Nokia Lumia 630 review

A great-value Windows Phone device that has superb battery life and excellent performance

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Nokia Lumia 630 header
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
129
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400, Screen size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 854x480, Rear camera: 5-megapixel, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, Size: 130x67x9.2mm, Weight: 134g, Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1

The Lumia 530 may be Nokia's cheapest Windows phone, but the Lumia 630 is by far the superior handset for those on a budget. Available now for just £90 SIM-free, or £80 on O2's Pay&Go service, Nokia's cut price Windows Phone handset has a better, larger screen, a slimmer chassis and a faster chipset, giving it plenty of speed for everyday tasks. What's more, it's available in the same bright orange, bright green and more traditional black and white interchangeable shell cases, making it one of the most eye-catching handsets you can buy for under £100. 

We were already big fans of its predecessor, the Nokia Lumia 620, but the addition of Windows Phone 8.1 (WP8.1) easily elevates the Lumia 630 above almost every other Windows Phone currently available. WP8.1 is by far the best version of Microsoft's mobile operating system. It's currently being updated to the Lumia Denim version of Windows Phone 8.1 as well, so you'll be able to take advantage of Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant app, to help organise your calendar and search the web. 

Nokia Lumia 630 adv gallery image

Even better, Microsoft's promised a free update to Windows 10 once it gets released later this year, so you'll be able to enjoy all the latest features Windows Phone has to offer without having to buy a new handset. In the mean time, Nokia's onboard apps are better than ever and the greater focus on personal customisation finally brings WP8.1 on par with Android and iOS.

You can now set a background image that scrolls down the home screen underneath the ever-present Live Tiles, add a third column of tiles to make more space for your apps, and swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the new Action Centre notification bar. The latter will be particularly welcome news for Android users looking to make a smooth transition to Windows.

Nokia Lumia 630 side

Of course, a great operating system is nothing without a good handset to back it up, and the Lumia 630 doesn't cut corners. The Lumia 630's build quality is superb, with hardly any flex in the smooth matt polycarbonate rear, and its flat angular chassis is very comfortable to hold in the hand.

DISPLAY

The Lumia 630's 4.5in LCD display looks great, too. It only has a tiny resolution of 480x854, but text and images looked perfectly clear and sharp while web browsing. You'll want to zoom in when reading desktop-based sites, though, as headlines were only just about legible. We had no concerns about the Lumia 630's image quality, as our colour calibrator showed the screen was displaying 85 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. This is about average for an entry-level phone, and our peak brightness measurement of 318.74cd/m2 meant that colours always appeared bright and punchy both in and out of doors. Contrast was good, too, measuring 894:1, and we were able to see a huge amount of detail in our test shots.

Nokia Lumia 630 face on

Web browsing performance was equally excellent. Despite only scoring a mediocre 1,443ms in our SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, the Lumia 630's quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor handled image-heavy desktop sites such as The Guardian home page with no trouble. Images took a few seconds to load, but we could pan around web pages no stutter or hesitation, and could scroll without delay.

BATTERY LIFE

Fortunately, the Lumia 630's great performance doesn't come at the cost of battery life. Its 1,830mAh battery lasted 12 hours and 3 minutes in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness, which is three hours more than the Android budget star, the Motorola Moto G. You should be able to use the phone all day without having to worry about recharging it.

CAMERA

The 630’s 5-megapixel camera is great too. In addition to Nokia's standard camera app, the Lumia 630 also has the same Smart Sequence feature we've seen on more high-end Lumia handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 925. As its name suggests, Smart Sequence takes a series of photos every time you tap the shutter button. You can then use this sequence to create a number of different images from within the app.

For example, Best Shot selects the best picture from the entire sequence, producing a single still image, while Action Shot combines several shots together to show how the object moved through the entire sequence. This worked well enough, but it didn't always capture the whole object while it was moving. When we walked in front of the camera, for instance, some of the background bled into areas of shadow, but this is something we encountered on the Lumia 925 as well. You can also remove moving objects from the sequence, switch faces if you blink in a shot, or create motion blur with Motion Focus.


Nokia Lumia 630 camera test01

^ Smart Sequence lets you stitch multiple shots together in the same image

We were also impressed with the image quality. There isn’t a high amount of detail, but this is to be expected from such a small sensor. Colours, on the other hand, looked natural and accurate outdoors, and the camera even managed to expose the sky correctly. Compared to the cool, murky shots we took on the Motorola Moto E at the same time, the Lumia 630 stands head and shoulders above its Android rival.


Nokia Lumia 630 camera test

^ The weather was overcast when we took these photos, but colours still looked warm and natural

WINDOWS PHONE 8.1 & APPS

The Windows Phone Store is going from strength to strength as well. It's still isn’t as extensive as Google Play or Apple's App Store, but all the important entertainment apps are here, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, Netflix, Spotify, TV CatchUp, DailyMotion, and the newly added Dropbox. There are personal finance apps from all the major banks, and travel apps now include Waze and TripAdvisor.

There's still no official app for Sky Go, Amazon Prime Instant Video or any of Google's various services apart from Search, but all the popular social networking apps are here, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Vine and Instagram (albeit as a beta app), as well as Synology's DS apps for anyone with a Synology NAS device.

CONCLUSION

The Nokia Lumia 630 is a fantastic Windows handset. Its superb battery life and additional camera features are far above what we'd normally expect to see from such a cheap phone, and its excellent web performance puts it on equal standing with other top budget Android handsets such as the Motorola Moto G. If you're looking for a cheap Windows handset, the Lumia 630 is for you. However, if you live in a 4G area, you may want to consider the Lumia 630's 4G cousin, the Nokia Lumia 635, which costs £110 SIM free or £14-per-month on contract at Carphone Warehouse

Hardware

Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
RAM 512MB
Screen size 4.5in
Screen resolution 480x854
Screen type LCD
Front camera N/A
Rear camera 5-megapixel
Flash None
GPS Yes
Compass Yes
Storage 8GB
Memory card slot (supplied) microSD
Wi-Fi 802.11n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
NFC No
Wireless data 3G
Size 129x66x9.2mm
Weight 134g

Features

Operating system Windows Phone 8.1
Battery size 1,830mAh

Buying information

Warranty One-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT) £129
Price on contract (inc VAT) N/A
Prepay price (inc VAT) N/A
SIM-free supplier  http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.300128000?I...
Contract/prepay supplier N/A
Details www.nokia.com
Part code Lumia 630

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