Nokia Lumia 625 – A Solid Entry Level Device
Our first handset from Nokia arrived a couple of weeks ago in the form of the Lumia 625; a bulky, brightly coloured, entry level Windows phone. It’s cheap and it’s pretty cheerful too – but is it any good?
Upon opening the rough cardboard box, you’re greeted with a slab of blackness and an eye-popping red-orange border. This is Nokia’s orange Lumia 625 – one of five colours available along with green, yellow, white and black. When I previously mentioned slab, I meant it. This is one big device and it’s heavy too. It weighs just shy of 160 grams and is 9.2mm thick which makes it pretty noticeable in your pocket.
You’ll find every button along one side of the device, which keeps the left edge completely clutter free. On the right hand side, you’ll find volume up and down, power and a dedicated camera button. The camera button also has a half-way click for focussing, which is a nice touch. The phone feels solid, it’s definitely built well – save for the odd creak here and there. The back is removable which allows you to put in your sim card and a MircoSD card for extra storage. Despite the removable back, the battery isn’t user replaceable which is a bit disappointing. The weight along with the size give the device a hefty, but high-quailty feel and the curves mean it sits nicely in the hand. You’ll need a tight grip though, because the back is about as grippy as slick tyres in a monsoon and if you’ve got small hands, you’ll need to use both of them.
Along with the £200 entry level cost, it has very much entry level specs too. The most disappointing of which is the display, which, despite being a large 4.7” corner to corner, has just a 800×480 resolution (WVGA) along with a low 201ppi density. This means that anyone used to a higher pixel density will immediately notice the jagged edges and harder-to-read text while web browsing. Still, it’s not a bad display, it’s just not as good as most people have become accustomed to. Think about going backwards from the current iPhone to an iPhone 3GS and you’ll know what I mean.
Nokia have put a 2000mAh battery inside which lasted a very long time with little use. It would make an ideal camping phone – one that you shove in your bag but can rely on to still be full of juice when you finally get coverage. I managed to drag out 92 hours while I kept usage to a minimum – pretty impressive.
Under heavy usage however, I found the battery to drain quite quickly. Though this is somewhat contrary to what other users have suggested. Intensive processes seem to really empty the battery quickly while less intensive processes barely touch it. That may sound obvious, but what I’m suggesting is that it isn’t a linear curve. You’ll quickly find out what is depleting the percentages and what has little effect.
The battery powers a 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 which surprisingly does a very good job. Everything was buttery smooth without even the slightest hint of stutter or lag. Apps loaded quickly, photos were captured immediately and flicking through heavy web pages didn’t stop it either.
I found the IPS panel to provide adequate image quality but you won’t find ultra deep blacks or truly vibrant colours here. Instead, you get something that does enough – and that’s all it’s meant to do. To a first time buyer, the display and every other spec is more than likely a great deal better than what they’re used to.
The tiny mono speaker on the back provides tinny sounding audio and has very little in the way of volume either. The main problem however is how easy it is to cover it and effectively mute whatever you were listening to.
The five megapixel, auto-focussing camera has an LED flash and is capable of 1080p video too. This is really another case of ‘you get what you pay for’ because on the one hand, the photographs aren’t too bad but if you were to compare it with a top-end smartphone (which you shouldn’t be) this is not even on the same playing field. The colours were accurate and for web use only, they’re perfectly good enough. Zooming in of course quickly results in a lot of noise due to the lower resolution – especially in low light.
Nokia have also included LTE support which means blazingly fast data transfer on the right connection, another little bonus for the price. There’s 8GB of built in storage, which isn’t very much but then with the large selection of poor apps on the store, you’ll probably stay within that fairly easily. And that’s really the main point.
Yes, the phone is good for the money – the camera will serve you well, especially if you’ve upgraded from an old device, the 4G connection will allow you to get emails quickly but it’ll also allow you to place an order for the latest entry-level Android phone before anyone else and that’s what you should do because Windows Phone still isn’t anywhere near its competitors. The lack of decent apps, the absence of a proper notification system and lots more make the phone less smart than a smartphone should be.
Never the less, if you’re a latecomer to the smartphone world, who has never used iOS or Android, the Nokia Lumia 625 will do you just fine.