Nokia Lumia 625 Review: Bundles Of Virtual Swag

Nokia Lumia 625

The Nokia Lumia 625 is the largest-screened Nokia device in the Windows Phone range. It comes with hopes that a big display, loads of bundled goodies and the smooth, smart Metro UI of Windows Phone will lure buyers. Does it manage to lure me back to Windows Phone? Let’s find out.

A successor to the Lumia 620, the Nokia Lumia 625 packs in more screen space, albeit the same number of pixels, better HSPA speeds, Bluetooth 4.0 vs 3.0, a 2,000 mAh battery vs 1,300 mAh, FM Radio, and a higher-clocked processor. It does away with NFC, though.

  • Windows Phone 8 with Lumia Amber update out of the box
  • 4.7″ IPS LCD display, 800×480 pixels, ~199 PPI
  • 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon MSM8930 processor, Adreno 305 GPU
  • 5 MP main camera, LED flash, 1080p video recording @ 30 FPS; front facing VGA camera
  • 512 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, expandable by another 64 GB with a microSD card
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n, Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, FM Radio
  • 2,000 mAh battery, microSIM

Hardware

The Nokia Lumia 625, like most of the Lumias before this, looks good. It’s a bit heavier than the Lumia 620, but then there’s a bigger display and a battery that’s got >50% juice than the 620’s. The added bulk is actually a good change for me, coming from a Galaxy Nexus. I actually felt I had a phone in my hand.

Nokia Lumia 625

The Lumia 625 feels good in hands. Although it’s plastic again, it doesn’t feel cheap. My only issue with the build quality is that it doesn’t feel as good as the other Lumia devices do. The Lumia 720, for example, feels way more well finished than the Lumia 625, while costing lesser than the latter. I’m puzzled, but the only explanation could be cost-cutting.

Coming to one of the most important parts of any device – the display. The Nokia Lumia 625 comes with a 4.7″ display of WVGA resolution – 800×480 pixels. It’s an LCD unit, sans Nokia’s ClearBlack Display technology, so you shouldn’t be expecting much from it.

However, even though it’s a 4.7-incher, I didn’t notice any major difference compared to, say, the Lumia 720. It looks okay, and thankfully, the colours don’t wash off when viewed from the sides. In other words, the viewing angles are great, which was quite the surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting great stuff, but it’s pretty okay for a display that isn’t going through Nokia’s CBD tech.

One thing worth noting, though, is that the bottom edge of the display seems to be leaking light, and that gets annoying the moment you try to use the device. Something you’ll have to live with since it can’t be addressed with a software update. Better quality controls would have helped here.

Moving on, the right side of the device houses all the controls/buttons. The click is standard Nokia stuff – reliable. Although, the buttons’ colour and the White shell’s colour don’t match or complement each other. The buttons are whiter than the shell, and that bothers me every time I see them. Ugh.

Nokia Lumia 625

The microUSB port is on the bottom, and the headphone jack on the top. On the back, there’s the camera sensor and the LED flash to its left. Go lower, and you’ll find the speaker. I love how the device’s back looks. Pretty, pure.

Nokia Lumia 625

One major annoyance I have with the Lumia 625 is that the navigation buttons aren’t backlit. Shocker! Again, I don’t know the philosophy behind this decision, but you could speculate it’s because of cost cutting and battery saving measures. As an end user, though, I’m none impressed. Hitting the right buttons isn’t an issue, to be clear, but it just keeps annoying me. I haven’t yet hit the wrong button, but I keep hitting either above or below a button every now and then, since there’s no light to guide me.

Software

Moving on from the hardware to the software, not much has changed in the Windows Phone side since Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 625 comes with the Lumia Amber update, and therefore, the WP8 GDR2 update is pre-installed. There’s now support for CardDAV and CalDAV, meaning you won’t have to be out on a limb when it comes to accessing Google Mail, Calendar or Contacts on your Windows Phone.

  • FM Radio support
  • CardDAV and CalDAV support
  • Default apps can be set for Camera
  • Data Sense (check with your respective device. My Lumia 720 didn’t have it, but the Lumia 625 does. It could be because of the Lumia Amber update, and so, could vary by manufacturers. For the record, the HTC 8X didn’t get it.)
  • Delta Maps data updates
  • API fixes
  • Fixes to Xbox Music, Me Tile hi-res images, and fixes for “other storage” bug

Those are the general additions/fixes in the stock Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update. Nokia’s gone a bit further with its Lumia Amber update. I’ll try to list what all I’ve spotted, but it may not include all the additions. Note that these items are specific to the Lumia 625.

  • Smart Cam Lens
  • Colour Calibration with Lumia Colour Profile (Settings — Display)
  • Calls and SMS filter
  • Data Sense – listed again, since I’ve found this only on the Lumia 625 as of now
  • Flip to Silence
  • Image processing fixes/improvements

Unlike its senior siblings like the Lumia 9xx and the Lumia 1020, the Lumia 625 doesn’t get the Glance screen. It probably affects the battery life adversely, and so, was excluded. Also, it’s got an LCD display, so Glance screen is best avoided anyway.

There’s some Lumia-exclusive niceties you have here. Nokia Cinemagraph (by far my favourite lens from Nokia), Photobeamer (beam photos to your computer screen), Panorama, Creative Studio, Glam Me and the Nokia Xpress web browser.

And of course, Nokia Smart Cam. I somehow don’t like it, in real life. The app provides a wonderful utility, allowing you to choose between six shots/editions – Best Shot, Action Shot, Motion Focus, Change Faces, Remove Moving Objects. You can decide to edit the photos shot with the Smart Cam at a later stage and just go along capturing images, but only do so in well-lit areas. The flash isn’t activated by the Smart Cam lens, so you’ll be running into a wall if you entrust the app to get you through in the dark.

The lens is snappy, so that’s not something you’ll need to worry about. I do hate how it won’t use flash, though.

The Camera

No review is complete with out talking about the camera performance of the device. The Nokia Lumia 625, however, may like it if I talk less about its camera and more about the other things.

If you haven’t understood already, the Lumia 625’s camera isn’t really up to its Nokia branding. I don’t loathe it like I loathe my Galaxy Nexus’ camera, but I find that the Lumia 625 produces dull images. In well-lit conditions, it fares well, like every other camera out there. However, if things go a bit dark, the Lumia 625 struggles a bit, even after assistance from the LED flash.

The cost-cutting is evident here.

Apart from the Camera, my general experience with the Lumia 625 has not been as great as the one with the Lumia 720. The phone froze a couple of times in the past two weeks, and while the overall performance was pretty smooth, the phone lags a few times a day, to put it into perspective. Some apps like the Photos, Nokia Music or even Xbox Music seemed to take longer than usual to become usable after tapping on their respective icons/tiles. Some animations also seem to take longer than usual.

Another area where I did find the phone to be a bit slow in responding is when I try to wake it up with the power button, but what I did was not something most of the users would do.

If you you want to reproduce the issue, try locking the device and then pressing the power button a second later. It wakes the device up at times, and at times, the phone simply won’t respond. Again, as I said, even I don’t do this most of the times, let alone other users, so it’s a non-issue, but I’m simply putting it out there for reference.

What is this Bundles of Virtual Swag I refer to in the title?

Oh. Bundles, really. Nokia has partnered with various services and partners. In all, you get up to Rs. 16,000 back in the form of various services and data bundles. I’m listing them here for your perusal.

  • 10 GB Free Wi-Fi at various partners’ outlets. Use Data Sense in Settings – Wi-Fi – Data Sense to see which outlet is around you.
  • 3000 movies free to stream and download and watch on device with YourMovies app.
  • 3 x 3 GB free 3G data with Tata Docomo. If the said carrier doesn’t provide 3G service in your area, you’ll get to use 2G.
  • Nokia Music. 5 (?) months free Nokia Music Unlimited subscription.
  • Flipkart eBooks

That’s a whole lot of free stuff right there. I can see that I’ll be using at least 4 of the said 5 bundles, which is extremely good. Nokia Music needs no introduction, but the Wi-Fi bundle is pretty awesome. I’m yet to really use it, seeing as I’ve always had mobile data active, but it’s a pretty nice offering.

Final Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 625 is a bit of a here-and-there situation. The Lumia 720, which costs less compared to the Lumia 625, comes with a better display, camera and build quality, while the Lumia 625 comes with a bigger, but inferior, display. However, what goes in the Lumia 625’s favour here, apart from the bigger screen size, is that it comes with a lot of bundled offerings. Out of all those bundles, the Lumia 720 comes with only one – Nokia Music.

I’ll make it a bit easier – if you’re out in the market for a Windows Phone, you’re going to want to look exclusively at the Lumia series. Within the Lumia series, in the Rs. 15-20k range, you have two options – the Lumia 625, or the Lumia 720. If the bundled offerings and the bigger display sound like something you need, then the Lumia 625 is your answer. If you can let go of all those, the Lumia 720 is your answer.