Following the flagship Lumia 920 and the middle Lumia 820, the Lumia 620 hopes to charm the budget smartphone crowd with the latest Windows Phone 8, a bright screen and colourful design. We put the phone through its paces to see how well it stacks up against the competition.
In many ways, the Lumia 620 is the most aesthetically pleasing of the new crop of Lumias. It uses the same polycarbonate shell as its bigger brothers but feels a bit less cumbersome, particularly compared to the whopping Lumia 920. This compact handset feels solid yet it weighs just 127g and is 11mm thick, meaning it fits comfortably in the hand and is nice to use.
Interchangeable covers mean you can swap the 620 from gloss to matte finishes, as well as switch between various colours - such as white, cyan, magenta and green - depending on your mood. Power, camera and volume buttons are on the side, and there is a headphone jack on the top, and micro-USB and speaker on the bottom. The backplate is clear apart from the camera lens and flash, with NOKIA stamped in black letters.
The Lumia 620 boasts a 3.8-inch LCD display with an 800x480 pixel resolution, boosted by Nokia's ClearBack technology. At this price bracket, it really is a clear and crisp display that makes most tasks a pleasure. Whilst the 8GB of internal flash storage is a bit stingy, the addition of a microSD slot next to the battery means this can be bumped up to an impressive 64GB.
Powering the Lumia 620 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core CPU, clocking at 1.0 GHz and backed by 512 MB RAM. The phone is a bit sluggish when using more demanding apps, but handles most other tasks with ease. Web browsing is pretty zippy and attachments can be uploaded and sent without breaking sweat.
The 1300mAh battery is pretty limp considering how much is packed into the Lumia 920, and the phone certainly chews through the life relatively quickly over a five-hour period on heavy usage. But it's also not what you would call a thirsty handset and most users will find it adequate. There is also a battery saver function baked into the OS that allows you to turn off apps and email to save on the juice.
Nokia has made the camera an area of strength in the Lumia range, and the 620 continues this. The 5-megapixel (2592x1936 pixels) rear camera with LED flash is not going to blow anyone away but it performs admirably in the budget class. Images are vibrant and bright, and the phone also impresses with the way it handles lighting and contrast. The sharpness ebbs away when blowing up images, but that is to be expected at this MP level.
There are a range of camera lens available to users, including cinemagraph for GIF-like images; Smart Shoot for editing photos after taking them, such as cutting people out of the scene; along with Panorama and Photo Beam. The rear camera also shoots video, but only in 720p HD. A front-facing VGA camera (640x480 pixels) is there for video calling, such as on the integrated Skype app.
Nokia has bundled its Nokia Music app on the phone, offering around 250 radio-style mixes that can be enjoyed for free with no sign up, or adverts. Tracks are compressed to 1MB each and mixes can also be enjoyed offline. You can create your own mixes, or browse a store containing 17 million songs to download, costing 99p each (Xbox Music is also a pre-loaded option).
So, it's a good thing that the audio on the 620 is decent. Dolby sound enhances the quality, while a graphic equaliser is available to further tweak the treble or bass. Add to that HD audio for voice calls and a reasonably loud speaker, and you have a decent audio package. The 620 does not quite stack up to the Beats audio-equipped HTC Desire C in this class, but it certainly isn't bad either.
Windows Phone 8
We are not going to delve into too great detail about Windows Phone 8, as we have already run a pretty extensive review. All the major Microsoft services are fully integrated on the 620, including Xbox games, Internet Explorer, Skype Office and SkyDrive (with 7GB of free storage).
In addition to Nokia Music, Nokia has added its own services, including navigation aids Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Transit, while Local Scout and City Lens offer local information related to GPS and the maps. The 620 is also NFC-enabled so you get access to the Nokia Wallet app for wireless sharing of data.
So, you get a pretty decent set of services for a budget phone, but the fact is that Windows Phone just lacks apps compared to iOS and Google Android. With the rival platforms offering around 700,000 apps each compared to around 125,000 on Windows Phone, it is easy to see where Microsoft's software falls down. The absence of services such as Instagram is keenly felt, particularly considering the 620 is aimed at a funky, youth market.
Should I buy a Nokia Lumia 620?
Let's talk about price. The Lumia 620 is available now and costs £149.99 on pay-as-you-go, or free on an £18.50 per month mobile contract (O2, Three and Virgin Mobile get it first, followed by Vodafone on February 6). This pricing makes the phone more expensive than the Blackberry Curve 9320 and HTC Desire C, but cheaper than the Orange San Diego, Windows Phone 8S by HTC and the Samsung Galaxy Mini. And it can arguably compete with all these phones.
If you only have £150 to play with, then the Lumia 620 is a really well made phone with great features in this price bracket. But if you can find a bit more cash down the back of the sofa, then the £239 Google Nexus 4 is a much better overall bet. The LG-made handset has better specifications than the 620 and runs the latest version of Android, which has more apps and is arguably more usable than Windows Phone 8.