Read through our user review of the affordable new Lumia 625
As a Nokia Lumia product the 625 is positioned towards the bottom of the range. This means that you don’t have the superb camera optics which we see within other Nokia products. The hardware specification as you would expect is also lower. The first thing you will however notice when picking up a Nokia Lumia 625 is the size of its screen. For a product which has been positioned towards the bottom of the Nokia range with a competitive price, the 4.7 inch screen is truly impressive. The other feature that is likely to catch your attention is the inclusion of 4G/LTE. It means that you are ready for when this type of high speed network is available in your area. If you are like us and still waiting for the benefit of 4G/LTE, at least you can have the satisfaction knowing your phone will be compatible. What if you are one of the lucky ones who already live within an area which has 4G/LTE coverage? Well what are you waiting for?
One thing I tend to always like about Nokia phones is their design. The Nokia Lumia 625 is no exception, as its design is excellent providing a phone which is good to look at, and has great functionality due to being comfortable to hold and use. This is a result of the well placed buttons, texture of the matt finish and the corners which have been curved so the phone doesn’t dig into your hands. A great bonus is the ability change the colour of your Nokia Lumia 625. This is possible by purchasing one of the various shells which are available, providing your phone with a new lease of life and you with the ability to be a little bit different.
As mentioned Nokia has included a 4.7 inch display with this phone, but what is the quality like? They quote that the display provides 205ppi (pixels per inch) with its resolution of 1280 x 720. This is comparable phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Sony Xperia SP as they offer 256ppi and 319 ppi in comparison, but have smaller 4.3 inch screens. What I found however is that this difference in pixel density does affect the look of photos and movies.
In direct competition the display of the Nokia Lumia 625 did not fare well against the Sony Xperia SP, which is a similarly priced. The Xperia SP provided sharper colours and more detail when viewing the same photo. This could be down to the BRAVIA 2 engine Sony utilises, but it is still disappointing that there is such a difference between similarly priced products.
The display is however bright and easy to view in difficult light conditions, including direct sunlight. With wide viewing angels being possible due to the display using IPS technology, which ensures colours don’t appear “washed out”. It is also worth knowing that the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2. This should provide additional protection against scratches and minor damage, so if you like your display to stay pristine, this could be an advantage
Unfortunately the Nokia Lumia 625 only has 5 MP camera sensor which is a shame as Nokia is so well known of their optics. It does however benefit from the inclusion of Nokia Smart Cam. This feature means that multiple shots are automatically taking when pressing the camera button. Then the best shot can be selected as your final photo, or you can create action shots. One incredibly useful benefit is that if an object or person moves into your shot they can be easily deleted without the hassle of having to take the photo again.
While this is all good I did find that the Nokia Smart Cam feature did not always work well, as the quality of photos wasn’t particularly good on some occasions. Some photos appeared blurry and for some reason when using the Nokia Smart Cam in low light conditions the flash didn’t function, or appeared to work prematurely. This resulted in photos without insufficient colour that were difficult to view. I do however believe it may be possible to fix some of these problems by adjusting the settings, but from the point of just pointing a clicking it was not a good experience.
The dedicated camera button is however well placed and does make it quicker and easier to take photos. There is a selection of additional lenses available beside Nokia Smart Cam which, these are Bing Vision and Cinemagraph. Bing Vision enables you to scan barcodes of books, CD and other products, so you can find them on the Internet. Cinemagraph is an interesting lenses/application which adds movement to photos by animating a section of it.
We see some on the best camera capabilities and features included with Nokia phones. The Lumia 625 doesn’t however do Nokia justice as similarly priced competition offering superior photos. Below are a couple of photos taken using the camera.
Nokia Care is a good place to start when you first use your Lumia 625, as it provides tips and tricks, along with help on getting started. It is split into sections including personalising the start screen, camera and many other topics.
Nokia Music provides a great free service for anyone who is a music fan. There are numerous mix radio stations to choose from and you can choose to create your own mixes as well. It is also possible to purchase individual tracks at a reasonable price from the integrated store, which provides easy searching and navigation to the available titles. An interesting feature is that you can view details of gigs near you, so you never know one of your favourite artists may be playing near you.
Nokia Xpress manages your quick links to websites, saved pages and online magazines. New pages and magazines can be added to the default ones available. Pinning this app to the start menu is useful as it does provide a convenient location to access websites and the magazines you commonly use.
Nokia HERE Drive & Maps are similar in usage to the software offered by Google. You have the ability to navigate to a destination with clear instructions and maps can be conveniently accessed. An advantage of this application is that you have the ability to download maps for usage later, so you are able to use the navigation even when a data connection is not available. This is of particular importance if you are travelling through an area with poor network coverage.
I found that the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2Ghz dual-core processor was a good companion to the Windows 8 operating system. With this combination I was able to quickly and easily navigate through menus and take full advantage of the Nokia applications and features of Windows Phone 8, including Internet Explorer 10. The 512MB of memory does appear to be small compared to some recently released high specification phones, but in practice there when no problems encountered, or frustrations in use.
Nokia has also included a mere 8GB of storage with this phone, but it is encouraging to see a reasonable amount of this space is available for user apps and data. In fact approximately 4.7GB of space was free on the phone I used for this review. If this isn’t enough you can take comfort in knowing that up to 64GB microSD cards can be used with the Nokia Lumia 625. There is also 7GB of free cloud storage provided with SkyDrive.
Windows Phone 8 Features
Windows Phone 8 has numerous benefits and features and it would be a very long review if I were to discuss each one. There are advantages to this operating system which you don’t encounter with others. Some of these have been highlighted below.
Office being included with is a real benefit and one which shouldn’t be ignored especially for business users. The ability to create documents and easily edit ones sent to you can be real time saver when you are away from the office. Documents can be easily transferred to your SkyDrive account for storage or sharing with work colleagues and friends in a secure manner. This is important for both work and personal content, as you normally want to restrict access to your files. You can also connect to your Office 365 account, for easy access to office documents, email, calendar and contacts keeping you in communication.
Internet Explorer 10 is another application you are likely to use on a regular basis and I was impressed by how responsive it is in practice to use. Multiple tabs can be opened and are easily accessible using the navigation menu. There is also convenient access to favourites and the ability to pin a web page to the Start menu is a real bonus. Showing what is possible with Windows Phone 8 due to the level of integration.
OneNote is an ideal application for creating “To do” list and other types of brief note which are ideal for any busy person. I liked that you weren’t restricted by your content as tick boxes, bullet point, pictures and voice notes can be easily added to the document. As with webpages viewed in Internet Explorer 10 you can then pin the list to your start menu making it convenient to access.
Store is where you will discover additional apps to download and use. Microsoft and Nokia do appear to be ensuring that more apps available and there is a greater diversity. You will find that the most popular apps are available, but there is still no comparison to the choice offered with Android, or Apple products. But it is getting better and you will find apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, TouTube, Ebay, Amazon Mobile, Rightmove and Netflix are all available.
The Nokia Lumia 625 benefits from the inclusion of 4G/LTE connectivity. This means you will be able to take advantage of the increased data speeds available with this technology if your area has been selected for coverage. If like me you don’t yet have 4G/LTE available you at least know that your phone will be ready when it is rolled out to your area. Due to our office and my home not being within areas which have 4G coverage, it is unfortunately not possible to provide any details regarding the speeds or reception quality you can expect to receive.
What I can confirm is that the Lumia 625 provides excellent 2G and 3G reception, so you shouldn’t experience any problems using these existing technologies until 4G arrives. I also found the Wi-Fi reception to be of a good quality and noticed that a comprehensive number of security profiles are included, ensuring secure access to corporate networks.
One noticeable omission in the connectivity options available is NFC. This is a shame as other similarly priced competitors do have this available and it is useful for connecting to other phones and external peripherals, such as speakers with the minimum of fuss.
How long are you going to be able to use your Nokia Lumia 625 before it needs charging again? Well using the phone to make a few phones calls and doing a bit of light Internet browsing I achieved a full day of usage before it needed to be recharged. There is the ability to turn on a battery saver option and this can give you more usage time, but it does affect usability. As certain features are turned off, for example apps only run when you open them and emails have to be synchronized manually. The phone was however quoted eleven days of usage with this mode switch on, but I was unable to confirm if this is accurate.
Overall I was impressed with the Nokia Lumia 625 due to the large display and good design with logical button placement. The combination of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, Windows Phone 8 and other hardware provided a good user experience, with it being quick and easy to navigate between menus and browsing the Internet. I was however concerned about the resolution of the display, as it provided me with images which were not as detailed, compared to ones viewed on other competitor’s phones. The camera was also a cause for concern as it didn’t provide the type of photos I was hoping or expecting from a Nokia phone. It is probably as I have high expectations of Nokia products in regards to camera optics, but I was left slightly disappointed.
There are however many good features of this phone including the design and general functionality. The Windows Phone 8 operating system is easy to navigate and the apps available within their store have improved greatly. The Nokia apps including “Music” and “HERE Drive” are also extremely enjoyable to use. If you put aside the display and mediocre camera then this is a great phone. The problem is that these are key features, which most users will use on a daily basis.