Smartphone review: Nokia Lumia 625

Smartphone review: Nokia Lumia 625

Billed as a mid-range handset, the Lumia 625 marks Nokia's attempt to capture a slice of the mid-range smartphone market with Windows Phone 8.

But with strong rivals touting new mid-range models such as the Android-powered HTC Desire 601, which is endowed with features from the flagship HTC One, the going is set to get tough for the beleaguered handset maker.

Nokia is no slouch when it comes to handset design, as exemplified by the Lumia 625's curved body, rounded edges and solid build quality.

The removable back cover - available in five colours - of the Lumia 625 is reminiscent of the handset maker's Xpress-On covers that many of us with Nokia phones grew up with.

While the colourful covers make great fashion statements, they are not easy to remove once you snap them onto the phone. Without a release catch, you have to apply quite a bit of force to remove the cover.

Like its older siblings in the Lumia family, the Lumia 625's display curves around the edges, giving you a seamless experience as you swipe across the screen.

Measuring 4.7 inches, the Lumia 625's display is also Nokia's biggest so far. Its screen size, however, is not matched with a high pixel count. With a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, onscreen text is not as sharp compared with Nokia's current flagship, the Lumia 925.

That said, like its more expensive brethren, the Lumia 625's screen is bright enough and usable in broad daylight.

Colours look vibrant, but there is a yellowish tint in the default colour temperature that takes some getting used to. Blacks also do not appear as deep compared with the Lumia 925.

The Lumia 625 ships with the latest Windows Phone 8 Amber update, which includes a photo-editing tool and better image processing. The Windows 8 apps market is still bare though, with only a fraction of apps compared with its Android and iOS competitors.

However, it touts the Nokia Smart Camera app, which lets you choose the right shot from a sequence of photos, as well as remove unwanted objects in your images.

The 5-megapixel camera takes decent photos, but do not expect your snapshots to be as stunning as the high-end Lumias.

While photos taken on a bright sunny afternoon have strong contrast, night and indoor shots look grainy.

Under the hood, the phone sports a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 512GB of memory. Its lower-end guts mean apps can take a little longer to load, compared with the Lumia 925.

That said, thanks to the buttery-smooth Windows Phone 8 operating system, you will not notice much of a lag while navigating menus.

The Lumia 625's 2,000mAh battery packs enough juice for a full day of use, which includes Web browsing, texting and working on e-mail messages.

A cheery-looking smartphone for the budget-conscious set. A smaller screen would have improved the phone's display quality.

aarontan@sph.com.sg

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