The Budget Lumia, i.e the Nokia Lumia 610 created huge buzz among consumers when it’s launch date was announced at MWC 2012. This entry-level Windows Phone 7.5 device which was aimed to be a strong pillar for Nokia’s budget Smartphone portfolio, has surely stood upto it(will describe in detail further) Also, Nokia being famous for providing a good hardware with appreciable battery life, amazing designs, all with an affordable price tag; the Lumia 610 emphatically proves being a Nokia phone! Nokia had promised way back in 2011 that its handsets running the new Windows Phone O.S would start a new era in the smartphone world, and the time has come..
The Lumia 610 is an awesome entry into the Nokia’s Windows Phone family which is currently ruled by Lumia giants: Lumia 710, 800 & 900(Lumia 900 isn’t launched in India yet) Microsoft drastically reduced the system requirements for the Windows Phone system to launch an interesting update named as Tango, which is also called as the refreshed version of the current Mango O.S(Windows Phone 7.5)
The Lumia 610, which is the first budget Windows Phone by Nokia takes a good advantage of the lower specifications, coming with just a Snapdragon S1 (800 Mhz) processor coupled with 256 MB RAM instead of the other mighty dual-core/ quad-cores and 512MB-1GB RAM standards. With reduced system requirements, comes the reduced manufacturing cost of this device; And hence, Nokia is expecting that this reduced cost of Lumia, will enable them to retain a good market share in entry-level Windows Phone Market by selling it at a sub-$200 price.
The entry-level Smartphone market is currently ruled by the low-cost Android phones, with cheap built-quality and an equally pathetic touch-screen and user experience. Does the Lumia 610 help Nokia shoot back to fame in the entry-level Smartphone? Lets check it out as we review it in detail..
Lumia 610 being a budget phone didn’t test Nokia’s design wizards, but it has certainly tested the manufacturing team’s knowledge and experience of building a smart-looking yet powerful smartphone using a constrained hardware model. After all the efforts, I believe they have delivered it very well considering this device! Nokia 610 is a solidly build handset which is comfortable to hold and looks decent enough to flaunt it a bit. This Lumia comes in 4 shades: White, Cyan, Magenta and Black.
The design of this device is not derived from any of its Lumia cousins; neither the 710 nor the 800 or 900. The curve edges make it look a little like the Lumia 710 though, but not exactly. Lumia 610 handset comes with a plastic back in conjunction with a thick, metallic rim around the edge. It’s a little thick at 12mm compared to the other Lumia variants, but the thickness should not matter as the phone is pretty comfortable to hold and use, besides it was never meant to beat the physiques of uber-stylish and classier Lumias. All these conjunctions leave behind just one trail — good built quality!
Embedding the touch sensitive (capacitive) buttons on the curve bottom makes Lumia 610 look cooler than the Lumia 710. Exhibiting the typical Nokia style, all the Power, Volume and Camera buttons are on the Right-edge leaving the left shiny rim button-less! The Volume and Power buttons are sturdy and exhibit no signs of wiggle. The Camera button is smartly designed different and placed at the lower side, so that you don’t accidently press the power button thinking of camera and vice-versa. The Camera App is launched when you press the Camera key of the unlocked phone and also when you long press the Camera key when the phone is locked.
The Top side is occupied by 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro USB port. The micro SIM slot is present under the battery of this Phone which can be removed by opening the back plastic-cover. The 5MP Camera and an adjacent LED flash along with the NOKIA logo and a decent looking Speaker grill make a simple back. On removing the back, there is a 3.7V / 4.8Wh 1300mAh Li-Ion battery under which is the the micro SIM card slot. There’s no microSD slot on the Lumia 610, leaving just the 8GB internal storage space of which the actual amount of space available for use is 6.21GB. Just to remind you, the Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage(available through an App) can be quite handy if you want to store any important files on the cloud.
The design is quite lucid and smartly crafted for a budget phone. Actually, far more better than the competitive Android Smartphones!
To experience the vibrant colors of Microsoft’s Metro UI, AMOLED displays are recommended! Due to tight budget constraints, AMOLED screens offering good contrasts are only fitted on the high-end Lumias. For an entry-level Windows Phone like the Lumia 610, you get a 3.7 LCD screen(without any Clear-Black AMOLED) which offers great viewing angles but isn’t very good in bright sunlight! Note that, it’s a Corning Gorilla glass screen, so you need not worry about its toughness! But, one cannot experience Windows Phone’s bright gestures and intuitive colors without a screen that supports high brightness and good contrast. The LCD display makes a dark mark on Lumia 610.
While the Smartphone industry is moving above the 4-inch screen size mark, Nokia’s 3.7 inch display is a smart move. This Windows Phone sports a good 800 X 400 pixel resolution which is best suited for a 3.7 inch phone and makes it easy to navigate and feel the live tiles. Lumia 610’s screen is of the same size as that of the Apple’s iPhone 4S as well as the Lumia 800. Hence, No problem with the size! Overall, the screen with such good resolution is a thumbs up for a phone which is smartly priced and looks lucid than many other competing Smartphones!
Performance and Features
This Lumia rolls out with a 800MHz processor. Though a tech-savvy consumer might be a bit skeptical on the performance of this processor but surprisingly, the Refreshed Windows Phone 7.5 runs with great speed with no drawbacks. Although, other Windows Phones require a minimum 1 GHZ processor and 512MB of RAM, Microsoft has specially designed a step-down version of Windows Phone 7.5 code named as “Tango” for this budget Windows Phone. Comparing it with Lumia 710, this step-down version of Windows Phone in the Lumia 610 seems no different and equally responsive to the Mango O.S in Lumia 710; thus making Lumia 610 a powerful Smartphone.
Comparing it with other Android Phones, Applications load faster on this Lumia powered by just 256 MB RAM! Like all Windows Phone, Home screen and App menu loads and slides quick, switching between Apps can take longer. Multitasking is not as good as we expected but its fares pretty well for budget phones! It lags when you have 3-4 Apps running all at once!
One disadvantages of this step-down Windows Phone version is that some high-end Apps designed for Mango O.S, do not run on Lumia 610. Apps like Angry birds, PES 2012, etc. are not supported currently on Lumia 610.
When you try playing a video, the video starts after a short lag of about a second! So, the low amount of RAM shows its signs when you try to run high-fi Apps. But, heavy games like Asphalt and others downloaded from XBox live work smoothly without any lag! So, consumers who love playing games on their phones need not think twice before hitting the “Buy Now” button.
You’ll occasionally find yourself staring at a blank screen for half a second, but that’s a small sacrifice to make when you consider the price of the handset and how just useful that next screen will be when it finally arrives! This experience reflects in the benchmark scores, with WP Bench awarding the Lumia 610 a score of just 54 — far, far below the 710.
Without a front-end camera, video calling is not supported by Lumia 610. Hence, Microsoft will miss Skype on this version of Windows Phone 7.5. Lumia 610 supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 bands which makes it usable across all international bands. HSDPA speeds upto 7.2 Mbps are supported! We discovered that data speeds on Windows Phone 7.5 are fast and stable than other phones. Call quality was clear and data over EDGE/3G was good. Lumia 610 scored 11,411 on SunSpider test for browsing speeds, which is a better score than the Lumia 800.
The connectivity options include the microUSB connection using ZUNE player, WiFi, Bluetooth (only for pairing! Transferring files is not possible) The Internet Sharing option which isn’t present by default in the Lumia 710 and 800 with WP7.5 is present in this phone!
Like all Nokia Phones, battery life is simply top-class! With heavy usage (Playing Games, chatting on WhatsApp and Browsing) this Lumia lasted a cool 7 hrs 30 mins; which seems possible only because of its(Advantage) 800MHz processor. With moderate use, the phone lasts a cool 18-20 hours!
Softwares and Built in Nokia Apps
Nokia Lumia 610 comes with a different Windows Phone 7.5 Operating System named as Tango. Microsoft and Nokia have announced a Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade by October, but now the Windows Phone 8 upgrade. Point to be noted is that the Windows phone 7.8 will have a similar UI like that of the WP8 but the features offered by WP8 may not be ported to the WP7.8!
Nokia is now concentrating on developing some exclusive high-end Apps for its Smartphones. This Nokia Lumia has included many of its own applications, the same as on the Lumia 710, 800, and 900. By default, the Apps that made it to the Lumia 610 list are Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music. Nokia Maps is a nice replacement for Bing Maps which were not very responsive. Using Nokia Maps makes us remind of the Nokia Era which introduced Maps in smartphones via Symbian. The ease of use of Nokia Maps is much better as compared to Bing or Google Maps.
Nokia Drive provides free turn-by-turn navigation and better traffic updates in major cities across India. It offers free downloadable maps for different countries and regions in the world.
Nokia Music is the Best App among the lot and one of the best music store, offering individual tracks for purchase and download in addition to various free online radio stations. This Lumia 610 comes with an unlimited subscription for Indian consumers. Nokia is trying to make it big with Nokia Music App by offering DRM free downloadable music to all its Lumia 610 users!
The Camera performance of the Lumia 610 is okay with its 5MP sensor. This 5 Megapixel AutoFocus camera gives average results and has similar quality as compared to other Smartphone cameras in its price range. Since, Nokia Asha phones have a good camera for its price, we expected a better one from this budget Lumia too. No doubt, the Camera is better than any other Asha phone!
Pictures tend to be undersaturated, with only bright daylight hitting the mark! Over and under-exposed images are a common occurrence. Talking about Low light images using the night mode, the LED flash is not an effective one to produce a good bright picture! (Note: We have been used to super-awesome photos/videos with the Nokia 808 Pureview, so it may seem that we were expecting too much from this Camera. For its price, its a decent one.)
Coming to the quality of recorded videos.. The Lumia 610 only allows VGA resolution videos! You cannot Zoom-in or Zoom-out once you start recording the video! The quality of sound recording in the videos is not up-to the mark; not of disturbance can be noted!
This Windows Phone Tango device comes with the MRP tag of Rs 12,999. The Best buy price for Nokia Lumia was found to be Rs. 11,200 at some retailers. Nokia has an awesome price-tag to this power-packed Smartphone. We hope many consumers tight on pocket can now experience the amazing Lumia world. Its an “Amazing Everyday Moment”.
Conclusion, Rating and Verdict
The Nokia Lumia 610 is a budget Windows Phone 7.5 handset! Many Hardware compromises which do not significantly reflect on the performance, have helped this Lumia achieve such a low price tag without compromising on the must-have Smartphone features!
The Lumia 610 can easily out-run the similarly-priced Androids in terms of responsiveness, looks, build-quality and speed. Without the completely developed Windows Phone marketplace, the Windows Phones still doesn’t have all the armor ready. Moving from Android to WP will make you feel the pinch when you visit the WP App Marketplace!
Before giving out the final verdict, we thought of talking to a few retailers in our vicinity and we got amazing reactions from them! We were told that they were promoting this phone over other Android phones in its price range by saying that the Lumia 610 has a far better TouchScreen sensitivity than the others, which is actually a very valid point!
Also, the Lumia 610 has got very good traction in the market and is flying off the shelves of the retailers! With retailers happy, Nokia seems to have got its strategy and product just right!
Happy Retailers —> More Customers —> Market Leaders!!
Category wise ratings:
App Support: 7/10
Battery Life: 9/10
With all the essential Smartphone Apps including WhatsApp, Ms Office, Music Store, etc; We would rate this phone as one of the best “Value for Money” Smartphones for the budget conscious Smartphone buyers!