A few weeks back, we had a chance to use the Lumia 510, Nokia’s budget phone that now retails for just Php 5,990 and runs on Windows Phone 7.5 (upgradable to 7.8). It’s a previous generation Windows phone but still available in stores although being replaced already.
Looking at it reminds me of the WebOS phones; it’s black all around and is quite nice to hold. On the front is a 4-inch capacitive phone with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels with three capacitive buttons (back, home and search), surrounded by a glossy black bezel.
On the right of the device you’ll find the volume controls, an unlabeled power/lock button and the camera button. At the top is the headphone/headset jack; the left has an opening to let you remove the backplate; and the bottom has the microUSB port to charge and connect the phone to your computer.
The matte back is soft to the touch and is available in four other colors: yellow, white, red and Nokia blue. You’ll also find the 5MP camera there as well as the speaker grille.
Again I’ll reiterate that the phone is quite comfortable to hold, and that the matte back makes it very grip-friendly as well. At 129g, the phone does feel a little heavy for its size, but makes it feel real solid. That being said, I did accidentally drop this phone, and knew that this really is a Nokia phone: the phone, battery and back plate broke apart the way their old phones did. The popular belief was that this was designed to dissipate the impact and reduce damage to the electronics (unconfirmed). The phone just got a little scratched as a result.
Underneath the glass and plastic is an 800 MHz single-core Snapdragon Cortex-A5 processor with 256 MB of RAM. There is no slot for a microSD card, so you will have to make do with around 4GB of memory for your media which is sad in today’s standards.
The Metro tile UI takes a little getting used to, but once you do, using it is pretty smooth and straightforward enough. I love the visual simplicity of the interface that differentiates it from Android and iOS. Updating the software (WP7) is done via an updater that is available for both OS X and Windows.
There’s a unified feed for Facebook and Twitter that you can set up for the phone, but the full apps are also available for download from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Their app selection is not as extensive as Android’s and iOS’s but you will find a lot of similar apps and games there.
The camera shoots somewhat decent pictures, albeit a little washed out and tends to be noisy especially on low light scenes. There is no LED flash to help you illuminate your subjects in this budget phone. I found the camera app to be quirky, confusing and slow in taking pictures; there would at times be a delay when you press the shutter, and when you do, the screen will freeze the image upon pressing the shutter, and then after a second will be replaced with the actual image captured by the camera. The camera also shoots 420p video.
Listening to music and videos is decent enough using the built-in player, which accepts mp4 and wmv and most audio types. But due to the small space there’s not really much you can put in it.
Browsing with this phone is slow. It takes a while for pages to load, which is expected of the 800 MHz processor and 256 MB RAM, but I sort of feel that it performs slower than I expected.
So with all that considered, this would not be a phone for power users definitely; it’s just too slow especially when you’re used to mid-range and high-end phones. The non-expandable memory also makes it a non-choice for those who would want to use it to listen to their music or watch videos. If you save a little more money, you can eventually be able to buy a better phone with WP8 installed. This can be a phone that you can give as a gift I guess, or a phone to get for your kids.