Here for the giveaway?  Our commenting system went down earlier this week, and - even though they are not showing below - all entries from prior to 04/09 have been saved in our system.  Rest assured, that your entries have been counted.

I've been using my iPhone for over 3 years, and recently just took the plunge from the first model to the 3GS.  I tend to be a slow adopter when I really love something, and I'm reluctant to switch brands for no reason.  The past month, however, I've been testing the Nokia Lumia 710, which runs on the Windows 7.5 Mango Operating system.  This has been a huge adjustment for me, but one which I'm excited to tell you about.

Here are the basics of this model:
  • It currently only runs on T-Mobile service
  • It is priced affordably, starting at $49.99 with qualifying service plans
  • Customizable "Xpress-On" Covers allow you to make your phone any color you want
  • Apps can be purchased through the Windows Marketplace 
  • It features a 5-megapixel camera and 3.7-inch ClearBlack WVGA scratch-resistant display and a Qualcomm 1.4 GHz Snapdragon(TM) processor pro
Now, on to our experience.  This phone is seamless to set up.  Thanks to the SmartStart program, I was given the option to get a free one-on-one usage tutorial with an expert to help me set up the phone exactly how I like.  (I honestly didn't need this, because the phone is that easy to figure out -- even with no Windows phone experience.)  I was up and running in minutes, and as I opened each application for the first time, I was prompted to set up my accounts in a step-by-step walk-through on the screen of the the phone. 

The phone sound quality was excellent, the screen very vibrant. I used it to watch Netflix movies and other online streaming programming while waiting for my plane. It loaded quickly, and the video wasn't jerky or fuzzy. I also found that many of the apps I use on my iPhone were available in the Windows store (Angry Birds, for example), as well as a host of new programs that I wasn't aware of. Purchasing and downloading new apps was simple, and if I lost connection, the apps download resumed on their own in the background when I was in range again.  

The most impressive feature of this phone is the social and connectivity aspect. Calendar can be easily integrated into your social apps, like Facebook. This means that if you accept an event invite on Facebook, it automatically shows up on your calendar. (Have 3,000 Facebook friends and DON'T want all of their birthdays cluttering up your calendar? That's OK. You can turn this feature "off", or adjust it as you wish.)  I also really liked the way the phone categorized programs to revolve around how you would use it; the social app, for example, lets you group people in your contacts lists, email accounts, and social apps into customized categories ("work friends", for example), then monitor just the activity from that group when you want. You can also "pin" just about anything or anyone to your start page to see activity from that person with one swipe, allowing you to view all of your hubby's LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook updates with no effort at all!

Was there anything I didn't like about this phone? If you're used to your basic "tap" and "double-tap" phone interface, this will take a bit of getting used to. "Swiping" isn't difficult, but I often found myself unsure as to which direction to swipe, as well as confused as to when to use the Windows "home" button at the bottom. I also had to remind myself that much of the phone's "button" functionality was not on the phone itself, but on the screen. Each screen had a different set of buttons that would display, rendering the physical buttons without much purpose (except for the "back button.")

My favorite (and most used) features of the phone were those involving email. When you have several accounts (like many of us do), this phone makes it super easy to access any account at any time. The ability to view the email with the phone held vertically or horizontally was nice, and I LOVED how quickly I could scan through hundreds of emails, previewing, moving, or deleting with just a few swipes. This was the most useful function of the phone for me, and I would dare to say that I would almost rather handle my cluttered inbox from the phone rather than my new desktop PC!

If you are looking for a phone that oozes genius, looks sharp, and can be used from the get-go without a manual, this phone meets about 98% of my expectations. I would imagine that it would meet all of them, if you didn't have a slight nostalgia for Apple products. Those of you who have been using Android phones or haven't had the joy of owning a smart phone before, however, will have no prejudices; this phone can do everything you want with sophistication and style!

Learn more about the Nokia Lumia 710 from your T-Mobile dealer or the official website.

Here for the giveaway?  Our commenting system went down earlier this week, and - even though they are not showing below - all entries from prior to 04/09 have been saved in our system.  Rest assured, that your entries have been counted 

Wanna Win? We are giving away this sleek phone, courtesy of T-Mobile! To be entered to win the phone (which does not include service or activation), follow TWO simple steps:

1. Leave a comment on this post with how this phone could simplify your life
2. Retweet this post using the following text: "Check out @LKnerl's review of the Nokia Lumia 710 and enter to win a phone from @NokiaUS

You have until April 12th at 11:59 pm CST to get your entries in. You may enter every day, and we will pick one winner at random from all eligible entries. (You must tweet daily for daily entries. For the comment portion, please answer the question for the first comment entry. Each daily entry after that can be "enter me." ) This giveaway is open to U.S. residents ages 18+. See our full rules here

Don't forget to enter our other blog giveaways while you are here.

*Sample model was received to review.  Opinions are 100% my own.