Nokia Lumia 710: The Good

, posted: 10-Apr-2012 12:12

I wanted to end on the Good.

There are lots of good things about the Nokia Lumia  710 and the Windows Phone OS.

There are things that I will really miss when I move back to the Samsung Galaxy SII.

I’m in love
The things I love are the screen. I really find the screen a pleasure.  And in fact it’s my choice first thing in the morning to catch up on email, Twitter and Facebook from the Lumia 710.

Launching the camera by pressing down on the shutter button, and being able to take a photo by pressing the screen are just simple things done really well.  Clearly someone was thinking.

The feel
The phone just fits so nicely in my hand. It’s a good feel. It’s not heavy. You’ll notice it in your hand. This is good in my opinion. The shape is really good too. It’s curved, it’s designed well for your hand to mould around it. Pressing the power button while holding the phone in one hand is easy to do. There’s no strain to reaching the button.

Camera/Video
The camera is good, really good. It's 5MP, not the highest spec’d camera but it does a great job. Videos also are smooth and play well on the phone.

And the icing on the cake is that you can automatically upload to SkyDrive, a free 25 GB storage service from Windows Live. 

Ok, this is going to use some data, but the convenience when you’ve got limited storage on your phone makes this a smart move.

Setting the Quick Share Account is a nice touch.  And the best thing I like is that whatever you’ve typed as the “status” is there to be reused if you choose to send the same picture to another service.

Nokia Drive
I know I’ve mentioned in another post strange directions, or that the notification of you reaching a street is just marginally off, but for all that Nokia Drive is a fantastic piece of software, and it’s FREE.  I can’t believe you can download maps from other countries …. FREE!

This is a huge deal for me.

And I know for my mother-in-Law this application alone will be the deal breaker for her. This one thing will be a life saver to her navigation challenges.

The other thing that goes hand-in-hand here is the GPS.  GPS is just so quick, and accurate.

Groups
I’ve really enjoyed the ease at which I can keep up with specific people by adding them into a specific Group.  This is an excellent way of weeding out the pieces of information that make sense to read together.

I find it so useful to see this live tile flicking over the recent Tweets that have been going on, and from there I can easily decide if I want to select the tile and delve further into the conversations/information that is being shared.

People
Something I wish would be integrated into Android is the cleverness of being able to “mention” on Twitter, write on the Facebook “wall” or email a contact right from the contact.

Another nice touch is the ability to “map” the home and work address. You can then use your current location to get to the End address (the address of your contact).

Not rocket science, but it’s done really well.

The other cool thing I’ve just discovered is as you scroll through the directions the map changes to keep up with where you’re at with the driving instructions. This is slick. And with a single press of the button the map is added as a tile to the home screen.

Wrap Up
Nokia has some great arsenal up its sleeve. You can’t go past some of the free applications it's developed and still developing.  They have beta testers, real people in the real world using the phone and applications in real situations. They are providing feedback to Nokia who then fine-tune the application ready for deployment.

But all this goodness isn’t much use if you’ve got a fickle provider.  Telecom has a great network on Telecom XT, a stable reliable network that provides service in parts of the country that I’ve not seen with other providers.

When you spend decent money on a smartphone, you want to make sure you’re going to enjoy the experience when you’re out and about.  And to me Telecom makes perfect sense.  It was due to the extensive coverage I had where others had failed that won me over to porting my number.  Not due to this trial, I did it during another review.  And I’ve not looked back.

The phone is just half of the partnership. Make sure that you’re getting the best fit for your needs with your telco provider too.

About the author:

Hi, my name is Anita, on Geekzone and other social network sites I’m known as Neets, sometimes with a “_”, sometimes with “_nz”. I’m a proud kiwi living/surviving in Christchurch. I’m not blogging about this Nokia Lumia 710 because I need a new phone. In fact I love my existing Samsung Galaxy SII. When offered the opportunity to review the Nokia Lumia 710 I took it up because, in truth, it was an honour to be asked, but I enjoy writing reviews, I like learning new things and I’ve got a bit of a fascination about how far you can push smartphones. The brief is fairly simple, use the phone as much as you can and then write about your experiences. My reviews will be honest about the good the bad and the ugly based on how I use the phone, which undoubtedly will vary to the way anyone else uses their phone.



Nokia Lumia 710: The Bad

, posted: 10-Apr-2012 12:11

Remember this is all personal choice.  I know my frustrations may not be echoed anywhere else. I might be a lone solider out there.  That’s ok, I like individuality :).

So what’s not Ugly but still a PITA for me?
Zune, or should I say the method in which you copy files/photos to/from the phone/computer.

Zune makes no sense to me. But then I’m one for tinkering and rooting my Samsung Galaxy SII, for swapping files around via USB.  So I was expecting a similar experience, well at least for moving files.

So not everyone will be familiar with using the phone as a portable device where you simply drag and drop files from the phone to the computer and vice versa.  It seems basic to me.

I get why you’d have a piece of software like Zune, but I’d love to have had an option. Zune is a clunky way to do something that can be done in fewer steps.

Waking the phone
The only way to wake the phone up is to press the power button.  Yes this makes perfect sense. Buy why only that one button?

When you wake the phone the only things available is the date/time and a display of the number of email. All sitting on top of the background. You can see how you’re connected to data and a visual of the health of your battery.

Very quickly the screen goes back to sleep.  To actually do anything with the phone you have to swipe up to fully wake the phone up.

I’m unclear why the Windows button on the phone can’t be used for the same purpose.  Having just one way to wake the phone up just seems more restrictive than it should be.

The number of times I’ve been caught out by pressing the Windows button and getting a non-response are too many to count. So much for those promises that you’ll only do something 3 times and you’ll learn.

Of course it doesn’t help that the SGS2’s home button will wake the phone up in the same way as the power button works on the Windows OS.

Customisation
I’m finding the customisation somewhat limiting. I want to do more with customising the UI and I’m pretty much restricted to choosing a default colour for the tiles and moving the tiles around. Hopefully there will be some applications that will allow more personality to the phone.

Storage
I won’t harp on here, I’ve written an entire post to the limited storage on the phone.  I’ve just put in a 64 GB Micro SanDisk SD card in my SGS2.  Yes I’m heavy on usage.  This meant the limited space offered in the Lumia 710 was never going to satisfy my needs.

I find the lack of external storage capability a major drawback, in fact an oversight on the part of Nokia. I’m unclear why they didn’t include this.  Sure it would add a few more bucks to the price of the phone. Or maybe they wanted to encourage people to go for the Lumia 800 with 16 GB of space. But even 16 GB wouldn’t have helped me out much.

Refreshing applications
I’m yet to understand why Facebook doesn’t restart where you last left off. I’ve mentioned this before too. I’ll launch Facebook to see it appear at some historic post while it’s now actively searching for new content to display. Why? I would be happy if it started at the last post I had read.  I don’t know how it picks where to start from. But whatever the point, couldn’t it work out where I was when I shut the application down last and make that the new start point? Seems logical to me.

Twitter picks up at the most recent tweet.  I want Twitter to take me to where I last left off too. Sure it might have been many hours ago but life changes really quickly in the Twitterverse.  I don’t want to read the most recent update on a person’s account, it’s a bit like jumping to the end of a book to see how the story ends.

Of course there are other Twitter clients. I’ve been using the official Twitter client, and dabbling here and there with alternatives like Seesmic and Rowi. Others do pick up where you last left off. No more having the plot ruined by reading the ending first.

Threaded email
I find email another area where it’s counter intuitive. I have lots of Geekzone email for the same forum.  These email show in a threaded conversation. Typically I’ll go to the first email in the thread.  At that one time I’ll go through all the posts on the forum which means the other email in the thread are no longer of any value to me.

Once I’ve read the forum and used the back button to return to the email, I’ll press the rubbish bin icon to trash the email. And there are all other email notifications.  I wish that when you selected the last email and deleted it that it deleted the earlier emails.  Or at least had an option where you could choose it as a setting.  Yes I know you can press to the left of the “main” email notification and it will pre-tick all the child email and delete them in one hit. It just doesn’t work quite as smartly as I think it could.

Wrap up
Some of the things here might seem a bit nit-picky. Can I live with them?  Not the lack of external storage, but the other things are things I’d get over. I might not agree with the methodology, but I’d adapt. 

And to be honest, if I hadn’t had the Samsung Galaxy phones (I started with the original “S”) then I wouldn’t have given some of these things a second thought.

There are people who have moved from Android to Windows Phone OS. I’m not sure why, it doesn’t make sense to me, but clearly there are elements of Windows Phone OS that others are finding far superior to their prior experiences.
As the saying goes, “each to their own”.

About the author:

Hi, my name is Anita, on Geekzone and other social network sites I’m known as Neets, sometimes with a “_”, sometimes with “_nz”. I’m a proud kiwi living/surviving in Christchurch. I’m not blogging about this Nokia Lumia 710 because I need a new phone. In fact I love my existing Samsung Galaxy SII. When offered the opportunity to review the Nokia Lumia 710 I took it up because, in truth, it was an honour to be asked, but I enjoy writing reviews, I like learning new things and I’ve got a bit of a fascination about how far you can push smartphones. The brief is fairly simple, use the phone as much as you can and then write about your experiences. My reviews will be honest about the good the bad and the ugly based on how I use the phone, which undoubtedly will vary to the way anyone else uses their phone.



Nokia Lumia 710: The Ugly

, posted: 10-Apr-2012 12:10

I say in my bio below that I would be commenting on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on the Nokia Lumia 710.  This post is dedicated to the Ugly.

Things that make no sense
Audible notification for Facebook.  Phone is in sleep mode. Swipe the notification away. Swipe up the wallpaper/screensaver for Facebook to automatically open. But it doesn’t open to the notification at all.  It’s just launched Facebook. You still need to press the notification button.  So what was the point?  You save one step. What’s the big deal?

Things I can’t forgive
This is a big thing for me. It might be my need for order and neatness and pegs that match colour on clothes hung to dry. I might have some issues. Deal with it ;-)

Why oh why does the screen have to have the next page just sneaking into view? This really annoys me, but perhaps not as much as the home screen with its wasted space:



The space used to display the arrow button to indicate that swiping to the left will reveal more:



Windows Phone users aren’t stupid, or at least not from what I’ve seen.  Why do they think you need to waste real estate by showing an arrow button?  So much about the UI is about swiping but nowhere else do I see this little “tip” pointing out the need to swipe to see the next screen.

After having used this “helpful” tip you end up at the list of applications and settings menu:



Here you get an arrow to take you back to the home screen and a search button. Why can’t the hard search button on the phone work here instead of providing a soft touch search button?  If the hard search button could be more useful (than just searching Bing) then you could do away with any on screen buttons. 

I can’t see the point of these buttons.  Someone must have thought they were vital to screw around with the UI.  Or to use 100% of the screen UI wasn’t important. Of course if they did use all the space the dimensions of the tiles would need to change.

I can’t help feel we’ve been robbed. And to the best of my knowledge there’s not setting where you can “hide” these on screen buttons if you decide you don’t need the “trainer wheels” and trust yourself to remember how to swipe left and right to reach the screens.

Annoyances
Here’s another design “flaw”, in my opinion.  I can’t use a USB cable with a protector case. Now admittedly not everyone is going to want a case for their phone. And perhaps not everyone will want to transfer files/music via Zune. And perhaps the “cheap” case I picked up on EBay isn’t the same as an official Nokia case. Perhaps it’s thicker than the official. But I cannot get the USB cable to connect into the phone. Charging the phone isn’t a problem though. Having to remove the case to connect the phone is obviously an annoyance.

Lack of applications
This piece of Ugly will undoubtedly become a non-issue in time. One of the requests was to use the phone like I would use my own phone. But I simply can’t. There are applications I have on my Android phone that aren’t available, or don’t provide the same functionality.

I seriously feel like my hands are tied. The Windows Phone OS only goes so far for my needs.  I’m trying to remain faithful using the Lumia 710 as my daily driver, which results in me missing out on things that I would have otherwise have had access to on my Samsung Galaxy SII.

Round up
It’s not that I’m not enjoying the Windows Phone OS Lumia 710 experience, it’s just that it doesn’t quite go far enough for what I want to do with a phone. I want to tinker, to customise and to have what I want now.

I’ve pretty much come to the realisation that the Windows Phone OS is not for me. But I think it’s a fantastic OS for doing everything it says it will do smoothly.

This is going to be a great phone for my mother-in-law who wants everything to work the first time in a fashion that is easy to follow and doesn’t constantly change.  The phone is smart, simple (but not stupid – other than the wasted UI space) and 100% dependable.

About the author:

Hi, my name is Anita, on Geekzone and other social network sites I’m known as Neets, sometimes with a “_”, sometimes with “_nz”. I’m a proud kiwi living/surviving in Christchurch. I’m not blogging about this Nokia Lumia 710 because I need a new phone. In fact I love my existing Samsung Galaxy SII. When offered the opportunity to review the Nokia Lumia 710 I took it up because, in truth, it was an honour to be asked, but I enjoy writing reviews, I like learning new things and I’ve got a bit of a fascination about how far you can push smartphones. The brief is fairly simple, use the phone as much as you can and then write about your experiences. My reviews will be honest about the good the bad and the ugly based on how I use the phone, which undoubtedly will vary to the way anyone else uses their phone.



Nokia Lumia 710: Working out with my phone

, posted: 4-Apr-2012 16:48

I have a phone case that is totally water proof. I sometimes swim with my phone and listen to music. It’s great but almost all of the time I am only able to listen to my own music while swimming. I know, I am so hard done by...

Well, I tried it with the Nokia Lumia 710 and to my surprise I was able to listen to the radio while swimming this time! Also I received several texts from my daughter while swimming. I know I can hear you all saying why would you want to text while swimming. I don’t but every now and again you need to always be on call.

I have found that the reception on this phone is better than my other phone. I have had no trouble with calls when in underground car parks, and some shops that I usually lose reception on my normal phone. I normally am not on the Telecom XT network if that is important.

It is so nice to have a 3.5 mm headset jack that will take any 3.5 mm headset. As I like many others have a certain headset that we only use on our phones or mp3 players. It’s very simple to set up your favourite radio stations, ready for when you want to listen while on the move.

I found it was easy to sync my music, videos and photos to the phone.

I enjoyed watching a movie while walking on a treadmill. Although the movie had been converted to be viewed on the Nokia Lumia 710 it was very good and I was able to watch the full movie without the picture quality being compromised.

My phone is my music and video centre on the move. I need to be able to enjoy both music and movies whenever I want to relax or exercise. I want choices and this handset gives me those choices while I am out and about.

About the author:

Hi I am Dreamy, a 54 year old mum of two teenagers. Ten years ago I didn't know how to work a computer, and my phone was a Nokia 3315. To keep up with my children's interest in everything to do with the Internet, xbox live, computer games, I turned on a computer and the rest as they say is history. Now I wouldn't be without my smartphone. Being connected to my children, my family and friends around the world. Able to read the news anywhere at anytime.



Nokia Lumia 710 visits the Ellerslie Flower Show...

, posted: 3-Apr-2012 10:20

In my continued desire to jump right in with the Nokia Lumia 710 I decided to use it as my camera for the day at the Ellerslie Flower Show in Christchurch. It was a beautiful cloudless day so all the outdoor shots I expected to be perfect but the real test was the Starlight tent (a wonderful indoor marquee of stunning exhibits that I knew would test it). Two years ago my iphone 3gs was very average at the same venue.

Leaving the manual at home straight away some things became obvious. The camera button is on the side of the phone so easy to push by mistake. The phone does have to be on (i.e. active) for it to work though which is good. So turn on, flip up the wallpaper, push the button and click. Simple. Except now you are walking to the next exhibit and get a great shot of the ground.

Three other buttons are also on screen. An up arrow to scroll old pictures and a flower type symbol for settings and a movie camera. All reasonably obvious as for function.



Example of a shot that at a smaller size looks fine but larger is soft in focus. "Urban Refreshment - Silver Distinction"    

Zoom is an easy + or - on the screen but after you take a shot did not seem to default back to standard which is positive or negative subject to what you are doing. It does mean that there is no way to tell if you are zoomed in or not while using the camera. I tended to regularly reset it back to full (either manually or by exiting the camera function). To me the slider should show if you are zoomed in and this would solve this small but annoying issue.

Auto focus can be frustrating as it is a half click. The difference between the half click working and not is small. Sometimes I would always get it and others I would want a half click and would get the picture and be totally unable to focus.  I would prefer this to be separate or the auto focus to show what it is focusing on screen.



This distance shot was in full focus front to back (many did not for some reason). "Straight from the Heart - Silver Award"



The camera was able to capture fine rock details and plants well with the background still in good focus. "Transitions - Gold & Supreme Award"

I took almost 300 photos over four to five hours and battery was still about 20% at the end of the day with email, WiFi, Bluetooth and Facebook updates on that whole time. I was very pleased with this aspect of the test.

Back home it's time to check out the pictures. Plug in the phone to the PC for the first time and it wants me to install Zune. I would much prefer the device is automatically seen in Windows the same as a USB drive.  I am NOT a fan of this method at all. Zune seems pretty enough though. Head into custom settings and it's found my Windows Media Player settings including iTunes which is nice.  Same with videos. Now it's trying to add all that media when all I want is to access the photos I just took.

At first it seems to only want to sync via USB cable but soon offers me a wireless option which is excellent. Disconnect the phone from USB and not working. It keeps telling me to connect the phone. I will win but this is frustrating and needlessly complex to me. Connect the phone, drag & drop from windows. How hard is that to make work.

So back on the USB cable we go. Click on pictures and there is a pile of blank grey boxes and it says I have 270 photos on "Camera Roll". Clicking one does nothing but I can hear the PC whirring away so let's leave things a while.



The camera is capable of excellent framing even into the sun and taking some nice images. "Casa De Vidro - Supreme, Gold and Lighting awards"

Five minutes later pictures start appearing in the grey boxes which is mind boggling slow and I still cannot even click a picture and have anything happen. Go away for a bit longer. Finally seems done. Clicking the first and last selects all and right click gives me the option "Copy to my collection".  Do so and nothing seems to happen. By now the frustration is growing and while this is not a Nokia issue it annoys me that what should be a simple step is made so complicated.

Finally I check in the Windows default directory I setup at the start. Full copies of everything which explains the slowness earlier as everything copied. Nothing (that I noticed)  told me it was doing this.

So what is my first impression going through the pictures? They are good to ok but very few are excellent (which may be harsh of me as this is a lower cost phone). Many are just short of clear focus and have the wrong exposure. The indoor ones in particular are disappointing. Some distance shots have no focus at all front or back in the shot so I cannot see where the camera took the focus from. Anything zoomed in is just poor quality.

I later uploaded about 150 of the photos to Facebook using the High Definition upload option. Most looked good to excellent and if this is your intended output medium then I will say that the photos and camera will work just fine for you. 

Equally, if used in an article like this they will more than adequately do the job for a report or assignment. But if you want to blow them up to A4 then you could be pushing the camera  a little hard.

I would use the camera on this phone but know its limitations.

The videos however are extremely clear but the recorded sound very very low.  Excellent results in fact and I was very impressed with the clarity. So overall a good test of the phone that it did not fail but did not really excel at either. Some of the areas I had issues with may be solved by "reading the manual" but my goal here was to continue testing the phone use in real world and as is.



One of the few indoor shots that was useable. The camera did not cope at all with the low light. "Dan Rutherford's Fresh Start, New Growth - Gold & Lighting Silver Distinction Awards".

About the author:

Debs (Quinny) works in the Christchurch construction industry so has had a pretty busy 18 months. With a 30 year plus work history that includes government Departments, IT consulting and the entertainment industry she has a love of samoyeds, gaming, science fiction and spends time on voluntary community work. Some of a eco, tech and gadget freak she has an iPhone 3GS, Nook & Kindle eReaders, usb caddy, recyclable shopping bags  and a Blackberry Playbook inside that massive Guess handbag. I game, being a World of Warcraft junkie, in a big NZ raiding guild.



TelecomTech's profile

Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





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