If Nokia does one thing right, it’s creating budget handsets with some seriously cool features. Following on from the Lumia 620, the Nokia Lumia 625 is a 4G handset at a seriously low price point. You can now pick one of these handsets up for around £120.
The Nokia Lumia 630 and 635 are coming in the next couple of months so the Lumia 625 is sure to drop off in price in the next few months. Ready for that price drop, let’s have an in-depth look at the Lumia 620’s successor.
Design and build
Nokia on a budget aims for one very specific kind of design feature: customisability. Nokia offers a bunch of removable back covers which allow you to switch and change depending on...well when you can be bothered. In reality, most consumers are likely to buy one and stick with it, but it’s nice not to be held down to one coloured design like with most other handsets. The back covers come off with quite some ease so if you did want to buy the whole range of colours and switch them depending on your mood or outfit, it’d be totally possible.
These are available in green, yellow and red. This vibrant colourful design isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste so you can also secure a cover in white or black if you want something a bit more conventional. For the purpose of this review we had the white cover which is a little bit translucent around the ports. Underneath the cover sits your micro-SD slot, micro-SIM tray and that 2000 mAh battery. It’s a shame the micro-SD slot is covered but it’s not difficult to remove the back cover.
The phone sits nicely in the hand with a 4.7-inch display, the perfect size for your thumb to reach all areas of the screen.
You’ve got your standard micro-USB port sat at the bottom making it easy to use when charging or connecting to your computer, and the headphone jack sits up the top left, keeping headphones out of the way when you use the phone. Other than that there’s the front facing camera on the top right of the display which we’ll talk about more later.
The volume rocker, power button and camera button all sit along the right hand side of the handset while the left is clear of buttons entirely. The power and volume buttons especially are in the perfect position for me, a right-handed user, but it could be a little fiddly when using your left.
The Lumia 625's 4.7-inch screen is an IPS LCD panel with a WVGA 800x480 pixel resolution. Because the display is larger than the Lumia 620's while the resolution has remained the same, the pixel density has dropped from 245 pixels-per-inch (ppi) to 199ppi.
That's enough for a noticeable step down in display quality, which gives the handset an even more budget feel than it deserves. Text on websites suffers, you need to zoom in fully to be able to make out text due the blurry overall look of the screen. It's a real shame as a better display would have improved the overall experience of the phone entirely, there was no need to up the screen size if Nokia couldn't make the pixel resolution follow suit.
Then in terms of colour, it’s not particularly stunning either. The Lumia 625’s colour range really doesn’t compare to many other Lumia devices so don’t expect any stunning YouTube videos on it.
Here we are again, Windows Phone 8. You know the deal, opinion on the operating system is split on the web and here at Know Your Mobile.
Naturally the Lumia 625 has the same setup as Nokia's other Windows Phone devices. With the latest Windows Phone build that means you get an extra column of Live Tiles to fill the larger expanse of screen real estate.
As before, you can resize the Live Tiles between small, medium and large, and that means you can cram more apps onto the page than ever before.
If you’re a fan of the Windows Phone interface there won’t be any shock surprises here. If you’re switching from Android or iOS operating systems you’ll notice the lack of apps in the Windows Phone store. Nokia's own suite of apps is very well implemented, including HERE Maps and Nokia Music, and apart from this the ecosystem is expanding, however, some of your favourites may still be noticeably missing.
Storage, connectivity and web
There's more than enough memory on the Lumia 625, as long as you get MicroSD cards involved. Internal storage gives you 8GB, probably enough for the average casual user that this phone is aiming at. If you’re a little less frugal with your photos, music and videos you’ll need to add in a MicroSD which can give you up to another 64GB, amounting to 72GB overall. More than enough to store all the films the battery life will allow you to watch.
Then there’s the big one, the Nokia Lumia 625 comes with 4G connectivity. As long as you can get your hands on 4G connectivity through your provider it’ll mean you get some super-fast internet data on the move. 4G performance on the Lumia 625 is fast and makes loading web pages a breeze. It’s good to see what was once high-end technology filter its way down to the lower priced, budget handsets, though you may still pay a premium for the data package itself.
Many other Nokia devices are really pushing the imaging side of smartphones. The Lumia 625 isn’t here to rival the 1520 or 1020, but there’s still some impressive snapping to be had.
On the back there’s a 5MP camera with autofocus and an LED flash which can net you some good quality images. No-one should be buying the Nokia Lumia 625 specifically for the camera, but on the odd occasion you do want to jump in and take a snap to send to your friends it’ll do the job well enough.
The front facing snapper at the top of the handset is a VGA camera. Again it’s not going to set the world on fire but it’s perfect for those selfies you just need to take, or the odd Skype chat.
Nokia has been thoughtful enough to upgrade the battery substantially for the Lumia 625. One of the main criticisms in our review of the Nokia Lumia 620 was the poor battery life. This time around there’s a 2,000mAh battery compared to the predecessors 1,300mAh.
We put the phone through a video test with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Essentially we make sure all the major connectivity options are on (Wi-Fi, mobile data), the display is on full brightness and the phone is at full charge to see how far it'll get through the movie and what damage it'll do to the battery. The movie comes in at 182 minutes and by the end it still had 64% battery life left. That's pretty good by flagship standards, let alone a budget handset.
If you’re careful with how you spend your battery life you should be able to last way over a full day on one charge.
If you’re looking for a 4G enabled phone on a budget, Nokia’s Lumia 625 is the way to go. It brings about super-fast internet alongside everything else you need from a basic smartphone for just a smidgen over the £100 mark.
Nokia has definitely improved the Lumia 620 with a bigger battery and the addition of 4G. The real let-down is the display which didn’t really need the extra few millimetres and the loss of image quality is quite a price to pay. If Nokia really wanted to extend the screen size, why not up the resolution? It really lets the handset down as a whole.
Hopefully Nokia sorts out the display ready for the release of the Nokia Lumia 630.