Most improved: Our review of the Nokia Lumia 620

howard

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When Windows Phone 8 launched, most of the emphasis was on higher end models like the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Samsung ATIV-S. It makes sense to emphasize the high-end stuff first. High-end phones get more attention so as they say; “Strike, while the iron is hot”.

Currently, we also have 2 mid-range Windows Phones here. The HTC Windows Phone 8S, which I already reviewed and the Nokia Lumia 620, which I’ll be looking at today.

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My first impressions are that the 620 fits really nicely in my hand and that it’s a pretty solid phone. The back cover appears to be unpainted polycarbonate. That means that it’s made from black coloured polycarbonate instead of polycarbonate that is painted black. So, if you drop it, there’s no paint to chip.

The curved sides are the reason why the 620 is so easy to hold though the unpainted polycarbonate is slightly slippery.

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I’m really happy that the 620 has removable covers. The entire back comes off which I think is the right way to to removable covers. This way they’re more solid than if Nokia just made a small battery cover removable plus it just looks better. That said, the Nokia 620 is a TELUS exclusive and I don’t see any other covers on their website. So, you might have some trouble sourcing other colours.

If you're looking closely, the 'box' at the top of the cover is the headphone jack.

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volume, power camera shutter buttons

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nothing interesting to see here

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headphone jack

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microUSB, microphone

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camera + flash, speaker


The screen looks great. Its 800x480 resolution doesn’t sound that high but since the screen is only 3.8”, it looks nice and sharp. It’s bright and has decent viewing angles. In fact, they’re a little wider than the 920’s.

It works well outdoors in direct sunlight.

It appears to have the same feature as the 920, where you’re able to use the screen while wearing gloves.

While the 620 is a budget phone, besides size and resolution, you’re not really forced to make any other compromises compared to a more expensive phone.

That said, the browser makes fonts look terrible. It renders fonts really small so they are very blocky looking.

Camera:

Compared to the 920, the 620’s camera lacks the 920’s dynamic range. Given enough light, the 620 can do a decent job but it’s still a budget phone with a budget sensor. Don’t expect miracles.

While all camera phones have noise indoors if you don’t use a flash, Nokia’s noise reduction software makes a mess of things, so noise appears splotchy. Normally, I don’t mind sensor noise - I think it tells a story about the picture, that there isn’t much light. But with the 620, I find it too distracting.

I do this in all my Windows Phone reviews but it’s worth repeating that I’m not fond of Microsoft’s camera software. While I do appreciate the dedicated camera shutter button, the software itself focuses slowly. It’s really only useful for taking pictures of static subjects or if you’re able to plan out your shot ahead of time.

Software:

Microsoft doesn’t allow Windows Phone OEM’s much freedom when it comes to designing their phones. Aside from the Nokia Ringtone, a custom tile colour scheme and a few extra settings here and there the Lumia 620’s software is pretty much identical to other Windows Phone 8’s. Where Nokia can differentiate is in exclusive software which is only available for Nokia Windows Phone’s and not other ones.

Two key apps Nokia had over the competition were Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive (navigation). Now that Here Maps and Here Drive are available for non Nokia Windows Phone, the advantage isn’t as great as it used to be but here’s a partial list of some Nokia exclusives:


  • Nokia NFC Writer
  • Nokia Trailers
  • StyleSaint
  • #InstaWithLove
  • Nokia Glame Me
  • SophieLens for Nokia
  • Burton
  • Creative Studio
  • Here City Lens
  • Cinemagraph
  • Weather
  • MyNokia
  • Winter Ski & Ride
  • Smart Shoot
  • PhotoBeamer
  • Panorama
  • Ringtone Maker
  • Nokia Pulse Beta
  • Nokia Climate Mission

Not all the apps are great but the point is that Nokia is trying to make their Windows Phones more interesting..

Performance:

The HTC Windows Phone 8S and Nokia Lumia 620 are both powered by the same processors with 512MB of RAM so one won’t feel noticeably faster than the other.

SunSpider (lower is better):

Nokia Lumia 920: 909.1
HTC Windows Phone 8X: 904.7
Nokia Lumia 620: 1442.8
HTC Windows Phone 8S: 1412.4

SunSpider is a browser benchmark. No suprises here. The 620 is clocked 33% lower than the 920 and 8X and it’s score is about 33% lower.

Peacemaker:

HTC Windows Phone 8X: 345
Nokia Lumia 920: 303
Nokia Lumia 620: 222
HTC Windows Phone 8S: 192

Peacemaker is another browser benchmark. I’m not sure why the 620’s score is about 10% higher than the 8S’ here. Anyways, the 620 runs really smoothly. Apps launch quickly

As a Phone:

When I made my first call on the 620, I was blown away by just how incredibly loud it is. It’s just as loud as the iPhone 5 and Blackberry Z10. Although loud, sound quality isn’t as good as the iPhone 5. While voices are fine, there’s a noticeable buzz in the background.

Maximum speaker phone volume is also impressive. It’s actually slightly louder though once again, the iPhone 5 has the sound quality advantage.

RF performance is good. Compared to the Apple iPhone 4S, the Lumia 620 is slightly better.

Conclusion:

Unlike its predecessor the 610, the 620 is a huge step up. First off, the 620 has 512MB RAM which means it should be able to run any of the apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. As far as Windows Phones in Canada go, the 610 was the only one that shipped with 256MB. 256MB kept the 610 from running some apps including Angry Birds. There aren’t tons of Windows Phone Apps worth downloading so creating a phone that can only run some of them made the 610 a really compromised device.

The dual core processor is a huge step up and it’s not a cheap, older dual core processor like you find on many lower-end Android devices. It’s a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 albeit clocked a little lower than it’s bigger brother the 920.

Design-wise, the 620 also speaks to me. It’s a nice looking phone that fits nicely in my hand. It’s definitely very good for one handed use.

As far as the competition, it’s direct competitor is the HTC Windows Phone 8s. Spec-for-spec, they line up very closely. Like the 920 and the 8X, the 620 has a big advantage when it comes to exclusive software over the 8S. That said, the biggest one, voice guided navigation and maps are now also available for the 8s in the form of One Maps and One Drive; Nokia Maps and Drive for non-Nokia Windows Phones. Still, I doubt HTC will have the same number of exclusives as Nokia.

Since the 620 is a TELUS exclusive, let’s see what else $0 on a 2yr no minimum spend contract gets you as of March 17th, 2013. First off is the HTC One V. While the One V has a nice body, it’s older single-core processor is out-gunned by the 620’s dual core Snapdragon.

The Samsung Galaxy Ace II X is a similar price with a slightly bigger screen but again, it’s out gunned by the 620’s dual core processor.

The last competitor is a very intriguing one. You can get a HTC One X for $0 on a 2yr contract. Presumably, TELUS is clearing them out since they also carry the One X+ and the are getting the One. The One X has got a faster processor, more RAM, a better, bigger screen, a better camera with higher resolution plus LTE support over the 620. In fact, based on its specs, the One X’s competitors include phones like Galaxy S III, Sony Xperia T, Motorola RAZR HD LTE, etc.

Normally, they’re not even competitors. So there, you have it, if you’re looking for a $0 phone on TELUS and am only willing to sign a contract for 2 yrs, get the HTC One X. However, if you can’t find one then the Nokia Lumia 620 is a good choice.

Pros:

  • solid
  • easy to hold
  • screen
  • loud earpiece
  • RF performance
  • strong performance for it's price point

Cons:

  • rough sound quality
  • camera software
  • Windows Phone needs some improvements
 
I think it's also worth pointing out that it has 8GB of internal storage. The 4GB on the 8S is a real problem as you can't install appsto an SD card.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using HowardForums
 
i think it is important to point out how cheap you can buy this phone OFF-contract..
best bang for your buck phone you can get off contract, no doubt
 
The only complain I have for all Windows phone is that it doesn't support WiFi direct feature so you can't connect with a WiFi enabled printer, and also there is no options to print a document or picture from phone via Bluetooth or USB data cable.
 
The only complain I have for all Windows phone is that it doesn't support WiFi direct feature so you can't connect with a WiFi enabled printer, and also there is no options to print a document or picture from phone via Bluetooth or USB data cable.

odd, the 620 was available on Koodo but now it is gone....I guess Telus decided to make it a contract only phone.

620 is simply a wonderful phone, I'd like to see them come in an NA unlocked variant.
 
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