Nokia Lumia 620 Review
Nokia’s always had great budget phones compared to what a lot of other manufacturers manage to pump out. The Asha series is arguably the only recommendable budget mobile phones out there, but there are certain people who are looking for budget smartphones, and unfortunately it can be pretty hard to find a decent one. I mean, how many recommendable budget Android phones are out there, really? There’s no Symbian phones anymore, and Apple doesn’t stoop to such ’low’ levels of the market. The terms “budget” and “smartphone” never really went along with each other. Atleast until the Nokia Lumia 620 came along.
I’ll be honest, with the amount of phones we get in to review, it can be really, really hard to get excited about a low end phone. But the Nokia Lumia 620 has been an absolute delight. Why? Well read on to know.
The Retail Package:-
Here’s a quick Unboxing of the Nokia Lumia 620.
Just to give you a better idea of what’s in the retail box.
The Nokia Lumia 620 might be a budget smartphone but you’d honestly never guess it from the build quality. It’s made out of a soft-touch hard plastic but it’s classic Nokia levels of solid, and just like the rest of the Lumia range, Nokia has focused on vibrant colors to differentiate it from the rest of what’s out there.
It’s available in a range of interchangeable matte and glossy bold & bright coloured shells, in lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, and the usual white and black.
Nokia’s used a new “dual-shot” technology with the colors, where the base color layer is the foundation, and there’s another color layer on top, which means for example, a yellow base with a cyan blue layer on top would look lime green. It’s quite the brilliant effect.
All that is a 115.4 x 61.1 x 11 mm and 127 grams size which makes it compact enough to be used very comfortably, unlike most phones nowadays, heh.
Coming to the front of the Lumia 620, you have a 3.8 inch capacitive LCD Clearblack Display at WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution. While that might not seem like much compared to the giant 4-point-something-inch phones out there today, the smaller size means you can very easily use this phone in one hand, comfortably.
It also means that the WVGA resolution translates to a decent 246 ppi pixel density, which in-turn means you have plenty of details and won’t see any jagged edges on text.
The ClearBlack display technology is also quite the benefit, allowing for deeper blacks and nicely saturated colors, with wide viewing angles and high brightness. All of which make the display a pleasure to look at, except under direct sunlight when the screen tends to reflect quite a bit.
Above the display, you have the centrally located earpiece, with the front facing VGA camera, and proximity sensor.
Below the display, you have the usual three windows phone keys for back, home and Bing search.
On the left side, you have no ports or keys, keeping it all minimal.
At the right side, you have the volume rocker keys, the dedicated camera key and the power/screenlock button. They all are conveniently placed and easy enough to find and use.
On the top you have the standard 3.5′mm audio jack for headphones, and a tiny pinhole for the secondary microphone.
At the bottom, you have the microUSB port for charging and connectivity, and a tiny pinhole for the main microphone.
Coming to the back, you have the 5 Megapixel camera and single LED flash with the familiar NOKIA branding towards the Center, and the speaker grille near the bottom.
The Nokia Lumia 620 is powered by a dual-core 1 Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, with Adreno 305 graphics, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory (about 5-ish GB available to use) with a microSD card slot as well.
For its price, that’s quite a lot of hardware. And since it runs Windows Phone, it’s all super quick and completely lag free which makes the entire experience very enjoyable. I put the Lumia 620 right next to my Lumia 920 when testing, and it was pretty hard to find any difference in performance. There arnt really any benchmarking tools for Windows Phone so it’s hard to actually show you stats, but if you manage to check out a Lumia 620 in a store, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me.
In terms of connectivity, there’s 3G, HSPA (upto 21 Mbps), WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS and even NFC to make it easier to pair with compatible Nokia Accessories like the Nokia Play 360 speakers, JBL PlayUp, Nokia Essence or JBL PowerUp (though it doesn’t support wireless charging). And incase you were wondering, it uses a microSIM card, like most phones today, not a regular SIM.
Like the rest of Nokia’s new Lumia lineup, the Nokia Lumia 620 runs Windows Phone 8.
We’ve talked about WP8 many times before, here on Unleash, in our Windows Phone 8 Review, our Nokia Lumia 920 Review and our Nokia Lumia 820 Review. If you’re interested in a detailed idea of the platform, it’s definitely worth checking up on those posts because I won’t repeat myself again here since the software experience is exactly the same as on the 920 & 820. But lets go over the important bits, shall we?
By now you’ve probably heard of the Windows Phone interface, consisting of live tiles that come in three sizes (small, medium, large), similar to the start screen interface of Windows 8 and Windows RT. The new live tile sizes allow you to fit more apps and short cuts on the screen, and ensure that however you setup your Windows Phone will probably be completely different to anyone elses. Swipe from the right, and you’ll see a list of your apps and games.
The Windows Phone OS is relatively lightweight in comparison with Android, and as such it performs very well on the 620, with no instances of lag or slowdowns at all. It’s all nice and quick.
Microsoft doesn’t allow manufacturers to change the UI on Windows Phone like Google allows OEMs to do so with Android, which means it’s the same UI on all manufacturer windows phones. In order to differentiate, Nokia offers some exclusive apps and services, such as HERE Maps, HERE Drive+, HERE city lens, Nokia Music, Nokia MixRadio (their free music streaming service), Nokia Music+, Cinemagraph, Smartshoot, and many more.
Then you have the usual Microsoft goodness, like built-in Office and Xbox Live.
Apart from all of that, what really makes Windows Phone stand out, is the deep integration with Facebook and Twitter in the Phonebook which is called the ’People Hub’. It makes stalking your friends and family a lot easier since you have access to their latest status updates and photos, yada yada. There’s also deep Skype integration coming as well, and ofcourse there’s built-in support for many of Microsoft’s own services, like Outlook.
Windows Phone has a lot going for it right now, but unfortunately the elephant in the room is that it doesn’t boast the huge app ecosystem that Android and iOS has. There’s no Instagram yet for instance, and that alone might be a deal breaker for some folks. There’s no official Google Apps either for things like YouTube or Google Maps (though there is one official Google Search app), and even popular cloud storage service Dropbox doesn’t have an official client for WP yet. All the essentials are present though, there’s an official Twitter app, Angry Birds, Facebook, etc and there are third party apps that allow you to use most services that don’t have official WP apps yet. But the reality of the situation is that there are still some popular apps missing.
Really, we’ve already detailed it out in our Windows Phone 8 Review so do check that out.
Moving on, the Internet browser of choice here is Internet Explorer 10. While that name might instil fear in some folks, IE mobile is nothing like the IE we all know and hate, and works quite brilliantly. There’s pinch-to-zoom, double tap to zoom in/out, a mode to view only desktop versions of sites, etc.
There are some oddities like the lack of a forward button, and it takes getting used to, to see the address bar in the bottom instead of the top, but for the most part it works well enough and is a pretty decent experience on that 3.8 inch 480 x 800 pixel resolution display.
Which brings us to multimedia. Coming to video, there’s support for DivX/Xvid, Mpeg4, H.264, H.263 and WMV files at up to 720p, and it all plays back easily.
There’s no official YouTube app for Windows Phone just yet (the Microsoft-made one is just a link to the mobile website), but third party apps like MetroTube do a great job offering all the functionality of YouTube in a native Windows Phone interface.
Coming to Music, there’s support for all the usual file types and you can sync over music from the Windows Phone apps for Windows and Mac (iTunes playlists and all), but there’s also Xbox Music and Nokia Music available as streaming music solutions. Xbox Music is chargeable and only offered in a handful of countries (of which ours wasn’t one of them), so I can’t comment on Microsoft’s service, but Nokia Music is free, fantastic and works great out of the box. It’s a great tool for Music Discovery and you can even download entire playlists for offline playing on the go.
The music player is very rich in visuals, showing you a full screen background image of the artist while playing music. Ofcourse for some silly reason Microsoft has made this a regional restriction so in unsupported countries like India or Singapore you just see a boring grey background instead. Nokia Mix Radio works just fine though, and even shows you a biography of the artist or band, as well as images, their twitter account, Facebook page and more. Honestly Nokia Music is probably my most favourite thing about the Lumia devices.
Lastly, coming to typing, the Windows Phone onscreen keyboard is probably the best one out there, if not equal to the iOS onscreen keyboard. Typing is quick and easy and a very enjoyable experience. You’ll be typing out a lot of words per minute before you even know it.
Ofcourse things get slightly better in landscape mode, though the screen is large enough that you can comfortably type in portrait as well.
The Nokia Lumia 620 features a 5 Megapixel camera with a single LED flash, and a front facing VGA camera for video calls.
Since this is supposed to be an affordable smartphone I didn’t expect much from it, but was pleasantly surprised by the results. You get pleasing photos with true-ish saturated colors, though there is a lack of fine details and dynamic range. Images were a tiny bit soft for me, but in well-lit scenarios the results were quite decent. Ofcourse, the lower the amount of light, the more image noise creeps in.
Nokia’s camera apps like Cinemagraph help add more to the imaging experience on the 620, and certainly allow you to get more out of that camera.
Here’s a couple camera samples from the Nokia Lumia 620 to give you a better idea:
Coming to video, you can record at up to 720p resolution videos at 30 fps, with very decent results. There arnt too many settings to tweak around with in the camera app though, only having white balance and continuous auto-focus options.
Here’s a camera video sample from the Nokia Lumia 620 to give you a better idea:-
The Call Quality:-
Call quality on the Nokia Lumia 620 was pretty good thanks to the Dual-Microphones which allow for noise cancellation in calls. Voices came in loud and clear on both ends of the call, with almost no background noise from our end.
The loudspeaker isn’t as loud as the one on the Lumia 920 but is still loud enough in my opinion. At high volumes the sounds tend to get stressed though, and I’m not a huge fan of the speaker placement since it is very easily to accidentally muffle it with your hand.
The Battery life:-
The Nokia Lumia 620 is powered by a lil ol’ 1300 mAh battery that’s officially rated at 9 hours 50 minutes of talk time on 3G and 14 hours 40 minutes on 2G.
Suprisingly, we found that you can very easily get through a normal work day with the Lumia 620, perhaps even a little bit more.
The Video Overview:-
Here’s a quick video overview of the Nokia Lumia 620. Just to give you a better idea of it:
The Lumia 620 is honestly a fantastic piece of machinery from Nokia considering the price. It boasts a great design, vibrant colors that really make it stand out, a decent camera, and Windows Phone 8 is generally enjoyable and runs quicker than any Android phone in the same price range. What’s not to love?
What’s funny, is that I don’t really have any complaints about the 620, and trust me, we like finding things to complain about, heheh. That alone is quite telling.
In the same price range, you don’t really have much better. You have the HTC 8S, which is a similar device at similar pricing, but lacks a front facing camera and the Nokia exclusive apps that give the 620 it’s edge. Then there’s the HTC One V which is an Android ICS device running on a single core processor as a result of which it isn’t as quick as the 620, but arguably has the advantage of Android.
With Windows Phone you have the deeply integrated social networking, the exclusive Nokia apps, Live Tiles and the fresh user interface along with the new benefits of Windows Phone 8, such as the ability to send files over Bluetooth and drag-and-drop files from a PC. Your choice is going to be whether this is all more important to you, than the vast amount of apps Android has, but on slower hardware at this price range. Keep in mind, Windows Phone does have all the essentials, and the app scene is improving, albeit slowly.
That all being said, if apps arnt a bother, and you’re on a budget but looking for a fun, vibrant little smartphone that shows off your personality and still affords you the minimum requirements of what a smartphone should provide, chances are you wouldn’t regret buying the Nokia Lumia 620. It really is a fantastic little phone.
[Note: Scott Emsen contributed to this review]