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Nokia Lumia 630: Windows Phone 8.1 and Performance

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Updated:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Nokia Lumia 630 – Windows Phone 8.1

The Lumia 630 is the first phone to be released fresh out of the box with Windows Phone 8.1, a mid-stage release that will bridge the gap between Windows Phone 8 and, presumably, Windows Phone 9.

Some of the big differences it introduces are ones that make phones like the Lumia 630 possible. For example, before Windows Phone 8.1, mobiles had to have physical soft keys as there was no support for software ones.

The Lumia 630’s soft keys use the bottom bit of the display, rather than having separate sensors, and this makes the phone a bit simpler to produce. Simpler equals cheaper.

There’s also no need for a separate camera shutter button these days – the Lumia 630 doesn’t have one.

SEE ALSO: Windows 9 release date, news and rumours

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Windows Phone 8.1 isn’t just about making Windows phones even cheaper, though. There are several important new functions.

There is an Android-like notifications drop-down menu that gives you a round-up of your latest emails and so on, and a row of buttons that act as a Wi-Fi switch, Bluetooth switch, camera shortcut and screen brightness flicker.

As we said in our Windows Phone 8.1 review, these new elements aren’t particularly well executed in visual terms, but this doesn’t necessarily matter a great deal in a low-cost phone like this.

Windows Phone 8.1’s other big feature is something that’s not available in the UK yet – the Cortana digital assistant. This works a little like a mash-up of Siri and Google Now, offering a voice assistant and something that functions a little like a more intelligent web search. However, you won’t be able to access it until later in the year.

SEE ALSO: Cortana vs Google Now vs Siri

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Windows Phone 8.1 is a bit of a work in progress effort, and feels like a stop-gap release. But the most important question to ask yourself is whether you’ll get on with Windows Phone as a whole.

The system has significant pros and cons. In the plus column, Windows Phone looks and feels quick and slick. At its original release Windows Phone looked a good deal more sophisticated than the competition. iOS 7 and newer version of Android have largely caught up, but the Lumia 630 will look a good deal better than some of the half-hearted custom Android interfaces that are common at the price. Nokia Lumia 630 10

The basic navigation lag that is also a feature of cheap Androids is largely a non-issue with Windows Phones like the Lumia 630.

On the negative end, Windows Phone still has a serious apps and games problem. The library is much weaker than that of Android or iOS.

The arrival of Windows Phone 8.1 has only compounded this problem, as they also need to be tweaked for release on the new system. For example, at the time of writing there’s no Whatsapp.

The longer-term issue for many – given these issues will likely be sorted fairly soon – is that you don’t get the stream of new games seen on iOS and, to a lesser extent, Android. Most of us settle down to use a core team of apps, but if you like your games you’ll probably want regular new ones. And that is an area where the Lumia 630 will not shine.

Storage isn't a big issue here, though, as it is in some budget phones. You get just 8GB of internal memory, but there's a microSD slot under the cover and you can manually select where games/apps are installed to.

Nokia Lumia 630 – Specs and Performance

As it lacks a strong selection of high-end 3D games, it’s actually quite tricky to really test the power of the Lumia 630 in a real-world sense. Nothing we tried posed any particular problem: Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Kinectimals and a bunch of other games all run fine.

That’s no great surprise. The Lumia 630 has a fairly decent Snapdragon Qualcomm 400 processor, the same used by the Motorola Moto G.

There’s just 512MB of RAM, and this seems to make loading apps pretty sluggish. As we’ve said, flicking through the Windows Phone 8.1 interface is nice and quick, but actually moving between apps is a lot slower. Slower too than the best Android phones at the price, such as the Motorola Moto G. If anything this seems to have got worse since last year's budget Windows Phones, although this may be a side effect of our increasing expectations of budget mobiles.

Most of our normal phone benchmarks are not available for Windows Phone, but the browser-based Sunspider test shows you roughly what to expect. The Lumia 630 completes this test of Java-based tasks in 1461 milliseconds, around the same time as the Moto G. Windows phones used to decimate Androids in this test, but with the latest version of Android and the latest version of Chrome, they’re pretty even.

Windows Phone’s performance lead over Android doesn’t really exist anymore, if you pick the right Android phone (at this price that means the Moto G).

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

disqus_UmtCceBRjd

April 8, 2014, 5:58 pm

ill be getting it and lumias are very nippy.

danielfrisbee

May 29, 2014, 2:48 pm

The Microsoft product design people have clearly implemented a harmonising aesthetic as part of the nokia merger, this has the same reverse contours of the surface tablets, and straight edges where there were once curves. The same is true for the new 930. The 1520 and 1020 appear to be the last of what I think was great designing by nokia. As a designer myself I can admire my 1020, but have to accept the majority will go for more blingy and less absolutist aesthetics. To my eyes, the new htc one is like a new bmw with alloy wheels, all very nice of course. Hopefully the market will still have room for some awkward yellow Saabs in future-

IainGT

May 29, 2014, 7:19 pm

Hopefully there will be a fairly quick revision, or launch of a 730. All it really needs is a 1280x768 screen, 1gb ram and a flash. Would buy at Moto G money.

Guest

May 29, 2014, 8:14 pm

No Whatsapp? Just a hitch. Its been on Windows Phone for ages along with loads of other good quality apps and will be back shortly. You won't be longing for more apps with Windows Phone and it provides a superb experience on a value for money phone. The 630 is something of a bargain and unless you have high end desires you will love it.

Hugh Bear

May 30, 2014, 7:19 pm

Ref: SUM14CUSPRM
COPY EVERYTHING BETWEEN THE LINES
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I disagree with this review. {phone_name} is clearly better than the competition at this price of {phone_name.price_range} in {phone_name.market}. Windows 8.1 is the best phone OS - it's the only phone OS that puts the user first.
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-Will this do?
Sanjay.

Hugh Bear

May 30, 2014, 7:24 pm

Well done. This is EXACTLY how real people talk. Do we work in the same office in Bangalore?
Sanjay.

Milo Benz

June 17, 2014, 11:30 am

I also disagree with this review. Two things: the writer assumes "this is a budget phone" so the review is adjusted to that instead of asking "does this particular phone do what its supposed to do?". The second: the review ignores some of Nokia 630's main advantages: Dual SIM, replaceable battery, expandable memory, latest OS, fast performance - all that at a very low price.

In fact, this phone will shock most people. Nokia made excellent hardware (Gorilla 3 screen wrapped in a very pleasant cover that allows access to SIMs, MicroSD, battery) while providing great apps, full MS Office functionality, best maps on the market, FM radio and a great music streaming service, good calendar, email, SMS functionality and all the essential apps one would really need. Battery life is much better then any of the "flagships" out there. Camera is just 5 MP but produces very good shots and even the lack of flash is an afterthought when you see the well balanced, well exposed photos this smartphone takes. And all of this for just US$150. I would say it is quite an achievement.

Nokia and Microsoft could have put in a better rez screen but I am sure all of us prefer longer battery life and that is what Lumia 630 delivers. Also, it would be nice to have a front facing cam for video talks but again, I think most people would rather have a lower price and a sense that if anything "goes wrong" they can just walk into a store and buy a new phone...

The only thing I wish MS did different is not to "disable" a clock that most Lumia phones have when in "off" mode. Doing this is not cool - it is a trace of old, mean MS that is looking to limit what Windows users can and can not do with their machine...

Recommend this phone to anyone who doesn't "have to have" a status symbol.

Mark Adams

July 3, 2014, 6:49 pm

I will upgrade from my nokia 610 to this. My 610 was a refurb is still working great, I never put a case on the phone, and it only has a few knicks in the plastic from drops, no screen protector either and no scratches.....I hope the 630 is just as reliable. It is going to cost me $215 CAD w/ shipping

adeerpark

September 29, 2014, 9:30 pm

Using this phone for the last 2 weeks and have to say its just downright brilliant. I cannot believe the reviewer did not mention the Nokia here maps SAT NAV application that are worth the price of the phone alone, Unlike google map navigation they are simplified fully offline (no caching messing) ideal for roaming with no charges, This reviewer is pro android and very biased. I have seen the Moto G and while it has a lot of great aspects the camera is not as good, it's beaten out the gate with the Nokia Here Sat nav and is a fair bit dearer,

Kudzi

February 25, 2015, 2:23 pm

useless battery-life. have to charge phone twice a day after only three and a half months of usage. i am only texting on apps with the phone, nothing else.

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