I have just come to the end of a two week trial with the Nokia Lumia 625 from the great guys at Nokia Connects. You may have seen my hands on video which I posted a few days ago, and while that was more a look at the 625 this is my review of it.
Specs Can Be Deceiving
On paper the Nokia Lumia 625 may not seem too interesting a smartphone, but in the hand there is something very alluring about it. It runs Windows Phone 8, and comes with Nokia’s flavour of the GDR2 update, Amber already installed on it. Being a 600 range it may not be a surprise that it has the lower specification of 512mb of RAM and a slightly slower processor than that found in the top end Lumia’s like the 1020 and 925. 1.2ghz dual core rather than 1.5ghz.
The headline feature on the Lumia 625 is the screen size. 4.7 inches. 0.2 inches larger than what we have so far seen on a Nokia smartphone. Now I had a presupposition that it’s resolution, 480×800 would let it down. Using the Lumia 920 on a regular basis, which has a screen with a 331 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) count, I thought the 625, which weighs in at 199 PPI, would be horribly blocky and pixelated. As it happens, I was wrong. Holding the Lumia 625 at arms length, where you’d normally hold it, you can’t see the pixels. Held a few inches from your face, then yes, they are visible. But I was honestly surprised how unaffected I was by the lower resolution.
One area where the screen does let itself down, compared to the Lumia 920 at least, is brightness. Clear Black Display, Nokia’s impressive technology which makes the blacks super deep, is lacking from the 625. While this is noticeable, it is far from a show stopper.
Great Build, Great Body
Considering the Lumia 625 is a lower end Windows Phone, the design of this phone really appeals to me. It feels great in the hand. It is a much lighter device than the Lumia 920 with which I am more familiar (it has been my main device for the last 8 months). Prior to this trial, I had a fortnight with the Lumia 925, which has received widespread applaud for its build quality. For one reason or another I preferred the Lumia 920’s design to the 925, and was glad to get back to my trusty 920 after that trial. But that wasn’t the case with 625. Whether I would rank it above the 920 in terms of looks, I’m not sure, but I would rank it above the 925. This is just my personal preferences of course.
One feature which stands out as well designed is the bezel around the screen. Particularly at the bottom, between screen and the Windows Phone capacitive buttons. On the 920, and the 800 before it there is a good centimetre of wasted space (although it may hold important hardware behind it). On the 625 (and 925 and 900 for that matter) there is no wasted black bars. While we are on the subject of these buttons, for some reason they do not light up on the 625. In the time I was using it I did not miss the illumination of the Home, Back or Search buttons.
As you might expect from the price of the device, it doesn’t have the best camera available, but I believe that the shooter found on the 625 is good enough for what most smartphone users will want. In comparison to cameras found on other mobiles at this price range, it is at the higher end.
Unfortunately Nokia’s brilliant Pro Cam app isn’t available on the 625, but other apps like Creative Studio and Smart Cam are there.
I am not the greatest expert on cameras, be it on smartphones or not, so I will leave you with some of the picture I took on the Lumia 625 and let you judge for yourself.
I was impressed with detail of this close up shot.
This shot in bright daylight came out very well, and I was pleased with clear image produced by the Lumia 625.
Bright colours are captured well, another good shot for the Lumia 625. What is an advantage in these three pictures is the good sunlight on offer.
Unfortunately in lower light the Lumia 625 camera doesn’t perform quite as well. Originally, the street was fairly well lit, while this picture appears almost black and white.
I enjoyed my time with the Nokia Lumia 625 more than I thought I would. When you use something like the 920 you might, like me have a preconceived idea that the lower end phones Windows Phones won’t meet all your needs. But in the case of the Lumia 625, which is the only “lower end” Windows phone I have yet used, it does. If you need the front facing camera, it has one, above 4 inch screen, it has one, an SD card slot, it has one, a fast, smooth operating system, it certainly has that too. The battery life is ever so good, even on days of heavy usage it would get me through my work day, something the 920 doesn’t always manage.
I came away from my two weeks with the Lumia 625 sorry to be returning it to Nokia Connects. I have come to the opinion that if I was looking at buying a device to use as my main phone, I could certainly live with, and be happy with the Lumia 625.
Of course no review is complete without a few negatives, so I will finish this review with a Good Points and Bad Points section.
Battery life, build quality, design, feel in the hand, huge screen, no lag.
Brightness is a bit murky, the occasional app isn’t compatible, no Double Tap to Wake, no Glance Screen.
It seems wrong ending a review of a phone which I enjoyed using so much on negative points, but those which I have mentioned didn’t bother me much at all. I am of course a big fan of Nokia, and the Windows Phone operating system, so I would be interested to hear your view on any part of this review, or of the 625 itself. I would also like to extend huge gratitude to Nokia Connects for the loan of the Lumia 625.