Below are all the review posts I have written covering the Nokia Lumia 620.
Now if you are expecting a blow by blow specification review, go read any other review out there that states the obvious. Apart from the Samsung Galaxy S4 I have owned personally all the above phones. I currently use the HTC One as my main driver, with the Nokia Lumia 620 as my backup now. So what am I going to write about. Well my personal view and strengths of each phone from a real user experience. Having a phone with a heap loads of features and specifications are useless if they provide no real benefits or simply never get used.
Hopefully from my comparisons of each you can decide which phone is for you. This is more of a birds eye view looking down. So lets start with my current phone.
HTC One – key benefits is its design and looks. You will feel proud to have this in your possession. Whatever it cost you, you will always feel it was worth it. It makes other phones including the iPhone 5 look inferior. The lengths HTC have gone to make setting this up simple and transferring your stuff from any phone or even an iPhone is commendable. Also the manual is one of the best written and easiest to understand. The camera will always capture that moment first time. And the sound quality is superb, probably the best I have heard on any phone through the speakers or headphones. It also comes with a modest software suite that means you will actually find time to use most things provided. It’s focus is on its solid build, media, photo, sound and vision. As it has a slight curve on the back, it is fairly comfortable to hold. The screen is the best in class at present too. Truly fabulous screen. I think somebody at HTC thought what features does a phone really need to provide the best benefits to its customers. And that’s why the user experience is so satisfying. It is the first android phone I have used that doesn’t need tweaking, doesn’t need changing the launcher away from Sense and just works out of the box.
iPhone 5 – a compact phone but its aluminium is susceptible to being scratched. It’s angular edges also make it not that comfortable to hold but with a case that becomes not so much a problem. It is also the lightest of all the phones, and feels if I’m honest too light. It runs iOS which looks tired, as it appears not to have changed from a visual point of view that much since 2007, is actually in fact, very capable. iOS advantage is on the gaming apps. I don’t think the advantage is there anymore on the apps as android has caught up, and in several cases exceeds iOS. This is mainly due to the fact android has better sharing and multitasking. However, despite the iPhone 5 feeling tired, it is anything but that. It is a very competent phone, great call clarity, a camera so basic yet still very good even despite the competition. And if you don’t have a clue about phones you can’t go wrong with the iPhone 5. If you have other Apple products, then the iPhone 5 comes into its own sharing photos and apps between devices. However, I do feel the new HTC One steals the crown away as it is just as easy to use, and looks and feels like the new iPhone should have. However a new iPhone can’t be too far away, so maybe it might steal the thunder back. Another point to remember is if you have a problem with your phone, you can visit your local Apple store and walk out 10 mins later with the problem normally resolved. No other company offers such a brilliant after sales service.
Samsung S3 and S4 – I’m going to lump these two together as they are similar and based on each other. What you get is a slim powerhouse of Samsung software and hardware with more features than your kitchen sink. And that’s the downside as well as the upside. If you want to show off features like pop up video player, multiview screens or any of the gestures, the crazy amount of software, S Voice (Apple Siri clone ) and so much more, than this phone is for you. The camera and audio are good too, with loads of options. But remember in reality you won’t use a fraction of the stuff let alone remember how to use it all. I’ve seen many friends with an S3 and only using it to make phone calls and take photos or videos. Sacrilege I know but that’s reality. It’s also made of plastic, so unlike the iPhone and HTC One it looks cheap. However, that does mean you get removable batteries and memory card expansion. The memory card can only be used for photos, music and documents and not storing apps. Personally with the move towards more stylish phones I think Samsung should have upped their game and not used plastic. Some might say that with the functions of the S4 including software like S Health it really is a game changer. I doubt it. And remember it is bad enough company’s knowing a lot about you, but with S Health you are potentially providing information about your fitness and more. Too much data provided in my opinion.
Samsung Note 2 – it’s too big for most people due to its massive size. The HTC One is a better compromise in screen size and overall phone size. However its monster size does lend for ease of viewing anything. Multiview is a good feature too. As its big, so is the battery that will give you 2 days use with relative ease. It also features the kitchen sink like the S3 and a decent camera again. But Samsung realise the phone is a bit complicated so they feature another launcher option called easy mode. Goes back to my original comment that most people won’t use half the features. The features are mainly there to help sell the phone. However despite it size it’s a popular device. It also has a stylus just to slow you down even more. Well it does look cool. So if you want big, 2 days battery life and something that does everything the Note 2 is ideal.
Nokia Lumia 620 – this was my main phone for a week until I got the HTC One. However, I really loved this phone. It’s runs windows phone 8 so works on the concept the home screen is live tiles of your life, updating accordingly. And you know it really works well. Nokia provide a good suite of software from turn by turn Satnav , maps, music streaming and more and all free that make the 620 a bargain. It costs nearly 4 times less than any of the above phones. However windows phone 8 lacks apps and games, especially games, so it no good if you need a specific app that’s not available on the windows platform. But if that is not an issue, its the best option vs cost than all the others. It also features removable and changeable coloured backs, and a water proof back is available soon. The screen and battery life are good too, plus it comes with a reasonable camera. It’s the only phone I wouldn’t fit with a screen protector or use a case with. It’s feels the best in the hand over all the above phones, and the sort of phone you could mistreat more than the others and not feel worried.
Being totally biased if I had to chose one phone it would be the HTC One. Stunning looks and screen. Great software and hardware too. And it’s the first phone I feel I could keep longer than normal.
To make life easier I have created a new page called “Review Links”
Here you will find shortcuts to all the articles written on any review for example the HTC One, Fiio E12 headphone amplifier, Audio Technica ATH-AD900x headphones, Nokia Lumia 620 and more.
So to read all the reviews jump to the new page or click here
I had decided yesterday would be my final part of the review for the Nokia Lumia 620, but I thought I would update you on some developments.
Firstly, I have taken the plunge and sold my iPhone 5. That’s right the 620 is now my only and daily driver. Apart from what I have written, I am discovering a few new things and wanted to mention a couple more features.
Apps and games. The Windows Phone store definitely has weaknesses in both areas but especially games. Luckily, Nokia have plugged the gap with some of their own offerings. However it is not all doom and gloom. To recap some of the apps I now have installed are –
Amazing Weather – superb weather app, with live tile and live tile options, lockscreen weather too – paid app with 72 hour free trial
Amazon Kindle, Amazon Mobile, BT Wifi, Cinemagraph, eBay, Fhotoroom, Flickr, gMaps, Groupon, Hello, Here Transit, Linkedin, Lomogram, MetOffice, MeTweets (great twitter app) Natwest, Nextgen Reader (paid Google Reader appp plus other RSS stuff, very good too), Paypal, Shrink Storage, Sky News, Skydrive, Skype, Sophie Lens for Nokia, Speedtest.net, Stopwatch, Three Hub, Tunein Radio, TV Guide, TV Catchup, Twitter, Viber, Weather Channel, WhatsApp, WordPress, YouTube and Zite.
Games include Fruit Ninja, Wordament, Lexiqo and Brain Cube Reloadeded.
And don’t forget Nokia include some great sat nav, mapping and transit software, Nokia Music, City Lens and much more. As the 620 is a Windows Phone you also get MS Office and One Note, Skype, and Skydrive. So as long as the above is enough to quence your thirst, the 620 is a great phone. Don’t forget you can change the colour of the back or get a water resistant back too.
Now back to some of the other features I have seen while using this as my daily driver. As I have been using the 620, and repeating some actions more often than others, little tip menus appear showing me how to carry out the same action but in 1 step instead of say 3. For example, I used to open the phone app, select a contact from calling history, tap name, tap dial mobile. The tip menu told me all I had to do was tap on the left edge of the person’s name, and this would dial number straight away. In email, tapping on left edge brought up on left side check boxes. Tick the boxes to delete emails quickly.
In other words the 620 is trying to help me work even faster. It even got me to my Chinese takeaway quicker last night. Nokia’s included Satnav software, which if you recall allows you to download maps of an entire country, is psychic. I open up the app, go to select destination, and I type “CANTO”. 2nd entry on the suggestive addresses is the Cantonese Chinese Takeaway in Tavistock. I love this app. So off I go and get my dinner. It was delicious in case you’re wondering.
Themes. Within the settings is themes which allow you to select from a grid of colours and whether you want a dark or light background. Not only does it change the colour of the live tiles but the theme of every app. Some apps do have options to override this, but it gives a new style as often as you want. Now all I need are some colourful back covers to match the tiles.
All in all I am really enjoying the experience and it is making me wonder what I really need in a phone. It is becoming so enjoyable, I can’t see the need to change it.
Over the last 2 days I have covered a number of aspects of the Lumia 620. Today, I will cover off a few other areas and requests made so hopefully you can all decide whether you are ready to ditch your iPhones, androids and Samsungs:)
If you have an iPhone you will be used to using emojis in the standard keyboard. The Lumia 620 has this built in as standard in its keyboard. Also the keyboard has auto word completion options which you can tap and insert the word. Makes the iPhone keyboard seem very basic.
If you are listening to music, and the phone screen is locked, press the power button to turn on reveals the music controls on the lock screen. Whilst using the phone and listening to music, press the volume up or down keys brings down the music controls on the screen. The power and quality of the music via the headphone jack is simply stunning. It has been able to power some difficult headphones of mine. Something the iPhone cannot do. The Music app or hub has many options similar to the Games and Photos hub apps. If available when your music is playing or if you are streaming free music via Nokia Music additional photos of the artists appear as a background. See screen shots below. The music hub also pulls up information of gigs near you. There is also an equaliser for sound tweaking as well Dolby Surround Sound if you want. I have found no issue of listening to music whilst using the phone for any other functions.
Taking screen shots is easy on the 620. Just press power and the home button. The screen shot is then saved in an album called screen shots.
The Nokia Navigation is also worth a mention as it allows you to download the maps so if you are offline you can still use it for turn by turn. I installed the whole of UK and N. Ireland taking 292mb. I could have installed any country if I wanted.
Bing Search is available from anywhere simply by pressing the magnifying glass capacitive button. But it does more than just search. You can type your request in to the search bar. Or press the mic and speak it. Or use it to scan barcodes, QR codes, microsoft tags, books, CDs and DVDs. It can also scan text and then translate it into many different languages.
Nokia City Lens is one of my fav apps, as it uses the camera to over lay your current view from the camera with information you select in a augmented reality view. It is included as free too.
Lastly, the camera. First strong point, is the 620 has a dedicated camera button on the side. Press this to turn the camera on. You can then take a picture or record or change some settings. On the photo side you have different scenes (auto, close up, bight, night portrait, sports, backlight), iso (auto, 100-800) and exposure value, white value, aspect ratio either 16:9 or 4:3 and focus assist. The video options are white balance, continuous focus and video mode (720p is the default). You can alter the flash options too. Photos can be selected to be uploaded automatically to skydrive, and if you use mobile internet and not wifi, the quality will be uploaded at a lower quality to save bandwidth. You can also select lenses. I have Bing Vision, Panorama, Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot installed. From the camera you can view your photo and then share it. My share options are send, messaging, hotmail, gmail, flickr, linkedin, OneNote, Twitter and WordPress. Or you can edit it, delete, add to fav, set as lock screen, save to Skydrive or send it to your photo editing apps. Some sample shots are below. Not the best examples but you get the picture.
App updates. My store icon showed that I had 11 updates. So I went into the store by pressing the live home screen icon and updated my apps.
For those that use NFC its a feature of the phone. Nokia also have a NFC writer app.
And unlike a lot of phones it actually has a micro sd card slot for expanding the memory. The memory card is used for your music and photos.
So all in all a rather impressive phone and operating system. I find it more enjoyable to use than my iPhone 5 and who knows it might actually replace it. The only weakness is apps but out of the box it does most things you would ever need. More updates tomorrow.
In summary a bargain of a phone.
Yesterday, I described the setting up procedure, so today I will describe what you get with the phone in terms of software and features. Also I will cover off some of this positives and negatives. Remember this phone only cost £130 vs an iPhone at £500.
For £130 you get a 3.8 inch wvga screen that looks gorgeous. A 5 MP camera with flash and lots of features and the options of downloading additional lenses (camera options) from Nokia’s Recommended Apps. It has changeable colour backs. The lockscreen has changeable options for notifications and changing backgrounds. My 620 had an app called Angry Birds Roost which provided fun pictures of angry birds space on the lock screen. In fact the lockscreen is very clear in providing the time and date.
Other software included or that is available free from Nokia is Alarms, Calculator, Camera, ebay, Hotmail, Mail app, Hello (unbelievably), Help and Tips, Nokia Maps and Turn by Turn Navigation, Internet Explorer, Messaging, Nokia Care, Nokia City Lens, Nokia Music, MS Office and One Note, People Hub, Photos, Settings, Skydrive, Skype (free video calls), Windows Store, Transfer my Data. Some apps I did not expect to see pre installed were ebay, groupon and Hello. If you have a mac, microsoft have an app that allows you to transfer music, videos photos and more out of itunes. It is a very good app actually. One last feature is voice commands and Bing Search.
I have added a few games, some additional photo editing apps, camera lens apps for to bolster the camera features like panorama, wordpress, the weather channel, youtube, zite, twitter, tv guide, tv catchup, tune in radio timer, remote control for sony, natwest, met office, linkedin, gMaps, flickr, dropbox viewer, amazon kindle and shopping. However, there are no google apps although gMaps is an excellent third party Google Maps plus Navigation substitute. You can probably find ways around the apps, but games are a different story.
So the birds eye view of all of the above is a smartphone that has a decent web browser, integration with microsoft skydrive cloud (7gb free storage too) and MS Office and One Note, decent camera, free music streaming via Nokia Music (very good), very powerful headphone output, maps, free navigation, live tiles on your home screen and an operating system that flows really well once you get used to it. The People Hub integrates all your social networking together and has a live tile which updates accordingly. In fact, installing apps with live tiles is great, since you can arrange your home screen to have the live tile (active resizeable icons) which give constant functionality. And free calls and video calls using Skype.
There is a lack of apps, but it is very weak in the gaming department selection, although there is angry birds, fruit ninja, shark dash, the dark knight rises, plants vs zombies and many more. So I am sure many could survive with ease. There is no notification centre as such, mainly because the home screen replaces it using the live tiles.
I love Windows Phone 8. Some of the apps like Amazon Mobile, Natwest, and eBay actually look better in my opinion than there equivalents on android and ios. Using the phone just flows and adapts the more you expand it. For example, install photo apps, and they appear in the main photos app. So if you open the photos app your first screen gives you options of camera roll, albums, date and people. If you scroll screens you will be shown a list of any photos apps you have installed. My list had cinemagraph, fhotoroom, flickr and lomogram. The other screen shows “whats new” from photos from your social accounts. And the last screen shows photos from any of your favourites. I found the integration into the Photos app of all the above was both logical and easy to use. Games work in a similar way. They appear in the Games hub app. This app integrates xbox, the store, xbox smart glass and even gives you the option on some apps to try them properly before buying them. Again I really like this. Plus my xbox gaming profile, is a moving person in the app. A funny fun touch.
So you flip up the lock screen and are faced with the live tiles home screen. In one glance you can see whats happening in your life. Its customisable too. From the home screen you flick left to get to the apps. This is one long list that scrolls. Now as you add more apps the list gets longer. After a point of adding apps, an alphabetical index is added to make seeing whats in what letter easier. It also allows for another trick. Tap any index letter and it brings up a page of 26 letters. So if you wanted Photos, just tap the P and you are taken to all the apps starting with P. I found this a rather quick way to whizz around. Also, bear in mind that games do not clog this list of apps. Also, the additional photo lenses installed will appear now in the camera options.
Other positives include the free streaming music, fantastic audio quality, integration out of the box with Microsoft Office and Skype. Plus twitter and linkedin and other social services contacts are integrated in to your people hub.
All in all, a very good phone. More tomorrow covering the finer points.
So hopefully by now you will have read my earlier post, whereby I picked up this phone for a £130. This is my first Windows Phone, so I did not know what to expect.
I choose black as my colour, since white did not look as cool. In the box was the phone, a quick start guide, usb cable and mains adapter. And some headphones which generally I never use as they are normally crap.
So setting up, there is a micro sim card tray that pulls out and you have to carefully insert the sim and slide it back. It is a little fiddly so take it slowly. The micro sd card insertion is also a little fiddly but again once in place it is fine. Lastly the battery and back cover are put back.
The back cover is actually replaceable with a selection of different colours. This makes the 620 a bit more fun. Also, if the back of the phone gets scratched, it does not matter, since you just change it for another. Then if you damage the headphone jack through heavy use, it again does not matter, since a new back includes the headphone socket. Rather neat, and adds to the possible longevity. Also worth noting is the fact that Nokia has introduced a grey water resistant back cover, just in case you like taking photos in the rain.
Turning on for the first time was a relatively simple affair. I entered my hotmail account, went through a number of options and then waited and waited and waited. It seemed to take for ever, so I made a cup of tea. Finally, all the Nokia apps and first installation stuff was all complete, so now it was time for some fun.
Tomorrow, I will cover some of the extensive phone options, how the built in apps link to each other and the basic flow of the handset. It really is a clever phone.