an entry-level phone. Since it's free with contract, the logical response is "duh!" You admit that the OS is snappy is responsive even with several push accounts but claim that it does not matter because the UI is different. So lag is acceptable to you if you like the UI? Like iOS, you cannot customize the interface which is a disadvantage for WP7 but an advantage for iOS. To prove your argument that the UI is inferior, you need to provide some metrics. Post a picture to Facebook or reply to an email with a Word attachment. Count the clicks and time it. If common tasks are slower on WP7, then you made a point. Don't hate it just because it's different. Give examples where the differences are slower or less obvious. "Storage: 8 GB internal (out of the box is more like 6 MB)" What does this mean? Are you claiming that there was only 6 MB of free space of storage when you opened it? Examples, or it's a bogus claim.

YetAnotherTechie
YetAnotherTechie

Review the Limia 710 for what it is and stop comparing it to higher spec, much more expensive devices. Compare it to similarly priced phones. I bought a Lumia a few weeks back and it's what I expect from a cheaper phone. It does what I want and more, and the interface is fine for me.

sp1nna
sp1nna

Seriously I cant believe they let idiots like you review products. If you can not give an un biased review don't review it then. and as for you comment about companies having difficulty supporting windows. are you taking the piss. I cant stand reviews like this your supposed to be providing an un biased opinion to help folks make an informed decision. Its a cheap smart phone that works better than android for the price kudos to nokia.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

He's became the "Rodney Dangerfield" of TechRepublic! If he would only read some of the comments, maybe he would stay with something he has at least an introductory knowledge of...like his typical "Linux Distro Flavor of the Week"... My wife and step-daughter absolutely love their Windows Phones...I gave them both a Samsung Focus for Christmas. If my wife can make a phone work, perhaps there's hope for Jack Wallen yet...IF (big if) he would only actually USE ONE instead of plagiarizing the anti-Microsoft rhetoric at ZDNet.

dbgman
dbgman

I am in IT and love my Windows Phone 7!! I am now using a HTC Titan which is much bigger than the 710 and has capacitive buttons. Obviously, there is a difference in use between the IOS, Android, and Windows Phone. You have to go in with a positive attitude and a willingness of change. This author is not. Social not efficient? I beg to differ. I can tap on my daughter and see her wall with one tap!

robydm1
robydm1

I don't understand what you are saying, I love my WP7 UI.

vgh
vgh

Why is a Linux/Open Source guy reviewing WP7 anyway? More bashing from an obvious anti-MS stance has become so old. Android and iOS isn't all that cool anymore. Just ordinary. Please stick to Linux and Android Jack...