Tag Archives: Nokia Lumia

Nokia Lumia 630 Review: The First Windows Phone 8.1 Device is a Budget Champ

Nokia Lumia 630 is the first Windows Phone 8.1 device to be available in the market, and incidentally also the first device launched by Microsoft Mobile, the new Microsoft company formed after the acquisition of the devices business of Nokia.

Nokia Lumia 630 (3)

The Lumia 630 is also the first Dual SIM Windows Phone device, a feature that Windows Phone enthusiasts and potential customers, especially in markets like India, had been clamouring for since long.

Design

The Lumia 630 carries on the same polycarbonate design we’ve seen in the Asha and several Lumia devices. It’s sleek and at 9.2mm thickness, feels pretty good in hand. The 630, weighing just 134 grams, is almost the perfect and most popular size for a smartphone.

Nokia Lumia 630 (4)

The colorful back shells – available in white, green, orange, and yellow – sport a matte finish, and are interchangeable. Under the hood, there are two micro SIM slots and a microSD card slot for additional memory card. The build quality is brilliant and random drops or bumps wouldn’t hurt.

The missing camera shutter hardware button is an odd omission since it’s been a taken-for-granted feature in the Windows Phone devices I’ve used.

Hardware

Nokia Lumia 630 sports a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display. The ClearBlack display has a 480×854 resolution and comes with Gorilla Glass 3 which should take care of minor scratches. Lumia 630’s display is not brilliant, but good enough at this price point. The sunlight readability is also pretty decent.

Powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, the 630 packs in only 512 MB RAM. The Windows Phone operating system is optimized for low configuration, and almost all apps work fine on a 512MB device. Some games, of course, have a minimum 1 GB requirement for installation, so if you are a heavy, indulgent gamer, this might be a deal breaker for you.

Nokia Lumia 630 (5)

To position the Lumia 630 as a budget phone, Nokia has cut corners at several places. While the phone introduces SensorCore, a hardware-dependent software solution that allows apps to use the sensors with minimum power requirement, it does not pack in the usual ambient light and proximity sensors. SensorCore allows the phone to track user’s activity like steps taken and location data.

The proximity sensor enables a phone’s display to turn off during a call to avoid unwanted taps, but the 630 features a workaround that turns off he display when the face or the ear touches it. It sounds awkward, but the execution is perfect. In over a week of use, I never had inadvertent taps while taking a call. The automatic brightness control of Windows Phone is obviously missing due to the absence of ambient light sensor. Although, again, keeping the brightness setting to medium level worked for me through the day in different light conditions.

Nokia Lumia 630 (1)

The Lumia 630 comes in two variants – Single SIM and Dual SIM. In the Dual SIM variant, you get separate Messaging and Phone Tiles with individual call records and messaging threads. However, you can merge the two for an integrated interface. The phone allows you to switch between the two SIMs while making a call or sending a text, or viewing a contact. This is not just convenient, but very seamless. Also, the Smart Dual SIM feature allows you to automatically forward calls from one SIM to the other when the first one is not reachable.

Camera

The average 5MP rear camera isn’t a highlight of the Lumia 630. Although, not many phones in this price segment impress much with the camera anyway. The photos captured in day light are good enough with decent color reproduction, but since there’s no flash, most photos in low light or dark conditions would disappoint.

The front camera is excluded in the Lumia 630. Although, apart from the latest trend of selfies, that’s a justifiable compromise for a budget phone.

Software

Nokia Lumia 630 is the first device that ships with Windows Phone 8.1. The update not only irons out issues based on user and developer feedback on Windows Phone 8, but also adds several important features to make the operating system at par with the competition.

The much requested Action Center comes to Windows Phone. Similar to the unified notifications center in Android and iOS, the Action Center displays customizable toggles, notifications, alert messages, network indicators, date, and battery level.

Another two major enhancements are the ability to customize the Start screen with background wallpapers instead of the erstwhile blocks of Live Tiles and the new World Flow keyboard. The Start screen now also allows you to add an extra column of tiles in case you want access to more apps and information in a glance. The Word Flow keyboard is similar to the Swype experience in Android, and makes the typing experience on Windows Phone the best in business.

In another first, the Lumia 630 is the first Windows Phone device that comes with virtual soft keys for navigation. You can enable haptic feedback for these keys and choose to keep them always dark, match the background color of the app in focus, or match the accent color.
The phone packs in a three months subscription of Nokia MixRadio with unlimited free music downloads.

Summary

The Windows Phone experience on the Lumia 630 is very smooth overall despite what the specifications sheet says and launching apps, browsing the Web, and playing music and videos is a breeze. The apps take a little longer to resume, but that shouldn’t bother most users. While playing casual games like Temple Run is all good, even graphics-intensive game like Asphalt 8 performed well, and better than most Android devices in this price segment.

Nokia Lumia 630 (2)

The battery life is pretty good, and the 1,830mAh removable battery will last for an entire day with brightness set to maximum and 3G usage all through.

The Lumia 630 is available for ₹10,500 (Single SIM) and ₹11,500 (Dual SIM), and at that price, the 630 offers great build quality and first-rate user experience. There are a few clear compromises like the camera, but a good buy otherwise.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Announced; Features 41 MP PureView Camera

lumia 1020Nokia has announced the much awaited, and speculated, next generation flagship Windows Phone 8 device – Nokia Lumia 1020. The phone brings the 41 MP PureView camera from the Nokia 808 to their Lumia series, although reengineered from ground up.

The PureView 41 MP sensor comes with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and features 6 lens optics (the most seen in a smartphone as yet). It features Xenon Flash for still images and LED for video. The phone offers high resolution with 3X zoom. Apart from the optics, the phone also bundles exclusive software – Nokia Pro Camera mode and Nokia Smart Camera Mode.

The phone is powered by Qualcomm 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 dual core processor and 2GB RAM. It features a 4.5” AMOLED WXGA (1280 x 768) display uses Gorilla Glass 3. The battery on the phone is an average 2000 mAH. The phone includes 32GB internal memory.

[VIDEO] Hands On: Nokia Lumia 1020 – Hardware

The Nokia Lumia 1020 comes in three colors – Yellow, White, and Black. Apart from tbe regulars like Nokia Wireless Charging Cover and JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging speakers for Nokia, the accessories announced include a Nokia Camera Grip PD-95G that provides extra battery and also acts as tripod for camera!

[VIDEO] Hands On: Nokia Camera Grip

Nokia Lumia 1020 will be available in AT&T stores starting July 26.  The phone can be pre-ordered online from July 16. The phone will be available for $299,.99 with a 2 year contract. While Nokia did not announce global availability dates, they mentioned that the phone would be available in China and select European markets in this quarter.

Exclusive Augmented Reality Groupon App Coming to Lumia Windows Phones

At the CTIA 2012 conference, Nokia announced a list of partnerships and apps that will be coming to the Windows Phone platform in the coming months. Some of these apps will be exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia series of Windows Phone handsets. In the list, the Nokia says a Groupon app with augmented reality features will be made available exclusively to Lumia owners. According to Nokia, the updated Groupon App will be exclusive for a period of 6 months after launch (expected to come in Summer 2012). The app will feature a Deal-finder function that will support augmented reality capabilities.

This will be the second augmented reality on Nokia’s Lumia. At the same conference, Nokia showed Nokia City Lens on Windows Phone. The app lets you see locations around you as you move the camera around. The app features a camera view, map view and list view. The app is currently in a beta and comes from Nokia Beta Labs. Here’s a video created by Nokia demo-ing the Nokia City Lens:

Nokia One-Ups Windows Phone OEMs With NFC & LTE 4G

It’s a day of mixed feelings for Nokia. On one hand the company announced poor outlook for 2012, on the other, they’re all set to be the first Windows Phone OEM to introduce NFC in their handsets.

Nokia is the first OEM to have LTE based 4G Windows Phones as well. (The current HSPA+ implementation by AT&T and T-Mobile is NOT technically 4G, so they’re HSPA+ phones don’t count.) And in a second, Nokia is the first to implement NFC in their Windows Phone handsets. Passed by the FCC and announced by Nokia, meet the Nokia Lumia 610. The phone’s numbering is absurd. Nokia has a Lumia 710 and 610 which has NFC, in other terms a newer phone with more features has backward numbering. (The company went from Lumia 800 to 900 and not 700.) I’m sure Nokia has a plausible reasoning for the numbers but that explanation would only make sense to the people within Nokia. Not to the buyer, unless explained. Anyway, back to the Lumia 610, here’s what we know:

  • Phone is being targeted as an “affordable phone,” no frills feature rich phone
  • Certified for contactless payments with MasterCard
  • Compatible with Nokia’s other NFC accessories

In the blog post on Conversations by Nokia,  Heidi Lemmetyinen mentions Nokia’s NFC bluetooth headset and not the Nokia Play 360—their NFC capable speakers, which are far more cooler and part of Nokia’s super-expensive Lumia 800 bundle in the US. That aside, Nokia said they have sold 2 Million Windows Phone devices that is a decent number for starters. The Lumia 610 looks a lot like the 710:

The Problem with Reviewing the Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 Reviews

Last night (April 3, 2012) the embargo was lifted, and Nokia Lumia 900 reviews started flowing in. At first glance, one would think the reviews were mixed, or even that the device was being slammed. Lots of good words, but bottom line being negative. I went through most of the top reviews, and as you unpeel the onion you see that generally, everyone agrees that this phone definitely has the chops to compete with the top smartphones on other platforms. The issues that have been brought up are actually a problem Nokia and Microsoft will have to tackle somehow. These are, generally speaking, issues faced by techies, but since techies control the message nowadays, it is a situation that needs to be addressed.

First though, the key selling points for the device: fantastic design, great screen (ClearBlack AMOLED), LTE, low price, good camera and a fresh (compared to iOS and its poor clone, Android) operating system. Some reviewers contradicted each other on some of the features (like The Verge’s Josh Topolsky and PC Mag’s Sascha Segan criticizing the camera but Engadget’s Joseph Volpe and PC World’s Ginny Mies claiming it was great and versatile), and of course different reviewers rated the “good” on different levels of the spectrum based on their preferences and experience.

The Problem(s)

However, I saw some of the issues that the reviewers brought up in their reviews, and Nokia and Microsoft both have to be concerned. First is that expectations are sky-high for Nokia. They are known to make excellent devices and after putting all their eggs in the Windows Phone basket, a lot is expected of them. Also, with RIM imploding, there is nobody else to take the 3rd spot behind iOS and Android, so the anticipation is heightened. As a result, even a minor issue will get amplified.