Nokia Lumia 625 review: first look
Nokia today launched its biggest screened smartphone yet, the Nokia Lumia 625, but this is oddly no flagship device. Instead, the Lumia 625 sits between the budget, compact Lumia 620 and the mid-range Lumia 720.
That means the price is set to be very reasonable indeed – around £200 exc VAT on prepay according to Nokia, and probably around £20 per month on contract — yet both in look and feel this phone punches well above its weight.
For the Lumia 625, Nokia has reverted to the matte plastic finish found on the 620 and 720. Thanks to that huge 4.7in screen, it’s noticeably larger than its siblings, but a slim profile, rounded corners and edges, and a gently contoured rear panel means it’s very comfortable to hold in your hand.
Like the 620, the 625 has a range of five different coloured shells — in yellow, orange, white, black and a rather fetching bright green. Nokia boasted of a “unique semi-transparent design” at the launch event in London, which supposedly allows light to “glow” through the edges around the screen. On the phones we had a chance to play with, however, we couldn’t see any evidence of this happening. Presumably it works better in bright sunlight.
The shell is surprisingly easy to prise off, and it reveals a SIM slot and microSDXC slot beneath for expanding the phone’s 8GB of built-in storage. Alas, the phone’s 2,000mAh battery is sealed in, and you can’t get at it to replace it.
A quick inspection of the edges and rear of the Lumia 625 reveals no big surprises. The power, camera shutter button and volume rocker are all situated on the right-hand edge, as they are with all the rest of the Nokia’s Lumia range. A microUSB socket is found on the bottom and the 3.5mm headphone output is on the top.
There are, however, some concessions to cost-cutting, and the most noticeable of these is the IPS display, whose 480 x 800 resolution delivers a pixel density of only 201ppi, and a noticeably grainy quality of image. The 5-megapixel camera’s no great shakes either, and there’s a rather pedestrian dual-core, 1.2GHz processor under the hood and 512MB of RAM. In SunSpider, the Lumia 625 achieved an average time of 1,129ms, which puts it ahead of its budget stablemates, but behind the super-quick Lumia 925. Also, there’s no wireless-charging facility nor any sign of NFC.
Still, with Windows Phone 8 at the helm, the Lumia 625 feels responsive and fluid under the touch, and we do like the fact that Nokia has seen fit to include a Gorilla Glass 2 topping to the screen and nicely curved edges, plus super-sensitive touch, allowing the Lumia 625 to be operated with gloves on. The presence of 4G means there’s a degree of future proofing, too, allowing users to move to faster network speeds as and when they become available.
And, this being a Nokia device, there’s a host of extras pre-loaded, including the Smart Camera from the Lumia 925 with all its burst-mode cleverness, Nokia Music for free music streaming, and the Here Drive, Here Maps and Here Transit apps for getting from A to B more efficiently.
We think Nokia is onto yet another budget winner with the Lumia 625. There’s no particular wow factor to it, but its combination of a large screen, pleasant design, expandable memory and low cost looks highly appealing. If the battery life is as good as the rest of the package, it could well supplant the Lumia 520 as our favourite low-cost smartphone.