Nokia has released a whole heap of Windows Phone 8 devices in an attempt to cater for all price ranges. The Nokia Lumia 620 is a long way away from being the best Windows Phone 8 smartphone, but it is relatively cheap. Read our Nokia Lumia 620 review to find out more. See also What's the best Nokia smartphone?
Nokia Lumia 620 review: price
The Lumia 620 is Nokia's bargain Windows Phone 8 handset, free on contracts that start at around £17 a month. It offers full Windows Phone 8, but there are compromises when compared to higher-end WP8 devices. If you are looking to buy a SIM free Nokia Lumia 620 you can expect to pay around £200 for the device. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Design and build
Measuring 115.4x61.1x11mm and weighing in at 127g the Lumia 620 is a small but chunky handset. Laid flat next to the iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10 it looks small, but put your head to the table and you'll realise that every one of those 11 milimetres of thickness adds up. We found that 127g is heavy for a phone with a 3.8in display - when we held the HTC Windows Phone 8S (113g) in one hand and the Lumia 620 in the other the difference was marked. And the HTC - the other 'cheap' Windows Phone - has a slightly larger display. See also: Group test: what's the best Windows phone?
No matter, the Lumia 620 wears its inexpensive Windows Phone credentials on its sleeves. It comes in a range of cheery bright colours, with a selection of coloured cases that you can remove and swap. The build feels mostly plastic and far from premium, but it is what it is and it certainly doesn't suffer from comparison with the BlackBerry Z10.
We felt that it would be robust enough to be slung in a bag or pocket and carried around. There's a reason plastic became popular, after all, although the screen doesn't half pick up smudges. One huge benefit of the removable cover is the ability to change the battery. You can also add in a MicroSD card and change out the SIM this way. It's old school, and cool.
Look to the thick but curvy and smooth sides of the Lumia 620 and you'll find camera, power and volume buttons. These feel a little cheap, and the response is spongey. At the top is a 3.5mm jack, and the smooth back cover is broken only by a Nokia logo, the rear-facing camera and a tiny speaker. The overall impression is of a cheap and cheerful smartphone for youngsters - robust and colourful, but not to be mistaken for an iPhone.
These are by no means bad things.
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Hardware and display
As might be expected at the inexpensive end of the market the Nokia Lumia 620 has reasonable but not great specifications. It comes with a 3.8in, TFT touchscreen with a respectable resolution of 800x480. That resolution provides a pixel density of 246ppi, which is decent at this price point. As usual Windows Phone 8 looks great, with decent colour and detail even under natural light. The touchsreen is responsive, but we found the onscreen keyboard irritatingly small to use: it has after all been developed for bigger phones than this.
The Lumia 620 is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor and 512MB of RAM. This would be nigh catastrophic on an Android handset, but Windows Phone 8 is gentle on hardware, as we'll discover in the performance section below. You get 8GB of internal storage and the previously mentioned microSD card slot to expand this.
There are two cameras: a 5-megapixel rear-facing snapper with an LED flash, and the traditional front-facing VGA camera for video calling (click through to page two for test photos). Connectivity includes NFC, USB and Wi-Fi, but there's no 4G capabilities.
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Performance
As we mentioned above, Windows Phone 8 requires relatively low-spec hardware to perform well. The top WP8 handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 820 and Nokia Lumia 920 have 1.5GHz dual-core processors and 1GB RAM, so the marginally slower chip and reduced memory shouldn't be much of a problem. It isn't, but general performance is noticeably more sluggish when compared directly to those more expensive phones. That's not to say that it is slow, just that you get what you pay for and we found ourselves occassionally waiting a split second for transitions and animations to resolve when browsing around Windows Phone's many menus.
I was asked by a reader to provide scores for the similarly priced HTC Windows Phone 8S (1408ms).
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Software
The Lumia 620 includes the usual range of Nokia-exclusive apps, including Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens and Nokia Music. And then there's Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone is very different to iOS and Android. Those who like it tend to love it, but it is an aquired taste. We've done a detailed Windows Phone 8 review which you should read, so allow my colleague Chris Martin's words to suffice here:
"The OS revolves around a highly customisable Start Screen similar to that of Windows 8. It's made up of resizable 'live tiles' which can look visually pleasing if arranged well and handily provide information without the need to open an app. Overall the interface is visually the most attractive but it's far more complex and less intuitive than iOS and Android, we have often found ourselves getting lost. A couple of new features which you might handy are 'Rooms' for sharing private content with friends and relatives, and 'Kids Corner' allowing you to select what apps and features your child(ren) can access.
"The biggest problem for us is the lacklustre Windows Store which has far less apps on offer compared to the competition. There are long lists of big name apps which simply aren't available, which is frustrating to say the least. Things are made worse by the lack of Flash support."
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Battery life
The Lumia 620's 1300 mAh battery is small, but so is the screen and the processor is not particularly speedy. We found that on a full charge you can get you a day using the Lumia 620 and still have a bit of juice left. And, of course, you can carry a spare battery.
Nokia Lumia 620 review: Cameras
The Nokia Lumia 620 continues its every expense spared specs list with a 5 megapixel camera. That's not a criticism - the HTC Windows Phone 8S and Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 have similar snappers, and that is the price territory in which we find ourselves. As you would expect froom a Nokia phone there are scene modes; a range of user adjustable settings including White Balance, ISO and exposure; and automatic features such as autofocus and flash. As we are with Nokia and Windows 8 there are also 'lenses' from which to select. These are software add-ons, some bundled with the phone and others available to download. can do any number of things really. They let you add features and filters to your phone's camera. Using the dedicated camera button makes capturing images a breeze.
We found images we took to be about as good as you'd expect from a 5Mp smartphone camera. They were okay - possibly lacking a little detail around the edges and with slightly faded looking colours, but okay. You can judge for yourself: click each photo to see it at full size.
Nokia Lumia 620 review: sample photos
The video camera is capable of shooting in 720p - again, fairly standard at this price. Options are fewer than with taking photos - you can adjust video quality and White Balances, but there aren't any scene modes. It's a phone camera's video camera. And that's okay.