Nokia Lumia 510 review: Down a gear

GSMArena team, 22 January 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Introduction

With things starting to look up financially and amid rumors of a successor to the Lumia flagship, the Finns shift down to speed up as they try to get one last lap out of the old Windows Phone generation. The Nokia Lumia 510 is old hardware running new old software, aiming to rally new users to the Windows Phone cause.

Although Nokia hasn't given up on making the latest Windows Phone 8 available to the masses, nothing can negotiate a lower price than the modestly powerful previous-generation hardware of the Lumia 510. Yes, this is the cheapest Microsoft-powered smartphone by Nokia but also the first to release straight on Windows Phone 7.8 on most markets.

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Nokia Lumia 510 official pictures

Without pretending to completely bridge the gap to the seriously more advanced WP8, Windows Phone 7.8 offers some of the perks - mostly visual - of the latest OS version. There was even a half promise that it won't be the last update of the platform. This could be all the future-proofing a device like the Nokia 510 needs. It's an entry-level package that's supposed to break new ground for Microsoft and Nokia on markets where accelerated smartphone growth is just about starting.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Quad-band 3G with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 4.0" 65K-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of WVGA resolution
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera, VGA video recording
  • Windows Phone 7.8 OS
  • Resizable tiles and some other WP8 features made available to the older OS version
  • 800 MHz ARM Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227A chipset, 256MB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
  • Digital compass
  • 4GB of on-board storage, 7GB on SkyDrive
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • FM Radio with RDS
  • microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and EDR (with Bluetooth file transfers)
  • Deep and coherent SNS integration throughout the interface

Main disadvantages

  • LCD display of questionable quality
  • Some apps incompatible due to low RAM (Can't run Skype, no HD video)
  • No USB mass storage (Zune only file management and sync)
  • No video calls and no front-facing camera either
  • No memory card slot
  • No native DivX/XviD support, videos have to be Zune-transcoded
  • Disappointing audio quality

The Nokia Lumia 510 is basically the same package as the Lumia 610. The 510 has a bigger, 4" screen, which Nokia obviously considered important to the target audience. Given that most users are likely to be upgrading from Asha and the likes, we're willing to agree.

However, to stay within budget, the Lumia 510 had to take cuts elsewhere. The inbuilt storage was halved - it's now a non-expandable 4GB. The camera has lost its LED flash too, but the limited storage is probably more troubling.

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Nokia Lumia 510 live pictures

Other than that, the hardware is lifted right from the Lumia 610. The two handsets are powered by the same Snapdragon chipset, with Adreno 200 GPU and the CPU clocked at 800MHz. Having tried the 610, we can confirm that the speed is reasonable - WP7 isn't too much of a resource hog so it fares surprisingly well on the four-year old hardware. Yet, Nokia's attempts to make Skype usable on that configuration proved futile.

That aside, the Lumia 510 offers a more than decent smartphone experience with a full-featured office package, a free life-time SatNav license with maps available offline and an improved web browser. Best thing of all, it that doesn't cost a fortune. Interested? Read on.

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