Look and feel
The Nokia Lumia 620 is a small, fun phone very much aimed at a younger market. That said, it is perfectly possible to keep it looking grown-up and respectable, and the curvy body makes it a very comfortable device to use over a long period of time.
Ease of Use
The 620 makes the best use of Windows Phone 8 of any release so far, and the bright, clear screen means that almost everything is not only easy to see, but looks good too.
One of the star attractions here is the suite of Nokia apps, particularly Nokia Music, which makes the 620's 100 decibel speaker and Dolby headphone sound enhancement shine.
Exactly what you expect from something so compact, shiny and curvy. There are no lags to be found and the phone complements the Windows Phone 8 operating system perfectly.
Our one major sticking point. The 620's battery does not impress; staying alive for about a working day with normal use and hanging on for just over three-and-a-half hours when streaming video.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/7/2012 10:08:19 AM
Ease of use
Brilliant sound; Nokia suite of apps; Comfortable to hold; Bright, clear screen; Fast performance
Battery; Poor app selection; OS could be more intuitive
Available with a range of colourful cases, marked up at a low price and a boasting a powerful speaker, the Nokia Lumia 620 is obviously aimed at a younger market, but to label it as a ‘kids’ phone’ is to undermine a very slick product.
The Lumia 620 is Nokia’s most affordable Windows Phone 8 device, but in terms of all-round performance, it might be the best Lumia around today.
Curvy and comfortable
With a design that is apparently based on a cup, the Lumia holds disappointingly little tea, but it is nicely curved and comfortable to hold. At just 127g, it’s just the right weight for a 115x61x11mm device and is nicely balanced. While we haven’t tried dropping it, the compact and powerful 620 seems like it can handle a bit of punishment.
This phone comes with a variety of different-coloured cases available, and Windows Phone 8 allows you to change the look of the OS to match the cover. Each cover snaps on and off easily (getting them off requires pushing the camera lens, which feels weird at first) and it’s only when the case is off, that you realise quite how much tech Nokia has squeezed into that small space.
Taking up the front of that space is a 3.8-inch screen, which is bright and crisp, and despite its size gives remarkable depth. This is largely thanks to Nokia’s ClearBlack display, which produces deep blacks that make everything else pop. Images look great and videos on services like Netflix look fantastic. The 480x800 pixel resolution on such a small screen results in impressive sharpness, and the screen is brilliantly responsive.
Being just 3.8-inches makes the Lumia 620 easy to use one-handed, something of a luxury if you’re like us and used to wrestling with Galaxy S III-sized behemoths. The only time the screen feels a tad too small is when using the keyboard. The native keyboard cannot be customised, and fast typers might find the small keys result in more mistakes than usual. And don’t think that downloading another service such as Swype or SwiftKey or Kii will help either, because the only one available right now is the disappointing also-ran, Slydr. However, you aren’t even allowed to replace the system keyboard. If you want to type using Slydra, the text will need to be copy and pasted into the text/email window. Madness.
The Lumia 620 comes with 8GB of internal storage, and while that might sound like enough, only about half is usable – the rest is already taken up with apps and the gigabyte-hungry Windows Phone 8 OS. Fortunately the phone can handle microSD cards of up to 64GB, which is more than enough for most users. Nonetheless, it’s slightly galling that the 8GB advertised is nothing of the sort – but unfortunately, it’s not a new phenomenon with Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 products.
Also depressingly common is the unsatisfying battery. The Nokia Lumia 920 was troubled by poor battery life, and the same is true of the 620. It’s the smartphone’s biggest failing. We got just over three-and-a-half hours of life when streaming video over Wi-Fi on full brightness. That’s better than HTC’s budget WP8 handset, the 8S, which managed less than three hours, but it’s still not good enough. With normal use (auto brightness, judicious use of Wi-Fi, minimal video streaming) the phone will last a working day. With very careful use, 24 hours is possible, but that's only if it spends most of its time in your pocket. On the other side of the coin, the battery charges very quickly – filling up from empty within 90 minutes.
You might want to use a different plug to the one provided, though. The one in the box has the USB cable inserted into its left side, giving it an unnecessary width that may not be accommodated by your wall socket or extension cable layout.
One problem we regularly encountered involved internal architecture – it’s like the OS designer’s thought process stopped just short of where they should. Not sure what apps are open? Hold the back button for a couple of seconds, and all the open apps will appear as a scrollable window, allowing you to select which app to jump to. But wouldn’t it also make sense to be able to close them from the same place?
Equally frustrating is the inability to access Wi-Fi and other settings by dragging down from the icons at the top of the screen. Changing your settings involves tapping your way into the settings menu, and it’s not as intuitive as it could be.
Nor is the way the Windows Store sends you back to the homepage whenever you download an app. Heaven forbid anyone find more than one app they want to use, because as soon as we clicked ‘install’ we were sent hurtling back to the home screen, only to make the journey to and through the Store once again. Utterly bizarre thinking.
Like all Windows Phone 8 devices, the Lumia 620 suffers somewhat from the Windows Store’s dearth of apps as well as its Orwellian insistence on giving apps access to location data at all times. Being able to delete programs directly from the app menu is a helpful, though.
A dual-core 1GHz processor is backed by 512MB RAM and is more than enough to keep the phone running smoothly, and the Windows Phone 8 experience on the 620 is better than on any other WP8 device we’ve tried to date. The user-friendly layout with its fun animations is a perfect match for this fast, bright phone.
On the side of the phone, you'll find a dedicated camera button that fires up the snapper, has half-press focus, and acts as the shutter. Although the five-megapixel camera isn’t anything to shout about, the Lumia 620 comes packed with a host of cool camera features, including Cinemagraph (half picture, half gif), Lomogram (cool filters) and Smartshoot (combine pics to create the perfect shot). The mid-quality lens backed up by a load of fun features bears out the overall feeling that this is a phone aimed at a younger market.
As does the music offering. We think Nokia Music is a brilliant alternative to services like Spotify, with a very large range of ‘mixes’ on offer, which generates a playlist based on the genre you select. We particularly liked the ‘create a mix’ option, which lets you pick three artists you like who will form the inspiration for a playlist Nokia Music thinks you’ll like. Playing around with it led us to find some cool new bands (Alestorm!), as well as rediscover long-forgotten gems (hello, Witchfinder General).
This small phone’s external speaker kicks out a surprisingly clear 100 decibels, making it louder than the Lumia 820 and hefty Lumia 920. Using headphones provides even more impressive brilliant sound, especially when switching on Dolby. Plugging into the headphone jack gives a satisfying clunk, reassuring when your headphone cable regularly gets caught up in coats, bags and buttons.
With its gutsy speaker, solid build and a range of bright covers, the 620 is clearly aimed at a youth market. However, despite the super-smooth OS experience and glut of features, the lack of apps in the Windows Store will put off a lot of potential customers, and that’s a shame because for its price, this is a very, very good phone.