By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Nokia Lumia 610 represents Nokia’s ability to create inexpensive handsets that don’t feel cheap yet manage to bring a unique personality of their own. The Lumia 610 exemplifies the humbler Windows Phone handset. One that is deprived of the Lumia 800 and 900’s polycarbonate shell, 8 Megapixel camera and bricklike construction but still manages to stand out in its simplicity.
The Nokia Lumia 610 is available for $50 on a three-year term from Koodo mobile. The outright price is $200.00. It is also available on Telus for free on a three-year plan and $230.00 without a contract. Colours to choose from are cyan, magenta, black and white. The black and magenta versions have a rubberized back instead of the glossy back as found in the white and cyan version of this phone.
I actually like the Lumia 610’s thin and rounded design. It has a more generic flavor than the statement design of the more expensive Lumia models, but it also feels more traditional. It also has better ergonomics and isn't as likely to slip from your hand thanks to the exterior design.
It has a removable rear cover which reveals a user-replaceable battery and SIM card (yay!) but also shows that it is missing a microSD expansion slot (boo!). This isn't Nokia's fault, it is likely something Microsoft dictated.
The ability to replace the battery is a great feature. For enterprise users or anyone who lives on their phone making calls throughout the day, adding a second battery makes complete sense and it is good that Nokia gives users that option.
The processor is comparatively humble at 800MHz and 256MB of RAM (while the other Lumias rock 1.4GHz processors and 512MB of RAM). But, this is the budget model and Nokia had to cut some corners to keep pricing down. Still, it is fully capable or running Windows Phone Mango 7.5.
Due to the limited memory available on this phone, background tasks using over 90 MB of RAM will be disabled automatically and certain applications will not be able to run. This, unfortunately, limits the smartphone's use going forward specially with many of the more demanding applications.
I expect the Lumia 610 will be able to get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, the final one available for this generation of smartphones. That update brings some visual and functional changes to the line but only a fraction of the features and capabilities of the Windows Phone 8 update.
In terms of performance, the Lumia 610 doesn’t lag as much as one would think. I credit this to the innate smoothness of the Windows Phone OS and its ability to somewhat maintain speed and fluidity in navigation and the user interface even on less powerful hardware. Most users won’t notice the step down in performance at all.
One area that feels um, inexpensive, is the display, especially after coming from the ClearBlack AMOLED display of the Lumia 800 which is simply stunning, crisp and with a great viewing angles. The Lumia 610’s 3.7 inch 480x800 screen feels faded by comparison and is more reflective than we’d like. Using it indoors is okay but it is a bit more challenging outdoors and specially in bright sunlight.
Once you get over this minor hurdle, the Lumia 610 is a pretty robust smartphone and a very good value for $200. It has around 6GB of storage, a half-decent 5-megapixel camera capable of shooting VGA resolution video which is just fine for most users.
Audio and call quality is superb and battery life is surprisingly good, better than that of more expensive Lumia devices and this can be credited to the slower, more frugal processor.
After a day of calls, Twitter, an hour’s navigation using the Drive app (great free navigation widget on Nokia smartphones) we had around 40 per cent battery life at the end of the day.
For many users, the all-day battery life more than makes up for the other shortcomings and makes the Lumia 610 an accomplished and well-rounded, no-frills Windows Phone.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5