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twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: March 2012

NOKIA LUMIA 710
Price: Rs 15,490
Specs: 3.7-inch capacitive display; 5 MP camera; 8GB internal memory, expandable up to 32GB; 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS; 130 gm; 1600 mAh battery.
BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A refreshing operating system, fine hardware, decent pricing.

Lumia 710
The second child of the Microsoft-Nokia tie-up, the Lumia 710 is targeted towards those who wish to own a super smart phone with a refreshing new operating system without hurting their wallets. The recent price cut of the Lumia 710 makes it even more desirable, making it a formidable rival to the Samsung Omnia W and HTC Radar. Dominated by a 3.7-inch capacitive touch display on the front, the phone has a slightly raised row (with back, windows and search key) below the display. The plastic back is bare except for a 5-MP camera lens at the top and speaker at the bottom. The 3.5 mm jack along with charging jack are placed on the top, with volumes keys on the right panel. Unlike the Lumia 800, the 710 doesn't have a unibody design. Therefore, the micro SIM slot and battery can be accessed by removing the back panel.

The tile-shaped Metro UI on the homescreen looks refreshing in front of the other leading operating systems. This divides the homescreen into multiple tiles that are completely customisable. Since this is a Windows Phone, you would need your Windows Live account for downloading apps. While Windows Marketplace has a steadily rising number of apps, Nokia Recommendation apps too are there for the taking. Facebook comes integrated with contacts to make the whole orld easy to access. The device comes with 8 GB onboard storage. Where the sound output and the overall performance of the device were impressive, the 5 MP camera and 720p video capture were a letdown.

The Lumia 710 has the same hardware specifications as the Samsung Omnia W. The phone runs on Snapdragon 1.4GHz single-core processor and is paired with a 512 MB RAM. These hardware specifications work well on most of the Windows Phone and so in the Lumia 710 too, the overall performance is commendable. This smartphone gave us a day's backup on a single charge with above average use.

SMART COMPANIONS


PLANTRONICS VOYAGER PRO HD
Price: Rs 5290
BAG IT OR JUNK IT? Intelligent headset with excellent audio.

PLANTRONICS MARQUE M155

Price: Rs 2290
BAG IT OR JUNK IT? Feature rich, affordable, but lacks noise cancellation.

Plantronics
"A smart headset for smartphones" is how Plantroics refers to its Marque M155 and Voyager Pro HD to be. With its neat design, the Marque M155 has a fresh appeal. It has been done with shades of white on the top with silver on the sides. A circular key on the front used for answering and disconnecting calls resembles the iPhone's home key. It is easy to operate, and turning on the headset tells the user how much talktime he or she has. It worked well most of the time we used it and was comfortable during use. However, as with devices of its sort, prolonged use can hurt the ears. Indoors and in quieter surroundings, the sound is impressive. However, in a noisy environment, say at a market or on a road, the calling party was hardly audible.

The Voyager Pro HD doesn't have anything revolutionary about its design. It has a long extension that is flexible enough to be turned around to be worn in either ear. But the thick body that hides behind the ear made it uncomfortable to wear for long durations. The excellent sound output, however, made such complaints recede. The sound was so clear at both the ends that the calling party could hardly make out whether we were talking over a handset or a Bluetooth headset. It also automatically senses whether a call needs to be transferred to the headset or the phone. While on a call, removing the headset instantly transferred it to the handset, without any lag.

Compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled phones, both the headsets have some special features that one can enjoy with Apple and Android devices. When paired with the iPhone, the headset's battery indicator appeared on the top of the display. As for Android, the 'MyHeadset' app directs you to access Vocalyst-a one year free subscription for listening to emails, text, update social networks, etc. The user would, of course, need to register with Vocalyst, which requires a specific registration code (wasn't available with us). While the Marque M155 gave close to five hours of talktime on a single charge, the Voayger Pro HD was active over six hours of talktime. The Marque 155's charging cable has a regular charging jack along with a USB connector for plugging in phone's data cable whereas the Voyager Pro HD comes with a USB charger along with a wall charger.

A MUSICAL DATE

SONY ERICSSON LIVE WITH WALKMAN

Price: Rs 14,549
Specs: 3.2-inch display; 5 MP camera; 1GHz processor; 320 MB internal storage , expandable up to 32GB; EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 115 grams; 1200 mAh battery.
BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A great music phone with smartphone functionality.

Sony Walkman
Soon your dear Sony Ericsson will only be Sony. Sony has bought Swedish giant Ericsson's shares in the joint venture. But before Sony sheds the name Ericsson, here is one of the last smartphones bearing the brand-Live with Walkman.

It has the legendary 'Walkman' as part of its name, but it isn't the first Android Walkman smartphone. That was Sony Ericsson Walkman W8. What it lacked-an equaliser-is now corrected. This 'Walkman', therefore, impresses with its superb sound and additional utility features. The 'Walkman' key added at the top, next to the 3.5mm jack, launches the Walkman player. The icon on the top segregates the tracks under artist, albums, tracks and playlists. The infinite icon in the middle allows access to options related to finding music videos on YouTube, searching for artist info on Wikipedia, searching for lyrics on Google, searching for Karaoke videos on YouTube, etc. The options touch key below the display gives access to some hidden features such as xLoud and Equalizer. The xLoud feature enhances the speaker volume significantly, ideal for songs with low sound level. The equaliser mode has various presets, including flat, folk, heavy metal, hip hop, jazz, pop, rock, dance, classic and normal. While playing music, tyhe user can also enable a light effect. It shows up on the top bezel as an orange that pulsates with the music beats. Music & Videos is a special application that connects to Facebook and allows user to update and share their music and videos on the social networking site. The clear and loud sound over the headset and loudspeaker makes it an ideal smartphone for music lovers.

While Live with Walkman doesn't belong to the Xperia lineup, it still runs on the Android operating system. With Android v2.3.4 onboard, the company claims it is upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich when available. Also onboard are a few pre-installed apps, including Facebook, Evernote, FourSquare, Office Suite, McAfee Security, WhatsApp, etc. while more can be downloaded from Android Marketplace.

While most things were impressive about this smartphone, we didn't really like the same old Xperia design. Even typing over the 3.2-inch display didn't prove as smooth an experience and we often ended up keying the wrong alphabets. The 1200mAh barely lasted a day with constant music and internet access along with a couple of hours of voice calls.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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