Nokia Lumia 521 Deal

Here is how to grab the Nokia Lumia 521 for $105 with no carrier contract

Nokia’s Lumia 521 can be picked up for only $105 and with no carrier contract, at your local Microsoft store. There are a bit of tricks involved, but here is how to do it.

  1. Find a local Microsoft Store and go in to purchase the Lumia 521 at a price tag of $149. Once there, speak to a Microsoft Store representative and have them price match Walmart at $129.88.
  2. Run over to the “Bing it on Challenge” to spend a minute comparing Google and Bing in a blind test. As a reward for your time, you will be presented with a $25 gift card.
  3. Finally, use the $25 gift card to bring the phone's price down even lower to $104.88.


We hope you enjoy your new Nokia Lumia 521 and don’t forget to check out our unboxing and first impressions of the device here on Windows Phone Central!  What do you think of the device so far? Any T-Mobile users planning on picking one up?

Source: Kurt Shintaku’s Blog


Reader comments

Here is how to grab the Nokia Lumia 521 for $105 with no carrier contract


If Nokia can make a legit phone for $105-150, why can they make a mini-tablet (WinRT) for $199?  They would sell by the truckloads around the world.

Right! Maybe that's what they're working on.. What's that event Nokia holds in the fall?? Anyways, I can't wait until that event to see what they reveal.

I dig the idea! Especially if it had 3g/4g calling and nokia pushed some apps to windows 8 RT, at around 7 inches it would compete directly with the nexus 7 and wouldn't bother microsoft with its surface tablets :)
1080p resolution ploix

Is there a time limit on this? I would love to get one of these with a prepaid sim as my secondary phone. Unfortunately i have a pretty demanding work schedule and i dont think i will be able to get there until later in the week. Thank you in advance for any advice, and i hope to be joining you all in the world of WP. i am going to get a Surface anyway, might as well have the phone to match..

Does not seem so, more like Potato and Tomato.
A $25 gift card means it's sans any string, great for jumpstarting a new adopters app prchases, but this one is pretty much useles unless you're spending over $75 at one transaction. Would be fine if it could be used  against the purchase of the phone though.

True, but Android really, really sucks. I have owned several cheap Android tablets, and of course they were all terrible, so I decided to try a good Android tablet, and bought a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. It STILL sucked. So everywhere I read says "Root and go stock 'Droid!" so I did--and it STILL sucks.
Android is just a crappy, antiquated OS. I don't know how else to say it. It looks like somebody aped Windows 95 and slammed it on a slab. It's sluggish. Half the apps in the store are for earlier versions and have problems on Jellybean.
I've given Android a lot of opportunity to impress me. I am not impressed.

A $200 Windows tablet would be nice :). I think we'll get there, though. Microsoft wanted to have Windows tablets be premium devices, which is an admirable goal, but you don't find mass market success by focusing solely on the premium end of the market. Android would never have gotten as big as it has by doing that. You've GOT to saturate the market: high end, low end, middle tier--ALL of it. Fortunately, I think Microsoft has plenty of great products to pull that off. Here's what I envision:
Low End: Windows RT tablets from $199 upwards, starting in the 7 or 8" space and going up to around $399 for the 10-11" space.
Mid-Range: Windows 8 (regular) from $349 to $699, starting at 10", going up to maybe 12", and starting with the new generation Atom processors at the lower end, running up to Core i3's, MAYBE i5's at the top tier.
High End: Windows 8 Pro from $699+, depending on features, and starting with Core i5 CPU's, going up to i7's. I could see these going anywhere from 10" screens to whatever the market will bear (lots of different use-case scenarios to consider), including those crazy 18-20" tablet all in ones Dell and HP are hocking.
I honestly think Windows 8 will be fine. Major OS transitions are ALWAYS rough. I clearly remember people LOATHING the start menu when Windows 95 was introduced, and hating NT when XP became the first NT-based OS to wind up on consumer facing PC's, too.
Change is hard, and history *fights back*.

I had the exact same experience. Few monhs back I left my netbook at home when on vacation in the US and got a  Samsung TAB2 7 inch as I figured I used Android before, how bad can it be (and the price was right). Boy was I wrong.. Clunky, laggy and jumpy interface. Apps like mail and facebook are supposed to be good, but they felt horrible to me. Also the experience was not even on par with my Lumia 800 then and even the bigger screen could not help there.
Was able to sell at virtually no loss once back home so got rid of it as fast as I could..

I get a samsung gio for that money and suck big time! Since them i do not like samsung or android. 

This isn't official. I did this myself but they let me know it wasn't allowed. Because they didn't tell me anything until the transaction was taking place they let it slide. Not everybody can be so lucky. This is unofficial. The Bing it on challenge ends on June I think.

They are supposed to pricematch brick and mortar retailers.

"let it slide" = They can do it, but they don't want to.

If they really can't do it - they won't do it.

Source: Working in retail and telling customers they were special as we handed them discounts.

I had never heard that Microsoft Store price matched other retailers. Their Xbox games are usually priced above Target, Toys R Us, and the like.

It is a store to store kinda thing. You can always show them the store policy to tell them that they do accept price matching. What I was referring to is to do the price match and the Bing it on challenge together.

Lol @ the idea showing an empoloyee his own store's policy for your own benefit, sounds a bit leery to me, but hey the money saved is good!

There is also that $10 voucher MSFT was offering if you signed up to receive more information at the XBOX One page. Not sure if you can add vouchers like that.

I can confirm that this does work :] they charge you taxes on the $130 though(it doesn't matter much but just something to point out). The total came out to $116 after taxes at the Microsoft store in Los Angeles. 

All I'm worried about is people buying this phone and being turned off and not buying or recommending WP in the future. Yes it is a budget phone but we Americans want everything to work like $400 phone. The lack of niche apps is a huge problem for our platform, HUGE.

Apps are a problem I agree. However this budget windows phone is lag free. My (now wife's) SG4 still stutters when downloading and installing apps in the background. I gleefully await my new red Lumia 920 set to arrive Wednesday.
Anyone buying an off contract phone from Walmart or the MS store off contract is not looking at this as a Hero / Premium device. This is an active decision to avoid a contract and go above and make extra effort to get this for under $150. They know what they are doing and getting for their $.
They can also walk over to the Lumia 920 / 928 and decide to pay far more for a little more performance, size / functionality. It should also be right there in the store. So, I would say that we're going to make individual choices for ourselves. Even in America.
100% behind you on the app front however. But I give up, I fold, I'm tethering a surface pro, an ipad, and some upcoming android device to get my app fix.
Still the best damn phone out there. I have the best phone experience on my 920 overall. Specs be damned.

...Or it could have the opposite effect as it has on me.

The Lumia 521 is my first WP and lack of niche apps or not, it won't be my last. Because of my experience so far with this device I'm much more likely to buy a higher end WP in the future.

I'll NEVER go back to any Android Phone.

finally in this whole big fourm, someone realized the wp8 biggest problems!!!
most the apps in the store are very low quality just they exist so Microsoft can say "we have 140000" apps!!!
Maybe 1000 apps are good quality only LOL

The problem with this scheme is Microsoft Stores don't have a price matching policy. The original guy got lucky that the store let it slide but that won't work for most.
From their website: "Microsoft Store does not have a price match guarantee. It will not match the advertised prices other retailers offer for the same items."

Is this phone carrier unlocked? Can I use on AT&T? If so ill totally buy this until Eos gets announced so I can save my upgrade

that worth just buying to have a spare phone or just to let the kids play with so they wont ask for mine, "can i play angry birds" repeat 1 thousand times.

Set up Kids Corner? That way they can play with it but they won't mess up your phone. Allows you to control what games they play, camera and other apps you decide.

I'm going to try this for my daughter. Her Lumia 710 is broken up pretty good and this 521 is leaps and bounds better than her current device!

The Microsoft store near me does price matching. I wonder if I should buy this and use the 2nd one so I can boost some of the games and play different ones on each since my 822 is full and don't want to lose my save games on the ones currently installed.

Is there an easy way to unlock them to try and develop on it?

Alternate financial perspective: Rename the article to "How to blow your $25 gift card at the Microsoft Store and FEEL like you didn't spend as much money." $25 is $25 whether it's trapped in a gift certificate or not, buddy.

Y not go straight to Walmart and then take the challenge? Do they give a special code for the $25 @ the MS store for the Bing challenge? Does the phone only work with Tmobile's network?

Another person wondering if a 521 will run on AT&T (unlocked?) would like to get one for my mom who has an AT&T sim card. Any help appreciated.

I am a verizon customer and android user. I would like to learn more about WP8 and developing for it.  116 dollars seems like a steel so i want to do this tomorrow.  I can use this as a dev phone right?  Like it doenst need to be set up with tmobile?

I have used this phone on Solavei and it works great for the price you can't beat it.
I also love the price Iam paying for unlimited talk text and data... $9.99!!! And that isn't for junk service either. You can ask me for more info if you would like. I would certainly grab the phone!

Unless your not a heavy user and just wanna use it for text, email, phone calls, streaming service, music, and most apps and a decent amount of games lol. For around $100 I don't see a reason not to buy it as a backup or a media device.

You mean never buy a 512mb ram Android Device, right?

This device will run as as smooth as butter for the market it's intended for...the average non-power user which comprises the majority of device users out there.

Is that a T-Mobile only phone? My sister in law needs a new phone but wants to stay with Cincinnati Bell. Anyone know if that would even work?

Come on guys. If the device weren't locked to T-Mobile it wouldn't have the T-Mobile logo on the front. You don't have to buy a contract to get the advertised price, but T-Mobile is the only carrier the phone will work with. 

Or any TMo MVNO, lycamobile for example, which is costing me $13/month for 300 mins, 25 texts and 1Gb of 4G data with no contract and no additional taxes and fees. It's priced by the minute (2c), text (4c) and MB (6c), so unless you're streaming a lot of data, it's bloody cheap. Not to mention incredibly cheap international calling (for example, 3c/minute to Australia, UK, India etc. landlines, and 10, 8 and 3c/min to cellphones to those conutries respctively).

I just did the bing it on challenge....never got offered the gift card...thoughts anyone???

Thanks for the tip!  I just did this in the Austin store today and got both discounts.  This is an incredible price for a Windows 8 phone.  I was surprised they priced matched to Wal-Mart considering Wal-Mart is currently sold out online. 
I was in the market for a new phone, and even though I was originally thinking about getting the 810 or waiting for the 925, and this price I couldn't pass it up.   If I upgrade later, at this price you can't do much better even with a basic feature phone to have a spare for travel or backup.

I tried this at the Columbus Circle Microsoft Store last week. They had the phones in stock so I asked if they would do a price match
The sales associate said that he wasn't sure about the price match (I brought a print out of the page) and had to ask the manager, who agreed to it. When I asked if there was a place to do the Bing it On Challenge and asked if they were still doing the $25 discount, he [sales associate] said yes but, only on items over $75. I expressed that I intended to do that for the phone and almost dumbfounded, he said I couldn't . I asked why and he said only the price match or the discount, not both. I asked him to ask the manager (who was standing behind) and he did; the manager said to him (as I could hear clearly) that they cannot combine discounts with price matches and that the system wouldn't allow them. The sales assoc. came back to tell me the same thing. Considering this is a Kiosk, there isn't much chance of other employees.
Considering the store in Times Square closed, I don't think this one will be around much longer and they certainly aren't incentivizing frequenting the store. Guess I will stick with my 7.8 which still works just fine... AND has a physical keyboard.

Windows Phone 8 is relatively new to the market and from what i can see as a cell phone junkie it will probably in the end win the cell phone war its in so many ways like a win 8 desktop seems its affordable as well . Needless to say its literally a computer in your hand  , Not to say Android and Apple are not but a lot of people use windows and have for years, And yes win 8 takes some getting used to but once you do its fast. I just bought the Nokia 521 i have had it just over 2 weeks and I am lovin' it . There are plenty of issues to work out but every win os has been like that , XP for example was horrible at first but when vista/7 came along no one wanted to leave XP as it was great at that point . oh and Bing Bing Bing just another Siri  maybe better voice command song/sound id . I definitely recommend the Nokia windows phones the quality is there for all price ranges.

Thanks for the tip. I picked up the Lumia 521 from the Microsoft store in downtown Chicago today June 25, 2013 for $105 plus tax $116. It also included the sim card so it was simple enough to replace my current card. At the store I had pull up the walmart price for $130 then did the Bing it on challenge. What a great deal. I picked up an extra battery for $6 and a charger for $7 on amazon.

Didn't work for me.Went to NYC Columbus circle location. Asked for Walmart price match. Then they told me they had to look it up themselves on internet and when they did came up with $259!!! I laughed and showed them my print out of the $129 price and they said ok. When I mentioned Bing challenge they said I could only get price match or Bing challenge not both. "No stacking" per third Rep. who overheard me asking. I would've walked off with the Bing challenge price however their lackadaisical demeanor didn't make me want to give them my business. The one time I actually wanted the typical salesman gusto and I was met with slacker attitude. Also when I asked about the size of the sim card the rep. guffawed with "they all have micro sim cards". So either they don't work on commission or my measly purchase wasn't worth their time. Now looking for HTC phones :)