Microsoft’s original plan was for Windows Phone to run on superb high-end hardware. Then came along the romance with Nokia, a manufacturer known for making devices available to every price bracket possible. One of Nokia’s demands, it seems, was that Microsoft make it possible for them to put the sleek, elegant Windows Phone OS on budget devices. And so, Windows Phone Tango (a variant of version 7.5 which lowered the hardware requirements to allow for devices with 800 MHz CPUs and 256 MB of RAM to run Windows Phone) was born. WP Tango was released in 2012, and the very first device to run it is what I have been using in the last few days.
Lumia 610 Quick Specs
– Dimensions: 119 x 62 x 12 mm
– Weight: 132g
– 800 Mhz Processor plus GPU
– 256MB RAM
– 3.7 inch TFT display, with 480 x 800 pixel resolution
– Windows Phone 7.5 Tango
– 5MP autofocus camera, with LED flash
– HSDPA (3.5G) up to 7.2MBPS
– 8GB internal memory
– 1300mAh Li-on battery
My early impressions of the devices have been good. It is very well built, as we have come to expect from Nokia. While not a high-end smartphone, it looks and feels good. In design, it reminds me of the Nokia C7 and 701. It looks more expensive than it really is. The review unit that I have here with me is in colour black. I find the 3.7-inch display adequate, though not exceptional. It is a bit difficult to use in sunlight, though. Audio quality and volume are acceptable too. Those are unavoidable in the price range.
OS & Performance
Windows Phone’s UI is sweet to use. Simple. In terms of performance, the 800 MHz and 256 MB RAM on the 610 means that it is not as fast as its more powerful devices WP siblings, but that sort of trade-off is not peculiar to the platform. Similarly powered Android devices are not as fast as their top-end siblings either.
It wasn’t difficult getting my music files on the 610 via Zune PC software. Of course, I wish that USB mass storage is in the picture here, but anyone wanting that on Windows Phone will have to splurge on a version 8 device instead.
So, far, I have found the apps catalogue for Windows Phone 7.5 more than adequate. I was able to setup the 610 for my daily use in no time with the following apps:
- BoxFiles for Dropbox
- Oxford Dictionary
Windows Phone may have a lower number of apps than Android or iOS has, but with over 100,000 apps in the Store, there are more than enough apps available for almost anyone.
The Competition Across The Fence
So far, the Lumia 610 looks like it is a good deal for the sub-N40,000 price that it commands. It goes up against Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Fit and Ace, both of which . Samsung S5670 Fit has a smaller display, lower rated processor, similar 5 MP camera, and yet costs more than the 610. In terms of specs, the Lumia 610 is more on par with the Galaxy S5830 Ace, though that has a slightly smaller display, but similarly rated processor and camera. Still, the 610 costs less than that too. The deciding factor for some people will be features and preferences.
Windows Phone 7.8 Update On The Way
Microsoft and Nokia have announced that there is a version 7.8 update on the way to add the following features to Windows Phone 7.5 devices:
- A new Boot and Start screens look and feel, familiar from Windows Phone 8, giving you a whole new look the moment you unlock your phone
- box Games, Office and Store all get updated with new logos
- Live Lock screen Wallpaper
- Ringtone maker app to selected markets to create a personal ringtone (this is an Nokia-specific customisation, and so applies only to Lumias for now)
- Contact share app updated to support sharing over Bluetooth in addition to SMS and email (this is an Nokia-specific customisation, and so applies only to Lumias for now)
- Bluetooth file transfer to send media files via Bluetooth from your Lumia device to any other phone (this is an Nokia-specific customisation, and so applies only to Lumias for now)
As far as my needs are concerned, Bluetooth file transfer is the most significant item on that feature list. This update is being expected in the next few weeks. I hope that the Lumia 610 is still around when the update rolls out, so I can have a feel of that. Of course, I have tasted Bluetooth file transfer on the Lumia 820 and 920 at the Lagos launch event last week.
So Far, So good
There’s a capable web browser, splendid messaging and social media integration, as well as 3G/HSDPA. There’s built-in Office suite. There’s also Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and other Nokia exclusives in here. The Lumia 610 is a very capable entry-level Windows Phone smartphone.
The last few days have been good going with the Lumia 610. I like the hardware. I like the OS. The question is: would I still be in love after a week of using it as my daily driver? Only time will tell. If you have any questions about the 610 and the OS, please feel free to ask away.