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Nokia Lumia 620 expert review

As Nokia continue to unleash their new range of Lumia devices, I got my hands on the 620 and decided to put it through its paces in our latest expert review. This stylish phone is one of Nokia’s entry-level Windows 8 devices, and comes preloaded with a whole array of fantastic features such as NFC (Near Field Communication), Dolby Sound Enhancement and cloud services via Skydrive.

Pros:

  • Low price point
  • Expandable memory up to 64GB
  • Dolby Sound Enhancement

Cons:

  • Audio jack attached to back case
  • 512MB RAM
  • Low battery capacity
Nokia Lumia 620 - 3 - strip

Design

Nokia have taken an extremely similar approach with the Lumia 620 that they took with the 820, namely a removable back case that fits perfectly giving the phone a sturdy uni-body look and feel. The back cover contains a little more than other devices as the audio jack and NFC reader are both firmly attached to it. The smooth glass finish on the front cover provides a premium look and feel that you would normally only expect to see on top tier devices. It seems as though Nokia have put as much thought into the design of the 620 as they did with their top end devices, the 820 and the 920.

Build quality

The overall build quality of the Lumia 620 leaves it feeling strong and sturdy, even with a thickness of 11mm and a weight of only 127g. Keeping inline with an on-going trend amongst Windows 8 devices, the Lumia 620 is available in a whole variety of colours consisting of lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, white and black. We were thoroughly impressed with the overall build.

Hardware

Nokia Lumia 620 - 2 - Back
A minimalist exterior houses a decent spec under the hood of the handset

Processor and RAM

The Lumia 620 isn’t to be taken lightly, it may be pitched as an entry-level phone but Nokia have provided some premium hardware for the operating system, and this consists of:

  • 1GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon Processor
  • 512MB RAM

The 620 is a lot more powerful than any entry level smartphone we have seen before and I quickly saw it unleash its power. The famous Live Tiles that all Windows Phone handsets bear swiftly greeted me. I decided to put it through its paces by launching a variety of apps to see how it would hold up; surprisingly it managed to continue running as smooth as when I first powered it on.

This could be down to the fact that all apps stop responding once you go back to your home screen, but it is safe to say that the small amount of RAM doesn’t make a huge difference to overall performance. The synergy between the hardware and software components of the device has been well optimised here and it really shows.

Battery Life

Being such a small device, the Lumia 620 only holds a 1300mAh battery, but I have found it doesn’t need any more than that. The Windows Phone operating system is battery friendly allowing you to get around 6 hours of heavy use out of this device, with around 14 hours of general use. To help extend the battery life there is a ‘Battery Saver’ feature, this disables some of the system services from running but still allows you to make and receive phones calls and text messages.

Connectivity

The 620 offers you everything you would expect from a top end smart phone such as Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication), all that is missing is LTE 4G. NFC is becoming a lot more popular in top end phones but is always lacking on the entry level devices. Nokia have changed that, the addition of NFC has enabled the 620 to compete with the best of the best, but on a smaller scale.

Audio

Nokia Lumia 620 - 1 - Music
The music playback and associated services bundled with the Lumia 620 are impressive

Personally, audio is one of the deciding factors when I am looking for a new phone. Nokia’s partnership with Dolby has proven to be a fruitful one, as we have seen with the 820 and 920, and now the 620 has joined the club providing blissful tunes wherever you may be. I tested the power of the Dolby out with a select few tracks from different genres and found the audio was clean, crisp and powerful; I didn’t want to turn it off.

Camera

Nokia have loaded the 620 with a 5 mega-pixel rear camera and a standard VGA (0.3 mega-pixel) front camera. The rear camera serves multiple purposes from taking photos, recording videos in 720p HD and Nokia’s own augmented-reality ‘City Lens’ app. The camera can even be launched from a locked state by holding down the in-built camera button located on the right-hand side of the device. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a few test shots with the 620, the quality was far better than I expected, leaving me gob smacked that this was even considered an entry-level device. Nokia have certainly continued the trend of market leading camera technology here and the quality is outstanding for the price.

Screen

The Lumia 620 comes with an equally beautiful screen to match its fantastic design, coming in with a respectable set of specs:

  • 3.8-inch screen
  • Clear Black Display
  • 480 x 800 resolution
  • 246ppi (pixels per inch)

After comparing to other devices of this size and spec the screen on the 620 wins hands down. It offers up deep blacks combined with bright, rich colours which provided me with an really impressive viewing experience when watching videos.

Software

Operating System

Lumia 620 - 2 - 4_3The Lumia 620 comes preloaded with Windows Phone 8, the latest instalment of Microsoft’s smartphone operating system. For the 620 to fully function you will need to sign in, or create, a Microsoft Live ID. The Windows Live ID allows you to download applications from the store, backup settings and also provides the integration with SkyDrive. Windows phone 8 comes loaded with an impressive set of apps, from every day use apps to Nokia’s own additions, these apps offer a better and personal experience, a selection of these apps consist of:

  • Nokia City Lens
  • Nokia Music
  • Microsoft Office suite
  • One Note

Nokia City Lens is an augmented reality application using the camera to allow you to view local attractions; such as restaurants, shops, hotels, landmarks and public transport. I found this can be quite handy, when looking at a map it can be difficult to gauge in which direction the location you are searching for is located. With City Lens it displays what is in directly front of you and how far away it is, when you move the camera in another direction, the display swiftly updates the locations.

Nokia City Lens
Nokia City Lens - Never miss a shop again, possibly a bad thing...

Nokia Music is an app that combines both your personal library and an unlimited streaming service, for free, although there is a catch to it. You are only able to skip through 6 tracks per hour and your music quality isn’t as high as it would be if you purchased a subscription to the service. I found this to be quite an intriguing application to which I spent a few hours using while I had hold of the device for while.

Office is a crucial part of my day to day life, from checking emails in Outlook, to editing documents in Word and Excel. This is something that is becoming increasingly common in the busy world we live in. Combining the ability to edit your documents on the run and storing your files on Microsoft’s SkyDrive service, to which you are provided 7GB for free, I was able to continue my work from where I left it previously by using my computer at home.

I had never used One Note before testing out this phone, but I have come to love it. One Note is an app that allows you to write notes, add checklists, create voice notes and even add pictures into it. This can be extremely handy in meetings, lectures or even for use as a shopping list. My favourite feature to this was that I could pin each individual note to my start screen, leaving me a nice live tile to easily gain access back to it.

Who is this phone for

The Lumia 620 is aimed at people looking to purchase their first smartphone. It’s a small, neat and powerful device that provides a simple and easy-to-use experience through its live tile layout. If you're looking at a first time smartphone experience, it's very hard to look past this little beauty.

Agent's Verdict

The Lumia 620 is a beautiful looking device and the inclusion of NFC, expandable memory and Nokia’s own applications makes this a must-consider handset for anyone looking to get their first smartphone or upgrade from an older device. The audio quality is crisp and clean through the Dolby Enhancement and screen quality is unrivalled in this end of the market.

Compared to anything else at this device's price point it's tough to match but its lack of horsepower may leave more experienced smartphone users wanting a touch more. A great step forward for Windows Phone and Nokia though, and an exciting entry into the entry-level market.

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