• Nokia Lumia 625: No Country for Mid-range Windows Phone

    Folks,

    I just had the opportunity to try the Nokia Lumia 625 on TELUS during the holidays. It is a mid-range smartphone running on Microsoft Windows Phone 8.



    Design and Specifications

    Front and center is the Gorilla Glass 2 wrapped, 4.7Ē, 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 4.7Ē 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, Cinemagraph, Smart Shoot. However, they are limited by a wide margin because of the 625ís 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.




    My Verdict

    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...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/howi/se...7639314005765/

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: Nokia Lumia 625: No Country for Mid-range Windows Phone started by HC - NO "i" View original post
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. ChappyHappy's Avatar
      ChappyHappy -
      I plan to get a Nokia phone, but they're too big for me. I'm waiting for a 3.5-4.0" screen with decent specs.
      If not, I guess I'll be stuck on Symbian for a long while.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChappyHappy View Post
      I plan to get a Nokia phone, but they're too big for me. I'm waiting for a 3.5-4.0" screen with decent specs.
      If not, I guess I'll be stuck on Symbian for a long while.
      ChappyHappy,

      Greetings.

      Unfortunately, the trend is getting bigger and bigger e.g. Lumia 1520. Only the previous generations like Lumia 800 would satisfies you. However, I am not sure if you can live with WP7.
    1. ChappyHappy's Avatar
      ChappyHappy -
      Driod mini is the largest I'd go with. I looked at the 800, but I think the specs were underwhelming to me for a new phone. (new phone by my standards, still using a 2011 phone (N8)).

      I've only played with WP on friend's phone. The lack of homescreen is different. Will have to get used to scrolling down for shortcuts and widgets. I guess I'll have to live with it to find out.

      Tbh, it's mostly for the offline GPS (which I use like three times a year).
    1. JSH1's Avatar
      JSH1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChappyHappy View Post
      I plan to get a Nokia phone, but they're too big for me. I'm waiting for a 3.5-4.0" screen with decent specs.
      If not, I guess I'll be stuck on Symbian for a long while.
      I'm not sure what your idea of "decent specs" are but the Lumia 525 could be worth a look. I have the Lumia 521 which runs great with 512mb of RAM. I'm sure the Lumia 525 runs even better with 1GB. The Lumia 620 has the same hardware as the 520 with an even smaller body and screen. Windows Phone 8 runs smoothly even with lower hardware specs.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Folks,

      Since this review has been published, Rogers and Fido are also offering the Lumia 625. The off-contract price tags at the Big-3 are also coming down to $200 to $225 now. Do you think it becomes more appealing than before?

      Personally, the $75 to $100 discount may worth for a second chance. However, as long as other less expensive Lumia models are still hanging around and available for purchase, the 625 is still not necessarily the best pick for everyone.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSH1 View Post
      I'm not sure what your idea of "decent specs" are but the Lumia 525 could be worth a look. I have the Lumia 521 which runs great with 512mb of RAM. I'm sure the Lumia 525 runs even better with 1GB. The Lumia 620 has the same hardware as the 520 with an even smaller body and screen. Windows Phone 8 runs smoothly even with lower hardware specs.
      JSH1,

      Greetings.

      From the North American perspective, the Lumia 525 is not tailored made for this market. I am sure many would not find the lack of LTE support a big issue, but surely many would not like to lose the 3G compatibility though. I do not believe Nokia has made a 525 variant that supports UMTS Band II (1900) and V (850)... this is significant as TELUS and Bell do NOT have 2G GSM service at all.
    1. JSH1's Avatar
      JSH1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by HC - NO "i" View Post
      JSH1,

      Greetings.

      From the North American perspective, the Lumia 525 is not tailored made for this market. I am sure many would not find the lack of LTE support a big issue, but surely many would not like to lose the 3G compatibility though. I do not believe Nokia has made a 525 variant that supports UMTS Band II (1900) and V (850)... this is significant as TELUS and Bell do NOT have 2G GSM service at all.
      I forgot that the 525 only supports UMTS 900 and 2100 right now. Yes, that is a deal killer for me as well. Maybe we will get a North American version in the future.

      Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      JSH1,

      I was told we will not, unfortunately.
    1. ChappyHappy's Avatar
      ChappyHappy -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSH1 View Post
      I'm not sure what your idea of "decent specs" are but the Lumia 525 could be worth a look. I have the Lumia 521 which runs great with 512mb of RAM. I'm sure the Lumia 525 runs even better with 1GB. The Lumia 620 has the same hardware as the 520 with an even smaller body and screen. Windows Phone 8 runs smoothly even with lower hardware specs.
      I would've been ok with lower RAM too since it's WP8, but there are a few apps that requires 1gb ram (forgot which ones to see if it'll affect me). And because of that, I'm concerned that future apps might be limited by the hardware and thus my phone will be limited.

      Penta-band is also a requirement so I can switch to/from Wind easily.

      SoC is at least dual-core.

      Battery should last 48hrs with some texting and light browsing.

      Decent free offline gps apps.

      Smallish size to fit in pocket (dont need 720p, 380p is fine.)

      So for now, will stick with Nokia N8 (it was hand-me-down so it's free) until something decent comes along....or there's a decent free offline gps app for Android.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      ChappyHappy,

      Something out of topic... I understand you use the font color code as black for your posts. Surely you choose for whatever reason that may suit your need. However, do you realize this will make it very difficult for us who use reader apps like TapaTalk with dark theme / background?
    1. ChappyHappy's Avatar
      ChappyHappy -
      Oh. Oops. Dont use Tapatalk so I dunno.
      No font codes here then. Kinda a habit on other forums.

      EDIT: Hahaha, I just did it for this post.
    1. swallow_046's Avatar
      swallow_046 -
      SInce some of the past Lumia from Roger worked on Wind, would 625 from Roger be the same?
    1. ruffles's Avatar
      ruffles -
      I have a 520 and it is just fine, in fact, why anyone would "need" anything more than the 520, is beyond me. I guess it's nice to have a small camera to get quick pics in an instance like getting some phone number posted on a for sale sign, or taking some evidence photos, things like that, but it's a phone, if I want to take pretty and great pictures, I'll invest in a nice stand alone camera. GPS in a phone is overkill I have A Tom Tom I use for that(and they don't cost much) Quick internet browsing is a nice touch I suppose, but streaming movies and/or data over a phone is a bit much. Watching a program on a 4 inch screen is horrible, I'd rather look at life outside the screen for a while and wait till I get home to watch my TV...So why is a 1080pHD screen needed? on a phone? I get tired of hearing how the 520 won't run big games a well....who cares? it's a phone.... play your games on Xbox when you get home, enjoy life and scenery for a while.

      I think a mobile phone is a great thing...it is convenience and a safety tether, but quite honestly....I think it's overkill on what they try to make these things do. It's def way overkill for me....I have a 520 and all I ever do is make actual calls and I do like the ease of text on it. I sometimes check the weather or look up something on the web(and it's easy to do with this phone) but that is about it.
    1. JSH1's Avatar
      JSH1 -
      As noted above, I have a Lumia 521 and it is a good phone. However, I can see why people would want more.

      I have a nice DSLR but I take more pictures with my phone because I always have the phone with me. I also do quite a bit of hiking and dragging a DSLR into the woods is a pain. I think the DSLR will go on Ebay this weekend.

      I have a stand alone Garmin GPS that I never use. The maps are 5 years out of date and Garmin wants almost as much as I paid for the GPS for the map update. With GPS on my phone with free updates why would I bother to use a stand alone device? I really don't know why I even still have it.

      A 1080 HD screen isn't needed on the Lumia 520's 4 inch screen, all it would do is drain the battery faster. One larger 5, 6, and 7 inch screen you can tell the difference and 1080 is nice.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Quote Originally Posted by swallow_046 View Post
      SInce some of the past Lumia from Roger worked on Wind, would 625 from Roger be the same?
      swallow_046,

      Greetings.

      While the Nokia Lumia 625 RM-942 is supporting UMTS Band IV (AWS), I have not unlocked and tried with Wind, Mobilicity or Videotron during this review.
    1. ruffles's Avatar
      ruffles -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSH1 View Post
      As noted above, I have a Lumia 521 and it is a good phone. However, I can see why people would want more.

      I have a nice DSLR but I take more pictures with my phone because I always have the phone with me. I also do quite a bit of hiking and dragging a DSLR into the woods is a pain. I think the DSLR will go on Ebay this weekend.

      I have a stand alone Garmin GPS that I never use. The maps are 5 years out of date and Garmin wants almost as much as I paid for the GPS for the map update. With GPS on my phone with free updates why would I bother to use a stand alone device? I really don't know why I even still have it.

      A 1080 HD screen isn't needed on the Lumia 520's 4 inch screen, all it would do is drain the battery faster. One larger 5, 6, and 7 inch screen you can tell the difference and 1080 is nice.
      Good points.
    1. swallow_046's Avatar
      swallow_046 -
      Quote Originally Posted by HC - NO "i" View Post
      swallow_046,

      Greetings.

      While the Nokia Lumia 625 RM-942 is supporting UMTS Band IV (AWS), I have not unlocked and tried with Wind, Mobilicity or Videotron during this review.
      Let me know if you do end up unlocking it. Please and thanks