The Lumia 630 is the first of many Windows Phone 8.1 devices, and nonetheless the one of the last Lumias engraved “Nokia” brand name. The low-cost Windows Phone seems like a serious rival for many budget Android phones offering good performance and an attractive design.
The handset comes in a trio of variants: single-SIM 3G, dual-SIM 3G and single-SIM 4G LTE (Lumia 635) and available for $159, $169 and $189, respectively.
Ignoring the absence of selfie camera, LED flash and a dedicated camera button, I applaud the Lumia 630 for its bright display, all-around performance and superb build quality.
It doesn’t set any new benchmark for low-end devices, but buyers who want to try out Windows Phone could have the handset in fond memory of Nokia.
I got a dual-SIM Lumia 630 and used it for two weeks in prior to this review. Before you read the review, here’re the things that I found in a kind of matchbox package.
Nokia Lumia 630 (Black)
It was an irony that there was no earpiece in accessories. Nokia should have provided a headset along with the phone. “Doing more with less” is what good for business, but compromising user experience is certainly a bad practice.
I wonder how Nokia perceives such a beautiful plastic smartphones from low-ends to flagships while other manufacturers are trying to abandon plastic as a mediocre material. With a robust design, the back cover shields around the display, giving a perfect impression of unibody design like its predecessor, the 620. Although, the edges aren’t rounded enough and have palm-sticking curves unlike the second gen of Lumia devices.
The right edge has a volume rocker and power/lock key, while the left edge is plain, as expected. Surprisingly the phone doesn’t have a dedicated camera button even though there’s enough room on the left edge after power/lock key. However, you can pin the camera button in Action Center to get quick access to camera UI.
On the top, an audio jack is placed (slightly left) and the bottom edge imports a microUSB connector.
The back cover is swappable and available in a variety of vibrant colors i.e. bright green, bright orange, bright yellow, black and white. So you have freedom to choose a color matching with your wardrobes.
The Lumia 630 features an average specs sheet, but the 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with only 512MB of RAM outdoes many entry-level phones — like Moto G and Canvas Win W121 – and the performance is quite lag free. It’s a good fit for app enthusiasts or those who want an affordable phone to access the Web and social circles with basics. Of course, one may get stuck if any app/game requires 1GB or more RAM. However, in my usage, I didn’t bump into very often.
The phone isn’t relatively thick and the dimensions — 129.5mm x 66.7mm x 9.2mm – remind me the Lumia 920. Unlike that flagship model, the 630 weighs 134g and feels right-weighted in one-hand.
The back cover peels off easily from the top to the bottom, and you can find a removable battery, micro-SIM slots and microSD slot. You need to take off the battery to change/replace micro-SIM (1) and microSD card, though the remaining micro-SIM slot (2) is accessible from the chassis edge.
As advertised, the phone comes with 8GB of storage (about 6.5GB of free space) along with microSD expansion that can be expandable up to 128GB. In addition, you also get 15GB of OneDrive cloud storage for free. On the other hand, Windows Phone 8.1 now lets you move your apps to microSD storage including music, videos and pictures as well.
The Lumia 630 is the first Windows Phone that packs a software solution called “SensorCore,” and excludes the ambient and proximity sensors. SensorCore allows motion sensors to run as background tasks at very low power.
With generic connectivity options, the phone serves HSAP+ cellular connectivity (Lumia 635 4G LTE), but unlike the 620, the NFC sensor is absent in the 630. And it appears the successor of Lumia 520 rather than the 620.
Being the successor of 620, I thought the Lumia 630 may have some average display because it’s still aimed for customers with a budget. But the phone equips 4.5-inch FWVGA display with a resolution of 854 x 480 at 221 pixels per inch (ppi).
With 16:9 aspect ratio, the display incorporates ClearBlack technology and covers the whole front side. Unlike its predecessor, it’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. At the glance, there’s no hardware buttons and the phone features on-screen back, home and search keys.
Despite the bright colors with wide viewing angle, the display is quite sticky and engraves your fingerprints with oil and dirt. Above and beyond, the phone is missing auto-adjust brightness feature because of the absence of ambient light sensor, and it causes the battery life significantly. Although, you can pin brightness settings in Action Center to alter the screen brightness manually.
The one section where the Lumia 630 disappoints is the omission of a selfie camera. It’s annoying somewhat as it means you can’t take advantage Skype to make video calls. It may cut some dollars, but the handset maker should have included a front-facing camera. The successor of 620 features only 5MP main camera and doesn’t have flash, but the camera still takes sharp pictures with nice color reproduction at this price point.
Windows Phone 8.1 has brought many new features and improvements on the table. And I must say, the OS seems matured now but still lacks many apps and services from big names like Google. It’s quite obvious that those names may never bring such things to Windows Phone platform because of their relations. However, you can find their substitutes – really good alternatives – on the store by the community.
The new OS lets you manage both SIMs (in my case, one is roaming SIM card and later is a local) intuitively, giving each SIM its dedicated live tiles of call management and messaging. However, you can unify them, and find your communication at one place.
Alongside Cortana (virtual voice assistant like Google Now and Apple’s Siri), Action Center, seamless Skype integration, Internet Explorer 11 and other new additions, you will get an array of proprietary apps and services by Nokia – now Microsoft Mobile Oy – like Nokia Cinemagraph, Nokia Storyteller, Nokia Refocus, Nokia Camera and MixRadio. Additionally, it’s no surprise the Lumia 630 comes with Office, OneDrive, OneNote and HERE navigation services (HERE Drive+, HERE Maps, HERE Transit) pre-installed. But here’s the thing, the OS brings HERE Drive+ for all Windows Phone 8.1 devices, which also means that older Windows Phone 8 devices will get a free upgrade to global navigation license.
Call Quality and Battery
Call quality on 3G version of the Lumia 630 was about average in my tests. Earphone volume gets enough loudness with clarity.
The handset has an 1830 mAh battery, and it’s fairly good. As documented, you can get up to 13 hours of talk time (3G), and in my tests, the battery’s stamina lasted for around 8-10 hours. Moreover, the handset struggled to last all day with heavy use of mobile data and video playback. And for sure, the LTE version (Lumia 635) will suffer because both devices are identical on specs sheet.
In contrast, the Lumia 630 has stuck somewhere doing almost everything with less and being an expensive phone. With 10,500.00 INR (approx. $169) price point, it isn’t only the bargain. There’re plenty of Android phones with decent configurations, and they are cheaper than the 630. Although I’m not saying that it’s bad, but it’s not great considering the price point and shortcomings.