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Microsoft Lumia 650 review

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Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 650

Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Great design
  • Bright and sharp screen
  • Removable battery

Cons

  • Woefully underpowered
  • Middling camera
  • Windows 10 mobile still not perfect

Key Features

  • Windows 10 mobile
  • OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 CPU
  • 2,000mAh removable battery
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Manufacturer: Microsoft
  • Review Price: £160.00

What is the Microsoft Lumia 650?

2015 was the year of the affordable smartphone. During that time, we saw the release of some of the best value-for-money handsets ever made. Highlights included the Moto G, OnePlus X and Vodafone Smart Ultra 6.

These stellar devices offered up a variety of great features and technologies normally seen on phones up to twice their price, but they have a single unifying factor – they all run using Google’s Android OS.

With Apple having snubbed the market once again, unveiling its £359 iPhone SE mere days ago, it has left buyers on a budget with no real choice when it comes to software. Enter the Lumia 650, an affordable Windows 10 handset that Microsoft is aiming at enterprise, small-business and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users.

On paper, the smartphone ticks all the right boxes, coming loaded with a suite of Office applications and an impressive OLED screen. But its overall appeal is diminished somewhat by the inclusion of a sub-par processor.

Video: Trusted explains buying a new smartphone

Microsoft Lumia 650 – Design

142 x 70.9 x 6.9mm, 122g

Outside of the OnePlus X, even the best affordable smartphones still look a little cheap, especially when compared to beautiful flagship units such as the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S.

Which is why I have to tip my hat to Microsoft for the Lumia 650’s design. The phone has a removable soft-touch plastic rear that sits in a premium-feeling metal frame. Physical volume and power buttons can be found along the Lumia 650’s long right side, with a micro-USB on its bottom edge and a 3.5mm headphone jack on top.

The combination of metal and plastic gives the Lumia 650 a far more expensive feel, so it was encouraging to discover that having accidentally drop-tested the phone on Trusted Reviews' carpeted floor, the Lumia 650 survived unblemished. The metal frame and Gorilla Glass front were chip-free, and unlike many phones with removable backs, the Lumia 650’s plate stayed connected to the handset’s main body.

Lumia 650

The detachable rear grants access to the Lumia 650’s removable battery and microSD card slot, which lets you add a further 200GB to the phone’s fairly basic 16GB of internal storage. But be warned: because Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t have an equivalent feature to Android Marshmallow’s adoptable storage, using an SD card – particularly a cheap one – will impact the phone's performance.

The Lumia 650 is reasonably compact for a 5-inch phone. The small bezel and 6.9mm thickness result in a phone that's comfortable to hold and use one-handed.

Microsoft Lumia 650 – Display

5-inch, 720p, OLED

The 5-inch display is pretty decent by affordable phone standards. Some screen-buffs will quibble over the fact it’s only 720p, but outside of a few exceptions – such as the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 – there aren't many budget phones that have made the jump to 1080p, and so the resolution is more than forgivable.

The screen looks reasonably sharp and text is universally legible. There are certain applications that look slightly fuzzy, but I’m guessing this is because their developers haven’t upped the UIs and resolution of icons; not because there is an issue with the screen.

Related: Best Affordable Smartphones 2016

Lumia 650

The use of OLED screen tech also ensures colours look suitably punchy, enhanced further by the display’s deep black levels. The colours are slightly overcooked for my taste, but I know that many people prefer their screens to be calibrated this way – and it’s not like you’re going to be editing photos on the Lumia 650.

The device’s maximum brightness is solid, too, and matches – if not beats – competing affordable phones such as the Moto G. Viewing angles are also nicely wide.

My only issue with the screen is that whites aren’t the cleanest I’ve seen, having a slight yellow tinge. However, this is understandable when you consider the Lumia 650’s low price.

chancooluk

April 2, 2016, 3:37 pm

I really don't get the hype (at least on this site) about the camera on the Moto G 3rd. When I compared the Lumia 650 to the Moto G 3rd I found the Moto G 3rd to be the worse performer. It can capture pictures faster, sure, but it has excessive noise reduction algorithms (makes everything look like an oil paining when zoomed in), and poorer dynamic range, often blowing out the highlights.

The Trusted Reviews reviewer also complains about the saturation of the screen, and a yellow tinge to whites, both of which can be adjusted in the 'colour profile' app found under 'Settings', then 'Extras'.

I think the site should get a re-name. "Mediocre Reviews". Yep that's about right.

toboev

April 2, 2016, 4:52 pm

"because Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t have an equivalent feature to Android Marshmallow’s adoptable storage, using an SD card – particularly a cheap one – will impact the phone's performance."
How does adoptable storage change this? How does it improve the performance of an SD card, especially a cheap one?

epleguy

April 2, 2016, 7:31 pm

Where is your iPhone SE review?

DT Bhattacharjee

April 3, 2016, 7:03 am

No Offense, dumbest article, I even have doubt if you're really check the camera of Lumia 650 or not, 3-4 of my friend bought this sexy device mine is on the way. Well, yes it has a worse SoC doesn't mean its a worse performer. It does lag while playing big game like Modern Combat 5 at the same time it run Asphalt 8 flawlessly.

Now come on camera, I have a Moto G3 from last year, and Moto G Turbo for sister from january, and G3's camera are worse than Lumia 650. Only thing Moto does better than Lumia 650 is that, capture image faster, others everything is faulty, which chancooluk has been described better.

You have to agree Lumia 650 is a better camera phone than Moto G3 atleast, either you're a Fanboy.

Thomas

April 4, 2016, 11:48 am

No offense please, but this is an extremely unprofessional
review. i would like to tell you why. I think from your article its clear that
you dont know much technical details of an OS and just know about hardware like
anybody else. I am just a casual user and not a technical person who had used
both android and windows phone. I had in the past converted my phone from
xperia ray android to lumia 630. You should have searched and know why a 512 MB
ram windows phone runs almost all high intensive games when an android phone
cannot (rather cannot even think of). You should have known about the term
"bloating" and how it affects android and windows and they why
internal memory of android 16 GB and windows phone of 8 GB is equivalent. You
should have known why windows os called light OS and less power consuming
compared to android. In review you should have mentioned what features does Instagram
beta in windows miss compared to that of android. You should have known what is
project Islandwood and what is the importance of Microsoft acquiring Xamarin.
To conclude these should have been known by a reviewer who takes this job
professionally. Wish you good luck in the future.

ConcernedCIT

April 5, 2016, 3:04 pm

Fair review. I've picked up the 650 to give it a go, and found the exact experience you've talked about. Regardless of any fan-boy opinions, it is slow, it stutters, and a pain to use. Windows phone just does not run well without at least 2GB of RAM and it definitely requires a much higher clocked processor, such as the Snapdragon 800. The Lumia Icon has the 801 and it is a dreamboat. Anyone used to a Nexus 5, the Lumia Icon,or an iPhone - phones that run very smoothly, will find this phone agonizing to use.

ConcernedCIT

April 5, 2016, 3:08 pm

I found that as long as you only store your apps on the device, and everything else (Movies, music, docs, etc) on an SD Card you'll get optimized performance. Cheers

Raman Deep

May 5, 2016, 11:40 am

I brought Lumia 650 five days back.. but battery performance is worst. Same thing is happening in my case as you mention in your review that if i leave it unplugged at night in morning it will be less than 10% even battery back is only 4-5 hours with normal usage & 25% brightness. Please suggest to fix this problem.

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