The point of hubs is that they are the go-to place to do things, instead of apps. New functionality allows apps to integrate into the Pictures hub, so for example, a photo effects app can make its options available right in the hub. Devs need to enable that in apps however.
The main view of the Pictures hub offers four options - camera roll, albums, date and people. A swipe to the left reveals what's new, and displays your Facebook friends and liked pages' new picture galleries. Another swipe shows your Favorites section.
Albums feature the camera roll, the preloaded system pictures and all of your Facebook albums. A flick to the left shows all your pictures sorted by date. You can't choose what albums the individual camera roll photos go to, though.
The people section is where you can select your friends so that their Facebook galleries get displayed right there in your Pictures hub. It's a nice feature for social network users but will be only an empty section for those that aren't too fond of Facebook.
The camera roll unifies your entire collection of photos and videos, taken with the device, in a grid of 4x5. You cannot change the layout. Viewing a photo can be done in either portrait or landscape mode. Zooming in on a photo is done by either double tap or pinch . We appreciate it that the camera roll doesn't downsize pictures and you can enjoy them in full resolution.
Windows Phone 7 used to be quite restricted when it came to sharing - it's still not perfect (photos get downsized before emailing, for one) but you can now share videos too, either via email or on Facebook. Sharing options include messaging, email, Facebook or the cloud-based SkyDrive.
While uploading photos to Facebook or Windows Live, the OS will detect any untagged faces and allow you to tag them before proceeding with the upload.
The camera roll has a dedicated auto-fix setting, which tries to improve your photo. It's a nice feature but one that produces unrealistic results at times.
You can set a single photo as a background for the hub or you can set it to shuffle different photos.
The video player is integrated into the Pictures hub. It has a very simple interface - you have fast forward and rewind controls, a time scroll and a video size button that toggles full-screen viewing.
The video player doesn't recognize .AVI files - in other words, don't expect DivX or XviD support. However, the Zune software on your computer will automatically convert such files to .MP4 - so, you can watch those formats on the Lumia 710, it's just that the transfer to the device can take quite a while (depending on your computer's capabilities).
It's interesting (and useful) that you can pin individual items to the homescreen - like a song or video, even an FM radio frequency.
The media players reside together in the Music & Videos hub, which sports the Zune logo. When you start it, it shows the History, giving you quick access to the last two items played, or you can go to the full menu and start the music or video player, listen to/watch podcasts (both audio and video podcasts are supported), start the FM radio or go to the Marketplace.
The music section is made up of albums, songs, playlists, genres and artists. Videos features all, television, music videos, films and personal - think of them more like categories you can assign your videos to when synching with Zune. The third section is podcasts where you can store all of your downloaded audio and video podcasts.
The music player has a simple and straightforward interface, you won't have any difficulties using it. However there are some things missing, like an equalizer. Another missing feature is the ability to scrub through a song with your finger - you have to press and hold on the FF/rewind buttons to simply jump back and forth.
The favorite, repeat and shuffle buttons are located next to the album cover.
You also get radio and marketplace links in the Music & Videos tile. It doesn't offer the option to listen to online radio so you would need to insert the headgear to get reception.
You have the current frequency in very large digits - swiping left and right changes the frequency and a swipe and release automatically searches for the next available station in that direction. You can mark some stations as favorites, which will allow you to pin them to the homescreen. RDS is on board and you can switch between headphones and loudspeaker.
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.
As a music player, it's pretty standard - your tracks are sorted by artist, album, playlists or you can view all songs. The interface is very similar to that of the stock music player, but under the album art it lists the next three songs lined up - really helpful if you're using shuffle. There's no way to manually reorder the upcoming songs, but you can reshuffle them if there's one you don't like.
The location-aware feature is called Gigs - as the name suggests, it finds concerts near your location.
We have to admit the Nokia Lumia 710 audio output really caught us off guard. There are no smartphones with flawless audio, but the Lumia 710 was too poor.
The frequency response is way off with both headphones and an active external equalizer. The intermodulation distortion was also the worst we have seen for quite some time. Now add the really low volume levels and you get the kind of output you expect from a $50 phone, not a mid-range device.
The other readings are mostly good, but with so many weak points we are anything but happy with the Lumia 710 overall performance.
And here comes the table so you can see for yourself.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Nokia Lumia 710||+1.94, -2.90||-80.9||80.8||0.061||1.603||-85.7|
|Nokia Lumia 710 (headphones attached)||+2.04, -2.69||-83.3||83.0||0.061||1.574||-54.5|
|Nokia Lumia 800||+0.13, -0.12||-87.3||87.6||0.011||0.241||-87.8|
|Nokia Lumia 800 (headphones attached)||+1.03, -5.90||-87.1||87.9||0.028||0.567||-41.8|
|HTC Radar||+0.09, -0.48||-88.3||89.2||0.011||0.242||-74.7|
|HTC Radar (headphones attached)||+0.35, -0.15||-88.2||89.1||0.021||0.568||-60.3|
|HTC Titan||+0.06, -0.34||-86.9||87.8||0.015||0.244||-75.5|
|HTC Titan (headphones attached)||+0.34, -0.18||-76.8||77.1||0.057||0.581||-56.4|
|Samsung I8700 Omnia 7||+0.13 -1.14||-84.4||85.1||0.017||0.266||-82.5|
|Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 (headphones attached)||+0.31 -0.33||-80.5||81.1||0.016||0.311||-37.7|
Nokia Lumia 710 frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.