1. onry_fng's Avatar
    Now, a little history, I have owned a Lumia 900, Samsung Focus Flash, and Windows Phone 8X before so I am not THAT wet behind the ears when it comes to Windows Phone. As it were, circumstances in my life will soon be swaying me in the prepaid phone direction once again so phones such as those are a tad out of my price range. Enter: Wal-Mart. I had honestly never heard of the Lumia 521 prior to its release. But as I was taking a gander at the phone section of Wal-Mart the other day, as I am one to do, I came across that lovely little panda phone (IN STOCK! no less) and seeing as how WP had always been my favorite operating system, right after webOS of course, I was smitten almost instantaneously. My question comes down to this, for those of you who do own the 521, what are your honest-to-God opinions of it and is it really worth the paltry $130 price tag that Wally World slaps on it? Or am I better off getting a used Lumia 710 from Amazon? Basically, given a tight (as it gets) budget, is the 521 my best option? Why or why not? And if not, what would you suggest?
    06-20-2013 09:38 AM
  2. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    I couldn't resist picking up a 521 at that price, as I had never tried a Windows Phone device before. After using it for nearly 2 weeks, my opinion is that you cannot get a better smartphone for $130 than the Lumia 521.

    Nokia had to cut back on some features (slower processor, less RAM, no front-facing camera, no rear flash, no HD screen, etc.), but the features you do get blow away the competition at that price point.

    You get access to T-Mobile's no-contract plans. Just make sure their coverage is decent in your area, or that you at least have access to good WiFi because another great T-Mobile feature is that you can do WiFi calling!

    Some resource intensive apps like games may not work due to the scaled back processor/RAM, but all the apps I have installed run beautifully. I don't notice any lag or slowdown in the apps or interface.

    The screen, while not HD, is surprisingly crisp and clear. The colors are vibrant, and the touch screen response is great. It has Nokia's enhanced sensitivity that allows you to use the screen even with gloves on.

    And really, for $130, it's not a huge risk to at least give it a try and see what you think. If you hate it you can always sell it and go for the 710.

    I posted a more detailed review on my blog:

    Cache Living: Nokia Lumia 521: The Best Smartphone Under $150
    06-20-2013 10:43 AM
  3. Oakdale Dude's Avatar
    Personally, I would stay away from buying a used/refurbished device of any type unless it was from somebody you knew or from a carrier where you might have some recourse if it was faulty. That's just my opinion.

    As far as the Lumia 521....If you are on a budget or a person whose daily needs don't call for a $500 high-end device then I would definately take a look at the 521. I've been using it daily for about a month and half and I have no complaints. It's runs smooth and has been very dependable. On one hand, it obviously lacks some features you'll find on a high end device, but on the other hand, it packs a lot more features and has better overall performance than you will find on most $130 devices.

    It all comes down to what you want and need.
    06-20-2013 11:26 AM
  4. tgp's Avatar
    I agree with Newfangled. I picked one up just to play with it. It is a low end phone, but well worth $130. I actually got mine SIM unlocked after using it for a couple weeks, so now I can use my Net10 AT&T SIM card in it. Just for the record, it is legally unlocked! I got the unlock code from T-Mobile.

    Given the budget constraints you mentioned, you couldn't do better than the 521, especially since you like WP. And it's much better than a 710, which is WP7.
    06-20-2013 11:26 AM
  5. ngnetzky's Avatar
    I've never owned a 710, but I did fool around with my friends. With that being said, I think the 521 is way better than the 710. You are only missing Led Flash, Gorilla Screen/ClearBlack. However, you're gaining so much more in other areas, WP8, Dual-Core Processor, MicroSD expandable storage (which I think is a must on any phone <32gb), and WiFi Calling! Also, although this is budget/low-end phone, it does not feel/look like a low end device. An Android phone at the same price range, you know the moment you turn it on it's a LOW END device. With all it's glory of a VGA screen, a 3 mp rear camera, oh let's not forget the huge internal storage of 150mb. I, of course over exaggerated some of these specs, but I think you'll get the general idea.

    verizon-motorola-citrus-android-smartphone.jpg
    06-21-2013 09:54 AM
  6. Musicman247's Avatar
    This phone has no right being as good as it is for this price. Been using it for a day and absolutely love it!
    06-25-2013 04:48 PM
  7. sandysan's Avatar
    I have a 521 and bought another for my daughter, and I like the 521 but the idea that you cant get something other than a low end device for less than 150 in android is just not true.
    Sure things like a huwaei comet are low end and its no nexus, but the lg optimus l9 is pretty capable and about 20 bucks more than a 521 so it is in the same ball park. whether it is better is a matter of preference, but its certainly close.
    06-25-2013 05:19 PM
  8. rmichael75's Avatar
    I agree with Newfangled. I picked one up just to play with it. It is a low end phone, but well worth $130. I actually got mine SIM unlocked after using it for a couple weeks, so now I can use my Net10 AT&T SIM card in it. Just for the record, it is legally unlocked! I got the unlock code from T-Mobile.

    Given the budget constraints you mentioned, you couldn't do better than the 521, especially since you like WP. And it's much better than a 710, which is WP7.
    How did you get it unlocked?. Did you have to have a Tmobile connection to get it unlocked?.
    06-25-2013 05:30 PM
  9. Corepc's Avatar
    How did you get it unlocked?. Did you have to have a Tmobile connection to get it unlocked?.
    SIM Unlock Requirements for 521
    06-25-2013 08:36 PM
  10. ngnetzky's Avatar
    Yes, L9 is a decent/capable budget android device. However, I've never seen the L9 sell for less than $199, at best you sometimes get a combo $50 refill/phone for $199 deal. That's compare apples to apples and put aside any deals (because in time, the 521 most likely will have the same deals), the L9 is at least $50 dollars more expensive than the 521, if not $70 (depends on if you're lucky). However, I would be willing to say that the L9 is maybe the only exception to the rule, but for the most part the 521 is going to beat senseless any Android phone in the $150 or less price range.

    Sidenote: I own both of these phones, and I feel the 521 is more solidly built than the L9, IMHO.


    I have a 521 and bought another for my daughter, and I like the 521 but the idea that you cant get something other than a low end device for less than 150 in android is just not true.
    Sure things like a huwaei comet are low end and its no nexus, but the lg optimus l9 is pretty capable and about 20 bucks more than a 521 so it is in the same ball park. whether it is better is a matter of preference, but its certainly close.
    06-25-2013 09:42 PM
  11. tgp's Avatar
    How did you get it unlocked?. Did you have to have a Tmobile connection to get it unlocked?.
    I've been on T-Mobile for about a year. I have the $30 100 minutes/5GB/unlimited texts plan that I use on my Nexus 4, which is my primary phone. I also have a Net10 AT&T SIM card that I use for my 2nd device, whatever that happens to be. When I got the 521, I removed the T-Mobile SIM from the Nexus 4 and put it in the 521, and put the Net10 SIM in the Nexus 4. Apparently to qualify for unlocking the 521 only needs to be in use for 7 days as long as the account has been active for at least 60 days. After a couple weeks I contacted T-Mobile and they provided me with the unlock code, no problem. After receiving the unlock code I switched the T-Mobile SIM back to my Nexus 4 and put the Net10 SIM in the 521. Of course since it uses AT&T it asked for the code, I entered it, and it unlocked. Works great!
    06-25-2013 11:13 PM
  12. sandysan's Avatar
    The difference between the two initially was 30 bucks on HSN (150 vs 180, I bought both). I don't know where the new huwaei ascend will end up and no one doubt's that there are tons of crappy cheap android phones on the market, but there are some okay ones as well. I like the 521 a whole lot, but statements like it kills all android phones sub 150 is at best a matter of opinion, at worst an outright fabrication.

    Its just nice you can get a capable smartphone without having to spring for a nexus 4 at 2 to 2 and a half times the cost. The more choices the better.
    06-27-2013 09:09 PM
  13. ngnetzky's Avatar
    ......but statements like it kills all android phones sub 150 is at best a matter of opinion, at worst an outright fabrication.
    I take offensive to your idea, that I would lie or make things up. I have owned more than a dozen Android phones, in fact I love Android as a mobile platform, it's one of my favorite Mobile OS. However, I dislike what OEMs have done to Android, they produce such junk at the low-end of the spectrum, that most people that get these phones are turned off instantly and they blame Android. I have more friends than I can count, that complain endlessly about their phones (all budget Androids). Are there good budget Android phones in that price range, off-contract? Maybe, but they are few and far between.

    We have diverged from the point of this topic and is probably of no help to the OP. No one is going to win this argument, so that's agree to disagree. I hope you have a Good Day!
    seanpr likes this.
    06-28-2013 10:57 AM
  14. sandysan's Avatar
    I'll be the first to admit that there are tons of cheaply built underpowered crappy android phones on the market. But that's not the point, which was that the 521 is better than ALL budget android phones. Spec wise, that's just not true ( the l9). I have a 521 and like it, I get that most people on this board will support Wp8 phones, but I think its actually better if people have real informed choices as opposed to deluded fanbois preaching to the choir.

    The 521 is dropping in price like a rock and its pulling down the l9 ( and hopefully the rumored l9 II) which is good for everyone. The more good choices, the better.
    07-01-2013 06:35 AM
  15. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    I'll be the first to admit that there are tons of cheaply built underpowered crappy android phones on the market. But that's not the point, which was that the 521 is better than ALL budget android phones. Spec wise, that's just not true ( the l9). I have a 521 and like it, I get that most people on this board will support Wp8 phones, but I think its actually better if people have real informed choices as opposed to deluded fanbois preaching to the choir.

    The 521 is dropping in price like a rock and its pulling down the l9 ( and hopefully the rumored l9 II) which is good for everyone. The more good choices, the better.
    It's not about specs. I've never said the 521 has the best specs for the price. I said the Lumia 521 is the best smartphone for the price. In my experience, WP8 can do more and perform better with low-end specs than Android can. We're not "deluded fanbois" for stating the obvious.

    Besides, the l9 has less internal storage (4 GB), is only expandable up to 32 GB (vs 64 GB on the 521), and is more expensive. So I'm not sure why you are bringing it up, since it is clearly not at the same price point as the 521.
    edoug and seanpr like this.
    07-01-2013 07:49 AM
  16. ngnetzky's Avatar
    Newfangled, i think he was referring to my posts. I was stating a opinion and nothing else. Every post here on this forum is a opinion, and nothing else. I never once threw down a insult and don't why understand why he had too. Also since it's far from the truth, I have owned iPhone 3GS&4, many Androids, and this my first WP8 phone, so how can I be a "deluded fanboy", I don't know. Also I never said that it was better than ALL budget androids, I said it was better than the MAJORITY.

    Again, I will say, that's agree to disagree. Our argument serves no purpose to the OP.

    It's not about specs. I've never said the 521 has the best specs for the price. I said the Lumia 521 is the best smartphone for the price. In my experience, WP8 can do more and perform better with low-end specs than Android can. We're not "deluded fanbois" for stating the obvious.

    Besides, the l9 has less internal storage (4 GB), is only expandable up to 32 GB (vs 64 GB on the 521), and is more expensive. So I'm not sure why you are bringing it up, since it is clearly not at the same price point as the 521.
    seanpr likes this.
    07-01-2013 08:53 AM

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