REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 620

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IMG_6159First Impressions

Thanks to the team over at Nokia Connects and Nokia’s Logistics team we have had a Nokia Lumia 620 for a few weeks now. Although I showed the retail packaging contents in an unboxing review a couple of weeks ago it is now time for the detailed phone review.  Opening the packaging presented me with a green Nokia Lumia 620 with yellow highlights, battery, mico-USB to USB cable, a USB mains plug and a plain black pair of basic headphones.

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My initial, pre-power-on opinions of the Nokia Lumia 620 were that the the phone weight and feels implies good build quality and the dimensions are not too far from that of the Lumia 800. Some negatives, however, are that the buttons feel less precise than the Nokia Lumia 800, Lumia 900, Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 and are stiffer to press.

Size and Weight

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When it comes to screen size the Nokia Lumia 620 aligns to the Nokia Lumia 800 rather than Nokia Lumia 610, with a fractionally larger 3.8 inch (480 x 800 pixel) screen, which is 0.1 inch larger than that of the Nokia Lumia 800. Although this resolution is standard for Windows Phone (480 x 800 pixel) the Nokia Lumia 620drops the AMOLED screen used on many Nokia Lumia devices for a RGB Stripe TFT, although this does provide a 24 bits colour depth as provided on all Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices which is an improvement over the Nokia Lumia 800 16 bit colour depth on paper. In truth, when comparing the same screen image on the Nokia Lumia 620 and Nokia Lumia 800, colours appear much richer on the older Lumia 800 as a result of the AMOLED v TFT difference.

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Dimensionally, the Nokia Lumia 620 is on par with the Nokia Lumia 800 (116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm) with it’s slim (115.4 x 61.1 x 11mm) profile, making it’s bigger brother the Nokia Lumia 920 (130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm) look a somewhat portly. Adding weight to the equation the Nokia Lumia 620 is a measly 127 g, compared to that of the Nokia Lumia 800 (142 g). The good news is the reduction in weight is enough to be noticeable, but not so much as to make the Nokia Lumia 620 feel unsubstantial and flimsy.

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For those of you that don’t want the same old phone in the same old colour the Nokia Lumia 620 comes in an explosion of colours with seven different shell (rear monoblock cover) colour options, starting with matte cyan and white and including glossy lime (dual-shot made from yellow and cyan) and orange (dual-shot made from yellow and magenta) initial purchase options.

NB// There are more official colours as can be seen in the image below, but I am struggling to describe them as I am unable to get colour descriptions from anyone at Nokia. [Image taken from the official Nokia Lumia 620 page]

For those of you intrigued to know what dual-shot is all about, Adam at Nokia Conversations provided the following explanation in in his Nokia Lumia 620 hands-on review:

Dual-shot is the term we’re using to describe the blending of our CMYK palette to create new and exciting colours. For example, for the glossy lime we used a yellow polycarbonate base colour and overlaid it with a transparent cyan one. From the front, you’ll see a double layer of colours, but from any other angle, all you can see is a vibrant, luscious lime colour.

Based on the 3D Printing support provided by Nokia for the Nokia Lumia 820 I am expecting, although currently have no proof, that the Nokia will also release the Lumia 620 case critical dimensions for 3D printing. Sadly, the Nokia Lumia 620 does not share the Nokia Lumia 820 or Nokia Lumia 920 support for wireless charging.

Camera

The 5Mpix camera in the Nokia Lumia 620 is a step down from the 8Mpix less capable than 8Mpix the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, more aligned to that of the cheaper Nokia Lumia 610 model. Whilst the 5Mpix resolution is a little limiting, zoom is increased from 3x to 4x and video resolution is maintained at 1280 x 720 pixels (720p). I accept the low purchase price compared to the rest of the Lumia range means that something has to give. It’s just a pity that its is the Carl Zeiss lens capability which has been part of the backbone of Nokia devices over the years.

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Camera setting have been modified also. Whilst ISO, Exposure and White Balance remain unchanged between WP7.8 and WP8 Lumia devices the remainder of the WP7.8 camera settings are removed with the exception of Scenes which has reduced options. This appears to be a simplification. This said WP8 adds aspect ratio (16:9 (default) or 4:3) and the ability to turn off the focus assist light.

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Video settings are also cut-down with only White Balance (as per WP7), Continuous Focus toggle (New) and Video Mode (High Quality 720p (default) or Standard Quality (WVGA)) remaining. Again this is intended to make videoing easier as everything else is done in the background. Although the Video Mode options are the same as those offered by the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, it falls a little short compared with the support for 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) provided by the Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 on Windows Phone 8 devices.

Memory

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The Memory hardware in the Nokia Lumia 620  (512 MB) provides the same RAM provided within the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 (512 MB), which is half that of it’s bigger relatives (Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920) although the internal harddrive (8GB) is the same as that of the Nokia Lumia 820, which is half that of the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 provide (16GB) and a quarter of that of  the Nokia Lumia 920 (32 GB).

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The big saving grace for the Nokia Lumia 620 and Lumia 820 in the memory stakes is they both provide microSD support with the ability to add a further 64GB of internal memory giving them the biggest memory capability of all Nokia Lumia devices. It should be noted that the micorSD is only used for music, videos and pictures with all app installs limited to the 8GB harddrive.

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Battery

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Another major factor in favour of the Nokia Lumia 620 is that the monoblock rear cover is removable, providing access to the battery meaning that it can be swapped out when low, not possible in the Nokia Lumia 800, Lumia 900 or Lumia 920. This provides functionality missed by previous Nokia Symbian users. This is in addition to the improved battery life when compared with the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, although the Nokia Lumia 920 claims longer life all be it non-replaceable.

Connectivity

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As with all Nokia Lumia devices running on Windows Phone 8 the Nokia Lumia 620 receives some of the Bluetooth connectivity missing from Windows Phone 7 devices. Although apps are not making full use of this added functionality I am aware that Nokia Sports Tracker is soon to receive an update on Windows Phone 8 to return Bluetooth HRM support.

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In addition to the Bluetooth improvements, the Nokia Lumia 620 also incorporates USB, WiFi and NFC connectivity.

As well as the ability to connect to other devices via WiFi, Nokia Lumia devices also support connection sharing by acting as a WiFi hotspot for other devices when mobile data connections are the only ones available.

Operating System

There are many articles across the net explaining the positives and negatives about the Windows Phone 8 operating system and the extra functionality added on Nokia Lumia devices., so I will just focus on some of the pertinent points for me.

The main improvements in Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia devices, compared with Windows Phone 7 Nokia Lumia  devices are listed below with a little explanation:

Bluetooth Connectivity: Within WP8 Bluetooth connectivity has been expanded to support data transfer in addition to the audio connectivity provided by WP7. (see Connectivity)

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Lenses: The main difference with Lenses, compared to camera apps for WP7.8 Lumia devices is that the lenses are more embedded into the default Camera app. Whilst within the Camera app a quick tap on the circle with two opposing arrows within (left of the soft button bar when in portrait more) opens a tiles view showing all installed lenses. There are also background changes to provide the improved integration, which as always are much greater than are visible to the end user.

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Lockscreen: The Lock screen now displays status info on a user selection of up to 5 apps in addition to detailed information from one app.

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Tap + Send: Share photos, webpages, contacts and more or pair a phone by tapping against another NFC-capable device.

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Kid’s Corner: A place on the phone where apps, videos, games and music can be shared with children with access to the Start Screen via their own easy to access the apps selected fro sharing. When enabled, the Corner can be opened by swiping left rather than up from the lock screen. The only negative observation about Kid’s Corner is that the Customise tile is not removable.

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NB// Although Kid’s Corner is aimed at parents and children, it can also be used to provide a quick access second start screen for Camera Apps, Navigations Apps, Social Apps etc.

Backup: Functionality has been extended on Windows Phone 8 to enable app list and settings, text messages and photos, which can toggled on/off separately.

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Company Apps: Once enabled a company can disable the SD card, encrypt the internal memory and remotely delete all content and settings. We have not been able to test this as we don’t have the IT infrastructure set-up to enable us to use this functionality.

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Audio: Sadly the audio settings are limited to headphone usage which appears a little short sighted as it provides a user configurable equaliser, dolby digital sound and audio limiting. Although we love these expansions on the audio capability of WindowsPhone 7 Lumia devices, it would have been nice for it to support the phone’s built-in speakers and and BT connected audio devices.

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Extras and Info: Nokia Lumia devices have a number of extras provided by Nokia to tweak different areas f the Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 620 takes Nokia’s low budget Windows Phone 7.8 devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 and brings it to Windows Phone 8. The big selling point of Nokia Lumia 620 is it’s price mark, whilst it brings much of the capability and functionality of it’s Lumia relatives.

The questions you need to ask yourself when contemplating the Nokia Lumia 620 are:

How important is the camera capability of a smartphone to you?

This is a limitation of the Lumia 620 as it houses a 5 MPix camera compared the 8 MPix and highe cameras in the rest of the current Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia range.

What is the impact of having half the RAM of other Windows Phone 8 devices?

The Nokia Lumia 620 carries half the RAM as its current Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia brethren. Although during my usage I was unable to identify a noticeable difference in performance within my installed apps between the Nokia Lumia 620 and Nokia Lumia 820 devices, precedence set by Windows Phone 7.8 devices identifies the possibilities for restrictions.

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How much money do I have to spend?

If you want to make the most out of the new functionality provided in Windows Phone 8, but don’t have the budget to get your hands on a Nokia Lumia 820 or the flagship Lumia 920 the Nokia Lumia 620 may be the phone for you with a SIM free price of £229.00, Pay-As-You-Go prices starting from £169.00 and free on contracts as low as £17.00 per month.

Likes

  • 64GB mircoSD support
  • Addition of Dolby and equaliser for headphone audio
  • Bluetooth functionality expanded to support data connections.
  • Removable/replaceable battery
  • Low Price

Dislikes

  • Lack of Wireless Charging compared with the Nokia Lumia 820 & Lumia 920
  • Small internal harddrive (8GB)
  • Lack of improved audio support when not using headphones
  • 1/2 the RAM compared with the Nokia Lumia 820 & 920
  • Personal preference is for the larger screened Nokia Lumia 900, Lumia 820 & Lumia 920

Score

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