T-Mobile Now Selling Nokia Lumia 521 Windows Phone 8 Smartphone In Stores, Online

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While our attention is undoubtedly fixed on the Lumia 925, the Lumia 521 is a great entry-level smartphone and a great way to get acquainted to the Windows Phone world. The cost may be the best part with a $29 down payment followed by just $5 a month for your equipment installment payment. Or, you can buy the phone outright from $150 straight from T-Mobile or if you can find it, $129.88 from Walmart. The device was previously available through an exclusive deal with the Home Shopping Network as of April 27th.

The Lumia 521 brings a 4” 800 x 480 display to the table, 512RAM, 8GB storage with a microSD slot, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording, 9.9mm thick and HSPA+ 21Mbps connectivity. A software update arrived on May 20th enabling Wi-Fi calling.

Beginning May 22, the Nokia Lumia 521 – an exclusive to T-Mobile – will be available online at www.T-Mobile.com, at T-Mobile retail stores, select dealers and national retailers for $29.99 down with 24 equal monthly payments1 of $5 0% APR O.A.C. for well-qualified customers with the new Simple Choice Plan.

T-Mobile, Walmart

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  • Outside of the Optimus L9, this is the best bang for your buck on T-Mo. Period.

    And the addition of Wifi Calling makes it a no brainer.

    • fentonr

      No kidding! I’m excited for this one, $10 more than the Gravity TXT is going for. I think this will do quite well.

  • oryan_dunn

    While the WiFi calling is nice, the implementation leaves something to be desired. It appears as if it’s a regular app, and you can uninstall it. If uninstalled, the only way to get it back is to factory reset the phone. It should have been integrated into the settings menu, like most of Nokia’s additions.

    The one missing feature that I’ve missed the most, is the compass. It’s such a cheap part, they should have included it, especially with the new update to HERE maps with the augmented reality overlay, which doesn’t work since it requires a compass.

    • techymexican

      considering it wasn’t there before. Having WiFi calling there at least in an app is a step in the right direction. Hopefully in the future it’s fixed but I’ll take that over having no wifi calling. and well they need to save all the money they can to make it this cheap. buy a higher end lumia if you want those extra features.

      • oryan_dunn

        Yeah, I’d rather have WiFi calling than not, just a goof-up in the implementation.

        A digital compass isn’t that expensive of a part (~$1). I’d have gladly paid $10 more for that to have been included.

        Since this phone was just for a secondary toy, I can live without it. My daily phone is still my Amaze.

        • techymexican

          although t-mobile won’t be releasing them. there is the 620 and 720 which are priced a tad higher. and t-mobile wanted the cheapest possible so they can show off their new plans. It’s honestly a great way for them to promote it by have it at $150. I do agree i would pay $10 for the compass but you know, it’s all about marketing. Just by saying that t-mobile has a $150 off contract phone that works perfectly fine as a daily driver for most people will sure benefit them.

        • oryan_dunn

          I would have picked up a green/yellow 620 if it had T-Mo’s AWS HSPA+. But then again, those wouldn’t have WiFi Calling. T-Mo should just release it as a WP Store download, so any WP8 device could use it.

        • techymexican

          that would be awesome but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that considering it can be a safety issue due to 911 calls and they have to make sure every phone works 100%

        • techymexican

          I would be tempted to by a 720 with T-Mobile bands! the 925 will have to do, even it is more expensive.

        • dublzero0

          I’m running the 720 in a refarmed area. I don’t know what I like best: the camera, long battery life, or the physical design.

  • Garrett

    I bought mine from Walmart a few weeks ago. It’s definitely a fantastic phone for that price. If your considering buying this phone, do yourself a favor and buy it outright. You don’t want to be stuck on a payment plan for such a cheap phone. Use the payment plan for something like a HTC One or Nokia Lumia 925.

    • Justin Hanson

      You can always pay it off early though.

  • LC

    Just so people know, if they are buying the phone outright without a plan or if they’re on an existing prepaid plan and want to buy the phone, it’s $180.

    • Garrett

      $180?? Wow, Walmart has the 521 for $130…

  • IceGreenT

    Pretty nice phone for its price.

  • Daniel Darnell

    Great deal but as many have pointed out here you can get this phone at Walmart for $130. So Walmart is for sure the best place to buy this phone at. Walmart is also the hardest place to find this phone at though. It’s still sold out on their website and few stores seem to have the phone in stock. From what I’ve heard it’s been selling very well at Walmart.

    I wonder if Target will carry this phone soon? I’m sure Target will sell it for $130 as well and with a Red Card it would make it $123.49 assuming Target sells it for a price of $129.99 like Walmart has it priced at. From what I’ve seen Target and Amazon seem to be the best (and cheapest) places to buy prepaid T-Mobile phones.

    • Guest

      Target is great especially with a Recard. Wish they had the extended Accidental damage coverage you can buy at Walmart.

      • Daniel Darnell

        Yep, I have a red card and that 5% off every time you use it really adds up if you shop their often. Plus an extra 30 days to return items and free shipping on Target.com makes it a great debit/credit card to have, I love mine.

        • Guest

          Target is great. I went so frequently I just got our Redcard in the mail this week.

  • jelliottz

    Talk about a backup phone. Better than buying anything used on Craigslist. Its not a spec-monster, but WP doesn’t need it to be. It will get the job done.

  • ssl48

    If you buy this on T-Mobile’s prepaid website it is $199, but they will give you a $50 refill card, so in essence it’s still $150.

  • Guest

    I tried this phone at the Microsoft Store. It was pretty impressive for $150. The only thing that was sluggish was the internet browsing but that could have been because of the Microsoft Store’s wifi. I was wondering if anyone could comment on the IE browser on this thing that has been using it.

  • 3560freak

    Dying for WiFi calling on my HTC 8x, anyone have any udates on this?

  • Justin Hanson

    I just went online and picked one of these up after seeing this article. I know its a far cry from the best windows phones on the market, and a bit ugly to boot. I don’t plan on replacing my Nexus 4 with this phone, but I always wanted to give windows phone a try. If all else fails, $150 is a great price for a mid-range smartphone that will serve as a great back-up phone.

    • Guest

      Have you had any issues with the glass back? I know people even with bumpers have been saying it cracks easily. I was about to get one in December but saw all the comments about it and one of my coworkers cracked his.

      • steveb944

        If you’re referring to the Nexus 4, get it and throw a case on it. Forget the bumper as even other bloggers have noted breaking the back. I’m currently using a Cruzerlite case but I’m sure there are more options out there. Maybe wait a couple weeks for the possible White/LTE version

      • Justin Hanson

        I haven’t had any issues so far with the glass back. In fact, I kind of like the smooth feel of the device despite its slipperiness. I have yet to damage a phone… knock on wood.

  • Cornelius Hardy

    I just got mine in the mail today. So far so good but I just started playing with it a few minutes ago. Happy to have a phone where my Office365 works and has a dedicated setup option. Very hard to run a business with Office365 from android.

  • galaxydude

    I have had it for about a week now it’s great backup
    Device. I have a l9 with T-Mobile 70 unlimited plan. I am actually using the 521 more because of office 365
    It’s perfect for my business needs.

  • Awesome mobile and nice price…really so happy to know that!

  • tomarone

    No Front Camera. No fm radio (I think), No Compass.

    How is it that the keyboard works better than a high end Android phone???

    • dublzero0

      The windows phone keyboard is awesome. They leverage a lot of know-how from MS Word.

    • Cornelius Hardy

      I can do without a front camera since I rarely video chat. I also hate commercials from radio so not having fm which would only work with headphones anyway doesn’t affect me either. Nokia music is an awesome music app, and Pandora is also available. You should never need fm radio. Also there is a compass but I don’t remember which app it was. Keyboard is awesome.

    • wpnewbie

      For 130$ its a phenomenal phone . All reviews say Keyboard is excellent … better than any android .. since its same keyboard in $500 WP phone or 130$ Wp phone.

  • Andrew Pullin

    Now if only we could unlock them.
    After calling T-Mobile, the fellow on the other end told me that they’d only unlock the phone after it had been active on my account for 18 months, despite owning the phone outright (full price purchase from Walmart).
    Of course, he sounded pretty confused, and I think he was just quoting any numbers he could find.

    Also, It’s sort of astonishing that the in-call volume cannot be adjusted.
    That’s right, folks: during a call, if you use the volume up/down buttons, it still only adjust the ringer volume, and not the call volume.

    • dublzero0

      Really, because on every WP8 I’ve used, the volume is adjustable from 0-10. Outside of a phone call, volume is adjustable from 0-30. If toggling in a call brings up a x/10 scale, that is in-call volume.

  • Cornelius Hardy

    After a week of using it, it’s a awesome phone. I actually dropped one after using it for only a few hours. The back is very slippery. Screen shattered on impact, and had to be sent back in. I was told it was probably a defect and shouldn’t have shattered after one fall. I got a new one the same day from the t-mobile store along with the D3o case which is insanely priced. It’s still slippery and doesn’t have that rubber feel I like about the HD2 case, but supposedly you can toss a phone across the room and it won’t shatter. I’m not willing to try it even on a $130 phone. The phone is awesome. Nokia music is just as good as Pandora. There are a lot more apps now then there were a few years ago for Windows mobile. I’ve found just about every app I need and more except Square for card readers, and Pulse news which is the “only” app I use on Android. Camera is okay but not having a flash or zoom isn’t cool. Otherwise there are a lot of camera apps. My favorite is the cinemagraph which let’s you animate parts of a photo. My Office365 websites and account work way better than they did on Android, and even though I’ve downloaded about 100(free) apps, the phone is still just as fast as the first day I started using it. Battery life is also pretty good. I would recommend this phone to anyone, and not just as a backup phone.