When Nokia launched the Lumia series back in January, most people focused on the higher end Nokia Lumia 800. Even though the Lumia 710 didn’t feature quite as well as its big brother, it didn’t simply hide in the shadows, and with its brightly themed colours, it would be hard to miss. Although the Lumia 710 was never intended as the flagship device for Nokia in the Lumia series, there isn’t a great of difference in terms of hardware specs, and basically no difference in terms of software. So what are the major differences, and does the Nokia Lumia 800 deserve the crown as Nokia’s flagship device (while the Nokia Lumia 900 is yet to land on our shores)?
Let’s take a look at the similarities between the Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. Firstly, there’s display of the Lumia 710, with both the physical screen size and resolution matching that of the Lumia 800, at 3.7 inches and 480×800 pixels respectively. Both devices also have the Corning Gorilla Glass protection and Nokia ClearBlack display. We then have the connectivity specs, again no difference between the two devices. These include the same HSDPA 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps data rates, WLAN, Bluetooth and USB features.
And the similarities continue with the CPU, GPU and RAM specs, both with a 1.4GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU and 512MB of RAM. Microsoft Windows Mobile 7.5 (Mango) is installed on each of the respective devices, which also have the same GPS support, sensors, messaging, radio, browser, microSIM only support, mic, mp3 player, document viewer/editor, video/photo editor, and a host of other features.
On the face of it, the likeness of these two devices is hard to miss, and even harder to believe. There are a few differences, not least the design, but are these differences sufficient to warrant two separate marketing campaigns?
The first and biggest distinction of the 2 devices lies in the design. The most noticeable absentee is the curved glass, made popular with the Nokia N9. And although the displays are the same on paper, the colour and contrast aren’t similar by any means. The build quality and overall design have also changed on the Lumia 710, almost as if the shine had to taken off the device in order to boost the overall appeal of the Lumia 800. Despite the Lumia 710 yielding a lighter frame, the quality isn’t matched. Unlike the neatly tucked away ports on the Lumia 800, the Lumia 710’s ports are open to the elements (as shown in the image below).
Another big variation is the 2 cameras. The Lumia 800 packs an 8MP, 3264×2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optical lens with autofocus and dual-LED flash. The Lumia 710 on the other hand has to make do with 5MP lens, at 2592х1944 pixels with autofocus and LED flash. The end result is quite a gulf in photo quality, noticeable on the very first picture taken with the Lumia 710. I will admit that I’ve seen a lot worse image quality on a few devices, but the camera on the Lumia 710 is very disheartening.
One of the more positive features of the Nokia Lumia 710 is the offering of colours available. The colours include a Black and White front, and a black, white, cyan, fuchsia and yellow back cover. Most people wouldn’t place much emphasis on the colours available for a particular device; it makes quite a difference for the Lumia series. For the Lumia 710, choosing between the black and white finishes, or one of the back covers, could change how you view the quality of the device, as strange as it may seem. The Windows Mobile 7.5 OS also gives you the option of changing the theme to match the colour of the device.
The biggest surprise for me came in the form of the pricing. After spending a decent amount of time browsing the Web in search of the best deals, I found that the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 were quite similarly priced. The fact that the Lumia 710 hasn’t received as much attention as Nokia’s current flagship device means that better deals will be made available to the consumer for the Lumia 800. Supply and demand can do strange things to the market, and there’s no difference when it comes to smartphones. The Nokia Lumia 710 is priced between R2500 and R3000 on average, whereas the Lumia 800 is officially priced at R6999, while there are a few bargains between R3500 and R4500 (limited offers), which throws a spanner into the works. The Lumia 710 is definitely more affordable, but with different specials popping up every now and then for the Lumia 800, you would find it difficult deciding to purchase the latter.
Unfortunately, the Lumia 710 isn’t as well built as the Lumia 800, but the similarities between the 2, allows the 710 to make a decent showing not to fade away into the background. The fact that the major features of the two devices are very similar should drive down the price of both, sharing most of its hardware. Although the Nokia Lumia 800 is significantly more affordable than competing OEM flagship devices, the specs of both devices don’t quite match up to today’s standards. Although both devices aren’t bad by any means, I can only hope that the Windows Mobile OS continues to grow to the level of Windows for desktop, offering an experience most users can’t live without on a daily basis.
You can find the full specifications here.