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.

Nokia Lumia 710: Coverage, GPS and navigation

, posted: 3-Apr-2012 10:06

I thought I’d take the time to go a little off the beaten track to comment on the experience I’ve had using the Nokia Lumia 710 while I’ve been out an about.

Recently we took a trip to Akaroa, it’s been about 3 years since we were last there and I recall at the time being pointed out to a street light where we’d get the best reception with the “other” carrier.

I was interested to see whether the Telcos had improved the coverage provided and was expecting a weekend where my social network activities would be severely curtailed.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had instant mobile coverage after arriving at the outskirts of Akaroa.  I’m with Telecom XT, my husband with the “other” that we were with some three years ago.  It’s only fair to note my husband also didn’t have any areas where coverage dropped out.

During the weekend I was able to tweet, check in with Foursquare, upload photos to Facebook and carry on as normal.

However normal is not being out in Akaroa Harbour at the mouth of the sea.  But I still had mobile coverage out there.  The Nokia Lumia 710 took great photos of Shag, Albatross, Blue-eyed penguins and Hector Dolphins.

It was all going on, or is that off?

On our trip from Christchurch to Akaroa I set Nokia Drive to map our way.  If you’re familiar with the drive you’ll realise this was almost pointless.  There’s no turn offs. You head in the right direction and keep on following the road until you wind up at your destination.

The GPS was great with tracking us, except the same split second delay in realising we’d just passed a street rather than just arrived at it.  I’ve mentioned this in another post.
This delay was significant. We passed the street we should have turned down. It was pretty obvious given our only other choice was to carry on into the drink.

During the 73km 60 minute drive the battery life went from 69% to 56%.  Given we couldn’t really go wrong (until we got into Akaroa) I allowed the screen to shut down.

When I realised we were practically in Akaroa I pressed the power button to bring the phone back to life.  The Nokia Drive app said it had lost GPS and it took a few seconds longer than it usually does on first start up, to locate where we were.  I wouldn’t say this was a problem. If you truly needed navigational assistance you’d not have let the phone go into sleep mode.  And it could be simply the “fault” of the route.  There was no feedback to give. Point the car in the right direction and go until you arrive.

One last thing to note. A post wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t mention my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. When using Samsung’s Navigon app the battery really heats up, and I also started this app at the same time as Nokia Drive. The SGS2 got warm really quickly so I shut it down.  The Nokia Lumia 710 never suffered any heat despite having left it going a much longer time.

Thanks Nokia for making sure I could record some memories, and for Telecom for making sure I could share them.

These were from the local Fish ‘n Chip shop, which was unfortunately burnt down just days after we’d eaten there.

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: Connected to my world

, posted: 2-Apr-2012 11:00

The Nokia Lumia 710 has connected me to my world. I always have wifi and Bluetooth permanently on so I do expect to charge the phone nightly. I want to be connected whenever possible, however possible.

The down side of that is using up the battery.

The Nokia Lumia 710’s battery is good for a day’s normal (to me) use. Using the internet, accessing emails, my children playing games, checking Twitter or Facebook etc.

Using Wifi is easy to set up, a 12 year old can do it, and did do it on my phone. I found it would pick up wifi connections whenever I was in the area of a signal.

As for Bluetooth, I use a stereo with built in Bluetooth handsfree and as soon as the car was turned on it would pick up the 710. Sound quality is good when I am on a call in the car. The person I was talking to have no trouble hearing me. Which is always a bonus in any conversation.

I have had no trouble using internet via 3g or wifi. I found it fast and with no lagging.
To me having a phone that will keep me connected to my world is the most important fact in choosing a phone, and choosing the mobile provider.

A good priced plan is always good but also necessary to me is how the cellular coverage is. I hate dropped calls, or lagging when I want to watch video. I have not experienced anything like that since using the Nokia Lumia 700 on Telecom XT.

My friends who are middle-aged are interested in a phone that can connect them to their families overseas. They seem very interested in the windows phone. Several like how easy it is to set up and use.  And also the price of the Nokia Lumia 710 is very attractive to first time smartphone users. Telecom has made it very simple to access my mobile account to addon or change my plan. This appeals to me as my life is always changing, and I want a plan to suit me now.

Taking photos and sending them to my ipad, desktop or someone else’s computer is so easy. I downloaded dropbox onto the lumia and then put the photos in it. Must admit I really like using dropbox and was hoping they would have one for the windows phones. Very fast and easy transfer of photos and any Microsoft word document.

We might miss a party in the family, concert or some event, but with a phone and internet access we can check out the videos or photos of the party anywhere. That’s what we want, in our hand at our finger tips. Right now!

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: Storage space

, posted: 2-Apr-2012 06:56

The Nokia Lumia 710 comes with 8 GB of built in storage. Not a lot. Well, not a lot for me. And worse still, there’s no expandable memory.

I guess the answer to this is to use your free 25 GB SkyDrive account which is part and parcel of Windows Live.

Sure you can upload files and pictures to SkyDrive. You can even set your camera to automatically upload, and delete the photo from the phone.

But all of this useful 25 GB of storage comes with a huge assumption: mobile data isn’t an issue.

Transferring files to and fro consumes data. Mobile Data isn’t cheap and I know a lot of people who only use casual data, that’s a 10 MB limit a day before chewing $1.00/1MB.

Lots of people still cry out for better data packages.   I’m not sure who is listening.

New Zealand seems to lag miserably behind many other countries around the world when it comes to providing more options around data.   Though New Zealanders aren’t slow when it comes to using Smartphones and communicating across the Internet.

The bottom line is for many people mobile data is expensive and it’s not something you want to use willy nilly.   And having to upload/download files, music, photos etc as and when you want it isn’t the smartest move.

To me I’ve really felt like I just can’t use the phone like I’d want. I’ve not loaded up all my music, I don’t take as many photos as I usually would. I’m afraid of how quickly I’d consume the 8 GB of storage.

I guess it could just be a mindset “thing”. Maybe I just need to change my behaviour. To be more organised and know in advance what music I want to listen to in the coming days.   You can stream music from your SkyDrive account, but then the problem comes back to the cost of mobile data.

So far I haven’t really seen a huge advantage of the Nokia Lumia 800. However it does provide twice the storage.   16 GB is a lot more comfortable than 8 GB, but still lacking in my book.

If being able to store documents, files, photos, music and applications on your phone is a must, then have a good hard think about whether 8 GB fits the bill for you.

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 800: People and Messaging hub

, posted: 28-Mar-2012 11:53

In my previous blog post, I wrote the hardware review for the Nokia Lumia 800 and this blog post I will cover some of the social aspects of the Windows Phone operating system which powers the Nokia Lumia 800.  There will be plenty more aspects of the software that I will cover and blog about in a series of blog posts later on.

Windows Phone is a people-centric mobile operating system.  It lets you put your contacts, your favourite people, your favourite apps, your favourite websites or even your folders from your email accounts pinned right on your main home screen as live tiles. These live tiles update in real time as the content inside the tile updates. i.e. a new email, a new tweet you were mentioned in, new post on your Facebook wall  etc.  You can move these tiles around so you can have the stuff that’s most important to you at the top when you bring the phone back from sleep. 

People Hub

When I first turned on the phone, it asked me for my Windows Live ID which is the same as your Hotmail ID if you have one else you can create one on the phone for free. I then went to the People hub and it asked me to setup my Facebook account which I did and it then also set up Facebook chat on the phone as well automatically for me as well.

I also added my twitter account to show feeds in the people hub along with Facebook updates from my friends and family. Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger and LinkedIn are integrated right into the OS. You don’t have to download apps from the marketplace for these social networks as the integration is done very well and the features provided will satisfy most user’s needs.

Three login IDs later my phone was ready to be social. My Facebook contacts downloaded automatically in the background along with my Windows Live messenger contacts. The best part is that Windows Phone is smart enough to link your contacts from Facebook, Exchange, LinkedIn, Gmail or Windows Live into one contact card automatically without you doing the hard part.

I had 95% success rate with this because my contacts on various social networks had same first and family name on their networks so the phone was smart enough to link them together.  The remaining five percent I manually linked their remaining contact information into one contact card which the phone creates for you automatically. The phone also puts a photo next to your contacts card from Facebook or whatever social network they might be on and if they have a photo loaded on their profile so you get quite a colourful contacts list to scroll through.

You can quickly jump to any contact by searching for their name or using the jump lists feature where you tap ‘a’ which is on the top of the screen when you are in people hub and the phone will display you active alphabets that you can press which when tapped will take you straight to the part of the directory with all names starting from say for example ‘n’. 

One thing I hope that gets added later in an update is that where I get the option to choose which Facebook contacts I want in my phone book and which I do not as right now, you either have all Facebook contacts or you have none. This will be a problem for users that have hundreds or even thousands of Facebook friends.


You can ‘like’ Facebook posts, you can comment on Facebook posts, you can read other people’s comments on those posts and you can even see photos attached on those Facebook posts. With twitter, you can reply to tweets, retweet and even see the pictures attached by your followers that might host them on sites like twitpic.

I can go to any contact card in my phone directory  and call, text, write on their Facebook wall, tweet, email, go on their website, map their address, see their birthday, job title or even which company they work for from one place providing they are sharing all this information on whatever social network you added them on with. I can then swipe to the right of the screen to ‘what’s new’ for that contact card and will only see updates from that individual.

Swiping it again to the right will show me pictures live from their Facebook or Windows Live feed. Swiping again to the right will take me into ‘history’ which shows any interaction you have had with that contact and this might include SMS, email or even Facebook chat.

The phone also created a ‘Me’ tile on my home screen which is all about me. It’s a live tile which means when someone mentions me in a tweet or responds on the same posts as I posted on Facebook, it notifies me on the home screen and even tells me who the notification is from including the name of the user. It lets me post a message to Facebook, twitter, linked in and Windows Live from 1 tap. I can choose which social network I want to post the message to. I can check in from the ‘Me’ tile on Facebook.

From here I can also set chat status to be online, offline, appear offline, busy and away for Facebook and Windows Live messenger. I can swipe to the right to see any new notifications for me which might be from Facebook or Twitter. I can swipe again to the right to see ‘what’s new’ about me to see any comments made on my Facebook posts which I can also reply to. The social integration in the Windows Phone operating system is done very well with minor annoyances that need to be fixed like contacts filtering from Facebook friends list in your phone directory.

Messaging Hub

This is the place where all the SMS, MMS, Facebook and Windows Live messenger chat end up. The best feature is that the phone creates threads for you automatically from one contact card. So if you were chatting to them on Facebook a while ago and they went offline, you can then send them an SMS and the thread will continue where you left off with Facebook chat so you have a nice history to look at for whatever reason.

I can also quickly set my chat status for Facebook or Windows Live Messenger to see who is online from my friends list to chat to. You can also speak to the phone to type your chat automatically in the chat box and send it without even touching the phone at all. You can also set the phone to read your chat or SMS if you are lazy or are driving in a car which means you can start and end a conversation with someone without even touching the phone at all! I never even once have so far been disconnected on the Telecom XT network when being online on Facebook and Windows Live while using 3G on the road.

The social integration in Windows Phone is done very well and is very easy to use and configure. You will only need to download the dedicated Facebook from the marketplace if you are going to send or read private messages as there is no option in the OS integration to set this up. This brings an end to my part software review of Windows Phone. In the next series of blog posts, I will look into Email and Office hub.

About the author:

Hi. My name is Karan (billgates). I do not work for Microsoft and nor am I paid by Microsoft. I like what they do. I work as a field engineer in Auckland and hop between Auckland and Hamilton every weekend. I love technology and like to keep myself updated with it every day reading various blogs and sites like Geekzone. This will be the first time I will be writing a blog series myself so really looking forward to this experience. It feels good to have been given the opportunity by both Geekzone and Telecom to review a product that I had been waiting to lay my hands on personally. I know the Windows Phone OS very well so will offer great insights into it including any annoyances that I might find in both the hardware and the software. If you have any questions regarding the device, software or the network performance, feel free to PM me or ask away in the blog series.

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Telecom New Zealand
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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