Nokia Lumia 625 in-depth review - The cheapest 4G phone to hit the UK also packs some great Nokia features

Look and feel

Nokia’s Lumia 625 is a return to bright and fun design after the sleek silver Lumia 925. We love the vibrant changeable covers and the curvy body, which is solid and hefty enough to give the Lumia 625 a quality finish.

 

Ease of Use

The Lumia 625’s spacious screen is a good size for one-handed use, without making web browsing and other tasks a chore.

 

Features

You might not get NFC support, but Nokia has crammed in 4G support for an incredible price. The five-megapixel camera is great for everyday use, with a flash and Nokia’s Smart Camera app for taking funky action shots. Nokia has also included its usual thoughtful services such as Drive and Music.

 

Performance

A dual-core processor provides all the power the Lumia 625 needs. Games, apps and media prove no problem.

 

Battery life

The Nokia Lumia 625 enjoys reasonable battery life, with all-day use more than possible. You can stream movies for an above-average six hours on a full charge.

 Nokia Lumia 625 Review - The cheapest 4G phone to hit the UK also packs some great Nokia features
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,8/20/2013 10:06:03 AM

8

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

9

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

4G support at a great price; Decent budget camera; Respectable battery life; Bright, spacious screen

Cons:

Lack of apps; No NFC

We’ve got to admit we’re getting a little confused by Nokia’s collection of Lumia smartphones, which seems to grow every month. The Lumia 620 was one of its most affordable Windows mobiles with a dinky 3.8-inch screen and basic features, but this follow-up, the Lumia 625, has expanded to pack a spacious 4.7-inch screen and adds 4G support. Thankfully the Lumia 625 still boasts a wallet-friendly price (£179 pre-pay to be precise), which makes it the most affordable 4G mobile to hit the UK – always a bonus when the contracts cost you an eye-watering £26+ a month.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

So, if you fancy jumping on board the 4G bandwagon, will the Lumia 625 suit you or should you up your budget to a mid-range 4G phone such as the Huawei Ascend P2 LTE or the Sony Xperia SP?

 

 

Nokia Lumia 625: Design

 

After the sleek silver chassis of the Lumia 925, Nokia has returned to its more vibrant, chunky, fun fare with the Lumia 625. The colourful outer shell can be quickly popped off (once you’ve got the knack) and replaced with one of five different plates: orange, green, yellow, white and black are all available at launch. It’s a simple idea but a great way to refresh your phone’s look when the need grips you. We’d recommend the coloured options as the white and black models are a little dull in comparison.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

Build quality is solid as usual, and the chunky body can take a fair beating without grumbling. Some members of the Lumia family are a little on the hefty side, such as the near-200g Lumia 920 (a formidable wrist-cracker), but the Lumia 625 is only a little chunky at 9.15mm and perfectly manageable with a 159g weight. We found it easy to use one-handed and that weight lends a quality feel to the overall design.

 

 

Nokia Lumia 625: Media

 

That 4.7-inch screen is one of the biggest found on Nokia’s Lumia smartphones, great news for anyone hoping to stream video using their super-speedy 4G connection. The 800 x 480 resolution gives a 201ppi density, which is good considering the price. Movies look sharp enough to enjoy on a long journey, and we found that text was readable even on zoomed-out websites.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

Although the screen isn't quite as rich and vibrant as the coverings, we didn’t find that colours were dull or lifeless. Crank up the brightness and you’ll be able to read emails and texts even under strong sunlight, while viewing angles are wide enough to share a video or other bits with a friend, without having to cram your heads together. The rear speaker is reasonably powerful although as you’d expect from a budget blower, quality isn’t great. On top volume there’s a fair bit of distortion, so you’re best off sticking to earphones.

 

We were happy with the battery life of the Lumia 625 too. You’ll get roughly six hours of movie playback before it putters out, and you should comfortably get a day of use unless you spend the whole time blitzing your 4G connection.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

Nokia Lumia 625: Camera

A five-megapixel lens adorns the back and can be quickly loaded by holding down the physical shutter button on the right edge of the phone. As you’d expect from Nokia, who invests a lot in its smartphone cameras, it’s another strongly capable budget effort that produces good quality photographs. A built-in auto-focus keeps your subject sharp and you can also manually focus with a tap of the screen, for crisp and detailed up-close shots. There’s an LED flash for evening shots.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

This camera may lack Nokia’s PureView technology, typically only found on the premium Lumias, but the Lumia 625 is the first lower-end Nokia smartphone to pack Nokia Smart Camera. This nifty feature takes seven shots in quick succession and combines them to create dramatic action shots, remove unwanted background distractions, or simply sift out the best photo for keeps. A front-facing VGA lens is also available for chatting online.

 

Nokia Lumia 625: Other features

Nokia has always added extra value to its Windows Phone devices, with a great range of Here apps and other services. Nokia Music is once again on board, a free-to-use streaming service that allows you to enjoy various mixes covering a range of genres. You can even download four of your favourite for offline use, a great little bonus. Here Maps also makes a welcome return, offering a much better navigational experience than the woeful Windows Phone/Bing maps effort, alongside Here Drive for car owners.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

Unfortunately you do lose NFC support, which means you can’t connect to Nokia’s range of NFC-enabled devices, such as the wireless charging pad and the speaker dock. There’s also no Nokia City Lens, which we've seen on recent devices. Still, the fact that Nokia has included 4G support is fantastic for this price point, and that should prove a huge draw for anyone who craves the uber-fast data speeds but can’t afford the latest Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One.

 

Every time we review a Windows Phone mobile we sadly have to bring up the Market app store, and point out how it’s still badly trailing Apple and Android’s efforts. It’s steadily improving but the selection of apps and games, as well as media, is still woeful. A lot of the supposedly premium apps seem rushed or a shadow of their iOS/Android brethren too – for instance, the official YouTube app refused to display any videos during our test session, conking out every time with a ‘something happened, we’re not sure what’ message.

 

Nokia Lumia 625 review


Nokia Lumia 625: The verdict

Nokia’s Lumia 625 offers fast 4G connectivity at a tremendous price, but that isn’t the only thing this smartphone’s got going for it. A capable five-megapixel camera, bright and spacious 4.7-inch screen and colourful design all make the Lumia 625 an appealing great-value Windows Phone mobile with the usual Nokia bonus features.