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Nokia Lumia 710 (T-Mobile) review:

Nokia Lumia 710 (T-Mobile)

Equipped with solid multimedia features as well, the Lumia 710 connects to Microsoft's Zune music and video stores. An all-you-can-eat subscription plan for $10 per month lets listeners download unlimited tracks and save them locally. Music can also be purchased directly from from the phone. Video, though, must annoyingly be downloaded to a PC first, then transferred to the handset. The Lumia 710 also features strong Xbox Live integration, supporting profiles and personal avatars ported from the popular console gaming service plus a selection of special mobile games.

Nokia has built a reputation for engineering quality cameras into its handsets, and the Lumia 710 is no exception. Frankly, I wasn't expecting much from the phone's 5-megapixel camera, but was pleasantly surprised by the shots I snapped. Even in weak early morning light, colors were rich, warm, and lifelike. That said, details in images were soft, with artifacts visible in my still-life test image.

The yellows of New York taxis and morning sun were captured warmly even on a cold day.

The Nokia Lumia 710 takes satisfying pictures with accurate color.

The built-in camcorder can also capture movies in 720p HD, and the videos I filmed had the same enjoyable attributes, with an almost glossy quality, though the auto white balance failed to compensate for fluorescent lighting indoors. If you like to video chat, however, you're out of luck, since the Lumia 710 has no front-facing camera.

I tested the Nokia Lumia 710 on T-Mobile's GSM network (HSPA+) in New York. Callers' voices through the phone's headset were clearly audible but didn't get extremely loud. People on the other end reported that my voice was clear but definitely had a digitized quality to it. Audio piped through the Lumia's speakerphone was louder than in the earpiece and easily heard in a medium-size conference room. Callers also said the speakerphone picked up my voice with greater volume.

Powered by a single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal memory, the Nokia Lumia 710 won't break any speed records. Of course it's enough to handle Windows Phone 7.5 Mango with authority and on par with other WP7 devices such as the HTC Radar 4G and Samsung Focus Flash. I experienced no delays or lag of any kind flipping through the handset's various menus and launching applications.

Technically a 4G device, the Lumia 710 has a theoretical maximum data throughput of 14.4Mbps. In my tests using the free BandWidth app, though, I clocked an average download speed of 4Mbps. Upload results came back on average at 720Kbps. That's a far cry from Verizon's LTE 4G network or even AT&T's new LTE service, both of which typically measure in the middle teens for downloads and high single digits during uploads.

Nokia claims the Lumia 710 will offer up to 16 days of standby time and 7 hours of talk time. During anecdotal use, I managed to get over 26 hours of light use (testing, Web surfing, short calls, and messaging) before seeking an AC outlet. According to FCC radiation tests, the phone has a digital SAR rating of 1.15 watts per kilogram at the ear and 1.18 watts per kilogram when worn on the body.

Nokia certainly has created a compelling Windows device in the $49.99 Lumia 710. Sure, friends and family with expensive Android hardware likely won't be impressed by the Lumia's small LCD screen and plastic design. That said, its low price, solid build quality, and Windows Phone 7.5 Mango capabilities just may wipe a few smug grins from their faces.

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