Nokia's stand at Mobile World Congress is more of a city than a dingy old booth -- it's absolutely massive, and full of Lumias and PureViews and Ashas (oh my!). As we continue to dissect the entire thing, our adventure has taken us to the Lumia 610. This particular handset is a bit of an anomaly in the mobile world: it's getting a lot of attention not because it's an amazingly powerful and highly specced device, but rather because it's considered a low-ender. It's not too often that this kind of thing happens, considering we often treat budget phones as non-influential, but we envision a device like the Lumia 610 having a dramatic impact on the scope of Windows Phone in global market share and public exposure.
Why could such a simple smartphone make waves at a show crowded with star-studded beauties like Nokia's own 808 PureView or the HTC One X? Because it's among the first to feature Microsoft's latest Windows Phone build. Contrary to our expectations coming into the show, it's not being referred to as Tango -- something that perplexed us during our liveblog of Nokia's event this morning -- but rather a minor refresh that will reach out to every Windows Phone. The update, still considered part of Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), opens the door for devices running on 256MB of RAM and offers a few other goodies, such as allowing ringtones, videos, audio files and multiple JPEGs on one MMS. The update will also bring compatibility to Chinese mobile operators and plenty more regional availability. That's a major reason why the Lumia 610 is getting so much attention -- it may be the first Windows Phone experience for several regions that don't already have the OS.
It may be obvious that the specs are nothing to write home about. Quite opposite, in fact. But that's not what Nokia's gunning for with the 610, is it? Nay, this one is ever so humble, with its 800MHz Snapdragon S1 CPU, 5MP rear AF camera with LED flash, 3.7-inch WVGA TFT display, 1,300mAh battery and quad-band GSM / EDGE / WCDMA. The build is definitely inexpensive plastic, with chrome edges and a soft-touch back. In other words, keep a firm grip on it at all times. All in all, it feels rather comfortable to hold, though. Its overall performance is precisely on par with the intended price range here. But don't just read our words about the phone -- behold with your own eyes the Lumia 610 with the help of our photos and videos below.
Myriam Joire and Zachary Lutz contributed to this hands-on.
For more coverage of Mobile World Congress, head here.