Nokia’s new entry level device, the 620, packs a punch for its price
Price: £230 (sim free), £149.99 (pay as you go, locked) or £17 per month on contract
The 620 is the newest offering from Nokia in the entry-level bracket, replacing the 610 and serving as the step down from the Lumia 820.
Light as air
The 620 is nice and light at 127g and compact at 115 x 61.1mm. It has a range of easily removable, colourful covers to brighten it up and these range from matte to gloss ‘ which is a nice touch. The matte cases seemed pretty strong and stood up to the various trials and tribulations of testing well.
The hardware under the hood is pretty good for an entry level phone, with a Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. While the step down from the Lumia 820 can immediately be felt, the 620 is still a fairly snappy phone. In general, load times don’t drag and there’s no lag when scrolling between screens.
While the 620 is okay when running day to day activities, compared with its big brothers sometimes the software sometimes seems to prove too much for the phone’s innards.
Apps such as Nokia Maps occasionally had some pretty long load times. As per the 820 review, if the place isn’t listed on Qype, you will need to use your browser to pull up a postcode.
Taking video also seemed to jolt the system a little bit ‘ the first attempt at shifting from video back to home screen froze the 620, which had to be rebooted. After this it seemed to handle shooting movies fine.
Other than these instances, the Lumia 620 seems able to utilise its processing power well, with videos loading and playing fine and no problems found with multi-tasking such as playing music, emailing and downloading PDFs.
However, the phone does tend to heat up in your hand with heavy use; not dangerous, burning-your-hand-off hot, but a definite warmth around the camera lens which is something to keep an eye on.
The 620 comes with just 8GB memory ‘ so not much for your apps ‘ but this is expandable via MicroSD to 64GB. Microsoft also throws in 7GB of cloud storage via SkyDrive.
The Lumia 620 sports a 5MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash, which takes crisp photos and good close ups, as well as a secondary camera which is fairly grainy on Skype but not bad for an entry level phone. Video is quite good – clear and crisp at 720p at 30fps.
The screen is also small at 3.8-inches but has a reasonable resolution of 800×480. The screen size does make typing text messages more difficult.
Battery spot on
The 620 has a 1300mAh battery and is billed at 9.9 hours of 3G talk time,which is accurate and actually a bit longer than its big brother, the Lumia 820.
Tough set up
Since the teething troubles had already been sorted with the 820, loading music and photos was just a matter of syncing using the Windows Phone app. Unfortunately, for non-Windows users the initial set up (such as on a Mac) is painful ‘ and you will have problems with DRM protected content, such as TV shows purchased from online stores (excluding Microsoft’s own media of course).
Once up and running, Windows Phone 8 is a good looking, slick operating system. The emphasis is on usability and it’s easy to navigate with non-intrusive tips interlaced throughout the phone.
Best performing apps for a budget phone
We’ve said it before, but the Windows Phone app offering just isn’t quite there yet. The major apps are generally there, and there are usually B-grade clones of the apps that are missing ‘ but not necessarily of terribly high quality.
The built-in Nokia apps are still pretty good – Nokia Maps may take a while to load some times, but it’s still a useful, detailed mapping service with the excellent option of downloading maps for use offline, meaning you can avoid data roaming charges overseas by downloading your maps beforehand.
Nokia Music is definitely my app of the month, with its mix radio lists which allow you to listen to pre-set lists of mixed music in various genres, and also allows users to download up to four ‘mixes’ for listening offline. While there are quirks, such as not being able to skip more than six songs in an hour due to ‘some tricky radio licensing rules’, the service is a really enjoyable feature and goes some way to plugging the aching void some fans felt with the absence of Spotify.
Rooms is another pre-loaded option with Windows Phone 8, but one that doesn’t work quite as well. In theory, it’s a neat idea ‘ chat, share photos and calendars and get all social updates in one place. However, only Windows Phone 7 or iPhone users can join rooms to set up shared calendars, and other features “work best” on WP8, with group chat only available for other WP8 users. Sadface.
Lumia’s big brothers
The older siblings in the Lumia something-twenty range, the 820 and 920 run a Snapdragon S4 dual core processor at 1.5GHz and 1GB of RAM, which is pretty hefty as far as processors go. In comparison, there was no lag or freezing with the 820 or 920.
The 920 is 130×70.8×10.7mm and 185g with a 4.5” screen compared with the 820 at 123.8×68.5×9.9mm and 160g with a 4.3” screen. The 620 may be much smaller screen-wise at 3.8” but is much lighter at 127g and only slightly thicker at 11mm.
The 820 and 920 feature great cameras at 8MP and 8.7MP respectively and with screen res 800×480 and 1280×768 for the 920. This means the 820 matches the 620 in terms of screen resolution.
The 820 and the 620 have MicroSD expandable storage options whereas the 920 doesn’t (but does have 32GB of onboard memory) and all three run Windows Phone 8.
All in all
All in all, the Lumia 620 is a great budget device ‘ if you get it on a plan. The SIM free phone comes at a hefty £229.99.
The phone has some good grunt under the hood for an entry level device and its camera works well. Windows Phone 8 is a slick and easy to use operating system and will only improve once the the app offerings are fine tuned. However, for all the processor’s power, it occasionally seems like the 620 is struggling to handle the more demanding software.
A good little phone that runs some the more up-market features fairly smoothly ‘ with only a few hiccups. However, if you buy this without a plan or lock-in, £230 is a bit expensive for what you get.
+ Good processor for an entry level device ‘ Expensive for unlocked version
+ In-built apps such as Nokia Music ‘ Processor sometimes struggles with software
+ Good camera quality for entry level device ‘ App selection still needs work
OS: Windows Phone 8
Screen size: 3.8-inches at 800x480p
Processor: Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1GHz
RAM: 512 MB
Storage: 8GB internal, expandable to 64GB via MicroSD
Cameras: 5MP main, auto-focus, LED flash, 640x 480p secondary.
Video 720p at 30fps.
Wireless: WiFi, Near Field Communication, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports: Micro-USB 2.0, data connector
Battery life: 1300mAh, standby time (3G) 330h, talk time (3G) 9.9h ‘ accurate.