Nokia Lumia 610 review: Basement window
According to recent estimates Nokia's smartphone sales could really use a boost. The Finns are putting most of their hopes on the WP flagship Lumia 900 and the Symbian 808 PureView cameraphone, but the one we're about to review might come in quite handy too.
The Nokia Lumia 610 is a simple phone with a simple goal: make the Windows Phone experience even more accessible. This basic smartphone is priced to not gather dust on the shelves and you can guess the features aren't exactly top notch. But this is where the Lumia 610 is perhaps more fortunate than its expensive siblings. It must be harder for the likes of the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 to get away with some of the platform's limitations.
The Lumia 610 looks a lot like the 710 on the outside, but has less-capable hardware inside. Now, that means even tighter limits on what the phone can do but it's an entry-level smartphone after all. Focusing on what you get rather than on what's missing is the right attitude in this price range. And that's exactly what we're going to do in the following lists.
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
- Quad-band 3G with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support
- 3.7" 65K-color LCD capacitive touchscreen of WVGA resolution
- 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, VGA video @30fps
- Windows Phone 7.5 OS (Refresh)
- 800MHz ARM Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, 256MB of RAM, Qualcomm MSM7227A chipset
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
- Digital compass
- 8GB on-board storage
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
- Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack; FM Radio with RDS
- microUSB port
- Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and EDR
- Deep and coherent SNS integration throughout the interface
- Some apps are incompatible due to low RAM
- No Flash or Silverlight support in browser
- No USB mass storage (Zune-only file management and sync)
- No video calls and no front-facing camera
- No memory card slot
- microSIM card slot
- No native DivX/XviD support, videos have to be Zune-transcoded
- No HD recording or playback, due to hardware limitations
- Will probably be stuck on this Windows Phone version for good
The long list of cons might ring a lot of bells and, if you are familiar with the Windows Phone OS you already know most of them are platform-wide limitations. On the other hand, familiarity with the OS most probably takes you off the list of potential Lumia 610 targets. It's rather a beginner's smartphone, one that will introduce you to WP7 if you're ready to move on from feature phones.
Users with no smartphone experience are less likely to be concerned about the amount of RAM. In fact, people with some experience with older Symbian will see nothing wrong with 256MB. What it actually means is there's no HD video recording and playback. Some apps, like Skype and Angry Birds will not run due to insufficient memory, but you should be getting the same solid set of features for the most part.
What the Lumia 610 offers is a low-cost Windows Phone experience. It seems perfectly suited for emerging markets, where Nokia should have built a strong customer base of potential first-time smartphone users by now. Carriers on the old continent will most certainly be interested in the Lumia 610, too, and if you think an entry-level Windows smartphone is worth a look, this review will hopefully help you know it better. We start with the hardware right after the break.