Microsoft Lumia 650 in-depth review - Juddering Windows

There is no searing fluorescent colour in sight and the build quality has been streamlined to make it look like every other phone out there. But apart from the build, there is nothing on the Lumia 650 to write home about...

 Microsoft Lumia 650 Review - Juddering Windows

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,3/23/2016 12:59:37 PM


out of 10



out of 5

Look and feel


out of 5

Ease of use


out of 5



out of 5

Battery life


Slim-line form factor | good display | value handset


Super-laggy processor | small battery size | underwhelming camera

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

Microsoft have finally ditched the cheap and cheerful look that we came to associate with the Lumia range and the Lumia 650 is the first to sport a metal trim around it. Microsoft are aiming business users with this handset and I am taking a look at the specs, features and suitability for business use in my review here.

Microsoft Lumia 650: Look and feel

Microsoft score a 5/5 for getting the looks right on the Lumia 650. Not only is it super-slim (6.9mm) with a beautiful aluminium trim and chamfered edges, but the slim form factor is matched by its super light weight at only 122g.  

It is all very pleasing and business-like... No business user would want to pull out a bright orange or green phone out of their pocket following a meeting but it is also a bit sad that one of the most iconic looking phones has been killed off. 

The back plate is removable so you are able to swap batteries if you need to and there is a microSD card tray under the hood alongside the SIM tray. 

Microsoft Lumia 650: Windows 10 and business use

The Lumia 650 ships with Windows 10 Mobile onboard and includes all of the fantastic Microsoft Office software onboard. The phone further comes with a Maps app- handy to get to meetings and Groove Music that will let you copy music off your PC. 

However, the phone lacks the most crucial and most feted feature of them all Continuum. Continuum helps the user hand off emails, spreadsheets and everything else seamlessly from phone to PC to screen using a dock which connects to high-end Lumia devices like the 950 and 950XL. However, there is no USB-C type connection possible because the 650 charges off a microUSB port and the lack of it makes this a toothless tiger.

Microsoft Lumia 650: Processor and battery

Somewhat bizarrely, the 650 runs one of the lowest spec Qualcomm processors that I have seen on phones in recent history. In a day and age where you get octa-core processors with atleast a Snapdragon 620 on board for as little as £150, the Lumia 650 sports a Snapdragon 212. 

With the 1GB RAM, this is one of the most frustratingly slow phones I have had to deal with in a long time. Laggy, slow and cumbursome, you will be lucky to play anything more taxing than Hill Climb Racing.

Microsoft want business users to embrace this device but given that most business users would need to atleast use Word or Excel at some point and (god forbid) PowerPoit, they will be left scratching their heads... a bit like me when the phone took an age and a half to fire up the camera and almost a decade to open  Cortana.

Just to give you an idea of how laggy the processor is, a very basic game like Hill Climb Racing which you would have been able to set up in a jiffy took a very long time to set up. Screens took long, and when I tried to touch the button several times, the phone just became unresponsive. Needless to add, I gave up after the first three tries.

The Lumia 650 further comes with a good amount of bloat- a take away app, Audible and Amazon as well as the utterly ridiculous Daily Mail Online app. If Microsoft have been reduced to not even vetting the apps they have on their devices, then more fool them!

Battery life was okay and is good enough for a day's work- if you don't aim the phone towards a wall before then!

Microsoft Lumia 650: Verdict

Unless you are a Windows super-fan steer clear of this phone. Microsoft make a big play about this being aimed at business users, but without the Continuum feature, this is just another cheap phone that will, in every liklihood, get overlooked because of Windows Mobile. The final nail in the 650's coffin is the frankly rubbish processor, which will make sure it falls down even before you have loaded up Candy Crush.

If you have been handed this phone by work, do them and yourself a favour and return it. There are plenty of really fantastic options out there under £150 that will do all your work for you and more. Life is tough enough, you dont need a Lumia 650 to wreck havoc on your blood pressure.

Microsoft Lumia 650 specifications

Price: £150

Operating System: Windows Mobile 10

Dimensions: 142x70.9x6.9 mm

Weight: 122g

Resolution: 1280x720; 297ppi

Display: 5-inch, HD OLED display

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon 212 processor quad-core 1300Mhz 1GB RAM

Camera: 8-MP primary camera; 5-MP wide-angle front-facing camera. 

Memory: 16 GB internal storage; 
Expandable storage upto 200GB via MicroSD slot

Battery: 2000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: No

Misc: LTE, Gorilla Glass display. Aluminium frame. Removable battery