Conclusion: The Nokia Lumia 521 isn't the nicest Windows Phone 8 device on the market - and it's certainly not the hottest Nokia machine out today - but it's not meant to be. Working to be the cost-cutting entry level to the Windows Phone 8 universe with the good ship Nokia - that's the aim. That's what this machine will do, too - expect quite a few upgrades to higher-powered Lumia devices once the 521 is paid for in full by users on T-Mobile.
Nokia Lumia 521 Review: The Best Affordable Prepaid Smartphone
27 June 2013
Summary: Years ago, Nokia made a name for itself by pumping out great affordable phones, but somewhere along the way they lost their way, especially in the U.S. Fortunately, the Nokia Lumia 521 brings back that heritage. Sure, there is no front facing camera or LTE, but who could complain at this price, especially when the phone is so well-rounded.
Pros: Amazing value for the price, tough build quality, HD Voice makes calls sound really clear and loud, you get many of the same great bundled Nokia apps that you would get on Nokia’s more premium handsets, quite a durable phone, very good performance, Wi-Fi calling support, good battery life
Cons: No LTE support, no front-facing camera or flash, backplate is tricky to remove
Conclusion: The Nokia Lumia 521 is the kind of budget phone that really feels like one. It has some nice aspects – speedy performance, decent design, good call quality – but they’re overshadowed by the mediocre display and slow mobile data speeds. Plus, Windows Phone has it’s own overall problems including too few really great apps. For those customers who really want to stick with T-Mobile, this is your only Windows Phone choice. And at $30 down it’s not a truly terrible one.
Pros: Comfortable, compact design, Speedy performance, Good call quality
Cons: Narrow viewing angles on display, Screen collects smudges and dirt easily, Mediocre battery life, Slower 4G speeds than most phones
Excerpt: I love a high-end smartphone, and I'm sure you do too. We all love the bells, whistles, and goodies that come from devices like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S 4, and Apple iPhone 5. But not everyone needs a high-end smartphone, and for those that can get by with a nice little mid-range device, the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 521 is an awesome choice.
Summary: The Lumia 521 is an entry-level Windows Phone that offers a lot for much less than other devices. For just $129 (without a contract), shoppers get an attractive and compact design, a capable camera and a user-friendly interface that will please smartphone newbies. Nokia did sacrifice some features -- such as LTE support, a high-res screen and a front-facing camera -- to achieve such an aggressive price. The battery life could also be better.