Nokia Lumia 710 vs. Samsung I8350 Omnia W: Battle of the affordable Windows Phones
Hardware and software
It wasn't long ago that 3.7" was considered the sweet spot in display size. With mobile phone screens pushing well above 4 inches we're not so sure anymore. Both the Nokia Lumia 710 and the Samsung Omnia W are on the small side compared to some of today's flagships, but 3.7" is more than reasonable for an affordable smartphone.
The Nokia Lumia is the bigger of the two, which suggests that the Omnia W uses space more efficiently. The Finn is about 10 g heavier too at 125.5 g, a bit of a surprise considering it's entirely made of plastic.
Curvy all around and finished in plastic, the Lumia 710 looks more ordinary of the two, bordering on cheap. In contrast, the angular Omnia W does come across as more masculine and businesslike.
We should note though that we have no qualms with the build quality of the Lumia 710. And we acknowledge the effort to position the device as the more affordable alternative of the Lumia 800 and 900. The Lumia 710 is supposed to attract a younger audience and probably put novice smartphone users at ease. The exchangeable back covers are a relevant addition to the package.
On the other hand, the classier Samsung Omnia W is based on a more grownup design. It has a distinct upmarket feel, which even some of Samsung's premium Android smartphones fail to match. The Gorilla Glass-covered Super AMOLED display creates a pleasant illusion of seamless, bezel-free front. The brushed aluminum inset on the battery cover adds to the high-end look and feel.
Both phones go for clean design, with minimal or no embellishments. The brushed aluminum inset on the battery cover of the Omnia is a strong but subtle accent. The Lumia has no fancy finish but the extra paintjobs are a welcome option. Overall, there's a clear distinction in the demographics targeted. The Lumia is likely to resonate with the younger crowd, while the Omnia W might appeal to a more mature and professional audience.
The feeble loudspeaker of the Lumia 710 is hardly a surprise following our disappointment with both the Lumia 800 and the N9. At first glance the ample-sized grille at the bottom might be taken to imply a lot of bang but sadly there isn't much going on.
The Omnia W isn't all that loud either, despite edging slightly higher than the Lumia. You're not likely to miss many calls but don't expect to blast your favorite tunes on the loudspeaker either.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|Nokia Lumia 710||66.6||65.9||66.6|
|Samsung Omnia W||67.2||66.2||67.8|
|HTC Sensation XE||65.8||65.4||76.9||Good|
|Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II||70.0||66.6||75.7||Good|
|HTC Titan||75.8||66.2||82.7||Very Good|
There isn't much to say really about software differences. The two devices are running Windows Phone version 7.5 Mango. Equality is ingrained in the platform's philosophy although, at this point at least, it seems they're enforcing austere uniformity rather than promoting equal opportunity.
Their survival as a leading smartphone manufacturer at stake, Nokia have understandably put extra effort to make their WP7 line stand out in the crowd. With any Lumia phone you get a complete SatNav solution with downloadable maps absolutely free of charge.
The other household names are Nokia Maps, App Highlights and Nokia Music, but some of them are or will be available platform-wide soon enough. App Highlights offers a selection of apps to get you started, while Nokia Music works as a general music player but with a location-aware twist. You also get access to the Nokia Music store, which is an alternative to the Zune Marketplace.
The platform limitations put the Samsung WP7 phones at an obvious disadvantage. With Zune the only means of file transfer and the Scorpion chipset, the Omnia W hasn't got the wide video codec support you can expect in comparable Android smartphones by Samsung.
Windows Phone is taking steps to widen its base of supported chipsets and about to transition to multicore processing and higher-res screens. Although WP7-powered phones have clearly fallen way behind their Android and iOS competitors, the gap in the midrange isn't as dramatic. The Lumia 710 and the Samsung Omnia W are lucky to avoid the heavy competition. The two are sensible midrange packages offering the smooth handling and minimalist appeal of the Metro UI, with a strong social network dimension.
At 3.7" these two competitors make a lot of sense in their price bracket, and the WVGA resolution is about par for the course too. Both phones offer the same amount of screen real estate and the exact same number of pixels.
The key difference here is the display technology. Nokia have put a ClearBlack TFT unit on the Lumia 710, which offers above average brightness of nearly 700 nits and accurate color rendering. Samsung are using one of their Super AMOLED displays on the Omnia W and, although it's the PenTile variety, it delivers the trademark deep blacks and excellent contrast and viewing angles.
Nokia are always to be trusted for a reliable outdoor performance of their screens. The ClearBlack display of the Lumia 710 achieved impressive contrast ratio of over 1000:1 and it's only a certain color shift when viewed by certain angles that gets in its way to perfection. However there's also no denying that Windows Phone and AMOLED are a match made in heaven - the Metro UI is best appreciated on a screen that knows how to handle its blacks.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus 2X||0.23||228||982||0.35||347||1001|
|Motorola RAZR XT910||0||215||∞||0||361||∞|
|Nokia Lumia 710||0.39||426||1085||0.62||629||1115|
|Samsung I9001 Galaxy S Plus||0||251||∞||0||408||∞|
|HTC Sensation XE||0.23||172||761||0.64||484||752|
|Samsung Omnia W||0||118||∞||0||358||∞|
|LG Optimus Black||0.127||332||1228||0.65||749||1161|