Nokia has been revamping its Lumia series for about 3 years now. The 6xx series now has a new entrant belonging to the third generation of Lumia phones; and it’s called the Lumia 630. It has significantly better specs compared to its predecessor (Lumia 620), and comes in both single and Dual SIM variants (the latter is what we reviewed). Also, it is among the latest Lumia phones running the Lumia Cyan (Windows Phone 8.1) update from the get-go. Check out this quick unboxing and hands-on impression video before we dig into the details.
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It’s worth mentioning here that the Lumia 630 has a unique looking box, pretty much like a box of chocolates. Not many phones have such good looking boxes; and it’s the probably the first time someone has appreciated a box in an actual unboxing!
Here’s all you’ll find in the box:
- The phone itself (we got an orange one!)
- Wall charger
Strangely enough, it’s probably the first Lumia phone (IMO) which doesn’t include a pair of colour-matching headphones. Also, the wall charger has a non-detachable micro USB cord. So just in case you plan to connect the phone to your computer, go and get a micro USB cable.
The Lumia 630 pretty much resembles other Lumia siblings when it comes to construction. It has a slim and rectangular form factor, though the back bulges out a bit. The screen measures 4.5 inches diagonally, but has a resolution of 854×480 pixels, and that results in a slightly pixelated screen. Also, this phone doesn’t have the traditional capacitive navigation keys under the screen; they’re a part of the screen, also customizable within the OS. Even with the keys moved to the OS itself, there’s still some useless part under the screen (where the capacitive keys could’ve been). The Lumia 630 also lacks a front facing camera. There’s a 5 megapixel camera at the back, without any flash. Physical buttons can be found at the right edge of the phone, and those are the volume rockers and the lock button. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top (bring your own headphones), and a micro USB cable at the bottom. Under the hood, the phone houses two Micro-SIM card slots, and a microSD card slot (there’s 8GB of internal memory by default). This phone is powered by a Quad-core 1.2GHz (Qualcomm) Cortex-A7 processor with 512MB of RAM. That’s pretty much sufficient to run Windows Phone 8.1 fluidly. Speaking of which, let’s head over to the usage.
Software and usage
The Lumia 630 is one of the first Lumia phones that run the latest Windows Phone 8.1 right out of the box. The update is available for existing Lumia devices as well, but this is a phone that’s born with it. There are some new and most awaited features in WP8.1, compared to WP8. Now you can set a wallpaper for your start screen, and it would show up behind the tiles. But perhaps the most exciting feature is the action center which displays all the notifications and quick toggles (à la Android). There are 4 quick toggles on the top, and the user can choose from 10 different toggles to be placed in the 4 spots. It takes just a tap to get rid of all piled up notifications, or to get to phone settings directly from the action center. And when it comes to notifications, now Windows Phone has the ability to turn off notifications for individual apps, or choose different sounds for notifications from different apps.
In terms of normal everyday usage, the Lumia 630 feels pretty fluid and smooth. Gaming experience is also fine, but graphic intensive games tend to lag a bit. And since the resolution is low, it might also affect your experience, considering most of us are now accustomed to HD displays with no pixel differentiation whatsoever. Also, when it comes to gaming on this phone, I wonder what’s the point of having on-screen navigation keys during the game. They’re just a constant distraction, and an accidental tap could kick you out of the experience. That’s another reason why Nokia should stick to the Lumia’s traditional capacitive keys instead of wasting precious screen space with on-screen keys. The only place where I personally liked the on-screen keys is where you get to choose the background colour of the keys; whether you want it to be black, match the theme accent colour, or match the colour of the app that’s running. Another subtle yet satisfying moment was when the phone was being held in landscape mode, and the on-screen buttons gradually rotated to match the phone’s orientation.
The action center can be accessed while running a fullscreen app such as a game, but there’s an iOS-like control where you have to swipe downwards once, and a little tab comes out. Pulling that tab downwards reveals the action center. Windows Phone 8.1 also includes ‘Cortana’, the personal assistant by Nokia, but it’s only available in selected regions. Yes, you guessed it right, not in Pakistan. But you can try it by setting your region to United States. Oh, and while we’re discussing the new features of Windows Phone 8.1, here’s a small yet impressive addition: a swiping keyboard. You might be familiar with Swype, Swiftkey and other similar keyboards on Android which use the swiping motion of your finger to make words. This functionality is now a part of Windows Phone as well.
The Lumia 630’s camera isn’t a super high quality shooter. It can take decent photos in daylight, and shot video in 720p. But at night, it falls short, since there’s no flash, and you’ll have to rely only on the available light. Oddly enough, the default camera app on the Lumia 630 is Nokia Camera. For those unaware, it’s pretty much the same camera app that’s found on the Lumia 1020, with individual controls for focus, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, etc. Such controls make sense when it comes to a 41 megapixel camera, but it was a bit confusing on the rather low-end 5 megapixels camera on this phone. Yet, you can take some interesting shots with it.
There’s an unusual demand for Dual SIM phones in Pakistan and other similar countries. That’s probably the reason Nokia created the Dual SIM variant of this phone, while keeping it affordable. There isn’t much different on the inside, when it comes to running 2 SIMs on the same phone. There are 2 different phone apps, and 2 different messaging apps. While making a call or sending a text message, there’s a handy toggle that can be used to switch between SIM 1 or SIM2. However, the inboxes for both SIMs are separate.
As you might know by now, Nokia has been making pretty decently priced affordable phones for the emerging markets, and the Lumia 630 is just another phone in this niche. We would consider it our success if we’re able to change the age old mindset that “Windows Phone doesn’t have apps”. Please let go of this theory. Those times are gone. Yes, it may not have some apps that make their way to iOS and Android first, but all the essential apps are there. As a matter of fact, it has facebook, skype, and several others preinstalled when you turn the phone on for the first time. You’ll get all the essential apps and some famous games too. If you’re not too concerned with trying out the latest apps, any Windows Phone would be a suitable choice. The point is, you cannot get a reputable (internationally recognized) brand’s smartphone that’s this affordable. The brand speaks for itself and depicts the quality, and we’ve usually noticed it in all Nokia phones. The Lumia 630 is one of the perfectly affordable phone in the market, starting new at around Rs.16,800. You probably won’t get a better deal on such a Dual SIM phone, Nokia has set the bar once again. The device does possess some shortcomings, but remember to keep the price tag in mind before complaining about them!