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First Look: Cheap, cheerful Nokia Lumia 521
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First Look: Cheap, cheerful Nokia Lumia 521

1:45 /

Its $150 off-contract price tag makes T-Mobile's budget Lumias one of the best deals around.

If you're all about value, then this is one of the best budget smartphones around. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET. This is the Nokia Lumia 521 for T-Mobile. Compared to other Lumia phones, this one is shorter, smaller, and lighter than the rest. It's got a 4-inch screen. Screen quality is pretty poor, actually, tightly reflective; and you can tell when you compare it to another phone that it just doesn't have the umph and pop of some of the others. As for the rest of the phone, this one is white, and it pretty much looks the same with the buttons on the side, including the physical camera shutter button. Although there is no screen sensitivity or wireless charging for this phone, you do get some extras through Nokia's apps, including Nokia Drive and Nokia Music. There's a 5 megapixel camera on the back that captures 720p HD video, but there is no front-facing camera. Photo quality on the camera was pretty decent for the price that you pay for the phone. And I was actually pretty impressed with the low light shots as well. Underneath the hood, there's a 1 gigaHertz Qualcomm dual-core processor. I notice that the phone was a little bit slower. Speeds are gonna be slower as well because although it does run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network, there is no LTE for this phone. However, it is very low-cost, so you do get a lot for the money. It's $150 upfront, no contract. That's through T-Mobile and Microsoft stores, or you can buy it from Walmart for $130. T-Mobile also gives you a down payment option where you'll spend $30 upfront, and then $5 every month for the next two years. The price definitely makes it one of the best budget phones available for any mobile platform. I'm Jessica Dolcourt, this is the Nokia Lumia 521 for T-Mobile.

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