Nokia Lumia 630 – Who said budget was a bad thing?

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image0053Previously Nokia’s most popular Lumia smartphone on the cheap was the 520, a handset that is still around if you’re looking for it. But there’s a new entry level standard for Windows Phone devices in the Lumia 630, one of the newest devices from Microsoft-owned Nokia to enter the South African market.

Now SA loves their phones. All the market research, sales data and people sitting texting each other across the table say so. But we’re not really a wealthy country so having a budget smartphone on the market is an essential for any company and the Lumia 630 is looking like a winner in that department.

In-spec-tion

For a smartphone that will ding your wallet to the tune of around R2K, the Lumia 630 is toting a decent collection of hardware along for the ride. The display is certainly large enough, coming in at 4.5-inches but you’re looking at a 480p screen. You shouldn’t notice much by way of poor image quality onscreen unless you’re a bit of a resolution snob and the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system in general looks… fairly good on the 630’s panel.

That old standby, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 quad chip handles all of you queries and bits (and bytes) while the 512MB RAM allocation also performs decently, if a bit slow at times. Were we to transfer these specs to an Android KitKat OS it would probably turn into a stop-motion animation presentation but the Lumia 630 just keeps going, though it pauses to load more than we’d like.

Lumia 630 Header

Display: 4.5-inch, 480 x 845, 218ppi
Processor: 1.2GHz quad Snapdragon 400
RAM: 512MB
Storage: 8GB, 128GB microSD
Camera: 5MP, 2592 х 1944
Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1
Battery: 1,820mAh Li-Ion
Connectivity: 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions/Weight: 129.5mm x 66.7 x 9.2mm/134g

Storage, Electrical and Otherwise

Nokia/Microsoft have given users 8GB of storage but a little over 4GB of that is offered up on the altar of Windows Phone and the preinstalled apps. They’ve opted to give users the choice to expand their space, to the tune of up to 128GB of microSD additions so it’s not all bad. However, if you opt to go to this extreme you’re going to be paying more for the additional memory than you will for the phone.

This Lumia’s battery is just a 1,820mAh removable lithium-ion, which should be enough to last you the day with moderate use. If you’re a heavy user, like us, it’ll probably crash and burn during the day, necessitating a top-up to get you through to the evening. Not everyone checks several Twitter accounts every three minutes though, so it should suffice for most users.

Pictures and pre-installed

As expected, there are very few third-party apps on the Lumia 630. You’re going to have to go hunting most of those yourself. Facebook makes the cut, so does WeChat, but aside from those two entries you’re mostly looking at Nokia and Microsoft software. Nokia’s HERE Maps, HERE Drive+ apps and MixRadio streaming and curation app are the standouts from the Finnish company’s side while Microsoft has chipped in with Office, OneDrive and OneNote support.

Nokia’s camera app is also present and is as smooth as ever, though you’re going to be using the 5MP rear camera to snap your shots. There is no front camera, something we can appreciate when it comes to keeping costs down but one does get so used to it. Images are good enough but you’re not going to be entering many contests, even with Nokia’s app-based manual settings for the camera.

The Color and the Shape

The Lumia 630 feels right in one hand, Nokia have gone with rounded corners all round and the 4.5-inch screen is hardly going to make it unwieldy. The big thing with the 630’s design is that it comes in a selection of delectable colours, so we were feeling a bit put out that we only got to review the plan black one. Understated rather than funky but that’s not true of the rest of the lineup. The rear panel can easily be swapped out and we’re certain to see a string of (possibly customised) covers making an appearance. The handset itself is pretty lightweight but you’re at least going to feel it while it’s enpocketed.

Verdict

We’ve seen better phones in the budget section but not many. If you’re hoping to get something that will play nice with the plethora of Windows devices at home (like a WP tablet, Windows PC and an Xbox 360), adding this cheap Lumia to the list of devices you carry around won’t cost you an arm or a leg or, indeed, a limb of any description. It’s just a pity that we don’t have official Cortana support, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, in South Africa as yet, that would make the Lumia 630 an even more attractive proposition.

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