• My Nokia Lumia 635 review: Canada's cheapest LTE Smartphone


    Itís been a while since Iíve reviewed a Windows Phone. The last one I managed to get my hands on was the Lumia 1020 - a phone with a fantastic albeit deeply flawed camera.

    Anyways, since I last tried Windows Phone, the operating system has been updated to 8.1 but it isnít available on every phone yet - my Lumia 920 is still getting by with an older version though itís possible to update it using the 8.1 developer preview..

    Which brings me to the Nokia Lumia 635 that Iím checking out today. Itís my first taste of Windows Phone 8.1 and at $149 or $199, itís Canadaís most affordable LTE Smartphone.
    Specs:
    • 4.5Ē 854x480 IPS display with ClearBlack, 221ppi
    • Gorilla Glass 3 display
    • Quad-core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC
    • 512MB RAM
    • 8GB Storage
    • LTE (band 2/4/7/17) cat 3
    • HSPA 850/AWS/1900/2100
    • 5MP autofocus camera (no flash), ľĒ sensor with 720P video capture
    • removable 1830mAh battery
    • 129.5x 66.7 x 9.2mm
    • 134g


    I always say, with less expensive phones, reviews are often about what was left out to get a phone down to itís price point.


    left to right: ZTE Grand X (Canadian version), Motorola Moto G, Nokia Lumia 635, Blu Studio 5.0C HD.


    While you do get LTE with the 635, you give up a HD display like youíll find on a couple of $150ish Android phones like the ZTE Grand X (review coming soon), Moto G ($180 but on sale for $130 right now), the Blu Studio 5.0C HD ($170ish) etc. Those Android phones I mentioned, also come with 1GB of RAM while the Nokia gets by with 512MB. Then again, theyíre running Android and the Nokia is running Windows Phone so you canít compare them directly. Then thereís the Android vs Windows Phone question.

    Since weíre talking about pricing, The Lumia 635 is available on Fido, TELUS and Rogers for $199/200 outright while itís only $150 on Koodo. Go ahead, ask me which one you should buy it from.

    Body:



    The back cover is removable and covers the sides too. It makes for a very solid phone.



    Itís covered with a nice matte finish.

    I noticed Microsoft has ditched the requirement for a dedicated camera button. I canít say Iím too happy about this because thereís no fast way to launch the camera (correct me if Iím wrong).

    Another thing that has changed is that the 635 uses on-screen menu keys. This is a good thing because it makes the 635 easier to handle.


    Nothing to see on the left side


    power and volume buttons on the right.

    Attachment 113913

    MicroUSB on the bottom for charging (note the speaker hole on the back).


    Headphone jack on top.

    Display:



    Pay no attention to the super bright display in the picture - the 635 only has 3 brightness settings so I had trouble photographing it. On "low" the 635 screen is too dark to photograph while on "medium" it turned out the way it did in the picture.

    While the display is 4.5Ē, it only has a resolution of 854x480 which yields a ppi of around 220 which makes for a gritty looking display. This problem is exacerbated by Windows Phoneís reliance on a lot of skinny fonts. Just to compare, the Motorola Moto G now sells for around $130 Canadian. While the Moto G lacks LTE and a memory card slot, it also has a 4.5Ē screen but has 1280x720 display which is literally, more than double the resolution.

    While itís definitely an IPS display, thereís noticeable off angle colour and contrast shift. Blacks arenít particularly deep.

    It hasnít been that sunny while I was playing with the 635 so I canít say for certain but outdoors, it seems similar to other phones in its class like the Moto G.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Nokia Lumia 635 review: Canada's cheapest LTE Smartphone started by howard View original post
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. michel-2000's Avatar
      michel-2000 -
      Great review!
      I bought the T-Mobile USA version about 2 weeks ago, and used it in the US. Great speed while on LTE.
      In US, the T-Mo model sells for 100$-130$ (got mine at 100$ at Target)
      And, for 40$, you can it unlocked easilly here...
      I tried the US version on Rogers and it perfomed greatly.
      The pictures are fine, as what you can expect with a 5Mpx camera. And you're right, not having a specific button for the camera is a pain (I do use a Lumia 810 and this one, for the price, is a great WP8...and with the DP 8.1, it's a brand new phone...anyway)
      For the price and the OS, I do think the 635 is a great backup phone (or second-line phone)
      It will attract new users to WP8.1
      And the idea behind Microsoft Mobile OS, has and will get better in the next months/year!
      Michel
    1. Steven Hurdle's Avatar
      Steven Hurdle -
      In the article you say it supports LTE bands 3, 7, and 20. That's the European version of the phone. Rogers does support band 7, but not the other two. Telus/Koodo don't support any of the three, so it'd be pretty strange for them to offer the phone!

      The North American version of the Lumia 635 supports LTE network bands 4 (AWS), 5 (850MHz), 7 (BRS), 17 (MBS), and 2 (PCS). 3G support covers 850MHz, AWS, PCS, and the European flavour of 2100 MHz.

      I think the confusion comes from the fact that Nokia Canada's website often puts up the global version of a phone when it's first announced, and when the North American version is later announced they don't always get around to updating it. Nokia USA is a bit better about that, so I often doublecheck with Nokia USA's website if the stats don't look right on Nokia Canada.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Good eye, I actually have it correct later in the review but I forgot to fix all instances of this.

      Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
      In the article you say it supports LTE bands 3, 7, and 20. That's the European version of the phone. Rogers does support band 7, but not the other two. Telus/Koodo don't support any of the three, so it'd be pretty strange for them to offer the phone!

      The North American version of the Lumia 635 supports LTE network bands 4 (AWS), 5 (850MHz), 7 (BRS), 17 (MBS), and 2 (PCS). 3G support covers 850MHz, AWS, PCS, and the European flavour of 2100 MHz.

      I think the confusion comes from the fact that Nokia Canada's website often puts up the global version of a phone when it's first announced, and when the North American version is later announced they don't always get around to updating it. Nokia USA is a bit better about that, so I often doublecheck with Nokia USA's website if the stats don't look right on Nokia Canada.
    1. Steven Hurdle's Avatar
      Steven Hurdle -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      Good eye, I actually have it correct later in the review but I forgot to fix all instances of this.
      Ah, makes sense. BTW, long time no chat. We used to talk in alt.cellular.fido waaaaay back in the day (late '90s/early 2000s). Back when GSM was about 10% of the North American market on a good day.

      I haven't actually tried it yet, but I'm told that there's an innovation in how Windows Phone deals with app folders, in that Live Tiles will continue to be live in the new WP8.1 folders, and continue to display their info even in the folder. If so, this is one way in which they're superior to the way other OSs deal with it. I'm not sure if that innovation is in Windows Phone 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1.1 (the latter is only in preview at this time, it hasn't been launched), but I'm told it's in one of them.
    1. chuck336's Avatar
      chuck336 -
      The LTE bands in the AT&T branded Nokia Windows 635 are 2,4,5,7 and 17. Although not all of these bands are advertised in the spec. informational sheets.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
      Ah, makes sense. BTW, long time no chat. We used to talk in alt.cellular.fido waaaaay back in the day (late '90s/early 2000s). Back when GSM was about 10% of the North American market on a good day.
      Steven Hurdle,

      AND I think this time you may have got confused fellow HC with me... I am the one, Chu, NOT Chui ~ :
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      I used to be on a.c.f too! I recognize your username so it's cool to see that you're still into mobile!

      Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hurdle View Post
      Ah, makes sense. BTW, long time no chat. We used to talk in alt.cellular.fido waaaaay back in the day (late '90s/early 2000s). Back when GSM was about 10% of the North American market on a good day.
    1. mikeej's Avatar
      mikeej -
      Im just into my first month with the Lumia 520, which this must be a replacement for ...I really like my 520 so maybe I will use it as a backup and buy this new one..I wonder if its worth the jump??? I only paid $75.00 bucks for my 520....it took a while to get use to Windows (just downloaded 8.1) on it...they hate Google...I really have been waiting for a sale on the Acer S1...maybe Im better staying with Lumia....
    1. Lumia_Black's Avatar
      Lumia_Black -
      I was thinking about upgrading to the 635 from my 520, but other than having a quad core processor I don't see any sense in upgrading. I found the 635 here in walmart for $98.00 and the 520 as a gophone for $48.00 Not really seeing why I would pay 50 more for the 635.
      Thanks for the review.
    1. birdsofprey's Avatar
      birdsofprey -
      I have to add that I picked up a T-Mobile 635 at Walmart for $99 after having to Site-To-Store it (the store price was $129 and the stores don't price match the website). I recently traded my iPhone 5C for a Nexus 5 and decided I might as well try a Windows Phone again while I'm switching around. I tried a 520 last year and returned it the same day, but this 635 is a keeper. The camera is decent in well-lit environments, LTE is fast, I get a lot better reception with the 635 than the Nexus 5, and 8.1 is finally a snappy, full-featured mobile OS. I'm very happy I decided to get one and it even sends navigation directions over my car bluetooth - something the Nexus couldn't do in my Nissan. I say give it a shot
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by vmobi View Post
      Wirelessly posted (NO Contract !!!: Opera/9.80 (Android; Opera Mini/7.6.40077/35.5706; U; en) Presto/2.8.119 Version/11.10)

      Looks like the Lumia 635 will be available for $39 @ the Microsoft Store ... part of their Holiday promotions....
      That's a great price. I might pick one up too though I'll have to figure something out since I'm in Canada.
    1. Steven Hurdle's Avatar
      Steven Hurdle -
      Microsoftstore.com will have the Lumia 1020 for $299 Canadian for Black Friday. I may try to get a Lumia 635 as well if I can get one for that price! May use a VPN and a U.S. address of a relative.
      Sent from my Lumia via the HoFo Windows Phone app
    1. Ten Four's Avatar
      Ten Four -
      Microsoftstore.com will have the Lumia 1020 for $299 Canadian for Black Friday.
      Any link to that deal? Can't find it on the Microsoft site.
    1. NC_curious's Avatar
      NC_curious -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ten Four View Post
      Any link to that deal? Can't find it on the Microsoft site.
      http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/...ader_BF_111014
    1. Steven Hurdle's Avatar
      Steven Hurdle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ten Four View Post
      Any link to that deal? Can't find it on the Microsoft site.
      Here's a link to the Canadian Black Friday deals. http://click.email.microsoftemail.co...6a9a5fd1ff81a4
      Sent from my Lumia via the HoFo Windows Phone app
    1. Ten Four's Avatar
      Ten Four -
      Interesting. Apparently that $250 off on the 1020 is only on the Canadian site--for once you folks are getting a deal not available in the USA!
    1. David Walcott's Avatar
      David Walcott -
      I bought one of these at work. I use it as a Zune to listen to spotify on wifi. I bought a 64GB card for the phone to store stuff. My Mother has a 521 and can use it as a backup if she breaks hers. I just have to unlock it because the ATT model was cheaper than the Tmobile version. I have a H2O sim inside of it just in case I need to make calls.