The Lumia 620 is an incredibly important phone for Nokia. Not only it brings down the Windows Phone 8 experience to a level below Rs 15,000, but it also strives to bring a level of hardware and design sophistication to the price segment that no one else can. It is a very important product for Nokia as the Rs 12,000-15,000 price band is one of the fastest growing smartphone segment. Other top tier smartphone brands compromise on design, build quality and certain other features in this segment, while homegrown brands are hitting them hard with top-of-the-line specifications. Nokia is in a unique position not only with its Windows Phone 8 platform but also its insistence on a premium Lumia design language. Let us see if the Lumia 620 can compete with the manic march of cheap Android smartphones that are starting to hit the market with top draw specs. Read on to find out more.
With the Lumia series Nokia is a gunning for design language by which the consumer can recognise that it is part of the Lumia family and unlike its 2011 product line there is no disconnect between some of the higher-end and lower-end models. The Lumia 620 may not have the unibody frame of the 920 or the glossy color palettes of the Lumia 820, but this is distinctly a Nokia Lumia phone. It is built using a double shot polycarbonate composite shell, that is removable. This is extremely similar to the Lumia 820 as the entire shell cocoons the innards of the device including the display. While the shell is essentially built using plastic, the quality of materials used is much higher than any Android smartphone in the price bracket. We were delivered the matte white model, and we found the matte finish on the model to be a dust magnet. The unit gathered a lot of dust and formed a brownish palette within a week.
As far as the dimensions are concerned, the Lumia 620 is neither the thinnest or the lightest phone out in the market. That’s not a bad thing and Nokia is also not gunning for size zero. At 127 grams it surely still is amongst the lighter smartphones in the market, but it is a bit thick at 11mm. However, its rather diminutive screen size masks the extra flab. The design itself is highly ergonomic and the phone can be easily used with a single hand and is very comfortable to operate over long periods, which is what eventually matters the most.
The front of the device is dominated by the 3.8-inch LCD panel. Below the screen the usual set of Windows Phone 8 capacitive keys can be found. Above the display, the VGA front facing camera and the regular set of camera sensors can be found. As far as the ports are concerned, a 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top edge of the phone. The right side is home to the volume rockers, the power key and the camera shutter button. The keys are made up of the same enamel like material that we have already seen in devices like the Lumia 920. The bottom end of the device is home to the microUSB port. The back of the phone houses the 5-megapixel camera, an LED flash and the speakerphone.
The Lumia 620 features the minimum hardware requirement for a Windows Phone 8 smartphone. That’s not to say it is an under-specced device, but at the same time it is not as capable as the Lumia 820 or the HTC 8X. It has a 3.8-inch WVGA display, a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon Play CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, a 5-megapixel camera and an 1,300 mAh battery.
Due to the small footprint of the display, the pixel density is high but it is not the best in terms of the display quality. The colors are not particularly vibrant and the viewing angles are not the best in the business. But due to the pixel density it provides great readability, however that changes a bit in direct sunlight.
Another limitation of the hardware spec for the Lumia 620 is the meager 512 MB of RAM. Some newer Windows Phone 8 apps like Temple Run have a minimum 1GB RAM requirement, which means the Lumia 620 cannot run all Windows Phone 8 apps.
But these are the kind of trade-offs (display quality and RAM) one makes with most smartphones in this segment and it is not unique to the Lumia 620.
Software wise, the Lumia 620 remains more less the same as its higher-end siblings the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820. Essentially, Windows Phone 8 is a smooth unadulterated operating system, which means that the experience remains the same across a wide variety of devices and there is no difference in the software or the UI.
Nokia, however, adds a number of delicious features like City Lens, Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Mix Radio, and a number of apps that take advantage of the camera lens system in Windows Phone 8. So there is a mode called smart shoot that helps the user shoot the perfect picture and eliminate photo bombers. There is Cinematograph that shoots neat little GIF files, and there is even a Panorama mode.
Nokia Maps remain one of the best in the business and the Mix Radio app is a brilliant streaming app, which alone is a reason to invest in a Nokia Lumia phone.
When one takes a deep dive inside the specs of the Lumia 620, one realizes it is pretty low-end if compared to an Android smartphone of the same class. However, Windows Phone devices are not bound by the performance limitations of Android smartphones. It is a more nimble operating system and hence the combination of a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon Play processor and 512MB of RAM is more than enough to ensure smooth sailing. This means the Lumia 620 is an incredibly smooth phone to operate. Much more so than an Android smartphone in the same price range. Yes, a phone like the Micromax Canvas HD does come close, but still it’s a notch behind in terms of pure fluidity.
We encountered the odd freeze, but that did not actually tarnish the experience in our opinion. What bummed us was the meager RAM, just because we could not install a few apps. The extra RAM would also eliminated the rare performance glitch. The web browsing experience was a little slow in our opinion, but gestures like pinch to zoom and scrolling across web pages remained very smooth.
In terms of photography, the Lumia 620 turned out to be a capable shooter in daylight. The image quality was extremely good especially for a phone that costs so less. The colours were vibrant, and the images retained a decent amount of detail. In low-light, this was a different story. Obviously, the images retained a lot of noise and were grainy. But, that’s quite normal for a phone in the price bracket. Additionally, the number of camera lens’ plugins give the Lumia 620 an added edge over competing Android smartphones in the price range.
Call quality remained superlative, and we even managed to get a clear signal in the basement. From the very same point we used the LG Optimus G using the same SIM card and it failed calls. Battery life is normally a nemesis for smartphones these days, but the Lumia 620 is a certified champ. With 3G turned on and a lot of web browsing and social networking and calling the Lumia 620 easily crossed the 24 hour mark. At some times it would limp while crossing the 24 hour mark, but it would do so with grace. But, this was crazy heavy usage. We are talking about 4.5 hours of web browsing on 3G, lots of Twitter, Facebook and calling. If one returned to normal usage which involve around 1.5 hours of web browsing (a mix of 3G and Wi-Fi), lots of social networking, a bit of photography, streaming a lot of music via MixRadio (over 3G) and making around 20 calls (around 2 hours of talk time), then we are looking at around 28 to 30 hours of battery life, which is particularly nice indeed.
For Rs 14,515, the Lumia 620 is a fantastic phone. It delivers smooth performance, a good camera, a solid ergonomic design which can also be customized and very good battery life. The lacking app ecosystem for Windows Phone 8 remains its chief drawback, which is further accentuated by its 512MB of RAM as some new apps require 1GB of RAM. Besides this, it may not appeal to people who want a larger screen as 3.8-inches does not cut it for many these days.
In our books, Nokia’s software suite spanning across camera add-ons, music store and navigation in itself is a great reason to buy the Lumia 620. However, if you want a bigger screen and access to more apps than the Android powered Micromax Canvas HD might be a decent bet at around the same price, but it will be unable to deliver the reliability and build of a Nokia and smooth navigation of Windows Phone 8.
Photo Credits: Sahil Mohan Gupta