Nokia Lumia 710 Delivers Solid Introduction to Windows Phone 7.5

NEWS ANALYSIS: There's no question that the Nokia Lumia 710 smartphone is no wannabe iPhone. But is it something you want to use? For the price, it looks like a serious midmarket contender.

The Windows Phone 7.5 Mango edition is a far cry from the other smartphone operating systems you've seen people use. It doesn't have a grid of icons, it doesn't have a multi-touch screen and it doesn't give you that Apple iPhone experience that everyone seems to expect. Whether this is good or bad is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.

I embarked on a tour of Windows Phone 7 after a column I wrote at the end of December 2011 in which I suggested that the many critics of this platform should at least try it out. So I went to a T-Mobile store and tried an HTC Radar for a few minutes, and found it interesting enough to take a closer look at Windows Phone 7. As a result of the column, T-Mobile sent me a Nokia Lumia 710 to try out. As my colleague Nick Kolakowski points out in his news story, the Nokia Lumia is the latest thing in WP7 smartphones.

But there's more to it than just being a nice smartphone as Nick says. This is the first in what is supposed to be a long line of products that Nokia plans to sell globally. This means that what matters most isn't whether the WP7 Nokia Lumia will convince iPhone users to switch, but whether it will be attractive to those millions of Nokia users who currently aren't using a smartphone or are using an obsolete Symbian smartphone.

So with all of that in mind, I charged up the Lumia 710 and got busy getting to know WP7 and the Lumia. So far, it's been an interesting ride and there are some things I haven't figured out. There are also some things about the Microsoft way of doing things that I'm not thrilled about, but not everything will affect all users. Also, some of the things I haven't figured out yet will probably be solved when I talk with eWEEK's network administrator to find out why I can't seem to connect with Exchange.

But, first, the beginning. When you set up a Windows Phone 7, you will need Windows Live ID, and if you're already using one of the various Windows Live services, such as Windows Live Messenger, then you already have one. It helps if you have a Hotmail account, which I don't, but unlike Google's practice of requiring a Gmail account, you're not required to have Hotmail to use the phone or access email.

The rest of the Lumia's start-up process was pretty straightforward. The phone will want to use your location, but it asks permission for that. You'll need to give it the necessary email information so you can send and receive email. You should note that the process of entering a nonstandard SMTP port is not intuitive, but you can find the information on the Website. Basically, when you enter the SMTP server name, you must append a colon and the port number.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...