Review: Nokia Lumia 620

Remember when Nokia said you could personalise your phone with colourful covers that really represented who you were?

We’re showing our age here, and we haven’t really seen that in a phone since the Finnish brand made pre-smartphone devices like the 5110, 6110, 3310, and 8210. Still, it’s bringing the idea back in a new smartphone that not only delivers a colourful operating system, but a way of making the cases match.

Features

A new entrant in Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 line, the Lumia 620 aims to bring the easy contrasty look of the new Windows Phone operating system to a $329 price point, unlocked and outright.

Starting with the touchscreen, the Lumia 620 includes a 3.8 inch display, with the resolution set to the older standard for Windows Phone, 480×800. With that specific size and resolution, the clarity of the display is measured at roughly 246 pixels per inch, about 80ppi lower than that of the Apple iPhone 4, 4S, and 5.

Windows Phone 8 is obviously the operating system used here, but in the handset, Nokia has equipped a 1GHz dual-core processor, as well as an Adreno 305 graphics chip.

Less than one gigabyte of memory has been included here, with the Lumia 620 running only 512MB to keep the system smooth, while included storage for your own things – music, movies, pictures, documents, and apps – is set to 8GB, with a microSD slot included for expanding that considerably.

Wireless connectivity is unsurprisingly included here, and while Nokia has made the Lumia 620 to be a budget handset, you will find a GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, Near-Field Communication, and 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi. The mobile internet connection isn’t one of the 4G LTE ones seen on the Nokia Lumia 920, but it should support roughly 21Mbps max over standard 3G networks.

You can’t expect a phone without a camera these days, and here in the mid-range Lumia 620, there are two, with a 5 megapixel camera on the back capable of recording 720p HD video, while the front features a VGA camera for low-resolution selfies and video chat.

Ports are about as limited as buttons, and interestingly, there are more of the latter than the former in this phone. For ports, you’ll find only a microUSB port at the bottom for charging and transferring data, while a 3.5mm headset jack sits up top.

Buttons, on the other hand, are all along the right edge, with a volume rocket, power button, and the dedicated camera button being kept in there. The front of the handset also features buttons, but they’re all soft and lack tactile feedback, with the back, Windows Start, and search button all left there as part of the typical Windows Phone template.

Also included in this handset is a slightly different part of the design, which allows you to push against the camera from behind and separate the smartphone from the case, changing it with other external case colours that can be acquired from other merchants.

A 1300mAh battery is also included.

Performance

Arriving as an almost budget phone, the Lumia 620 fits in the “expensive” end of the budget spectrum, resulting in a device that costs just a hair more than $300.

The handset is a little smaller than the ones we’ve reviewed over the past few months, and if you haven’t been a big fan of the big screens making their way out on handsets, you’ll appreciate the once regular 3.8 inch screen size, which makes the handset feel like the old iPhone 3G/3GS in size.

Plastic is the main material here, and that’s evident from the design, though depending on the case you go for – more on that later – can get a little slippery. It’s not the same type of plastic as we saw on the Lumia 920, which uses a unibody block of polycarbonate that feels like one whole unit, though. Here, it’s a different grade of plastic where the electronics can be pushed out.

The Lumia 620 next to the Lumia 920

Like the Lumia 920, though, this handset featured a soft curve design that flows into the hand, and while it can be too glossy for its own good, is easy to hold, especially with smaller hands.

Windows Phone 8 is just as easy to use as it ever has been, and while this obviously isn’t a top-end phone, there isn’t much of a degrade in performance here.

There were a few hiccups in speed switching to and from apps, but nothing seriously detrimental to the experience of using the phone.

Battery life comes to... a day and a half.

Battery life proved to be decent too, though that’s unsurprising given that we’re often able to get through a day or two of life with devices running on Windows Phone.

In this handset, we managed just around a day and a half before we felt we should plug it in for a charge, and that was while surfing the web, making calls, listening to music, checking emails, and the regular run of social networking applications.

And the inclusion of Near-Field Communication helps you connect wireless devices quickly and easily, which is something we don’t normally see on smartphones below the $500 mark.

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