Sunday, April 22, 2012

HTC Radar vs Nokia Lumia 710

With devices at all price points, there hasn't been a better time to dip your toes and try out Windows Phone. Today I will comparing the HTC Radar and the Nokia Lumia 710, both the lowest priced Windows Phone 7.5 Mango smartphones both either manufacturers. Both are priced at around £200 sim-free, but can be had for much less when bought on pay as you go. You can read my in-depth review of the Lumia 710 here and of the Radar here.

Both of these devices are second generation WP7 smartphones, meaning they are shipped with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and comes with Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon S2 System-on-Chip (SoC) with Adreno 205 GPU. The Lumia 710's Scorpion ARMv7 CPU is clocked at a higher 1.4GHz speed, whilst the Radar is clocked at a more modest 1GHz. While it may seem like the Lumia 710 has a speed advantage here, Windows Phone 7 is so well optimised the speed difference isn't that apparent apart from certain areas like web browsing. Still the Lumia 710 is likely to be in a better position to take advantage of Windows Phone 8 Apollo, assuming of course that the OS is made available to either devices.
The Lumia 710 has a slight performance advantage over the Radar
With a 3.8" display, the Radar's screen is slightly larger than the 3.7" screen on the Lumia 710. Despite bucking the trend of large display, both devices are well suited for one handed use. While the Radar is fitted with a technically superior S-LCD, the Lumia 710's LCD has an additional proprietary filter called Clear Black Display, which improves contrast by making blacks blacker. Colours also pop up more compared to the washed out display on the Radar. As far as screen is concerned, I will have to give the edge towards the Lumia 710. Both displays are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass - which I always find overrated but it's better than nothing I guess.

There isn't much to differentiate the two devices in terms of included features. The Lumia 710 has a tri-band 3G chipset, where as the Radar is only dual band - significantly impacting the phone's ability to work worldwide as far as 3G UMTS is concerned. Both devices has WiFi and HSPA+ with download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps supported. As with all standard Windows Phone 7.5 Mango smartphones, the HTC Radar and Lumia 710 both contains 512MB of RAM for multi-tasking purposes. Storage are limited to 8GB on both phones.
Better contrast on the Lumia 710 thanks to Nokia's Clear Black Display filter
Where the two differs most is the included battery. The HTC Radar has a 1520mAh battery. While it is none-removable, because the battery is larger in capacity and the device's processor is clocked slightly slower, the HTC Radar comfortably beat the Lumia 710 in my informal battery test. The Lumia 710, despite only having a 1300mAh battery, does however have an advantage of having that battery user accessible, meaning you can always carry a spare battery with you.

Both the Lumia 710 and HTC Radar contains a rear facing 5MP camera. The HTC Radar's lens is a wide angle 22mm (35mm equivalent) with a f/2.2 aperture meaning it lets in more light than most smartphone's camera lenses. The Lumia 710's lens on the other hand is slightly slower at f/2.4 but shares the same focal length as the Radar's. In theory both should offer similar image quality but I found that the HTC Radar tends to produce images with richer colour and sharper images, though the Lumia 710 is able to capture more overall detail than the HTC Radar. Either way, both phones offer image qualities that are equally unremarkable. HTC and Nokia also offers custom apps that allows panorama shots but I found HTC's method to be easier and more accurate. HTC Radar also has an advantage of having a front camera, and while Windows Phone 7.5 currently do not have native front camera support, it can be used with third party video calling apps like Tango.
Build quality wise, the HTC Radar wins with its stylish unibody design. While it isn't the prettiest HTC device by far, the Radar's main chassis is made of a single piece of metal. Plastic pieces do adorn the body, where I assume are placed over various wireless antennas. The Lumia 710 on the other hand looks, well, boring. But despite the liberal use of plastic, the Lumia is solidly built. Both devices are comfortable to hold and use but I have to give a nod to the HTC Radar for the inclusion of capacitive hardware keys. While I normally prefer physical buttons, the Lumia 710's buttons are hard and uncomfortable to press to the point of being irritating.

With Nokia embracing Windows Phone completely, they have gone all out offering plenty of additional proprietary software to further enhance the owner's experience. With free navigation via Nokia Map and Nokia Drive, free music via Nokia Music, free public transport navigation via Nokia Transport, DLNA via Nokia Play To and image manipulation via Creative Studio, Nokia has been very proactive in making their devices stand out among the Windows Phone OEMs. This will continue, such is their investment and commitment to the platform. Expect more exclusive Nokia apps to arrive for owners of Lumia devices.
While HTC's commitment to Windows Phone 7 platform is questionable, they have also included a number of token applications such as the home screen replacement HTC Hub, movie renting app HTC Watch, DLNA application in the form of HTC Connected Media and HTC Location. HTC Location is similar to Nokia Maps/Drive with some social networking features sprinkled on - but at a cost.

If you are looking for a cheap Windows Phone device, you can't go wrong with either the HTC Radar (£190 on Amazon) or Nokia Lumia 710 (£217 on Amazon). Both are rather good devices, offering far more value for money than their Android equivalent at the same price point. Alternatively older Windows Phone 7 devices like the HTC 7 Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 are a steal on the used phone market because of how little difference they are to the newer Windows Phone 7.5 devices. First generation Windows Phone devices can already be upgraded to Mango, and if current Mango devices can be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 Apollo, it is very likely that those will as well, but don't quote me on that.

Advantages of the HTC Radar:
Superior built quality
Larger battery
Slightly better camera
Front camera

Advantages of the Nokia Lumia 710:
Faster processor
Removable battery
Better display
Nokia's commitment towards Windows Platform


Anonymous said...

You can get the Lumia 701 for £130 (+£10 top up)

Or as an upgrade to your PAYG if you are eligible, for £120. From Carphonewarehouse.

The phones are unlocked. Makes the 710 the best bargain out there!

Mobile Price List said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I was given a HTC Radar via work and after two weeks, I sold my iPhone 4. It is that good. I am in love with Windows Phone but also still new to the system. Found your blog after googling for Windows Phone apps. Downloaded WeatherMaster - I love it!

But I also wish Microsoft gives us more with Windows Phone 8. I would like to see Skype built-in, VPN, WhatsApp built-in, smart dialing, equilizer, universal search and auto update. But even so, I love Windows Phone. It's refreshing after years of iPhone.

Anonymous said...

I Had a lumia 710 loved the phone but sold it and getting a samsung s3 android phone as the windows phone used zune software which i hate with a vengence.