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Nokia Lumia 610 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 28 Jun 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: Free, on a £15.50 per month, 24 months contract.

Buy it now for: £94
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

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User comments

Pointless in the UK.

Seeing as the 710 has been readily available SIM-free in he UK for around £100 for the last few months, I don't understand what the point of releasing this here is.

Also, how much does 256mb of RAM actually cost? Does it save enough to be worth creating a two-tier app market, and limit some of the most popular applications from working on the device, including Microsoft's own Skype?

By Lemax on 29 Jun 2012

"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."

Another proof that you don’t have to have a silly number of cores to get your phone running smoothly. I really hope that Nokia continues making or will keep Lumia 800 design once Win8 is out and available for updated 800. 900 didn’t feel as good or high quality as 800. The only problem remains - battery life.

By matuesto on 29 Jun 2012

Perhaps time to reassess the Lumia 800

When you did a round up review of smart phones,a couple of mnths back the Lumia 800 was pretty well dismissed as an also ran. I've been using it for six months, and unlike my previous phones, I have been coming to appreciate its virtues more as time goes on (as I get to know it better). If this Lumia 610 is recommended, then I think the 800 which is better in every respect, should have been given a higher rating.
There is now an "accepted story" with Nokia - that they are making bad decisions, are on the way out, should not have teamed up with Microsoft etc. The quality of the phones and the software tells another story altogether - but you have to have one to know that.
I admit that the Nokia 800 battery life is terrible, but once you adjust, it is not a huge problem. It simply goes on charge every night - easier to manage perhaps than a phone that needs charging every 2.5 days.

By PeterMcIntyre1 on 5 Jul 2012

Perhaps time to reassess the Lumia 800

When you did a round up review of smart phones,a couple of mnths back the Lumia 800 was pretty well dismissed as an also ran. I've been using it for six months, and unlike my previous phones, I have been coming to appreciate its virtues more as time goes on (as I get to know it better). If this Lumia 610 is recommended, then I think the 800 which is better in every respect, should have been given a higher rating.
There is now an "accepted story" with Nokia - that they are making bad decisions, are on the way out, should not have teamed up with Microsoft etc. The quality of the phones and the software tells another story altogether - but you have to have one to know that.
I admit that the Nokia 800 battery life is terrible, but once you adjust, it is not a huge problem. It simply goes on charge every night - easier to manage perhaps than a phone that needs charging every 2.5 days.

By PeterMcIntyre1 on 5 Jul 2012

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