CNET reviews the Nokia Lumia 610, gives it 4 stars, “one of the more attractive budget smart phone options out there”

CNET UK has reviewed the Nokia Lumia 610.

nokia-lumia-610-side-2They note, I suspect somewhat erroneously, that the Nokia  Lumia 610 is the first Windows Phone for the cheaper end of the market — a sector which has been ably exploited by legions of low-cost Android devices. The phone will be available with monthly contract prices starting from around £15, while SIM-free handsets can be picked up for roughly £180 which should expand Windows Phone’s reach to younger mobile buyers.

The found build quality good, the design modest but fetching in parts, and notes it feels like a handset that’s worth more than its retail price. In their test the LCD screen was average with descent viewing angles but a washed out look.

They were disappointed by the lack of expandable storage, but said SkyDrive does make up for it somewhat. Another negative was the lack of full app compatibility, but again they  found this sacrifice was inevitable given the low price point.

They were happy with the performance, saying transitions are smooth, navigation is fast and there’s no irksome delay when switching between applications, unlike the stumble and stutter they experience on Android handsets in the same price bracket.

They note

“Microsoft has clearly done a fantastic job of optimising its operating system for lower-specced devices. Google’s software engineers should probably give them a call.”

nokia-610-photo-sample-01nokia-610-photo-sample-02

While CNET was unhappy with the colour reproduction, the sample pictures are in fact very sharp.

They were pretty disappointed by the performance of the camera however, saying they were generally of  poor quality with shots taken in bright environments look washed out and drab, while the Lumia 610’s LED flash is rarely good enough in the dark. A persistent problem was also lack of colour accuracy.

They were much happier with the battery life, noting it easily lasted 2 days with moderate use.

They found the handset provides a smooth and satisfying experience for a fraction of what its larger rivals cost and that “It also compares very favourably with the vast majority of similarly priced Android devices, boasting a superior user experience and better build quality.”

They concluded:

The cheapest route to Windows Phone to date, the Nokia Lumia 610’s low cost comes courtesy of a few cut corners, but the user experience is still impressive and the phone is definitely one of the more attractive budget smart phone options out there.

The Lumia 610 is actually a cut above its budget Android rivals, despite the lowly tech spec. It offers a silky smooth experience that’s often missing from cheap Google phones. The blissfully intuitive Windows Phone UI is sure to appeal to cost-conscious mobile newbies — possibly even more so than the often befuddling Android operating system.

Read the full review at CNET UK here.

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