Mobile Phones Guide

Nokia Lumia 610 review

Nokia Lumia 610 - Most Affordable Windows Phone Yet

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Launch SRP S$379

Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
8
Features:
7.5
User-Friendliness:
7.5
Performance:
7
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Very affordable price
Decent overall performance
Good handling
THE BAD
Can't tackle certain taxing video codecs
Limited processing and RAM headroom
Certain taxing apps unable to install
Limited storage + not expandable


Performance and Conclusion

Performance

The Lumia 610 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 7227A single-core 800MHz processor and 256MB RAM. As part of its strategy to reach more markets via more affordable price points, these paltry specs seem reasonable.

Microsoft has gone the extra mile to bring the high-end smartphone experience to these lower cost devices through software optimization and providing guidelines for app developers as mentioned in the earlier section. Truth be told, we were utterly surprised by the smooth page scrolling on the Lumia 610. The user interface feels as snappy as its other Lumia counterparts.

The only issue we had with the Lumia 610 was playback of video files. When we attempted to rewind our test video to a previous scene, the Lumia 610 froze and rebooted after a few seconds. We tried a couple of times and each time, the phone just restarted itself. Intrigued, we decided to load videos of different bitrates onto the Lumia 610 to see if the same issue could be replicated. The outcome was even more puzzling.

When playing and rewinding two videos with total bitrates of 10040Kbps and 6384Kbps respectively, there were frequent lags encountered because the average frame rates sustained was about 23 FPS and that's not quite adequate. On the other hand, another video of 8256Kbps total bitrate played smoothly without any hiccups and we noted its average frame rate was about 29. Our standard battery test video file has a lower total bitrate of just 2564Kbps but it caused the phone to reboot upon navigating its video timeline like rewinding. It certainly seems that there is an issue related to the different video encoding schemes (as was initially reported in the limitations noted for limited hardware endowed devices) used on the mix of video files we've tried, which is stemming from the weaker processing platform and limited amount of RAM on the Lumia 610.

If you're wondering if the phone is able to tackle a variety of YouTube videos, we're happy to report that we faced no issues on the streaming video front. So if you tend to indulge in online videos, fear not.

 

Imaging Performance

Despite its entry level price tag, the Lumia 610 comes with a 5-megapixel camera sensor with F2.4 aperture lens. It also has a single LED flash for taking photos under low-light conditions. We put the Lumia 610 through our usual camera test, with the results analyzed below. The results were actually quite decent: -


Battery Performance

To get a better gauge of its battery performance, we pit the Lumia 610 against phones in its class, which includes the Lumia 710 and the HTC Radar. We also included the Android 4.0-powered HTC One V as it is the main competitor in the entry level market segment.

Our testing methodology involves looping a video with a 480 x 800 pixels resolution under the following conditions:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
     
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections active
     
  • Constant data stream via email and Twitter

Specifications/Device Nokia Lumia 610 Nokia Lumia 710 HTC Radar HTC One V
Processor
  • Single-core 800Hz
  • Single-core 1.4GHz
  • Single-core 1GHz
  • Single-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 3.7-inch
  • 3.7-inch
  • 3.8-inch
  • 3.7-inch
Display Type
  • TFT
  • LCD
  • S-LCD
  • LCD
Display Resolution
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
Dimensions
  • 119.24 x 62.18 x 11.95mm
  • 119 x 62.4 x 12.5mm
  • 120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9mm
  • 120.3 x 59.7 x 9.24mm
Weight
  • 131.5g
  • 125.5g
  • 137g
  • 115g
Battery
  • 1300mAh
  • 1300mAh
  • 1520mAh
  • 1500mAh

Based on the figures above, the Lumia 610 fared decently against the competition. Compared to the Lumia 710, the Lumia 610 clocked a much better battery mileage of four hours and 53 minutes due to the lower clocked processor.

However, the battery test results once again proved that there is still much work to be done in the aspect of power management on Windows Phone as the HTC One V, armed with a slightly faster processor (and slightly higher battery charge), lasted more than an hour longer than the Lumia 610. Perhaps the more power-optimized Android 4.0 led to a better performance on the One V. The Lumia 610 also ranked second behind the HTC One V in the Portability Index as the latter trumps it in terms of weight, dimensions and battery performance.

Normal day-to-day usage saw the Lumia 610 lasting about a day as we answered calls, wrote messages and with a frequent dose of web browsing and emailing. Do note that actual battery mileage may differ under varying usage conditions, but what we've found is from a our general usage perspective.

 

Conclusion

Microsoft's strategy in optimizing its Windows Phone OS on devices with lower hardware components paid off and Nokia is nimble enough to grab hold of the opportunity to pull off a decent device such as the Lumia 610.

Despite being equipped with the most basic hardware components, the Lumia 610 breezed through our use without much hiccups. With the exception of the phone rebooting itself whenever we rewind certain video files, the Nokia Lumia 610 gave a commendable performance against the competition including its own Lumia siblings with regards to battery up-time, general usability and imaging performance.

In addition, the limited storage capacity should not be a huge limiting factor as the Lumia 610 is targeted at basic users who generally do not indulge in advanced usage and multi-tasking on their phones. However, due to the limited 256MB RAM, users have to take note of the 5% of apps that do not work on the Lumia 610. This brings us to point out that a few often used apps like Skype and Angry Birds are not downloadable because of the less than desired usability. This unfortunately sets the phone back yet another point because it's not able to really take advantage of the full set of apps available (which is already less than the iOS and Android online stores).

Overall at S$379, the Nokia Lumia 610 is quite a reasonable choice for the first time smartphone user who is looking for an alternative to the often seen iPhone and the army of Droid phone options in the market. Coupled with the exclusive suite of Nokia services (Nokia Music, Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps), the Lumia 610 is in good stead against the other Windows Phone devices such as the HTC Radar and Samsung Omnia W. In fact, it can be found much closer to the S$300 mark at the point of publishing by certain online retailers.

However, if you are looking for an entry-level smartphone, not restricted to the Windows Phone OS, the Lumia 610 pales in comparison with the HTC One V, which bested the Nokia phone on almost every front despite its similar price point of of S$398.