Nokia Lumia 620 - A Cheap And Colorful Smartphone

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The Lumia 620 is one of Nokia's cheapest Windows Phone 8 smartphones at $300 for a SIM-free package. Like the more expensive Lumia 820 (see our review, Issue 388), the 620 has a removable shell so you can swap it for another one. The glossy shells are available in a variety of vivid colors at around $21 each, but they make the 620 chunkier than phones with designs you can't customize.

The Lumia 620 is still comfortable to hold though, and it's not nearly as heavy or as wide as the most expensive Lumia, the 920. This is due in part to the sensibly sized 3.8in screen. Some people like phones with large screens, but we much prefer the 620's smaller display - it's far more comfortable to hold and use with one hand. The phone is also sturdy, although one design flaw is the placement of the volume buttons, which are a little too high to be easily pressed.

Nokia Lumia 620 - A Cheap And Colorful Smartphone

Nokia Lumia 620 - A Cheap And Colorful Smartphone

As expected for a budget Windows Phone 8 handset, the 620's screen has a resolution of 800x480 pixels. Other phones have crisper, higher-resolution screens but these are more expensive. The 620's display is good enough with bright colors and reasonably sharp text. Removing the shell and the battery gives easy access to the micro SIM and micro SD memory card slots. Inserting and removing cards is a little fussy, but this isn't a big problem as you won't need to do it too often. The micro SD slot is handy if you want to store lots of apps and media files because the built-in 8GB of storage can fill up very quickly    

Although the selection of Windows Phone apps is much smaller than those on iOS and Android, it is improving. Spotify is a one big-name app available, but others, such as Dropbox are absent. Nokia has provided its own apps, including Nokia Maps, which we found to be slightly better than Microsoft's Bing Maps app at both locating addresses and calculating routes.     

As expected for a budget Windows Phone 8 handset, the 620's screen has a resolution of 800x480 pixels

As expected for a budget Windows Phone 8 handset, the 620's screen has a resolution of 800x480 pixels

However, Nokia's apps become surprisingly sluggish when other apps run in the background. We suspect this problem is specific to Nokia's apps, as other apps ran without a problem on the 620's dual core 1GHz processor. The Lumia 620's web browser (Internet Explorer) is also a bit glitchy. It struggled to keep more than a handful of tabs open simultaneously without having to reload webpages. We suspect this poor performance was due to the relatively meager 512MB of memory, which will also prevent the 620 from running demanding apps in the future.

On the Vodafone SG network in central London, callers reported that our voices sounded clear and crisp with background noise effectively filtered out. However, voices through the built-in earpiece sounded distorted, especially when the volume was turned up. Battery life was good though, lasting just under 24 hours when used for a mixture of phone calls, web browsing and navigating by GPS. The GPS was occasionally slow at loading on to our position compared to other phones. This occurred whether we were using Bing Maps or Nokia Maps.           

Overall, the Nokia Lumia 620 is a good, affordable Windows Phone 8 handset

Photos taken in bright sunlight using the five megapixel camera had accurate-looking colors, but over-aggressive attempts at reducing noise meant finer details often looked fuzzy. As expected, photos taken in low light were far too blurry and smeared to be usable. Overall, the Nokia Lumia 620 is a good, affordable Windows Phone 8 handset. Its brightly colored, removable shells and larger amount of built-in storage give it the edge over the otherwise very similar HTC Windows Phone8S        

Nokia's apps would be a boon if it wasn't for their poor performance. As it is, the Huawei Ascend W1 is even Better value- it's similar to the 620 but has longer battery life and is cheaper.

Our verdict

A good budget smartphone, especially if you like colorful shells, but cheaper, better alternatives are available

Key points

Colorful, removable shells • Sluggish Nokia apps • Flawed camera • Decent battery life • Memory card slot

Best price online


Price: $300


Huawei Ascend W1

Price: $195

A great-value Windows Phone 8 handset that matches the Lumia 620 and is $105 cheaper


·         Main camera sensor: 5 MP

·         Display size: 3.8''

·         Processor name: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4

·         Maximum 3G talk time: 9.9h

·         Maximum 3G standby time: 330h

·         Music playback time: 61h


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