The new Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system has been generally well received, but the first handsets to be released were all positioned near the top end of the market. With the launch of the Nokia Lumia 620, Windows Phone 8 has suddenly become much more affordable.
A mid-range Lumia smartphone
The Lumia 620 is priced in the mid-range and is a compact smartphone with typical mid-range features. The first thing that strikes you is that its screen is really quite small. At 3.8 inches, it’s smaller than many Android smartphones at the same price range. The resolution of 480 x 800 pixels is quite reasonable, but the phone does little to excite you at first glance.
The 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM are nothing out of the ordinary either, although they are quite adequate for this type of phone. You shouldn’t notice any performance problems unless you overload the device with the most demanding apps.
Camera & video
The 5 megapixel camera isn’t going to feature in any headlines either, although since it has autofocus and a flash, it will satisfy casual snappers. A dedicated camera button makes photography simple, which is exactly how camera phones should be. Sharing is easy too, with a simple option to upload to Facebook. The camera can switch to HD video recording with a single touch, and a secondary front camera means that you can make video calls from the phone.
The Lumia 620 comes with plenty of memory. The built-in memory is generous, at 8GB, and you can easily and cheaply expand this by another 64GB by adding a microSD memory card.
Windows Phone 8
Mid-range phones are less about specs and more about getting the job done. That means that the operating system matters just as much as the hardware. Windows Phone 8 feels like a very modern operating system. Its bright colourful home screen puts everything within easy reach, and the Live Tiles constantly update with fresh information. New users will find the OS very easy to learn, and experienced users will appreciate the lack of swiping between different home screens, and the way that the Live Tiles bring together all the data you need.
It has to be said that Windows Phone 8 lacks the wealth of apps available to iPhone and Android users, so it won’t suit everyone. But the built-in apps are powerful and include Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens, MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), Internet Explorer, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Perhaps the phone will have most appeal to people who prefer to spend less time fiddling with downloads and more time working productively.
The 620 isn’t a 4G phones like the more expensive Lumia 820 and 920, but it supports 3G HSPA. It also has support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC wireless connectivity, as well as USB and a 3.5mm headphone socket.
The Lumia 620 has a fairly modest battery. Rated at 1300mAh, it’s typical for a smartphone of this price and type. Considering the relatively small screen size and modest processor speed, the battery doesn’t seem to be particularly under-sized, but it would have been nicer if Nokia could have included something larger.
The Lumia 620 is a good choice for someone who’s upgrading from an older Lumia phone. It’s also a good option for someone new to smartphones, or who finds that they are not power users. There are no particular disadvantages of this model, and it seems to be an all-round solid performer.