Mobile Phones Guide

Nokia Lumia 625 review

Nokia Lumia 625 - Affordable Big-Screen Windows Phone

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Launch SRP S$399
Latest Price From S$265 (Check Latest Prices)

Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8
User-Friendliness:
8.5
Performance:
8
Value:
8.5
THE GOOD
Good design and handling
Decent battery life
Smooth performance
THE BAD
Low display resolution
Imaging quality could be better


Big and Affordable

Overview

The Lumia 625 is a part of Nokia's strategy to deliver "leading smartphone innovation and experiences at every price point". Just recently we reviewed the company's first phablet device, the Nokia Lumia 1520, which goes up against the best in the industry. The Lumia 625 is aimed at the opposite end of the market to champion a new value phone proposition. While smartphones pegged at similar price points are usually categorized as entry or mid-level devices, the Lumia 625 is an interesting handset as it sports a decent 4.7-inch display and supports 4G LTE connectivity. Can the Lumia 625 fulfill Nokia's objective of reaching out to the mass market? Read on to find out. 

 

Design & Handling

Simple and colorful are two words that we would use to describe the Lumia 625.  It is dressed in the all-familiar Lumia polycarbonate chassis which comes in four colors: black, white, yellow and orange. 

Unlike the Lumia 1520 and other models which have different surfaces for different color options, the Lumia 625 has chosen a matte surface for all the colors. A matte surface offers better handling as it is not as slippery as a glossy surface, and it is not a fingerprint or smudge magnet.

In line with recent trends of personalizing the phone, the back cover of the Lumia 625 is customizable with a range of color shells. According to Nokia, the interchangeable shell is constructed of a single piece of translucent polycarbonate layered with an inner color designed to amplify and bring to life the final color choice.

Although the customization is not as extensive as what Motorola does with the Moto X, Nokia's efforts are commendable for a device like the Lumia 625. Its direct rival in this aspect is the upcoming Moto G, the global and more affordable variant of the X which has 7 different colored rear covers. 

4.7-inch IPS Display

At the time of its announcement on 23 July, the Lumia 625 was the largest device in Nokia's portfolio with a 4.7-inch display. However, it was superseded by the 6-inch Lumia 1520 and 1320 in late October. Nonetheless, the Lumia 625 has one of the largest displays in its class alongside the Nexus 4, Sony Xperia SP and HTC Desire 601.

The display panel used in the Lumia 625 is an IPS LCD, but with a resolution of 800 x 400 pixels. This works out to a mediocre pixel density of 201ppi. Pixelation in the fonts are noticeable and the viewing experience obviously pales in comparison with the Desire 601.

For the price it is commanding, it's hard for Nokia to equip the Lumia 625 with a higher resolution 720p display panel. A higher resolution display would also have affected the battery life of the Lumia 625.

Viewing angles are good which is expected of an IPS panel. The display also comes with super sensitive touch technology that allows you to use the Lumia 625 even with gloves on. 

 

Windows Phone 8 with Nokia Lumia Amber Update

The Lumia 625 ships with Windows Phone 8 OS with Nokia Lumia Amber update. What do these terms mean? Well, Windows Phone updates are divided into two categories: firmware and OS. Microsoft obviously handles the OS portion (e.g. the GDR3 update), while OEMs such as HTC and Nokia use the firmware to tweak settings to work with their respective hardware. The Lumia Amber update includes the following new features:

  • Improvement in camera capabilities across the Lumia range with better low light photos, improved auto focus and enhanced noise filter
  • Nokia Smart Camera
  • Nokia Glance Screen (not available on the Lumia 625 and 520 due to smaller display memory)
  • Support for FM Radio
  • Flip to silence calls

 

 
 

Performance

As a value-oriented smartphone, the Lumia 625 is powered by very tame specs such a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 512MB RAM. Here's the full specification list and how it compares against other value-oriented LTE capable phones:-

Nokia Lumia 625 vs The Competition
  Nokia Lumia 625 HTC Desire 601 LG Optimus F5 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Sony Xperia SP
Launch SRP
  • From S$399
  • From S$498
  • From S$498
  • From S$698
  • From S$598
Latest Price
  • From S$265
  • From S$330
  • From S$525
  • From S$280
Operating system
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5
  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.2GHz Dual-core
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core 1.4GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core 1.7GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core 1.7GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1GB
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
Display
  • 4.7-inch / 800 x 480 pixels / IPS LCD, Super sensitive touch with Sunlight Readability
  • 4.5-inch / 960 x 540 pixels / TFT
  • 4.3-inch / 960 x 540 pixels / IPS
  • 4.3-inch / 960 x 540 pixels / Super AMOLED
  • 4.6-inch / 1280 x 720 resolution / TFT with durable tempered glass
Camera
  • Rear: 5MP / Autofocus with two-stage capture key, 4x digital zoom, LED flash
  • Front: 640 x 480 pixels
  • Rear: 5MP / Autofocus / HTC Image Chip
  • Front: VGA (VGA Camcorder encoding)
  • Rear: 5 Megapixels / Autofocus with LED flash
  • Front: 1.3 Megapixels
  • Rear: 8 Megapixels
  • Front: 1.9 Megapixels
  • Rear: 8 Megapixels / 16x digital zoom, Sony Exmor RS for mobile
  • Front: VGA
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX enabled, DLNA, HTC Connect, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, AGPS with GLONASS
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 LE, NFC, IR LED (Remote Control), micro-USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, DLNA, NFC, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio output jack, MHL support
Storage Type
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 7GB free cloud storage on SkyDrive
  • microSD card support up to 64GB
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD card (up to 64GB)
  • 8GB internal storage
  • micro-SD support up to 32GB
  • 8GB internal storage
  • micro-SD support up to 64GB
  • 8GB internal storage
  • micro-SD support up to 32GB
Battery
  • 2,000mAh
  • 2,100mAh
  • 2,150mAh
  • 1,900mAh
  • 2,370mAh
Dimensions
  • 133.25 x 72.25 x 9.15mm
  • 134.5 x 66.7 x 9.88mm
  • 126.04 x 64.46 x 9.30mm
  • 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94mm
  • 130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98mm
Weight
  • 159g
  • 130g
  • 131.1g
  • 107g
  • 155g

 

SunSpider JavaScript Results 

SunSpider Javascript measures the browsing performance of a device. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. Compared to the other Android phones, the Lumia 625 did remarkably well in the SunSpider Javascript with a score of 1134.6ms. From our experience, Windows Phone devices generally perform better in this test than competing platforms, which bodes well for general usability.

 

 

Camera Performance

The Lumia 625 sports a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera with a sensor size of 1/4-inch and an aperture of f/2.4. Nokia has packed in quite a number of software features for the rear camera such as:

  • Nokia Smart Camera:  captures a sequence of shots for you to choose the best shot, combine them into one picture, remove unwanted objects or choose the best faces for group shots.
  • Cinemagraph: GIF-like animations that make your photos come to life.
  • PhotoBeamer: sharing your photos on any screen displaying www.photobeamer.com
  • Nokia Glam Me Lens: face beautification app for Windows Phone which automatically enhances your self-portraits with toning, eye resizing, teeth whitening and other artistic effects.

That said, here's how the phone fared in our sample test shot:-

 

Battery Performance

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

• Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on

• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

Equipped with a 2,000mAh battery, the Lumia 625 lasted six hours which isn't too bad a mileage when compared to its Android counterparts. Although it has the biggest display and second smallest battery capacity, the Lumia 625 managed to outlast the Xperia SP and Optimus F5. Calculating its power consumption numbers revealed that it has the second lowest power draw, but that's not surprising considering that its screen requires lesser pixels to power.

We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. As the Lumia 625 has one of the biggest form factors in this comparison (due to its large display) and is the heaviest among the phones compared, it didn't shine in our Portability Index. Considering its design parameters, its actually decent.

 

Conclusion

The upcoming battle for mobile supremacy will center around the entry-level to mid-range segments where the market is estimated to consist about 500 million customers. Is the Nokia Lumia 625 the budget smartphone that these customers are looking for?

Well, it is hard to deny that the Lumia 625 delivers an attractive package that manages to strike a neat balance between price and specifications. The pull factors for the Lumia 625 are its 4G LTE support, 4.7-inch display, microSD card support, Nokia's suite of apps, and its S$399 price tag. What's more, several shops now list it for as low as S$299! Even so, in this day and age, a low resolution like 800 x 480 pixels is a bit harsh, especially on a large screen. Nokia could have bumped up the display resolution to make it more enticing. In some ways, the Lumia 625 is a larger-screen value-edition of the well accomplished Lumia 820 that earned our best value award over a year ago.

In a nutshell, if you're game to try out the Windows Phone 8 platform and aren't fussy with how sharp your text, photos and icons should look on screen, then the Nokia Lumia 625 has a good set of features that value seekers would appreciate. It is by far the most affordable 4G LTE smartphone available at this point of time and doesn't let you down on general usability.

Its immediate competitor is the US$197 (8GB) and US$199 (16GB) Moto G, which offers a higher resolution (720p) 4.5-inch display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz processor. The Moto G also offers customizability for its rear cover. However, we can't say much else for the Moto G as we've yet to evaluate it.