Nokia Lumia 710 for T-Mobile hands-on (video)

Deja vu? Absolutely. Nokia's chosen to make its first, big Windows Phone splash stateside with the humble Lumia 710 on T-Mobile. Eager Espoo fanboys and girls were likely hoping the company would've opted for a Red, White and Blue polycarbonate debut (see: Lumia 800), but that's not the black and white story being told here. So, put your hands down if you already have a smartphone to call your own -- this one's aimed squarely at mobiledom's stragglers. At $49 on contract, it's a value proposition that could very well lead the uninitiated down a live-tiled, Mango-laden path and help Microsoft ensnare a larger user base for its OS. Join us then, won't you, as we dive deep into our second first impressions after the break.

There's no doubt about it, the Lumia 710 is light in the hand. The plastics used in its construction manage to shave off the extra heft we've come to associate with more premium handsets and at no detriment to the quality of build. The soft touch removable back feels good to the touch, but not so slippery as to warrant accidental drops. We did have a difficult time, though, locating the device's power button, embedded as it is within the phone's frame. It's not a particularly attractive device; it certainly doesn't hold a candle to the sinuous taper of the 800, but there's an appeal here for first time smartphone users. Put simply, the 710 is an unassuming phone, one that leaves all the glitz and glamour to its OS. And it very well should, as the 3.7-inch ClearBlack LCD display does Mango's live tiles justice. Colors are bold and viewing angles are fairly decent, but, again, specs aren't this phone's mission statement -- it's about breaking that barrier to entry.

As we saw back at Nokia World, the Lumia 710 is helped along by its more than ample 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM. Navigation through the various tiles and screens was fluid and free from any apparent hiccups. Nokia's loaded its Drive app onto the device, in addition to a handful like Netflix, an exclusive ESPN app and MS Office. Thankfully, it's all removable bloatware, so you can configure the phone as you please. We were able to run a few speed tests to try out T-Mobile's 14.4Mbps HSPA+ network the Lumia 710 runs on and while we weren't exactly blown away by the speeds -- HSPA+ 21 would've been sweeter -- they're definitely fast enough at an average of 5Mbps down and 0.6Mbps up.

All in all, it's a solid collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft, as well as a welcome addition to T-Mobile's lineup, but we can't help wonder why they didn't just launch the Lumia 800 instead. What Windows Phone Mango needs right now is a face and there's none prettier than that polycarbonate entrant. Still, should you be looking to pick up a starter device for that loved luddite in your family, you really can't go wrong with the 710 and it's $49 on contract price.