I just had the opportunity to try the Nokia Lumia 625
during the holidays. It is a mid-range smartphone running on Microsoft Windows Phone
Design and Specifications
Front and center is the Gorilla Glass 2 wrapped, 4.7”, 800x480 IPS LCD display. As far as quality goes, viewing angles and readability under bright light conditions are just average. Colours are little washed out and there is some colour shift. The 800x480 resolution sounds a bit low for a large 4.7” display. Indeed, while it is not the sharpest display available on the market it is not as bad as you would think.
At 133.25 x 72.25 x 9.15mm and weighing 159g, its size is similar to many other smartphones. While I liked its minimalistic, clean slate design, I had some problems with its ergonomics. I found it hard to hold without accidentally triggering the soft keys and hard buttons. Hopefully, a case can fix some of these problems.
There is a 5-megapixel main camera with a LED flash.
The small speaker opening on the back is easily covered up by fingers and other surfaces. The speaker quality is nothing to write home about and it is not particularly loud either.
If you love music, I recommend you to make use of the headphone jack with a pair of good quality headphones because the experience is much more enjoyable.
Under the changeable back cover (available in different colours), there are slots for a Micro SIM card and a microSD card stacked together. Despite the removable back cover, the 2000mAh rated battery is not user-accessible.
Experience and Impressions
The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor provides smooth performance. It worked well with most of the apps I used. When I first setup the Lumia 625, my previous Windows Phone and Nokia Account profiles were automatically pushed to it.
Power consumption is relatively low. I can go through a day with moderate usage with about 3 hours of combined screen-on time. Then again, some may argue the reason why it does so well in the battery department is because there just are not a lot of apps worth installing for Windows Phone.
Still, to be fair, the Windows Phone ecosystem has shown gradual improvement since I last tried it. Now, there are now a lot more apps and the many existing ones are much better. For example, an Instagram beta, is now available.
I used to find that the Facebook app for Windows Phone
was very neutered compared to the Android version but it has since got a whole lot better. Now I can share photos with messages / conversations.
The Nokia Here
mapping and navigation apps continue to be my favourites. I really like the offline maps mapping features which is a big bonus if you are travelling and want to keep your data usage to a minimum. However, there are few niggles, first off, the routing algorithm can be a bit unreliable at times. Even though it supports traffic updates, the routing does not always seem to take it into account. It often suggests routes which do not avoid congestion and sometimes it does not get me from point A to point B in the minimum amount of time and distance.
Another Nokia app which is quickly becoming one of my favorites: MixRadio
. It is a highly customizable music streaming service. You just pick a few artists you like and it personalizes a playlists for you which you can even listen to offline. If that is not enough, you can subscribe with a monthly fee to get more features like unlimited skips, unlimited offline playlists and high audio quality.
While I had good voice and data experiences on TELUS, I found that the RF sensitivity is not as good as some other Nokia models I have tried. In this context, it means sometimes when the LTE signal is getting too poor for reliably data connection, it may not fallback on UMTS that fast. Still, the earpiece is loud and clear.
In the camera department, the 625 has access to its siblings' camera software like Nokia Smart Camera
, Smart Shoot
. However, they are limited by a wide margin because of the 625’s middle-of-the-road camera hardware. For example, Nokia Refocus
, is not compatible with Lumia 625.
The use of flash in conjunction with the software offers rather impressive results with accurate white balancing. Likewise, it performs well for outdoors though sometimes it has a tendency to over-saturated blues.
In the end, the biggest problem with the Lumia 625 is its current price point. It is $300 off-contract which is a ton of money if you consider the Motorola Moto G
only costs $200. If you are willing to sign a contract then you should take a look at the Google Nexus 4
. Either of these phones give you a lot more bang for your buck, unless external memory expansion is a must.
If you are looking for a Windows Phone then you are probably better off spending $100 off-contract on a frugal Nokia Lumia 520
which provides virtually the same user experience albeit with some small sacrifices. (Provided that it is still available.) Would the promised goodies in the Lumia Black Update
be enough to change its status-quo? Probably not.
To me, Nokia has created a fragmented portfolio with too many Lumia models - both recent and older ones - that offer a comparable experience though they are supposed to be much different positioning. One remedy could be a shorter product cycle for each model. There is also the problem of inventory of older, phased out models which are still available in retail channels - often at deep discounts.
On the other side of the spectrum, the higher price points of the current flagships like Lumia 1020
and the gigantic Lumia 1520
may appeal to a few in the niche market but they are probably not going to draw many from the Android camp.
So while you would expect the mid-range Nokia Lumia 625 to fill the gap, well, unfortunately that is no country for mid-range Windows Phones.
Photos and Screenshots...