Nokia Lumia 620 review
The budget smartphone market is dominated by cheap-and-cheerful Android handsets, but Nokia is hoping to change all that with its Lumia 620. Available from just £15 per month, this Windows Phone 8 handset punches above its weight in several key areas.
We’ve been impressed with the design and build quality of Nokia’s latest Lumias, and the 620 is no exception. Build quality is on a par with Nokia’s more upmarket Windows Phone handsets, and it shares many of its design cues with the Lumia 820. The flat back, curved edges and distinctive button layout are all reminiscent of its pricier sibling, and, at 127g, it’s by far the smallest and most manageable Windows Phone 8 device we’ve seen so far.
The rear cover is removable, too. This grants access to the micro-SIM and microSD slots and battery, and the default matte black cover can be replaced with one of five alternatives available in matte white, blue, pink, and high-gloss neon green. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay for the privilege. The Lumia 620 is bundled with two rear covers, the standard black one and one other of your choice.
The Lumia 620 feels like a more expensive handset, but the screen’s 3.8in diagonal and 480 x 800 resolution bring it back into budget territory. It’s by no means bad, though. The visible pixels mean that Live tiles, text and images aren’t quite as crisp as we’ve become accustomed to, but the measured brightness level of 543cd/m2 allows the screen to remain legible even in bright sunlight, and colours are vividly reproduced. The 798:1 contrast ratio is more than ample, too, making for bold images and video.
Under the hood is a dual-core, 1GHz Snapdragon S4. It’s behind flagship smartphones, and it showed in our testing: the 620’s 1,449ms SunSpider result puts it significantly behind the Lumia 820, which took just 906ms. This isn’t something you’ll notice in everyday use, however. We saw no major performance issues when using the OS or playing 3D games.
Windows Phone 8 remains a slick mobile experience, and Nokia includes its excellent Drive+ Beta satnav tool for free on the 620. It’s offered alongside Nokia’s Maps, Music and Lens tools, and there are signs that Microsoft’s mobile OS is improving its app support: Spotify has now arrived on that platform, although we’re still waiting for Instagram, Dropbox and the BBC iPlayer.
The rest of the specification includes 8GB of internal storage, dual-band 802.11n wireless, and a rear-facing 5mp camera. The camera is fine for everyday snapping, but it too lags behind the best smartphones in several key areas. Colours lack punch, there’s grain on close-up shots, and fine detail is often blurred. We’re not fans of its night mode, either, which increases the blurring and reduces the amount of detail on show.
Finally, battery life is merely average. It has a comparatively low capacity 1,300 mAh battery, and it shows: the Lumia 620 had just 50% on the gauge after our 24-hour battery test – 10% better than the Lumia 820, but behind most of its rivals.
Value for money is the Lumia 620’s strongest suit - it’s available for free on a £15-per-month contract. At that price, it’s easy to forgive the middling camera and battery. With natty looks, solid build quality and smooth, responsive performance that’s unusual at this price, Nokia’s Lumia 620 is the handset to buy if you’re after a smartphone on the cheap.
Price when reviewed: Free, on a £15.00 per month, 24 months contract.