Nokia Lumia 610

With its fast, responsive user experience and superb camera, the Lumia 610 could be the perfect handset for new smartphone users, or those just looking for a bargain.


9.0
CNET Rating
4.0
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

It says "Nokia" across the top of the handset, but if you covered this label and asked us which company designed this model, we'd have guessed that it came from the team at HTC. Our black-coloured Lumia 610 review unit looks uncannily like the HTC Mozart; one of the first Windows Phone handsets we reviewed after the platform launched at the end of 2010. This design is far more interesting if you can find it in Nokia's neon cyan-blue colour option, but, either way, it serves its purpose well nonetheless. The 610's plastic chassis is stiff and solid feeling, with a battery cover that wraps around the base of the phone and creeps up onto the front.

Our black review unit is a bit dull, but the more colourful options are eye catching.
(Credit: Nokia)

This is one of Nokia's cheaper smartphones for the year, and it meets this price point with a smaller TFT LCD screen, compared with the AMOLED tech displays in the more expensive Lumia models. This fact shouldn't bother many Nokia customers, though, as the LCD display does a fine job of presenting the bright Windows Phone Metro UI. Off-axis viewing angles are fine, with a decent range visible for a mobile device, and its multi-touch input is impressively responsive. However, there is a distracting colour-banding problem with the screen, where gradients of colour are represented by defined bands of colour.

Nokia has both the phone's micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the phone, with a volume rocker, power toggle and camera key running down the right-hand side of the handset in that order. There is a micro-SIM card slot beneath the battery cover, but no expandable memory, as per Microsoft's Windows Phone design.

User experience and performance

If you've been following the enhancements in the processing power of smartphones lately, what we are about to tell you might shock you. Nokia chose an 800MHz Qualcomm processor for the Lumia 610, paired with a measly 256MB of RAM. And you know what? It runs like a buttery-smooth smartphone dream. The same hardware in an Android smartphone would result in performance so laggy as to be unusable, but with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 installed, the Lumia 610 performs like phones worth three times its price.

There are some caveats, though. While applications launch quickly, and multitasking works as it should, some apps are not available to download to the Lumia 610. Bejewelled was one example that we came across during our tests, where the download option was replaced by an apologetic disclaimer. Still, this is a far better solution than downloading apps that don't run as intended — an experience that we are familiar with on Android phones in the same price bracket.

Nokia hasn't included an enormous battery in the 610, but it is sufficient for a day's moderate use. Based on a heavy-duty battery test, where we looped a 720p video file, the Lumia 610 lasted for five hours — a decent result for a phone of this calibre.

Camera

Despite its various woes in the smartphone category, Nokia has been the brand to trust in camera phones for several years now, and the Lumia 610 amply maintains this tradition. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that the camera in the 610 is, hands down, the best camera in a phone in its price range.

Much like the pricier Lumias, the 610 fires photos quickly, even when the phone is locked. From pocket to photo, the time wouldn't be more than three seconds, and the camera's auto-focus does a fine job of acting quickly under pressure. The images produced by this camera in our tests have been superb, with great colour, awesome management of mixed lighting temperatures and good, sharp focus. It doesn't over-saturate the colour the way some other phones do, so the results tend to be evocative of the moment they were captured in.

(Credit: CBSi)

(Credit: CBSi)

(Credit: CBSi)

Software

Impressively, you also get all of the same great Nokia Windows Phone software that you find in the 800 and 900, including Nokia Drive, with turn-by-turn directions, Nokia Maps for directions on foot and great point-of-interest searching.

Nokia also includes its own Nokia Music app on the phone, alongside Microsoft's Zune media player. For the most part, this is overkill — except for the fact that Nokia Music includes a streaming music service called Mix Radio. You choose a genre of music you like, and Mix Radio pulls down tracks that you might like over the air. You'll pay for data to use it, but its free and much better than most of the radio stations that you can tune into otherwise.

Overall

When we reviewed the Lumia 900 recently, we deducted marks from our score because the handset is not compatible with Windows Phone 8, and we believe this to be a big shortcoming for anyone looking to buy that model. We don't feel the same way about the Lumia 610, though. For AU$229, the 610 is a lot of phone for a small amount of money, despite it not being upgradeable when Microsoft releases Windows Phone 8 at the end of the year.

If you know someone who is looking for their first smartphone, or looking to ditch their overly complex current handset, the Lumia 610 is an excellent option. Microsoft's Windows Phone system is so simple to use, with large, clearly labelled icons, and the 610 delivers a responsive experience with this software. That it has an outstanding camera is the icing on this very affordable cake.



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KatherineA1 posted a comment   

I'm slowly coming to dislike my phone, it doesn't send txt and tells callers I'm unavailable and doesn't ring, even though the phone is switched on and right beside me. At first I thought it was my network but NO it's the phone at fault.
Very unhappy customer

 

JonelP posted a comment   

You really don't know how to use this. Pitty on you!

terrible tech timbo
1
Rating
 

"not even remotely user friendly"

terrible tech timbo posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:the phone it just doesn't work

This is the worst phone I have ever come across, the problem is where do I start.
Messaging, you can not call people from message, the font is so small and you can not enlarge it, nor is there a forwarding option. There appears to be no sent/drafts folders.

Ring volume is on the side of the phone which gets bumped. The ring volume it directly attached to phone volume, so if you listen to music and have it turned down, you can hear the phone ring once your finished.

Just went into word, the instructions are wrong, how do you create a new document????

All is all the phone is just wrong, not even remotely user friendly, if I could return it I would

Music, I can not sync to itunes from my mac, I even contacted nokia customer service and that was no help, looks like Mac itunes files are in a different format, but there is no way despite the nokia sales hype of bringing them over.

Don't buy this phone

 

rhonda 66 posted a reply   

yes would agree with most of the problems mentioned about this phone would have to be the worst phone on the market but was told that my phone was not charging was not a problem with the phone itself or any of the other faults but it must be my fault that the cable would not charge the phone.? maybe i pushed the cord in to hard and convinced me that buying a new one was my only option. Pay buy your card so you have proof of purchase this time so i did as did not have enough to by a better phone and needed one badly my daughter was having treatment and needed to update her progress of photos of her surgery and treatment the second phone was okay for a while then the same problems started again. also could not sync any of the photos over and stupid me fell for this 2 times . Kmart did honor the proof of purchase and gave me a refund on the second phone, i spent more trying to buy a cheaper phone leaving me with no photos or phone please don't fall for this the Nokia lumia 610 should never been put on the market .

 

RodneyD posted a comment   

The Good:nice to hold

The Bad:slow facebook too hard to put music & pictures on it i hate it

ok my phone is 4 days and my problem is the screen turns off but phone is on ,was on a call and could not end it without forceing the phone to turn off now doing it more often just using the phone for facebook ,camera does it too nice phone but it time to go back to my samsung s3 thanks

IanM7 Facebook
2
Rating
 

"Regional service non existent. Unreliable. ZUNE software sucks."

IanM7 posted a review   

The Good:Interface was good. Performance ok considering RAM limit.

The Bad:Wont turn on. Reboots. Poorest regional service. Zune sucks.

I used this phone for about 3 weeks. It had a blue tick on the Telstra site, but its regional service was terrible. I asked about it in a Telstra store and they say it is not rated blue tick. It would not turn on sometimes. It turned off randomly requiring the battery to be reseated. I'd go to "end call" and the phone would not respond, requiring a reboot. I'd sometimes get a text and the phone would reboot. I found the lack of Micro SD card slot and poor bluetooth options to be detrimental. The interface was pretty good, with reasonable performance. Battery life could improve. The Microsoft ZUNE software was one of the worst applications I've ever used. Far from user friendly and it was impossible to create or install ringtones. Wireless sync would not work, and I tried everything. The camera was ordinary. I took it back to Harvey Normans and requested a refund.

 

AliB posted a comment   

well my review was too verbose it got cut off halfway, I just wanted to complain about transferring media (pictures & music) via bluetooth has been impossible for me so far. Customising ringtones with my fave songs is a hassle because of all the prerequisites as well. You can't take screenshots with this phone as well.

AliB Facebook
6
Rating
 

"Good for beginners, basic function of texting, calling, PLUS some web browsing"

AliB posted a review   

The Good:goo aesthetics, mine was in a lovely Magenta colour. Camera is good as well, interface is quite easy to navigate, web-browsing is quite easy too,

The Bad:No instagram app available for Windows Phone OS yet, No bluetooth transfer, transferring pictures

Well, I'm going to compare this Nokia Lumia 610 against my previous experiences of a Nokia N97 mini (Symbian) and a Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro mini (Android).
I just dislike the entire Windows OS right now, because numerous little details that I've taken for granted for in an Android, Nokia failed to include it in this system. Having said that, this system is much better than the Symbian system. Although I dislike the lack of apps on WP system, it's a bit better than the Symbian IMO. It has the basics apps that I like e.g. weather, some games, very basic twitter apps, facebook., I find the system less laggy as well compared to my old Symbian phone.
For its size, typing on the touchscreen keypad is decent as well.

there are tiny details that I find to be lacking. For such a nice camera, transferring pictures and media e.g. music to

dougaussie
7
Rating
 

"pretty cool"

dougaussie posted a review   
Australia

The Good:smooth windows

The Bad:tiny icons

Well i got one, yes it is smooth outside and in. I disabled my internet phone access because i don't want big bills, i just want a nice phone. I upgraded from xperia X8 which was a nice phone. This phone is a lot heavier and has a better camera. It's not really suitable as an emergency phone, i mean if your losing blood you want to call 000 quick, not slide this and that. Some menu items down the bottom are so tiny we old folks need glasses on our glasses just to see what they even are. So if your old or dumb best give it a miss, stick to phones with real buttons. I give it 7.5 out of 10.

 

khanchandaniajay posted a comment   
Australia

This is going to be my first smart phone. I can't believe it has almost all the features which are available on a Lumia 800. Awesome




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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia Lumia 610

  • KatherineA1

    KatherineA1

    "I'm slowly coming to dislike my phone, it doesn't send txt and tells callers I'm unavailable and doesn't ring, even though the phone is switched on and right beside me. At first I thought it was my..."

  • JonelP

    JonelP

    "You really don't know how to use this. Pitty on you!"

  • terrible tech timbo

    terrible tech timbo

    Rating1

    "This is the worst phone I have ever come across, the problem is where do I start.
    Messaging, you can not call people from message, the font is so small and you can not enlarge it, nor is ther..."

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