Nokia Lumia 610 review

28 Jun 2012

A budget smartphone that, for once, is a pleasure to use; ideal for the first-time smartphone owner

Price when reviewed: 
161inc VAT
5

In the light of Microsoft's recent announcements, power users would be forgiven for pausing before committing to Windows Phone 7 right now. For those in the market for a budget handset, however, the Nokia Lumia 610 shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

Of all the Nokia Lumia handsets, it's is the cheapest so far. It's available on contracts starting at a faintly ridiculous £11 per month, costs a mere £161 SIM free and it sits below the Nokia Lumia 710 and Nokia Lumia 800 handsets in the pecking order. And yet this doesn’t feel like an overtly cheap and nasty handset.

It has a reasonably broad 3.7in display with a resolution of 480 x 800, and it feels nicely made, with a soft-touch plastic rear, chrome-effect trim and a curvy profile that sits nicely in the hand and slides comfortably into a pocket. It isn't particularly slim at 12mm from front to back, but in the world of budget handsets that's hardly a crime.

Nokia Lumia 610 front, homescreen

The same holds true for the screen resolution: with flagship phones now hitting HD resolutions, it doesn't initially look great, but remember this is a cheap phone and with 480 x 800 squeezed into 3.7in, the pixel density is 252ppi (higher, incidentally, than the much-vaunted MacBook Pro's Retina display). Quality isn't bad either, with a maximum brightness of 349cd/m2, a contrast ratio of 873:1 and decent viewing angles. We did notice a series of faint horizontal lines crossing the picture, though, which was particularly noticeable while viewing photos.

And at this price point, Windows Phone 7 makes a lot of sense. Budget Android phones typically don't feel 100% smooth; the Lumia on the other hand is almost as fluid and responsive as premium Windows Phone handsets. That's surprising given the comparatively low-power 800MHz processor and limited 256MB of RAM. Plus, it benefits from all that's good about Windows Phone: the excellent social networking integration (specifically photos); the ability to link inboxes in any combination; and the inclusion of mobile versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word.

As this is a Nokia handset, there's also free turn-by-turn satnav with offline maps in the form of Nokia Drive, and a new feature called Nokia Transport. The latter is a public transport journey planner, which works out the best journey then presents the results in a rather natty graph-like format; currently, though, only London in the UK is covered with full timetable information.

Details

Price ex VAT £134
Price inc VAT £161
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £15.50
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.buymobiles.net
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 6

Physical

Dimensions 62 x 13 x 119mm (WDH)
Weight 132g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 3.7in
Resolution 480 x 800
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Other