As usual, the table is part reference, part subjective opinion. And where obviously appropriate, I've allocated a row winner, in green. Where there's no obvious winner or where such a concept is irrelevant, all three boxes are left white. In some cases, where there was a 'tie', in my view, I've allocated two 'greens' in the row:
|Nokia Lumia 710||HTC One V||Nokia 701|
|First sold||January 2012||April 2012||October 2011|
|Street price at July 2012||Around £180 SIM-free
||Around £180, SIM-free||Around £240 SIM-free (though availability is tough in many countries, you may have to import)|
|OS||Windows Phone 7.5||Android 4.0.3 plus HTC Sense 4.0||Nokia Belle FP1|
|Form factor, materials||Solid plastic construction touch tablet, entire back/side cover comes off for cosmetic replacement, and for changing the battery or inserting the microSIM, but in-situ the 710 feels very solid, 125g||Aluminium unibody with plastic end cap and panels, full face Gorilla Glass capacitive touchscreen, 115g||Solid plastic chassis, metal battery cover, full-face Gorilla glass capacitive touchscreen, 131g|
|Dimensions||120 x 62 x 12 mm
||120 x 60 x 9 mm (plus the 'chin', arguably adding another 4mm or so!)||117 x 57 x 11 mm|
|Connectivity||Tri band 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, wi-fi tethering built-in or coming soon (according to market and network)||Tri band 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, integral wifi tethering||Pentaband 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-fi tethering via Joikuspot Light (some limitations), Bluetooth 3.0, 'USB on the go' (to USB disks/accessories), Near Field Communications|
|Input mechanisms||Excellent virtual qwerty keyboard in both portrait and landscape modes (where appropriate), with writing aids||Pretty good multi-touch virtual qwerty keyboard in both portrait and landscape modes (where appropriate), with writing aids. Compatible with most Bluetooth keyboards.||Adequate virtual qwerty landscape keyboard with writing aids, plus qwerty or numeric 'T9' input in portrait mode. Compatible with most Bluetooth and USB keyboards.|
|Display||3.7" (480 x 800 pixels) TFT with ClearBlack Display polarisers, great indoors at full brightness, pretty decent in bright sunlight||3.7" (480 x 800 pixels) Super LCD, RGB pixels, just about readable in bright sunlight.||3.5" (360 x 640 pixels) TFT ClearBlack Display polarisers, true RGB pixels, decent in sunlight.|
|Interface||Windows Phone 7.5, flexible homescreen/launcher system with genuine 'live tile' concept, showing one or more live stats relevant to the app concerned; multi-touch where needed, portrait mode enforced most of the time. Windows controls are physical buttons, slightly jarringly, though ultimately harder to hit by accident!
||Android 4, customised with HTC Sense additions, kinetic and multi-touch, of course. Five homescreens of live, often interactive widgets. Most applications work in landscape mode, but homescreen and app menu is resolutely portrait only.||(Symbian) Nokia Belle FP1, kinetic scrolling everywhere, multi-touch where needed (apart from keyboard, annoyingly), six homescreens of live widgets, whole interface works in portrait or landscape mode.|
|Speed and multitasking||A 1.4GHz processor and a full 512MB of RAM is used to good effect, ensuring that built-in applications are speedy but, crucially, there's no multitasking of third party applications, so each has to either start loading from scratch after every interruption or, if fast app switching is used via the 'Back' icon, pick up its state as best it can (read more on this)||Rarely speedy, but no showstoppers, with a relatively low end 1GHz processor, plus GPU, and 512MB of RAM, really on the limit for Android 4+Sense 4. As with Symbian, there's full multitasking, though Android 4 tends to be far more aggressive at closing apps running in the background, especially on this device with limited RAM.||Good, 1.3GHz ARM 11 with 512MB RAM and a graphics processor to help out with effects, transitions and multimedia. Full multitasking and no restrictions on background operation (rendering/downloading/updating, and so on) and plenty of RAM for everything to run in. I think the record is around 100 applications running at once, impressively.|
|Memory capacity (storage)||8GB internal disk, no expansion. In practice, this may be enough for casual users as long as heavyweight media is streamed in rather than stored locally. There's no disk mounting support, all transfers have to go via Zune Desktop (or Windows Phone Connector) and its proprietary protocols/dialogs.||100MB of system disk plus roughly 1GB of integral storage (mountable on a desktop as a USB disk), plus microSD expansion.||Up to 512MB of C: (system) disk, plus 8GB mass memory and flexible microSD expansion, e.g. adding an extra 32GB. Apps can be installed on any disk. Plugging in the phone to any desktop computer allows mass memory and microSD to be mounted and treated like any other disk. Plus generic USB disk support via 'USB on the go', adding up to 128GB extra.
|Camera (stills)||An average 5 megapixel camera, good enough results for casual snappers in good light. In low light, the camera struggles, with only LED flash.
Average 5 megapixel photos with autofocus. Poor plastic optics and over-zealous software processing of the camera's results, though usually no worse than Nokia's EDoF. LED flash only, again.
|Decent 8 megapixel EDoF (generation II) stills in good light, dual LED flash.
|Camera (video)||HD (1280 by 720) video is OK, though the dynamic range of the tiny sensor isn't great and sunny highlights get blown out. Plus the continuous auto-focus is a bit over-zealous. Audio capture is in mono and acceptable as long as noise levels are kept within range.
||720p capture, with continuous auto-focus good audio capture at normal volumes. Capturing stills during video capture is also possible, a recent but useful innovation in the smartphone world.||720p EDoF video capture is excellent and at high bitrate, with excellent audio recording using a MEMS digital microphone.|
|GPS and navigation||Good GPS, plus digital compass, backed up by Nokia Wi-fi location, with Nokia Drive worldwide free sat-nav. Driving maps can be pre-loaded by continent, country or area, though Nokia Maps doesn't share the same data, curiously.
||Good GPS, with Google Maps Navigation (runs mainly online, though there are now limited offline abilities) and (somewhat robotic) voice guidance.||Good GPS, backed up by Nokia Wi-fi location, with Nokia Maps 3.9 worldwide free sat-nav. Maps can be pre-loaded by continent, country or area.|
|Audio out||Quiet and disappointingly tinny (for Nokia) mono speaker. 3.5mm jack, plus A2DP.
||Tinny, quiet mono speaker, 3.5mm jack, A2DP.||Loud mono speaker, 3.5mm jack, A2DP, FM transmitter to car radio, Dolby Digital and Dolby Headphone when used with headphones|
|Multimedia playback||Video playback is good, but is crippled by all videos having to be sanitised (resampled) by Zune Desktop or Windows Phone Connector, a process which can take hours in extreme cases. There's a decent YouTube experience available via m.youtube.com, plus several third party clients or varying legality, which add extra options.
||Video playback is acceptable, though codec support is somewhat limited. Excellent HQ YouTube support means that quality streamed video is never far away, bandwidth permitting. Wide range of other video related Android applications to play with, too.||Video playback from local storage (internal or microSD) is terrific, with a wide range of codecs and file types supported, aided by the reflection-free screen and good speaker. YouTube playback is available via the HTML5 web version at full screen 360p quality|
|Web browsing||Browser is fast and fluid. There's multi-touch and also some intelligent reflowing of text blocks after double-tapping to zoom in. Time to render full New York Times site: 9s
||Average rendering speed, one of the slowest Android browsing experiences, though still faster than the 701 and intelligent reflow is present. Time taken to render full New York Times site: 15s||Symbian Web (webkit-based), functional without ever really impressing, though it's faster on the 701 than on any previous Symbian handset. Time to render full New York Times site: 17s|
|Tightly integrated Hotmail client, plus a general purpose POP3/IMAP/Exchange client, mailboxes appear as their own 'applications' in the main pick list. Performance is generally very good.||The odd pairing of Gmail and a generic email client persists, as is usual for Android, but it should all work well and at very good speed here, bandwidth permitting.||All purpose Mail client provides 'push' facilities for Mail for Exchange, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! mail and many others, with optional contacts and calendar sync too - works well on the whole but some limitations (only one MfE) and performance annoyances when very 'rich' emails come in.|
|Other application highlights out of the box||Pocket Office, including OneNote, Word, Excel and (in read only form) Powerpoint, Twitter and Facebook integration throughout, TuneIn radio generic Internet radio client, Nokia Music 'mix radio' streaming [free playlists of commercial music], Creative Studio, Xbox Live integration and games.||Full Polaris Office editing suite, plus Dropbox, TuneIn Radio, Task manager, Google +, and the usual Android core applications.||Microsoft Office Mobile editing suite/cloud integration, Dictionary, Zip manager, Photo editor, Video editor, Nokia Social Networking (Twitter and Facebook)|
|Application store and ecosystem||Windows Marketplace is now pretty well stocked, thousands of high quality apps. Application updates can be all installed in one go, silently. Plus Nokia seem to be picking up momentum in stocking up the exclusive 'Nokia Applications' section of the store.||Google Play (the new name for the Android Market...!), and access to many thousands* of high quality native (based on Java) applications. Applications can be automatically or manually updated.||Nokia Store client, hundreds* of high quality native Symbian applications are compatible. There's an automatic update system but installs are somewhat intrusive where the Qt Smart Installer is involved.|
|Battery||1300mAh, easily replaceable standard Nokia cell, microUSB charging, casual use will last 2 days. A little peeling off of the foam inside the cover will let you fit the hero BP-4L and then go 3 days on a charge.
||1500 mAh, completely sealed battery, microUSB charging, should get through a day of use easily.||1300mAh, replaceable when needed, microUSB charging, should last 2 days of use if you're lucky.|
|Ongoing firmware support and OS updates||Prospects are somewhat crippled, we've had several updates in the last six months, but we now know that the 710 will only get to Windows Phone 7.8 - version 8 onwards will need completely different hardware. Updates have to be applied via Zune Desktop or Windows Connector for Mac.||Prospects OK, though any core Android updates (Jelly Bean is now out, for example) will take many (up to 6) months to appear, since the OS has to have Sense applied and then tested as such. Plus the low RAM here might even mean that Jelly Bean is a no-show.||Symbian's long term prospects are of course time-limited now. Support and minor upgrades will continue at some level though, for up to another two years. Many OS modules and components can be upgraded, over the air, as-and-when using the 'Sw update tool' in the device.|
* yes, yes, overall numbers in each store are much higher, but I'm estimating the number of genuine high quality applications/games. Not novelties or copycats or junk.
As ever, it's interesting (though not that relevant) to add up the green 'wins':
- Nokia Lumia 710: 8
- Nokia 701: 5
- HTC One V: 4
Somewhat surprisingly, the Windows Phone came out on top by this metric, though I'd argue that, overall, there wasn't much in it. The Lumia 710 does offer, arguably, the best value for money, even more so given that it's been offered at £99 on pay-as-you-go in the UK recently, making it astonishing bang-per-buck.
All three devices have their compromises and most people would pick from this lineup based on their past experience of mobile OS and ecosystem. i.e. with my Symbian experience, I'd probably go for the 701, while a brand new smartphone user would be happiest with the Lumia 710. And someone with a little more experience and who wants the widest possible choice of applications without moving up to a bigger form factor will be pretty happy with the HTC One V, disk space and RAM notwithstanding.
For now though, it's the Lumia 710 that walks off with the honours here, albeit partially aided (see the link above) by the installation of the hero battery from an older Symbian phone!....