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Nokia Lumia 635: Camera, Battery Life and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Nokia Lumia 635 - Camera

The Nokia Lumia 635 has the same main camera as the Lumia 630. And in turn it’s very similar to the cameras of last year’s models, like the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620.

On the back sits a 5-megapixel sensor, but there’s no flash and no front camera at all. This is a shame in a phone that sells for over £100, although no great loss if you’re not bothered about selfies or video chat. Nokia Lumia 635 21

One feature the Lumia 635 does have, one that is often missing from entry-level phones at present, is autofocus. This lets you take close-ups, and is a must for even the most basic bits of creative photography. We’re very glad it’s here.

Camera quality is also a fair bit better than some Android at the price. Exposure is usually even, colours reproduction is decent.

Hight-light shots can look a little too processed, the autofocus is a touch slow and detail falls off a cliff when ambient light conditions are poor. But give it some good light to work with and detail levels and punchiness of images are quite good for an entry-level 5-megapixel sensor. We wish it had a proper HDR mode, but it's not too bad at all.

Nokia Lumia 635

Natural colours, acceptable shadow detail: all good stuff

Lumia 635 photo

Shots like this could do with an HDR spruce-up, missing from the Lumia 635

Lumia 635 photo

Autofocus means you can shoot close-ups like this. Several at the price used fixed-focus lenses these days

As with other Nokia Windows Phone mobiles, though, using the camera can feel quite fiddly. It’s because there are two main camera apps. One is provided by Microsoft, the other by Nokia.

The standard Windows Phone camera app is designed to be simple, offering few controls, letting you just tap on the screen to focus, then the shutter button to take a pic.

The Nokia Camera app offers a lot more control but, confusingly, doesn’t show this off from the main camera screen. You could easily mistake one for the other – after all, why would you have two camera apps that don’t have a clear differences in purpose?

Dig a little deeper, though, and you find that Nokia Camera actually gives you a bunch more control, over settings like ISO, white balance and shutter speed. In top-end phones like the Lumia 930, we've said it’s a pretty good place to learn about the basics of photography.

In a budget phone like the Lumia 625, whose image quality is more restrained by hardware, it feels a bit less useful. However, it’s still neat to play with.

Nokia Lumia 635 - Battery Life

The Nokia Lumia 635 has a 1,830mAh battery, the same used in the Lumia 630. And battery performance is similar too. You should get a day's use out of the phoe easily enough, but it's no two full day beast.

You'll get around seven hours of video playback off a charge, which is again nothing special. Some Android alternatives get near to 8-10 hours these days.

Nokia Lumia 635 - Call Quality and Sound Quality

As is common among Nokia phones, the Lumia 635 offers pretty decent call quality. Top volume is respectable and the call speaker has a beefy tone that means it deals with noisy environments better than plenty at the price.

Speaker quality is less noteworthy, though. There's a single mono speaker on the back, and it's rather boxy-sounding. That's better than sounding completely thin and harsh, but both top-end detail and low-end power are limited. We didn't expect anything more at the price, though.

Nokia Lumia 635 17

Should I buy the Nokia Lumia 635?

The Nokia Lumia 635 is one of the cheaper 4G phones, and the cheapest 4G Windows Phone we’ve reviewed. However, as we said of the Lumia 630, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as competitive as the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620 did when they were released back in 2013.

Has Nokia been lazy? It’s not necessarily a case of laziness, but in having to make a bit more profit from each phone it sells, having now bitten off a nice bit of the budget market for itself. Keen pricing has given way to a slightly more laissez-faire approach that smacks just a little of complacency.

This doesn’t mean the Nokia Lumia 635 is a bad phone, just that it is not the stonking deal that Androids like the Motorola Moto E, Moto G and EE Kestrel represent. And unfortunately, there’s no killer budget Windows Phone mobile on the horizon either.

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 635 is a competent little Windows Phone 8.1 mobile with 4G. However, a few too many little niggles and cuts mean it’s not the bargain the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620 were last year.

Next, check out our list of the best mobile phones

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Calls & Sound 7
  • Camera 7
  • Design 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 6
  • Software 7
  • Value 6
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Sean Cameron

April 3, 2014, 9:12 pm

That is provided that EE and the rest get rid of the ridiculously excess surcharges for such a service, which they most likely, unfortunately, won't

bibleverse1

April 5, 2014, 2:52 pm

How much could a flash cost?

disqus_UmtCceBRjd

April 8, 2014, 5:47 pm

i flash would have been nice but ill be getting the lumia 630 when it comes out i lv my lumia 520 so a quad core lumia will be fab

Paul Phillips

August 17, 2014, 12:34 am

7 seems too high a score for this

kay

June 7, 2015, 2:49 pm

worst phone Ive ever owned, so many software problems; volume down button wont work; it instantly goes back up to full volume. restarting the phone only fixes it for maybe 10 minutes. very annoying if you're in public- I had to turn the phone off because It wouldn't stay on vibrate.
touch screen only works when it wants too(you have to lock and unlock the screen way to often for it to acknowledge you're swiping )
touch screen constantly freezes.
if you plan on listening music, the headphones it came with wont work, and neither will your usual ones. it will only play on speaker. the volume issue also affects media volume.
lot's and lots of issues with this phone, it seems as though my provider was trying to cut their losses by putting this phone on a special- IMO I think they're aware that there's something wrong with this model, but they are banking on customers not calling them out and paying for repairs- which ultimately cost more than the phone itself. extremely unhappy with this phone, I will never buy another nokia/windows phone again.

I'm going to return the phone, I want a refund- i wont accept another phone of the same model. Hopefully somebody reads this before purchasing this phone and making a huge mistake :(

Tam

October 27, 2015, 12:24 pm

worst phone ever.can't send picture messages,wifi problems all the time,'we're having trouble getting data'seems to be default browser setting.can't upload to facebook,have to search online help via laptop for nearly every bloody ...

Charlie

January 8, 2016, 4:42 am

Don't buy this "phone" worst phone I've ever had in my life, worse than my Nokia from 2003. I've never in my life been as frustrated with any phone like with this one, this thing has so many design flaws it makes me question why they even released it.its not user friendly, it doesn't run adobe flash cuz some dispute with Google. This phone literally forces you to use Bing because if you download the chome app, everytime you lock your phone the chrome App takes you back to the starting page, so ill be on facebook one minutes then if I exit to check a text message its goes back to google home page.its almost as if They purposely made the chrome app terrible because windows cares more about pushing their product than customer satisfaction. The volume automatically goes to 13 randomly and gives you a stupid warning about how loud music damages hearing which is annoying and can't be turned off. So laggy that its embarrassing, it literally takes more than ten seconds after you've pressed the button for a photo or video recording to respond. Finally the worse thing about this so called phone is the poor internet capability, I cant read attachment's my professors sent me, I cant see images on reddit or imgur, video freezes often on youtube, often crashes randomly while watching a video and takes you to the home page . returning to a previous page becomes a game of chance, cuz sometimes it goes back other times it deleted the tab your on and you lose the page and have to open a new tab.. No snap chat on windows , all the apps are garbage. be smart and buy and android phone

chey1

February 29, 2016, 7:08 pm

My son had a fit because I bought him this phone for his bday. He says its junk and I should return it. I'm using the phone now and the only problem I've had is waking the phone up. I had to keep pushing the button and finally got it to work. Other than that its a nice phone and I like how you can change the size of icons or remove them. Plus you can change colors of screen. I love the attractiveness of this phone.

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