The Good The Nokia Lumia 630 has fun, colorful and interchangeable covers, its Windows Phone 8.1 software is easy to use, and the bundled Nokia accessories are very handy.
The Bad The Windows Phone App Store still rarely gets new apps at the same time as Android or iOS, with a lower resolution screen than the Moto G for a similar price, the camera is not particularly impressive and it doesn’t have 4G.
The Bottom Line The Nokia Lumia 630 is a cheap, bright alternative to Android, and its Windows Phone 8.1 software is easy to use. The app store is still a problem – if you like to get new releases when your Android and iOS friends do, a budget Android phone like the Moto G is still there.
The Motorola Moto G it is undoubtedly a favorite of the budget smartphone world, thanks to its mid-range features and the lowest price. But this is not the only option, especially if you do not get involved in the sometimes complicated way of implementing Android.
If you want a little different but still don’t want to break the bank, take a look at the Nokia Lumia 630. It’s a 4.5-inch phone that has a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 5MP camera and the latest Windows Phone software 8.1, complete with simplified live tile interface. It also has colors bright enough to burn directly through your retina.
You can pick up your phone now in the UK for free, starting at £ 8.50 a month, or a £ 129 SIM card from Nokia. It is available in Australia for AU 249 and will be available in the US shortly. However, its price puts it squarely against the Moto G, but it is a dangerous place. So interesting, bright Windows Phone 8.1 software makes it a decent option?
Neither the 630 nor the Moto G have 4G LTE, though both phones are slightly more expensive Brothers and sisters with LTE 4G support . In the case of Nokia, this is the Lumia 635, which will be available worldwide later this month.
Like most Nokia Lumia phones, the bright colors really highlight the 630. The back cover is formed from a solid piece of plastic that folds around to meet the front glass. You can get the covers of light yellow – with a green tint on the surrounding plastic – a shiny orange and a more delicate matte green. You can also get it in black, but it’s just not fun at all.
The housings are removable, so you can change the color according to your outfit – although I don’t want to see the outfit that matches the light yellow-green color – or just pop a new one when your old one is a little worn. The housings are made of durable plastic, so it certainly seems like it may take a few punches and punches. The approved Gorilla Glass 3 screen should also keep scratches well.
The good work of the back of the phone looks so much fun, because the front is just a regular black glass panel, broken just at the top by a small slider where the speaker sits. It measures 129mm long and 67mm wide, so you can use it in one hand – not like its huge older brother Lumia 1520 . The volume and power buttons are located around the sides, with a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer at the bottom.
Under the back cover is a micro-SIM card slot, a battery (of which I will come later), and a microSD card slot. The latter is an important addition, as the 630 comes with only 8GB of storage. While this is more than enough for Twitter and Facebook applications and saving your snapshots, if you want to save videos locally or download huge apps like Asphalt 8, you’ll quickly run out of space.
The 4.5-inch display has a resolution of 854×480 pixels, giving a pixel density of 218 pixels per inch (ppi). It has the same screen size as the Moto G, but the G has a higher resolution, which gives a much more impressive pixel density of 326 ppi. The Moto G is noticeably clearer, especially when looking at small text.
However, it is at least sharp for your required networking and the large, colorful live tiles that make your Windows Phone 8.1 home screen. It may have a particularly high resolution, but it is bright and has decent colors. Netflix’s “Earth Earth” broadcast didn’t look clear, but less detail-heavy shows like “Adventure Time” looked great.
Windows 8.1 software
It runs on the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1. This latest version of the software offers many new features – including Cortana, the voice assistant for Windows Phone’s Siri competitor – but not all of the new features found in the 630. Cortana, for example, is not available on any 8.1 device in the UK yet.
Two new features you’ll notice soon enough are the ability to set photos as background images and a new drop-down notification bar. Although adding photos as a background helps tweak the home screen a bit, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. The image does not change the black background, but rather makes some icons – for example, email, applications for people and phones – look transparent, the photo is “behind”. If you have mostly third-party apps at the top, and they are not updated with transparent icons, you will not be able to see much of your image.
However, the notification bar is much more useful. This is basically what you will find on Android devices – swipe down from the top of the screen to pull down the panel showing all your notifications (texts, emails, missed calls, etc.) and get quick access to critical settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and screen brightness. This is an extremely useful addition, though one that should have been on board for a long time.
The rest of the interface is almost the same as before – the live scroll is from the home screen, and you can swipe down the list of your apps on the left. It’s easy to understand, and features like the People Center, which brings together all your social networks and email contacts in one place to easily see all the updates, are helpful.
As with previous Lumias, Nokia has created its own software, including Here Maps, Here Drive and Here Transit. Nokia’s mapping software is quite good, and it allows you to download large areas – such as across England – to your phone for offline use. Here Drive gives you a step-by-step satellite navigation, meaning you won’t need to fire TomTom. However, I was having some problems because the app would not download to my phone, although it may have been updated. I was forced to manually download the application from an online store to a microSD card and then download it to my phone. It may just be a one-time mistake, but it’s worth remembering if you have similar issues.
Transit here, meanwhile, gives you a live departure time for local public transport – buses, trains and subways as well if you are in London. You’ll also find onboard Mix Radio Radio Nokia, which allows you to broadcast free music playlists. This is a good thing Nokia has so much stuff to do, because the Windows Phone App Store is still poorly stocked. While big names like Netflix, Spotify, WhatsApp and Instagram are on board, Windows Phone almost always gets apps long after they launch on iOS and Android.
Power and performance
The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It’s the same chip you’ll find on the Motorola Moto G, though the G has 1GB of RAM and the Lumia 630 has 512MB. Microsoft claims that Windows Phone does not need as much RAM as Android to function properly, but I really thought the phone was perfectly capable.
Navigation around the radiant tile was quick, with no noticeable stuttering or slowing. Add-ons are quick to open, though the camera app may be delayed for a few seconds, which can be annoying if you’re trying to catch your pet by doing something particularly sweet.
Still, she coped with more difficult tasks. The glossy 3D racer Asphalt 8 seamlessly played at high frame rates in all but the most intense racing moments, while the streaming video on Netflix and BBC iPlayer was beautifully handled. It may not be the most powerful paper processor in the world, but the fact remains that there aren’t many parties in the Windows Phone Store that would really tax top processors. For most of the tasks you probably ask on your phone, the 630 has enough juice to handle it.
The back of the phone has a 5-megapixel camera – the same amount of megapixels you get from the Moto G. I took it to rotate in a CNET office and found it to produce sufficient results for a budget phone.
My first shot was pretty dark – definitely darker than the area really is – and in the shady areas there is far more image noise. And yet he reached a decent direction.
In my second shot of our pool table, I found again that the camera was wrong enough on the dark side. The Nokia Camera app gives you some manual control over settings such as exposure, shutter speed and white balance, so it’s worth a game if you’re not happy with the auto mode.
I probably need to change the white balance setting in this fruit shot, since the colors in full auto mode are very dramatic and not stunning.
The camera doesn’t really make an impression, but I won’t go so far as to call it horrendous – in reality, this is what you should expect given the price of the phone. It won’t catapult you into the starry light of photography, but as long as you take pictures in well-lit locations and don’t spend time properly using the manual controls, you should be able to make the photos good enough for Facebook. Keep in mind that there is no flash – something you will find on Moto G – you can forget about your friends’ night portraits.
The Lumia 630 runs on a 1.830 mAh battery, which is thought to provide 13 hours of 3G talk time. That’s a pretty decent statement, and from my own testing, I’d say it’s pretty close to the mark. For general use – a little web browsing, social networking, etc. – the phone holds the charge quite well.
In my more demanding cycle video test, the battery dropped to 73 percent in 2 hours and 32 percent in 5 hours, which is not too bad. Of course, you don’t have to worry about eating all the power while watching a movie on a long train. If you’re not too careful about how much battery you’re using, you’ll almost certainly want to charge it overnight.
If you want to squeeze every last bit of juice out of the battery, keep the screen bright, turn off Wi-Fi, and avoid anything heavy on the processor, such as games or streaming video. The battery is removable, so you can always pick up your inventory for transportation in case of emergency.
If you are making your first steps into the smartphone world, the Nokia Lumia 630 is not a bad option. It’s dirt cheap, it has enough power for everything you most likely want to do, and its Windows Phone 8.1 software is easy to understand. Adding Nokia to the software is also a bonus.
The Motorola Moto G might be a good idea, though. It has a higher resolution display for clearer photos and text and its Android software, though a bit trickier, means you can choose from more apps in the Google Play Store. If you want the latest games when yours Galaxy S5 -Already friends get them, Moto G is what you need to go for.