giffgaff Blog

Nokia Lumia 620 Review

by wsjudd on ‎14-02-2013 19:28 - last edited on ‎18-12-2013 15:14 by handy giff-staffer victoriatagg

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Good evening, giffgaffers! After the first course last week, we're back again for the full review of the Nokia Lumia 620. The article below strives to be inclusive, so you may find that there is repeated information from the previous article - my apologies for this if you find it disruptive. Without further ado, let's get into the review!
 
1. Unboxing & Setup
 
The Nokia Lumia 620's box is an attractive one, with the same colour scheme as previous Nokia Windows Phones. That's a blue background colour, textured silver lettering for the name of the phone, and some rather colourful photographs of what's inside.
 
The Lumia 620 is available in a wider range of colours than its more expensive forebears, and that's shown off to good effect here. I'm rather disappointed I only managed to find the white version - the lime green is rather fetching, as is the pink. There are also options for black, orange, yellow and cyan.
 
Colour availability does vary wildly by retailer, so it's worth spending time to track down the colour of your choice if you've got your heart set on a particular shade. Interestingly, these covers may be available stand-alone in the future, so it may be possible to amend your choice or even coordinate your phone to your outfit or your mood in the future. At the moment, I was unable to find a retailer that stocked extra covers although I did note one mobile operator was providing an extra cover with the purchase of the phone.
 
On the back of the box, we've got the standard array of multi-language features that you'd see on any other phone. It may be a good, if incredibly specialised, Rosetta Stone for future civilisations, so there's that.
 
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To actually get at the precious contents of the parcel, you simply slide out the inner box. This reveals something rather nice - recycling information for the packaging as well as the phone itself. It's good to have this kind of ecological reminder easily accessible without being too aggressive. On the top we have the phone itself, covered in a typical plastic wrap, as well as a fairly good selection of accessories and a manual.
 
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Taking everything out, we can see the full contents:
 
  • Nokia Lumia 620 handset
  • 1300 mAh battery
  • MicroUSB to USB cable
  • USB AC adapter
  • Headphones (w/ inline remote + mic)
  • Welcome manual

All in all, it's a more comprehensive set of accessories than you'll find in the similarly priced Nexus 4, which doesn't include a set of headphones - I presume for cost-cutting reasons. While the headphones provided here aren't brilliant, they are assuredly compatible with the phone. I did try Android and iOS branded headphones, and while these worked for the mic and headphones the buttons did not so be careful when buying an upgrade here.

 

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To get the phone set up, we'll need to take it apart, then put it together.  First thing's first - peel off any plastic wrap that you find on the phone and its accessories, including the camera lens - so many times I've seen this forgotten!
 
Once this is completed, it's time to take off the back of the phone. This is accomplished by doing something a bit worrying - pushing the camera lens away from you, while pulling the top of the plastic back of the phone. While it feels wrong, it works well enough, quickly separating the phone into its two halves. This is easy enough - which is a good thing, seeing as you'll have to do it each time you want to change the microSD card, micro SIM, battery or even install a new cover.
 
Having now spent a week performing this maneouvre, it feels less off-putting and I like that it allows for the full removal of the cover and sides, rather than just a smaller battery compartment. I've also looked into the battery available and can report that you can purchase a spare to very cost-efficiently double your battery life, although having two battles to juggle is a bit of a hassle.
 
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Now we can start to install things. Put your micro SIM into the little tray as indicated on its diagram, then slide it into its slot on the left top side of the battery cavity. Next, install your microSD card (if you have one) into the folding slot; you'll need to slide it in, push it down and then slide it again to lock it in place properly. Once all these are installed without incident, it's time to put in the battery and close the phone once more. To get the two pieces of the phone back into one, just place the bottom of the screen into the bottom of the case, then fold the two halves together at the top.
 
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Now you've got everything in place, just turn on the phone by pressing the middle button on the right hand side. For the first time setup, you'll need to sign in with a Microsoft account so make one if you don't already have one. Later, you're able to add new accounts from the Settings app - there are options for loads off the bat, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. Follow the instructions and you'll be ready to start using your new phone!
 
You should automatically receive the right settings you need to send MMS and make calls, and receive a text notification of the same. Try sending a text, making a call and accessing the internet to make sure that everything is shipshape.
 
2. Specifications & Hardware Impressions
 
Let's look briefly at this phone's specifications, before we talk about the hardware itself:
 
  • Display: 3.8" WVGA (800 x 480) ClearBlack 
  • CPU: Dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus at 1 GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 305
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Internal storage: 8 GB
  • External storage: microSD up to 64 GB
  • Battery: 1300 mAh
OK, so fairly low to mid-range specifications, but how does it measure up to other low price handsets, and the best on the market from Windows Phone, Android and iOS? Have a look.
 
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Versus the Lumia 800 & other Windows Phone 7 devices

So versus the older Lumia 800, in terms of specifications the Lumia 620 is far ahead - a dual-core processor versus a single-core processor, a front-facing camera where none existed before and NFC. While the camera is worse and the storage is worse (without a microSD card, at least), the Lumia 620 is a more complete package.
 
Versus the HTC 8S and similar Windows Phone 8 phones
 
Against handsets like the HTC 8S (and the similarly timed Nokia 820), there's less of a difference. These phones have an arguably better design and the spec lead in some areas - e.g. screen size - but lose out overall thanks to missing front-facing cameras and worse connectivity - the Lumia 620 includes NFC and dual-band WiFi N, notably.
 
Versus the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X
 
As you'd expect, the difference here is considerable considering flagship Windows Phone 8 devices cost double the price of the Lumia 620. Again, the physical design is much better, but this time the internal hardware is better too - nicer cameras (particularly in the case of the Lumia 920), faster processors, more RAM, more storage, bigger batteries and better displays. However, in terms of raw features there isn't one I can think of that the Lumia 620 doesn't include - it's got a front-facing camera, all the connectivity (bar LTE) and a fast-enough CPU.
 
Indeed, the lowly Lumia 620 even has some areas in which it exceeds the more expensive phones; namely the removable battery and microSD storage. While these would only trump the other points in very specific circumstances (e.g. needing to exist away from a power source / computer for a long period), they do exist.
 
Versus the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5
 
Here, the specification gap widens even more. While the iPhone 5 is vastly more expensive than the Lumia 620, the Nexus 4 in its 8 GB configuration is just £15 more (barring Lumia 620 deals). I think if you like Android and want the best hardware, the Nexus 4 is still a no-brainer, but in terms of user experience the Lumia 620 is fast enough to consider.
Overall Hardware Rating
 
The Lumia 620 isn't the fastest Windows Phone out there, and pales compared to the Android and iOS flagship phones, but with a limited app environment this seems to be much less of a problem than it would be on Android - there aren't many graphically demanding Windows Phone games, for instance. All in all, it ticks all the boxes (if gently) and should be fine in everyday use.
 
3. Software Impressions
 
How does the Lumia 620 strike me in terms of software? Well, it's actually fairly good. While app selection on Windows Phone still isn't brilliant or comparable to that of Android or iOS, it's not too bad and seems to be getting better at a fairly rapid rate. Apps that I used to only find on the bigger platforms - like my local train company's live rail times app - have now made it to the Windows Phone marketplace and seem to work well.
 
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 There are still some problems though, with missing functionality - like my fitness app, which doesn't allow the option of logging in through Facebook unlike the Android version - and inexplicably missing apps, like Dropbox. On the whole though, Windows Phone is far from the barren wasteland it was on launch and seems to reliably be the #3 choice of developers behind Android and iOS. With more apps being developed all the time, the scene has definitely improved considerably since the days of Windows Phone 7, when I last used a Windows Phone for an extended period.
 
The Lumia 620 also has the benefit of having access to Nokia's now considerable library of Windows Phone apps - including Cinemagraph, Nokia Care, Nokia City Lens, Nokia Drive+ (Beta), Nokia Maps and Nokia Music. All of these are strong options that rival or eclipse what ships natively with the platform, and continue to be a strong differentiator for Nokia against rivals like HTC, Samsung and Huawei.
 
Cinemagraph and Nokia City Lens were the easiest to show off - producing slightly animated pictures and augmented reality sightseeing, respectively - but all of the options felt well built, if a bit feature-deficient compared to Google and Apple's options. Still, I'd much rather get a Nokia Windows Phone device for that reason - they've invested more time and effort than any other third party into making some genuinely useful additions to the platform.
 
I'll be covering what apps you should be downloading for your Lumia 620 in a later article, but I will mention now that if you use Skydrive on the phone you'll get 7 GB of storage for free, courtesy of Microsoft.
 
4. Benchmarks
 
There aren't many Windows Phone 8 benchmarks available, but I ran the Lumia 620 through WP Bench. The benchmark runs a good range of tests, including those designed to stress the processor, storage and GPU. 
 
I ended up with a result of 171.3. It's certainly nowhere near the score attained by the top of the range Windows Phone 8 devices, but it's still comfortably over all members of the previous generation which typically didn't reach triple figures. In general, benchmarks are less important in Windows Phone 8 due to less apps that actually require a lot of firepower, but at least this score gets the point across that the phone is overall much more capable than its predecessors, even those that launched at higher price points.
 
4. Camera
 
The cameras on the Nokia Lumia 620 are nothing to write home about, sadly. The rear-facing camera is decent enough and certainly not worse than other 5 megapixel options I've seen, but its much worse in low-light and detail than the average 8 megapixel unit. The front-facing camera is similarly perfunctory, looking noticeablely worse than 1.2 MP front-facers but still offering the option for doing video chats, where camera performance isn't that critical.
 
5. Conclusion
 
Moving from the Nexus 4 was a bit difficult at first as I adjusted to the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, but with few exceptions I found the device was perfectly serviceable. I feel for those already used to the ecoystem or coming to smartphones for the first time, the Lumia 620 is a particularly strong choice - particularly as its price allows it to be bought sim-free and then paired with a giffgaff goodybag of your choice.
 
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The Lumia 620 is quite a phone. In my first impressions last week I was excited by the phone's potential to be an excellent entry point into the world of Windows Phone 8 devices, and my opinion hasn't changed in that time. While Windows Phone still feels like a weaker platform on the whole than iOS or Android, it's become a much more viable choice with the advent of Windows Phone 8 and particularly with Nokia's extra complement of generally designed software. With hardware that ticks all the boxes and a comprehensive software loadout at a low price, the Lumia 620 remains one of the most attractive Windows Phone handsets on the market today.
 
Thanks for reading, and be sure to let me know your own feelings of the Lumia 620! Have a good night!

 

Comments
by stephenmiller on ‎14-02-2013 20:26

The Nexus 4 is much better if you can find one, you'd probably end up paying £380 from Carphone Warehouse instead of the RRP £239 Google :smileysad:

 

If you're looking for a top Android phone I'd be looking at the Sony Xperia S at £259.

by jw1994 on ‎14-02-2013 21:43
It seems expensive compared to other phones you can buy.
by piplisa on ‎14-02-2013 23:18

nice but all out of my price range

by markonline on ‎14-02-2013 23:36

The run Windows 8 mobile.

 

Waste of money... overpriced brick.

by vorb on ‎15-02-2013 06:35
A great read. I'm fascinated by Windows Phone and hope to see the user base increase. If more developers start taking the OS seriously I can see myself picking one up in the future, and that would almost certainly be a Nokia.
by aaronjlaw on ‎15-02-2013 08:34

Very tempting!

by hadji91 on ‎15-02-2013 15:21

The HTC X8 is probaly the best phone I have ever used.

 

My fried has an iPhone 5, which does not compare the X8 is much quicker, much louder and much better looking.

 

The only thing lacking from the X8 is expandable memory but with 16GB internal its still not too bad. 


The home screen is cool once you get used to it, the camera (front and back) is great and I must say it was a hard choice picking between this, iPhone 5 and Galaxy SIII but I would not change it for any of them two now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by elmetodo ‎15-02-2013 15:42 - edited ‎15-02-2013 15:43

o2 were selling this phone for £119.99 yesterday (£149.99 now), so quite a bit cheaper than the HTC 8s. Have to say the windows os is pretty slick and runs very smoothly on the phone.

 

Great buy, particulary at the £120 pricepoint

by hadji91 ‎15-02-2013 17:39 - edited ‎15-02-2013 17:40

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by stealthybigboss on ‎15-02-2013 18:09
sure i read this before lol
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