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Nokia Lumia 620 review

Verdict

The Lumia 620 is a smart, capable Windows Phone 8 handset which delivers a taste of the high-end for sensible money

Review Date: 21 Feb 2013

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: Free, on a £15.00 per month, 24 months contract.

Buy it now for: £144
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

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.

Nokia Lumia 620

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.

Nokia Lumia 620 camera sample

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.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Why compare to expensive phones?

I think we need to do something about how things are reviewed. Too much of this review focuses on why the phone isn't as good as significantly more expensive models. I could have guessed that, especially if I take a moment to check the spec sheet. Surely we need reviews that compare like with like. Is this phone better or worse than other phones in a similar price range?

By dwlhot on 21 Feb 2013

Nice to have more details..

Details on call performance seem to be missing from a lot of phone reviews nowadays. I still find a large variation in signal strength between handsets(not the number of bars which I know is a bit subjective - whether a phone keeps a call with a weak signal or on a train). Also how good the WiFi aerial is would be good - I am very disappointed with my HTC One X which has a very poor WiFi signal while in clear, near sight of the router!

By Geddy3001 on 21 Feb 2013

Nice to have more details..

Details on call performance seem to be missing from a lot of phone reviews nowadays. I still find a large variation in signal strength between handsets(not the number of bars which I know is a bit subjective - whether a phone keeps a call with a weak signal or on a train). Also how good the WiFi aerial is would be good - I am very disappointed with my HTC One X which has a very poor WiFi signal while in clear, near sight of the router!

By Geddy3001 on 21 Feb 2013

Nice to have more details..

Details on call performance seem to be missing from a lot of phone reviews nowadays. I still find a large variation in signal strength between handsets(not the number of bars which I know is a bit subjective - whether a phone keeps a call with a weak signal or on a train). Also how good the WiFi aerial is would be good - I am very disappointed with my HTC One X which has a very poor WiFi signal while in clear, near sight of the router!

By Geddy3001 on 21 Feb 2013

If this is the best phone in it's price range then surely it deserves more than 4/6 stars?

I see a lot of very expensive phones receiving maximum or near maximum scores, but I haven't noticed cheaper phones scoring that high. Am I wrong on this, or is the case?

By longn on 21 Feb 2013

No mention operating temperatures

At least two of my previous smartphones ran very hot when they were accessing internet content. Why is this never mentioned in any reviews?

By technogeist on 22 Feb 2013

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