Nokia Lumia 630 review

Disclaimer: Information contained within this article represents my own opinions and is a result of personal experiences with the hardware and software. Some images in this article are copyrighted by Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy.

Update: Offline maps can be stored on the SD card. Look at the Storage section for the updated information.

After a unfortunate series of events which led me to loose my Lumia 520 phone in Barcelona earlier this year, I needed to get a new one. Luckily, Lumia 630 just came to market at that time in Germany. Lumia 520 was a great phone for a price – you just don’t get more smartphone for 99 €. However, I had to carry two phones all the time – a business phone (Lumia 1020) and a private phone (Lumia 520). Although it was unfortunate to loose a phone, now I am a kind of happy it happened.

Nokia-Lumia-630-hero-jpg

Nokia Lumia 630. Image © Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy

Nokia Lumia 630 is a first Windows Phone which features double SIM and for me personally, it is a killer feature. Let’s take a look on main specs:

  • CPU: Snapdragon 400, Quad-core 1.2GHz
  • Display: 4,5 ” FWVGA (854 x 480), Gorilla Corning Glass 3 ClearBlack, IPS LCD
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 8 GB, extensible via microSD card (up to 128 GB)
  • Camera: 5 MP, without flashlight
  • Battery capacity: 1830 mAh
  • Maximum talk time (UMTS/3G): 13,1 hours
  • SIM card type: micro SIM
  • Dual SIM: yes
  • Operating System: Windows Phone 8.1
  • Firmware: Nokia Cyan

Detailed technical specifications can be found under
http://www.nokia.com/us-en/phones/phone/lumia630/specifications/

Package

If you expected to see a lot of things delivered in Nokia Lumia 630 package, I have to dissapoint you. The package is rather small and contains only following:

  • Nokia Lumia 630 phone
  • Nokia AC-20E (750 mA) charger
  • Quick start guide

Lumia630_package

Nokia Lumia 630 package

Headphones are not delivered with the phone so you will need to buy them separately. Fortunately, original Nokia Headset WH-208 (the one delivered with Lumia 1020) costs around 10 € on Amazon: http://www.amazon.de/Original-Nokia-Headset-Ohrh%C3%B6rer-Kopfh%C3%B6rer/dp/B00B3TWVJ0/ref=sr_1_3

Design

Now a bit about my personal impressions. First of all, it is a really nice looking phone. It features soft keys so when it is turned off it kind of reminds of an iPhone. I personally don’t see it as a drawback but I did have a mixed feelings for a day or two. I bought a black one but the cover itself can be changed (and obtained separately in different colors, currently running at a price of 15 € per cover on Amazon or eBay).

Nokia-Lumia-630-hero2

Nokia Lumia 630. Image © Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy

Operating system

Nokia Lumia 630 is a first smartphone which runs on Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. Some of great new features of the new operating system are:

  • Notification / Action center
  • Cortana (personal voice assistant, currently available only in US)
  • Word flow keyboard
  • Support for a much wider range of hardware (Qualcomm reference design)
  • Better support for SD cards
  • Better support for enterprise use cases (encryption, S/MIME, VPN, etc)
  • Start screen wallpaper
  • Improved battery saver
  • Improved calendar
  • Improved Store

I won’t be detailing much about Windows Phone 8.1 at this point. You can read a great OS review on Engadget in article Windows Phone 8.1 review: Microsoft’s mobile OS finally feels whole http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/14/windows-phone-8-1/

CPU

Lumia 630 rocks Snapdragon 400, a quad core CPU running at 1.2 GHz. And that’s something that you can immediately notice. It is a huge difference as compared to Lumia 520 which is running on Snapdragon S4, a dual core 1 GHz CPU. User experience was good on Lumia 520 but some apps were a bit slower. I haven’t notice any lags or performance problems on Lumia 630, although I use it very intensively.

Memory

At first I had my concerns about devices with 512 MB RAM. By using Lumia 520 and now Lumia 630 I realized that almost all apps are running on the device. All About Windows Phone, a community website formed around Microsoft’s mobile OS, has done a bit of digging recently and they have tracked how many Windows Phone apps are incompatible with 512MB devices. And numbers are encouraging – of 150,000 apps in the Windows Phone 8 Store and out of those, only 331 are incompatible with low-end handsets. That means a 99.76% compatibility rate (as of July 19th, 2013).

Storage

Moving on to the storage. Lumia 630 comes with 8 GB of storage. Luckily, this can be extended via a microSD card. Currently, the largest one on the market is SanDisk Ultra microSDXC 128GB and it is confirmed to be working with Lumia 630 by Nokia itself. I am using SanDisk Ultra microSDHC 32GB Class 10 card and I am perfectly satisfied with it. Windows Phone 8 uses SD cards for storing pictures and music. Windows Phone 8.1 brought a capability of moving apps and app data to the SD card which is a great improvement. A couple of apps do not support this. You will get notified about that during the installation and the app will be installed on the phone storage instead. The only thing about storage I am currently missing is inability to store maps on the SD card as well. However, this is not an OS limitation but a Nokia Here Drive+ / Here Maps limitation. I hope this will be fixed in one of the future updates. You won’t be able to move the offline maps to the storage card without a little help. Nokia developed an app called Lumia storage check which can be used to define the storage location for the maps. The app itself can’t move maps from phone to SD card so basically, if you already downloaded maps to your phone, you will have to delete them, change maps storage location by using Lumia storage check app and download the maps again. You can find the app here or by using the following QR code:

QR_StorageCheck_c2adc981-83c2-4f19-8161-67149e44214c

Navigation

Nokia Here Drive+ was available on with Windows Phone 8 only on the selected number of the Nokia Lumia models (read: high-end). All other devices were eligible to Nokia Here Drive only, which had all (or almost all) functionality of Drive+. The main difference was that Here Drive+ had a worldwide license where Here Drive had only a local license (e.g. for DACH region in Germany). To obtain a worldwide license for Here Drive, you had to pay 16 € to unlock the navigation in all regions. Nokia unlocked Here Drive+ for all devices rocking Windows Phone 8.1. This means that everybody will have completely unlocked and free of charge navigation with offline maps once Windows Phone 8.1 is rolled out. I won’t be writing a lot about Here Drive+ except that it is a very good and reliable navigation. I am using it extensively when I am traveling – in some cases rentals won’t offer cars with built in navigation. In such cases, Tom-Tom costs around 10-15 € a day. And I do have my issues with Tom-Tom anyway. The only thing I miss about Here Drive+ it is calculating alternate routes but this will probably be a part of one of future updates.

More information about Nokia Here can be found here:
http://www.nokia.com/global/apps/lumia/here/
http://360.here.com/2013/02/25/the-here-location-experience-on-windows-phone-8/

Camera

Photography isn’t something where Lumia 630 really shines. Being a low-budget phone, it features only a rear 5 MP camera without flash. This phone does not feature a front-facing camera so if you are intending to use your phone for a lot of Skype video calls, maybe this one isn’t a best fit. Rear 5 MP shooter features an 1/4″ sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 28 mm focal length and 4x digital zoom. All in all, it gives a relatively good quality under good light conditions but the image quality won’t rock your world when shooting indoors. Regarding capturing videos, the camera can capture videos in up to 720p (1280×720) resolution in 30 fps. Additional SD card comes pretty handy here.

Sample images from Nokia Lumia 630

Dual SIM experience

Dual SIM experience is very smooth. Both SIM cards are active all the time for calls; however, you can use only one for data connection. This can be configured very easily and any time in Phone Settings > Cellular+SIM – there is even no need to restart your phone in order to change the card used for data connection. Be aware though that during this operation the phone will be switched temporarily (1-2 seconds) in the flight mode and back so don’t do this during calls.

Windows Phone Store

Windows Phone is one of the fastest growing mobile operating systems with currently something around 250.000 apps in the Store. It is true that some high profile apps are missing but there are enough 3rd party apps to provide very same functionalities. In addition to that, a very high number of high profile apps are already present in the Store. I believe it is becoming a fast growing trend – I see a lot of companies coming to the Windows Phone and building apps for the platform, especially in last 6 months.

Conclusion

Nokia Lumia 630 is a very solid smartphone with a couple of weak points. But for a 159 € price tag, you can’t do anything wrong if you need a fast smartphone with dual SIM support, assuming that you can live with lower quality camera.

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