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Nokia Lumia 610 Review

As a rule I tend to shop at the higher end of the smartphone market, after all that is where all the exciting devices reside.

However, most sales come at the bottom end of the market, where users are trading up from feature phones to an entry level smartphone. Traditionally this has been an Android stronghold, with lots of competition from traditional and new OEMs selling older chipset devices.

This is where Nokia have to start reclaiming sales if it is to have a future.

When I tried the 710 earlier this year I was impressed. However that was a mid range device and now has positioned the 610 lower, with prices reaching as low as £50 SIM-free. To reach this price point Nokia has installed less RAM and a weaker chipset. The screen is also much weaker than other Lumias.

Surprisingly the 610 feels quite good in the hand and in day to day use doesn't seem to suffer from the compromises that have been made. In isolation the screen is good, its WVGA resolution and large size better than the competition, and WP7's lesser demands means that its responsive too.

The two areas where the 610 falls down are in browser performance, where complex web pages bring it to its knees, and Live Tiles, which don't work for a lot of third party apps. In the market you'll find a few apps that don't run on the 610, which might frustrate more experienced users, but probably won't affect the new smartphone user target market. The loss of the buttery smooth Windows Phone experience may irk some users though, as the occasional stutter does hurt the overall impression of the device.

The payback comes in the form of battery life. With my normal usage pattern I found that the battery would last two days easily. Whilst on a quiet weekend I managed to stretch that out to three full days of usage. The lesser memory and processor at work there I think.

The Lumia 610 strikes me as an honest smartphone. Its cheap, but offers a better experience than its peer group. WP7 works the same here as on higher spec phones and even the camera is pretty good.

In that respect I have to applaud the 610 and suggest that if you're looking for a cheap smartphone as a Xmas gift, and the intended recipient hasn't used a smartphone before, then this might be worth a look whilst the pricing remains keen.

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