The Nokia Lumia 610 runs a version of Windows Phone 7.5 known as “Tango”. If you’re at all familiar with Windows Phone, the interface will seem completely familiar as the “.5” added missing features rather than fundamentally changing the way the system works.
For Windows Phone newcomers it works a little something like this – there’s a “scroll” of square and rectangular Live Tiles that forms your home screen. From here, a right-to-left flick here takes you to the full apps menu. Once again, it’s a vertically-scrolling list that’s easy to thumb through.
Windows Phone 7.5 is not particularly flexible, but it does have a definite – and mostly successful – style. It’s a style that carries on into many third-party apps too.
There are far fewer Windows Phone apps than Android or iOS ones, but the OS integrated social networks with the best of them from the off. Within the settings menu you can plug Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and reams of email accounts into the phone. Updates from all are then weaved into the People app.
The Windows Phone keyboard – looks good, feels good, is good
The People app acts as a phone book and a way to keep up with the latest social networking goings-on. You can view them chronolocially, or by person within the contacts book view.
Other Windows Highlights
Other top bits of Windows Phone 7.5 include Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps. A turn-by-turn GPS navigation solution and a way to find your way around on-foot respectively, they are good alternatives to what’s on offer from arch rival Android.
In Nokia Drive, you can select the maps you want to download manually, removing the need for the phone to constantly leech data using a mobile internet connection. This is an area where the 8GB of internal memory becomes a nuisance, although England takes up a mere 204MB, and the entire UK just 241MB. Larger countries are predictably less forgiving – the USA is 1.8GB.
The Nokia Lumia 610 has an 800MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, where almost all other Windows Phone mobiles use at least a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. It’s a step-down that has noticeable drawbacks, but it’s not as sluggish and you might think.
Flicking through the home screen and apps menu is quick, keeping the slick feel that made us fall for Windows Phone in the first place. What do suffer are the transitions between apps, which take that bit longer to load. Windows manages these little gaps well – better than most Android Gingerbread phones – but next to a Lumia 800 the Lumia 610 does seem a little sluggish.
What is more likely to annoy for those less accustomed to just how quick Windows Phone can get is the compromised app and games support. As many games in particular will have been developed with the previous minimum Windows specs in mind (1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM), many do not currently support the Lumia 610.
Important omissions include Angry Birds, Sid Meier’s Pirates, Civilization Revolution, PES 2012, NFS: Hot Pursuit, Let’s Golf 2. Higher-end Windows Phone offer limited games support compared with iPhones, but Lumia 610 support is currently dire. It’s likely to improver dramatically over the next six months, but you’ll need patience. The phone has enough power to play fancy 3D games – Super Monkey Ball runs just fine – but games need to be tweaked to work with the lesser hardware.
Low-end Windows phones like this also drop all multitasking support, which makes switching between apps a little more laborious.