If you created a poll asking people which mobile operating system they preferred, you'd have an overwhelming amount of people vote for either Android or iOS. A much, much smaller number of people would select Windows 10 Mobile. I would even wager that a number of people would learn for the first time that there is, in fact, a third mobile operating system on the market. Windows 10 Mobile may not be the most popular option, but it does exist, and despite its notorious lack of apps when you compare it to both Android and iOS, Windows 10 Mobile still works as a perfectly capable smartphone in many aspects.
Microsoft slashed the price of the mid-range Lumia 650 in half over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making the phone a cool $99. Although I had no need for a new smartphone, my significant other did. Coming from an Xperia Z3, which runs on Android, I had a sinking feeling that he would be disappointed with his purchase. As it turns out, he's more than happy with the switch. He isn’t heavily dependent on the app ecosystem and most of the apps that he does use just so happen to be supported on Windows 10 Mobile, which is what makes this switch so painless for him.
Perhaps that sounds snarky, but it isn't a bad thing. Some people just don't need tons of apps to be happy with a smartphone, and when you take out the app situation from Windows 10 Mobile, you're left with a smooth-running operating system that doesn't need many resources to perform well.
I borrowed the 650 from him for a few days, and I have to say that for $99 it really does seem well worth the price.
I've always liked the minimalistic UI of Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Mobile isn’t much different. Transitions were quick and smooth, apps loaded without issue, and it's extremely nice to be able to uninstall bloatware apps without having to jump through hoops. I find that I am not the biggest fan of Edge on Windows 10 Mobile, and unfortunately the few browser alternatives in the app store aren't much better.
I do enjoy the phone’s design. The soft, rubbery matte finish on the black model feels good in the hand, and the metal-brushed trim gives the device a slight prestigiousness that makes it look more expensive than it is. The 650 boasts a 5-inch screen with a 720 x 1280 resolution display, which is noticeable when downgrading from something better, but on a 5-inch screen it’s not too bad. The 8-megapixel camera isn’t bad, but I'm coming from a Galaxy S7 so I'm pretty spoiled in that department; for $99 it is a decent camera.
Battery life is adequate. With moderate use, the 650 had no problems lasting through a 12-hour day. One nice thing about Windows 10 Mobile is that I mostly used it for necessary things like calling, texting, e-mail, and web browsing. Occasionally I would throw some commands at Cortana, play a couple of games like Solitaire and Age of Empires, or watch an episode of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Still, without the myriad of apps that I'm used to having on my Android device, I find that I'm not as distracted with the phone and place my focus on other things, so I suppose Windows 10 Mobile's lack of apps can be a positive thing in at least one way.
Overall, I'd say that Lumia 650 is good for the price. You get solid performance, decent specs (1GB of RAM may look scary to Android users, but on Windows 10 Mobile it's more capable than it sounds; however, I will say that 2GB of RAM would have been optimal), a removable battery, and Dual SIM and microSD support (up to 200GB). Microsoft has since raised the price back to $199 in the Microsoft Store, which I think makes it a harder sell, but Amazon is still selling it for $109.99, which I still consider a great price for this device. Additionally, Microsoft is no stranger to sales on their devices, so I wouldn't be surprised if the 650 goes on sale again in the near future.
I don’t think that Windows 10 Mobile is for everybody, and would even venture to say that most people would find the lack of apps off-putting because it is, by and large, still an issue with Windows 10 Mobile. However, I also think that some may appreciate the "something different" perspective that Windows 10 Mobile can offer, particularly at the affordable price point that the Lumia 650 costs.