Nokia Lumia 710: Is this a SMART choice?

Announced last year at the Nokia World in London, the Nokia Lumia 710 (codenamed ‘Sabre’) was one of the first two Lumias introduced by Nokia in partnership with Microsoft. This was categorized as a mid-range device due to its plastic construction, low-price point and limited features compared to its sibling, the Nokia Lumia 800. Given the “not so good looking but decent” built of this phone; it still follows the strict requirements of Microsoft for the Windows Phone platform. Learn more about the device after the break.

Nokia Lumia 710 was first released in the US and then followed by other countries until it was made available and launched here in the Philippines last April 19, 2012 by Nokia Philippines in partnership with Smart Communications. Available in black and white, it retails at Php 1,450.00 with a two year agreement including a monthly allocation of 500 SMS to all networks, 500 minutes to Smart and TNT and a 1 GB of data for mobile browsing. It was indeed an affordable device for those who are looking on the performance rather than the design.

IN THE BOX

Included in a pretty large slider box are the Nokia Lumia 710, documentations, a charger, a micro USB cable for data syncing, a headset and the battery pack. I was expecting for a free back cover but it’s not included.

THE DESIGN

At 119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm and weighs only 126 grams, the Nokia Lumia 710 was designed to really fit in the hands and due to its plastic construction, it’s even lighter than the iPhone 4. The curve on the edge of the phone lets my thumb rest whenever I was holding it and even more relaxing when playing my favorite Xbox Live Games. It has a 3.7” WVGA screen with 480X800 pixels resolution and a pixel density of 252ppi using Nokia’s Clear Black Technology. The scratch-free display cover was also a plus feature on this device, thanks to the Corning Gorilla Glass.  In front, you will see the proximity sensor and just below the screen is the soft key button for back, menu and search. On top are the unprotected micro USB slot, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power/lock key. On the right, there are the volume rocker and the dedicated camera button which can be accessed even if the phone is locked. Nothing can be found on the adjacent side except for the latch to open up the back cover and access the battery and the micro sim. At the back, there is a 5MP AF camera with f2.2 lens that can shoot a video on 720p at 30 frames per second and the single LED flash. There is also a grill below at the back portion of the device for loudspeaker. At the bottom, you will just see a hole for a lanyard. Nokia Lumia 710 black variety has a matte finish back cover for easy handling (I guess the white has a glossy finish).

THE INTERNALS

Equipped with 1.4 GHz single core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512 MB of RAM, this device can compete on its classy sibling, the Nokia Lumia 800 and even the HTC Titan in terms of performance. The built in 8GB of storage seems to be small for a power user but Microsoft offers a free 25GB of storage through its SkyDrive. Nokia Lumia 710 runs on the latest Windows Phone 7.5 Operating System also known as “Mango”. Sweeter than its competitor, the OS offers a no compromise, consistent performance, and fast and fluid experience.

THE HUBS

One of main feature I mostly like in Windows Phone is the integration of different social networking sites into one hub called the People Hub. At a single tap on the tile I can access and see updates on my all social networking sites. This prevents me from opening every social networking app like what I was doing on my other device (oh did I mentioned Android?).  I can also create a specific tile for my group for easy accessing; sending emails and see all their updates instantly.

Another cool feature is the Messaging Hub, wherein all my threads (text, messenger, facebook messages) are rolled into one place. It also lets me know if the user is already offline so that I can switch instantly on available media. Talking about emails, you can link all your emails into one live tile and access it in just a single tap.

Are you a gamer? Then you’ll going to love the Games Hub on Nokia Lumia 710. This is the place where you can access all your downloaded games. With Xbox Live as its core feature, it covers almost all features of the regular Xbox (you will notice it if you’re playing on an Xbox console), from the avatar to your profile to the achievements that you are earning. You can customize your own avatar, right on your phone. You can also view your friends’ credentials and compare your scores.

With Xbox Live on Windows 8

The Picture Hub is a one place for all your picture-related needs including photo and video effects. The hub has 4 options so that you can easily locate the photos that you need. These are camera roll, albums, date and people.  Nokia had made a pretty good job on this 5MP camera, although encountered some problems with half-pressing (maybe there’s no half-pressed at all), the colors are accurate and the video recording is very detailed both on high and low lighting conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the sample photos and video taken from Nokia Lumia 710

Powered by Zune, the Music and Video Hub is where you can access all your entertainment needs. Starting the hub will deliver you to your previously played media. With the music and video hub, you can play music, videos, listen and watch to audio and video podcasts, listen to FM radio and even get an instant access to Marketplace. The sound quality on this device is quiet good.

Microsoft Office applications, Office 365, Sharepoint and SkyDrive are integrated in the hub called the Office Hub powered by Microsoft Office for mobile. And this is a no viewer; you can actually edit, comment and do calculations straight from the Windows Phone.

How Nokia Lumia with Windows Phone differs from other OEM is that they introduce their own native apps which is really of great addition to the user experience. Comes out of the box, are the Nokia Drive, a turn by turn navigation app, a Nokia Maps which shows detailed location, App Highlights and Nokia Music with almost the same functions as Windows Marketplace and Music + Video app respectively. There is also the Contact Transfer app to easily transfer your phone contacts from your other phone to your Nokia Lumia device. Still on work are the Nokia Transit and Reader.

FAST AND FLUID INTERNET EXPERIENCE

Nokia Lumia 710 has a support for both quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA. It also supports Wi-Fi b/g/n and stereo Bluetooth 2.1. The Bluetooth didn’t support file transfer and mass storage mode. In order to transfer files from PC to your Nokia Lumia 710, you will need Zune software (both available for Windows and Mac) and transfer files through USB cable or Wi-Fi.

Nokia Lumia 710 and other Windows Phone devices use the latest browser from Microsoft, Internet Explorer 9 with Bing. Windows Phone takes advantage of the HTML5 power of the browser. And like the other apps, you can share webpages instantly.

HEY C’MON, TELL ME!

In Windows Phone 7.5, Microsoft adds a voice search feature called Tellme where you can “Find” a specific place and weather, “Call” anyone in the Contacts list, “Open” an application or games installed in the device or “Text” one of your friends without the hassle of touching the screen. I find it very useful especially when you’re carrying a lot of thing and you can’t afford to properly handle the phone. I made a quick video on how this feature works on the Nokia Lumia 710.

WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES?

With Nokia Lumia 710 powered by Windows Phone, there are lot things that you can do in the smartphone. This is indeed a smart choice but not a perfect phone. So what are the downsides of this device?

  1. Internet Explorer 9 for mobile only used HTML5 so no support for Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.
  2. No support for Mass Storage Mode
  3. Uses LCD instead of AMOLED display
  4. No front-facing camera (no video calling)
  5. With low capacity 1300mAh battery pack, you really need to monitor all your running apps.
  6. Limited 8GB of internal storage and the absence of external memory support
  7. Camera was reduced to 5MP

CONCLUSION

With a phone on-the-go, although lack some features, and a reasonable price of Php 1,450 under a two year contract from Smart including delicious packages, this is a must have for all the smartphone starters out there. You will not regret buying this phone. I almost forgot my Android device because of this. Till next time! Enjoy!


Nokia Lumia 610: A Quick review of the first low-end handset running the latest Windows Phone Software

Announced last February 2012, the Nokia Lumia 610 is the first real low-end device that will ship running the latest Microsoft’s Windows Phone Operating System. The Nokia Lumia 610, unlike the other Lumias, is equipped with 800 Mhz Qualcomm MSM7225 (S1) System an a Chip (SoC) processor and 256 MB of RAM. The device has said to be running the updated version of Mango which is the Windows Phone Tango, a software designed to run on a low powered handset like the Nokia Lumia 610. Given the hardware specifications, the handset has a 3.7 inch WVGA (480×800) resolution TFT capacitive touchscreen coated with corning gorilla glass, a 5MP rear 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash camera and able to play a 720p video at 30 fps, 8 GB of internal storage and comes with both Windows Phone 7 and Nokia apps such as XBox Live games, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps and the new Nokia Transport.

 

Nokia Lumia 610 is expected to arrive in the Q2 of this year as Smart Communications already posted it in their phone list along side with the high end Nokia Lumia 900 and the mid-range Nokia Lumia 710 (pre-order now). The phone will come in variety of colors (cyan, magenta, black and white) and estimated to have a price of Php 11,000.00.

More info of the device here

 

 

Windows Phone “Tango” coming to China, possible in the Philippines?

Joe Belfiore drinking Tango (courtesy of ZDNet)

WPDang reported last week that Windows Phone “Tango” will be coming in to mainland China this March. During the past weeks a lot of information about “Tango” begun leaking from different sources. It was said that Windows Phone “Tango” was just an minor upgrade from Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. Reports said that Tango will be optimized for devices with lower RAM and will support low-end Windows Phone handsets that has 256 MB of RAM. With this, apps running on Mango may not be compatible with Tango. The coming of Windows Phone to China is not a surprise after all since Microsoft has recently reported that they will launch Windows Phone Marketplace in 6 new regions including China and the Philippines.

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain at the end of this month we will be expecting confirmation from Microsoft and Nokia regarding the Windows Phone “Tango”. It was also reported that Nokia will unveil not just one but six new Nokia phones in MWC, two of which running Windows Phone OS, one Symbian and three S40 feature phones. For the two Windows Phone, we’re expecting a global release of Lumia 900 and the low-end/ budget-phone Lumia 610 which was reportedly equipped with Windows Phone Tango.

Photo courtesy of WPDang.com

The rumored Nokia Lumia 610

 

Windows 8 Consumer Preview due on February 29 at MWC

The long wait is over. Mark your calendar because it is official! Microsoft is hosting a Windows 8 Consumer Preview on February 29, 2012 for the World Mobile Congress at Barcelona, Spain. It is a two hour event that will kick off at 3PM (CET).

A tweet from Microsoft informing the public of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview event at Barcelona, Spain

Microsoft is planning to deliver a Developer Preview (already released to public last fall), a Consumer Preview (or the Beta), a Release Candidate and a Release to Manufacturing of Windows 8.

It is very unusual for Microsoft to release an Operating System on a mobile conference. Are they positioning Windows 8 as an operating system for mobile gadgets? Or this is just in time for the Windows 8/Windows phone marriage announcement when the “Apollo” features leaked  couple of weeks ago?

 

Skype is coming to Windows Phone

The acquisition of Skype last year was a big move by Microsoft to incorporate voice and video communications that will be beneficial to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. Skype will support Microsoft devices such as Windows Phone, Xbox and Kinect, as well as other Windows devices.

At last week’s CES, Skype product Vice President Rick Osterloh committed that the service will be delivered to Windows Phone “soon”. Not mentioned any other details but he confirmed that they are working on app for Microsoft. They have previously shown off its VoIP app running on Windows Phone but no additional information regarding the software. It has been a rumored that the app will be released at the last quarter of the year.

New Windows Phones Unveiled at CES 2012

During Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, he announced the availability of Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II. The two mobile phones will be exclusively available for AT&T in the US in the coming months.

Nokia Lumia 900

This phone has a very sleek design packed up with 1.4 GHz CPU and support for LTE network for a super fast data transfer on AT&T network. It has 4.3 inch AMOLED display pushing every pixel in the phone and an 8-megapixel cameras. It also carries a 16GB built-in storage and 512 MB of RAM that makes this Windows Phone runs smoothly.

HTC Titan II

Titan II was the first LTE Windows Phone of HTC. It has a huge 4.7-inch LCD screen. The HTC Titan II was also equipped with a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon CPU.  For those who love taking pictures this powerful handset comes with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with wide-angle lens, autofocus, image stabilization, dual LED flash red eye reduction, a backside-illuminated sensor and a physical camera button. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera was acceptable enough to play 720p video.

Both phones are running the latest Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

 

Microsoft will launch Windows Phone Marketplace in six new regions

Mango_Windows_Phone

Windows Phone Developers, get ready. Microsoft announces that they will expand its Windows Phone Marketplace to six new regions namely Argentina, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Peru and the Philippines. Microsoft has opened up the submission process early for developers due to this, ahead of a full Marketplace launch for end users, to give them a head start on application certification. Developers will be required by the three of the new regions (China, Malaysia and Indonesia) to observe additional requirements due to local regulations and laws.