Nokia's Lumia 710 joins a flurry of mid-rangers – like the HTC Radar and Motorola Defy+ – vying for the attention of the cash-strapped smartphone fan amongst us. But after all the hype of the Lumia 800, it looks like the Finns have come up with a neat compromise on specs and build with the Lumia 710 to make sure Nokia keeps on selling tons of handsets.

Nokia Lumia 710 – Build

The curvacious Lumia 710 sits nicely in one hand (similar to the iPhone 3G) but at 126g, it's very light but we'd be careful not to bash the Lumia around too much.

If design's your thing then plump for the polycarbonate unibody and reassuring weight of the more expensive Lumia 800 or 900. Otherwise, you might like the Lumia 710's interchangeable plastic covers – which make the Lumia 710 look cheaper but reveal the battery and micro SIM. When was the last time you did that with a smartphone?

Nokia Lumia 710 – Screen

It's no secret that the screen is one of the compromises Nokia made to bring down the price of this handset and we're not going to lie, the Lumia 710's 3.7in LCD screen doesn't have the 'wow' factor of the Lumia 800's AMOLED display. At 480x800 resolution, YouTube vids and movies can look disappointingly fuzzy and text when browsing isn't as sharp as we'd like it.

The bright Windows Phone tiles still pop from the black homescreen background beautifully, though – and remember, you're getting a bigger display than the iPhone 4S for around half the price.

Nokia Lumia 710 – in use

The Lumia 710's 1300mAh battery easily lasted us a day of standard use – web browsing, playing (mainly awful) Windows Phone games and listening to music. While that's nothing to boast about, most of us are used to and can live with night-time charging. With less use, the Lumia powered on through to a second day.

The 1.4Ghz processor and 512 RAM combination, as found on the Lumia 800, coped just fine with multi-tasking and although Windows Phone transitions tend to be overly fancy, they're still speedy enough. Ports-wise you're looking at nothing more than a headphone jack and mini USB, for the charger, on the top of the Lumia 710.

Nokia Lumia 710 – OS

With the Lumia 710, you're getting exactly the same big and bold Windows Phone Mango experience as on the Lumia 800 – even performance-wise, since it shares the same single-core 1.4Ghz processor. We're a big fan of the well thought-through hubs like People and Office. We also like the home screen that you can pin anything from contacts to apps on, plus the bespoke preloaded apps like Nokia Maps, turn-by-turn navigation with Nokia Drive and free, streamable playlists with Nokia Music.

Nokia Lumia 710 – Camera

Shots taken with the Lumia 710's rear-facing 5MP snapper could be sharper for our liking – it didn't always take decent pictures in low indoors light even with the f/2.4 wide angle lens on board. So while this isn't the phone to get if on-the-fly photography is important to you, the Lumia 710's cam, LED flash and tweakable settings will cope when you've left your compact at home and there's smooth 720p video recording.

Nokia Lumia 710 – Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 710 gives you almost everything that Lumia 800 users are paying for apart from the sexy polycarbonate build. If you're willing to forget about this, you're in for a treat – it's very easy to get attached to the Windows Phone People hub and the Lumia 710's 3.7in screen and 5MP camera – while far from perfect – offer great value at the sub-£250 price. And we even found a few knocking around for a bargainous £170 too.

Stuff says... 

Nokia Lumia 710 review

Sharing plenty of specs with the Lumia 800, this plastic-backed wonder gives you Windows Phone Mango on a budget