The first handset to be sold with Windows Phone 8,1, the Lumia 630 is Nokia's latest stab at the sub-£100 market.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/17/2014 2:38:41 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Great build quality.
Poor camera with no flash.
Only 8GB of storage as standard.
Large screen bezels.
An update to the Lumia 620, the 630 is Nokia's latest sub-£100 handset and the first at any price to include Windows Phone 8.1 out-of-the-box. Along with a much-needed notifications centre and quick access to settings through a pull-down drawer (just like iOS and Android), WP8.1 also has Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant. Although not available outside of the US, Cortana will be coming to UK handsets in late June.
Following Nokia’s house style to a tee, the Lumia 630 has a single piece of tough plastic covering its back and sides. The cover is removable - exposing space for your micro SIM, a microSD card to expand storage, and a 1,830mAh battery. It can also be swapped for a different colour cover. Nokia offers the 630 in orange, green, yellow, white and black.
It’s a funny world we live in where a 4.5-inch phone is now considered small, but the 630 fits comfortably in one hand, the upper corners easily reachable without stretching your thumb into some kind of advanced yoga position. The power and volume buttons both fall comfortably within reach. At 9.2mm thick and 134g, this Nokia isn’t the slimmest and lightest phone on the block, but for less than £100 it feels well built and made to last. Slightly tapered edges make the handset fit snugly in your hand.
The Lumia 630’s display has a resolution of 480 x 854 and a pixel density of just 218 per inch. None of these stats will set the world alight, but for £99 we can’t complain - and the bright, bold interface of Windows Phone 8.1 makes a low resolution display harder to criticise when sat next to the HD competition. Colours are strong, the screen is bright enough to read outside, and viewing angles are good but not great; view the phone from above, for example, and everything goes quite pale.
Compared to other sub-£100 handsets, the Nokia can’t quite offer as many pixels. The £89 Motorola Moto E has a 4.3-inch screen and a resolution of 540 x 960, but if Windows Phone on a budget is what you want, the Lumia 630 is what you should get.
Driving that new Windows Phone 8.1 software is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It’s quad-core, clocked at 1.2GHz, has 1GB of RAM and performs admirably. Having to push so few pixels around means the processor never feels out of its depth. Apps open quickly, the user interface is smooth, and the phone feels responsive no matter what you ask of it. Of course, intense 3D gaming isn’t going to be the same as on a Nokia Lumia 1020, but for web browsing, social networking and lighter gaming the budget Nokia is perfect.
The update to Windows Phone 8.1 means Microsoft’s mobile OS finally has a pull-down notification centre - just like Android and iOS - and its Siri-like personal assistant, Cortana, will be coming to the UK this summer.
A non-HD screen and less powerful processor have benefits when it comes to battery life, as we found the Lumia 630 would last two full days of average use without cause for concern - something we can’t say of more powerful smartphones.
The 5-megapixel camera is a letdown though, as it doesn’t have a flash and really struggles in anything but bright, natural light. Photos taken indoors, even on a sunny day, came out blurred and grainy. Selfie-lowers will also be disappointed by the lack of a front-facing shooter.
A compact and well-made smartphone with Nokia’s famous good looks, Microsoft’s latest software, a decent screen, competent processor and good battery life, the Lumia 630 is a lot of phone for £99.
The camera isn’t much use indoors, but the speedy software, removeable battery, interchangeable covers and microSD card for expanding storage by up to 128GB make up for its photographic failings. It’s the perfect handset for those who want Windows Phone on a budget.