Camera, Battery Life, Conclusion
The Nokia Lumia 710 sports a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and a flash centered in the upper quarter of the phone's back. As per Microsoft's hardware requirements for Windows Phone devices, it also has a camera key that lets you launch the camera from within any app - including when the phone is locked. As I mentioned in the hardware section of the review, the camera key is nothing short of terrible, with a mushy feel and little to no feedback to the user when it is pressed. Thankfully, Windows Phone 7.5 now lets users tap the screen to focus and snap a picture.
Image quality from the camera isn't terrible, but it certainly is not as good as seen with other smartphones on the market. Images taken in good light retain a fair amount of detail, but the camera struggles in low light. I also had issues with white balance not only in the typical indoor situations, but also outdoors, where most cameras have no trouble. Focus speed isn't the fastest, but it's not so slow as to be a major point of concern.
The Lumia 710 is capable of recording 720p (1280 x 720 pixel) HD video, and for the most part the video isn't terrible. Control is limited, however, as the camera cannot zoom or refocus while recording. It does manage to adjust exposure while recording, though.
The Lumia 710 benefits from the excellent Zune services that come with Windows Phone 7.5 for its music playback. Even if you don't subscribe to the monthly streaming service, the music player offers an attractive interface with lock screen controls and artist information culled from the Internet. T-Mobile does not include headphones with the 710, but the external speaker is rather loud and does a remarkable job of resisting distortion. The only thing that really holds the Lumia 710 back from being a great music phone is its paltry 6GB of available internal storage that cannot be expanded.
The Nokia Lumia 710 comes with a 1,300mAh removable battery that Nokia says is good for 7 hours of talk time or 16 days of standby between charges. During my tests, which include multiple email and social networking accounts updating at short intervals and regular use of the web browser and messaging, I was able to get the battery to last an average of 15 to 16 hours before it was fully exhausted. Users who are less demanding on their devices may be able to get the vaunted 24 hours of battery life out of the Lumia 710, so it's not a bad performer at all.
The Lumia 710 won't turn any heads or break any new ground, but it's not meant to either. It is a solid smartphone that offers a simple interface, quick performance, great call quality, and decent battery life - and at T-Mobile's $49.99 asking price (or Walmart's $0), there really isn't much room for complaint here.
This is Nokia's first Windows Phone for the U.S. and it's clearly aimed at the entry/value market, with the Lumia 800 on offer standalone unlocked (~$520) and the larger, high-end Lumia 900 coming in March through AT&T offering 4G connectivity.
For a first-time smartphone, a buyer could do much worse than the Lumia 710, that is for sure.
Pros: Swift performance, solid call quality, good battery life.
Cons: Cheap feel, uninspired design, limited app selection.