Review Nokia Lumia 620 Smartphone

Manuel Masiero (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 04/02/2013

Here come the budget Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The Lumia series of smartphones are a combined effort of Nokia and Microsoft to bring Windows Phone 8 to the masses. The Lumia 620 is one of the first budget smartphones that tries to appeal to cost-conscious buyer. We will see if the hardware is able to squeeze out enough performance to keep the user happy.

For the original German review, see here.

Nokia is one of the few smartphone makers who is hedging all its bets on the Windows Phone OS rather than embracing the very popular and dominant OS in the market, Android. Of the three models announced Lumia line, we have tested the mid-range Lumia 820 and the high-end Lumia 920. Now, we take a look at the entry-level option, the Lumia 620, which Nokia offers for a competitive price of 269 Euros (~$350).

Case

The small Lumia 620 is very sturdy and weighs just 130 grams.
The case of our test model is made of a matte black polycarbonate plastic.

The phone measures 115.4 x 61.1 mm and has a 3.8 inch screen, making it slightly more compact than the Lumia 820, but almost as big as the Apple iPhone 4/4S. The 11 mm thickness makes it slightly thicker than other smartphones, but this does not ruin the great feel of the device.

To sell the phone at a street price of around 240 Euros (~$310), one would imagine Nokia to have made a few compromises in the build quality. Quite the opposite actually: the Lumia 620 feels great in the hand due to the rounded corners, the comfortable weight of 130 grams, the sturdy polycarbonate back which offers good grip and well-placed keys. The glass and case are fitted seamlessly and give us a very sturdy impression. The 3.8-inch model does not bend even under great force.

While we are talking about the back, we should mention that Nokia has stuck to its trend of using strong colors like in the previous Lumia models. The rear of the smartphone comes in six different colors, which, except for one, all appear to be very bright. Our test model employs the "conservative" cover which is a subdued matte black.

The clever opening mechanism deserves special praise. In fact, many other manufacturers could learn from this. The procedure is pretty simple. Hold the smartphone like you normally do, squeeze and push down on the rear camera. This will allow the cover to slide of the back. It is just as easy to swap out the removable 1,300 mAh battery and the Micro SIM and microSD cards.

Connectivity

Buyers may have extensive choice while picking out their favorite color for the cover, but the storage capacity of the device is limited. The internal memory is fixed at 8 GB, of which around 5 GB are available to the user. The easily-accessible microSD slot allows the user to increase the storage capacity of the Lumia 620 by up to 64 GB. In addition, an app grants the user access to 7 GB of online storage through Microsoft Skydrive.

The ports of the smartphone are the usual and the minimum requirements of this category are satisfied, and no special extras are included. The in-ear headphones delivered with the smartphone fit into the 3.5 mm audio jack on the top and certified by Dolby Headphone for Surround Sound. For data transfer, a Micro USB port on the bottom can be used with the provided USB adapter. This will also charge the phone.

Top: 3.5 mm audio jack
Right: Camera button, Power on/off, Volume rocker
Bottom: microUSB, Microphone & Speakers
Inside: Micro-SIM, microSD.
The Lumia 620 runs Windows Phone 8.
Good overview: the tab interface.
Included: Microsoft Office.
Many Nokia apps come pre-installed.

Software

The Lumia 620 runs on the Windows 8 Phone OS, which is also available on the HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 820. This version of the Microsoft OS is quite impressive as it presents a clear overview of tabs and is one of the most intuitive interfaces on any mobile operating system. The entire home screen is filled with the familiar Windows 8 tiles, which can be changed to any size and moved to any position on the screen.  

Nokia has installed a lot of its own apps on the Lumia 620, which all worked well in the test. Included is the reliable transport planner, Nokia Drive+ Beta, the map software, Nokia mapsNokia Bus & Train and the extensive utility software, Nokia Care. The mobile version of Microsoft Office is also on-board, and this allows the user to access and create documents in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Communication & GPS

The Lumia 620 shows that cheap smartphones do not necessarily have to sacrifice connectivity options to help keep the cost down. Our Nokia test model supports the fast WLAN standards 802.11a/b/g/n, and can connect to a wireless network on the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies. In addition, GSM (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), Edge and the fast HSPA+ (UMTS/3G) are also supported. Bluetooth is also on-board but it is the older 3.0 standard. The integrated NFC chip (Near Field Communication) has a lot of potential use in the future. The tray for the SIM card is made for the Micro SIM standardA-GPS and Glonass grant the Lumia 620 the ability to connect to positioning satellites and in our tests, these connections were very stable.

Telephone functions

The settings to control the phone functions are via a tile on the screen which can be moved or resized according to the user’s requirements. The telephone functions are similar to those found on other operating systems and are easy to use. A numeric pad, contacts, a search function and an additional button, which leads to the mailbox, are shown on the screen. The best part about the phone function is that the numbers in messages, emails or the browser can be directly dialed without copying them to the calling app.

Cameras & Multimedia

The front-facing 0.3 MP webcam is only capable of taking low quality pictures and videos in the VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels), and thus is only suitable for video calling. The rear camera is far better as it offers a 5 MP snapper that offers a maximum resolution of 2,592 x 1,936 pixels and is able to record 720p videos. This main camera of the Lumia 620 offers good quality images in well-lit surroundings with decent contrast, colors and clarity. However, in poor lighting conditions, the camera can only offer up blurry pictures with pale colors despite its LED flash.

Front camera - 0.3 MP
Main camera - 5 MP
Reference camera - Canon Ixus 115 HS

Accessories

The delivery package of the Lumia 620 includes a 1300 mAh battery, a manual, In-Ear headphones, a Micro USB cable and a modular power adapter with a USB port. As an optional audio accessory, Nokia offers a Bluetooth stereo headset and compact Bluetooth speakers on their site.

Warranty

Nokia includes a 24 month warranty period of the Lumia 620. Interestingly, Nokia limits the warranty period on the other parts of the package (battery, charger, headphones, Micro USB cable) to 6 months.

Input Devices and Interface

The capacitive touchscreen of the Lumia 620 translates input fluidly and precisely and enables the user to comfortably use the device thanks to the automatic screen rotation. The sturdy glass surface allows the finger to slide over it without resistance and the three extra keys below the display: the search, Windows and back keys (right to left) are highly responsive. The LC display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels does not offer a lot of space for tabs, which means the user will often have to scroll.

The text input is possible via the virtual QWERTZ keyboard and requires getting used to in portrait mode due to the small keys. In landscape mode, the keys are bigger, but Nokia has not used the entire width of the screen which leaves black bands on the right and left sides. The virtual keyboard covers two-thirds of the screen in landscape mode.  

Display

The LC display has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels.

The small 3.8-inch LCD touchscreen of the Lumia 620 is protected by a sturdy glass panel, and although it may seem modest at first (480 x 800 pixel resolution), it has a lot to offer. Our test model has an average brightness of 502.1 cd/m² and a max brightness of 517 cd/m². This makes Lumia 620 one of the brightest smartphones we have tested and it is only trumped by the Asus Padfone 2 (530 cd/m²). Indoors, the brightness sensor does a good job of regulating this high brightness. The other members of the Lumia family cannot keep up: the Lumia 820 offers an average brightness of 297 cd/m² and the Lumia 920 offers 322 cd/m².

508
cd/m²
517
cd/m²
487
cd/m²
510
cd/m²
515
cd/m²
490
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
497
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 517 cd/m²
Average: 502.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 515 cd/m²
Black: 0.55 cd/m²
Contrast: 936:1
Distribution of brightness

In comparison to the brightness, the black value of 0.55 cd/m² is not great, but it should not offer any room for complaint. The contrast is good: 936:1. While the Lumia 920 offers similar, yet slightly worse values (IPS panel, 0.41 cd/m², 851:1), the Lumia 820 performs at at a different level with its AMOLED panel: a black value of 0.01 cd/m² which amounts to a contrast ratio of 28,800:1.

Outdoors use
Outdoors use

Due to the great brightness values, the Lumia 620 is fit for outdoors use. Despite the reflective glass surface, the display content remains clearly legible even under direct sunlight. In fact only strong sunlight can make it harder for the user to recognize the on-screen content, but even then, the user can always recognize the tabs. Only text and other small elements become hard to discern due to the reflections, but this issue can be resolved by turning the phone to a different angle.

Viewing angles - Nokia Lumia 620
Viewing angles - Nokia Lumia 620

The viewing angle stability of the Lumia 620 leaves no room for complaint. Regardless of how the phone is turned, the display content is always legible. The colors do not change and the brightness only drop slightly at extreme angles.

Performance

Till now, the Nokia Lumia 620 has surprised us with many positives. But how does it perform? A Qualcomm System-on-a-Chip (SoC) runs the smartphone. This 1 GHz SoC Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 has two processing cores and has 512 MB RAM on the side.

Our impression of the smartphone? The Lumia 620 does everything right in normal use. In everyday use, the phone reacts well by loading websites without any noticeable lag and offers a fluid interface.

The benchmarks point in a slightly different direction: we believe this is due to the different architecture of Windows Phone 8 OS and the Internet Explorer 10 browser, which performs poorly in certain browser benchmarks.

In our browser tests (Peacekeeper, Browsermark 2.0, Google v8 and SunSpider 0.9.1), the Lumia 620 offers average performance and is clearly beaten by its more-expensive cousins, the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. This statement is supported by the result of the AnTuTu Version 0.8 benchmark: 7,469 points puts the test model far from the premium models.

Peacekeeper
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
214 Points ∼3%
Nokia Lumia 820
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 8 GB SSD
333 Points ∼5% +56%
Apple iPhone 5
PowerVR SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
863 Points ∼14% +303%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, Snapdragon APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
236 Points ∼4% +10%
HTC One SV
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8930, 8 GB SSD
416 Points ∼7% +94%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
197 Points ∼3% -8%
Browsermark 2.0
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1516 points ∼21%
Nokia Lumia 820
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 8 GB SSD
1758 points ∼24% +16%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
1194 points ∼17% -21%
Apple iPhone 5
PowerVR SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
2383 points ∼33% +57%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, Snapdragon APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1839 points ∼26% +21%
HTC One SV
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8930, 8 GB SSD
1366 points ∼19% -10%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
1543 points ∼21% +2%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
460 Points ∼3%
Nokia Lumia 820
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 8 GB SSD
783 Points ∼4% +70%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
785 Points ∼4% +71%
Apple iPhone 5
PowerVR SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
1457 Points ∼8% +217%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, Snapdragon APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1381 Points ∼8% +200%
HTC One SV
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8930, 8 GB SSD
1174 Points ∼6% +155%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
477 Points ∼3% +4%
Sunspider
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1435 ms * ∼14%
Nokia Lumia 820
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 8 GB SSD
923.2 ms * ∼9% +36%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, Snapdragon MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
915.3 ms * ∼9% +36%
Apple iPhone 5
PowerVR SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
935.4 ms * ∼9% +35%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, Snapdragon APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1894.7 ms * ∼18% -32%
HTC One SV
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8930, 8 GB SSD
1473.8 ms * ∼14% -3%
HTC Windows Phone 8S
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 4 GB Flash
1410 ms * ∼13% +2%
Nokia Lumia 620
Adreno 305, Snapdragon MSM8227, 8 GB SSD
1416.7 ms * ∼35%
Apple iPhone 5
PowerVR SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
714 ms * ∼18% +50%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, Snapdragon APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1580.6 ms * ∼39% -12%

* ... smaller is better

Games

The Lumia 620 is equipped with the Adreno 305 graphics chip which offers good gaming performance. All games we tested (Angry Birds, Flight Control, Plants vs. Zombies and the demanding Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit) ran well on our test model. Sadly, these results do not change the fact that the Windows Phone 8 store has a meager offering of graphically demanding 3D games.

 

Angry Birds
Angry Birds
Flight Control
Flight Control
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Plants vs. Zombies
Plants vs. Zombies

The telephone app of the Lumia 620 does what it is supposed to - in every test call, our test model delivers perfect audio quality. The provided headphones have a high enough maximum volume to drone out the surrounding noise in a loud environment. The hands-free function integrated into the bottom edge performs well but at high volumes can start to sound tinny. The simple headphones offer limited performance for music playback.

Emissions

Temperature

The Nokia Lumia 620 keeps a cool head even at high load: it heats up far less than the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920. A max temperature of 41.3 degrees Celsius, which pops up on the bottom of the case, is acceptable. On average, the front heats up to 37.6 degrees Celsius at full load and while idle, it can hit up to 28.1 degrees Celsius.

Max. Load
 39.7 °C38.0 °C36.2 °C 
 39.9 °C37.8 °C37.5 °C 
 37.4 °C36.2 °C36.1 °C 
 
30.0 °C33.7 °C38.4 °C
31.5 °C35.0 °C41.3 °C
31.2 °C35.1 °C39.7 °C
Maximum: 39.9 °C
Average: 37.6 °C
 Maximum: 41.3 °C
Average: 35.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39.4 °C | Room Temperature 21.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The back of the Lumia 620 houses a speaker, which offers mono sound. The sound output is dominated by high notes and mids and bass are barely present. The In-Ear headphones make everything better as they are powered by Dolby Headphone with Surround Sound which gives them the ability to output much stronger sound quality for deep tones.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Qualcomm-SoC and the 3.8 inch LC display are the two components which consume the most power. ‘Power-hungry’ is not an apt description as the Lumia 620 requires between 1.2 - 2.2 watts for Office use. This makes the test model slightly more efficient than the HTC Windows Phone 8S (1.2 - 2.6 watts) which has the same SoC and a slightly larger 4.0 inch screen. At load, the Lumia 620 can consume between 2.8 - 4.4 watts. These are both good values, as the high-end equipped Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 require at least 4.4 W and 5.4 - 5.7 W respectively.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.8 Watt
Idle 1.2 / 1.8 / 2.2 Watt
Load 2.8 / 4.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Powered by a 1300 mAH battery, the Nokia smartphone can run for a maximum of 330 hours in standby mode and play music for 61 hours. Our tests put the phone through the wringer to find out how accurate these claims are. We first checked the maximum battery life with minimum brightness and power-saving functions of Windows Phone 8 turned on. A web-based script runs in this state and simulates the reading of text. The Lumia 620 lasted a decent 14 hours and 32 minutes.

The other extreme, the minimum run time (maximum brightness, all wireless modules turned on) is measured by using the WP Bench, which fully stresses the hardware. The Lumia gives up after 2 hours and 1 minute. However, in comparison to the competition, this time is acceptable. The final test measures the battery life while surfing on WLAN with the smartphone (medium brightness). The Nokia Lumia 620 lasts 10 hours and 15 minutes which is a good run time.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 32min
WiFi Surfing
10h 15min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 01min

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 620 shows us that a good smartphone does not have to be expensive. The street price of 240 Euros (~$310) is carried by a smartphone with great workmanship, decent performance and impressive software. The LCD screen of the Lumia 620 should have had a higher resolution, which would save the user a lot of scrolling, but the phone is built just right and has every feature desirable in this class of device. In everyday use, the limitations are not distracting, and are compensated for by the great display, which has no peer in this price class.

Nokia has installed Windows Phone 8 on the Nokia Lumia 620, and as can be seen, the result is good. The tab interface is fluid and easy to use. The user will have to live with a few Windows oddities: the on-screen keyboard does not use the entire width of the screen in landscape mode and the app offerings are meager at the moment in the Windows app store. However, sooner or later, the user will get used to the former and the latter will be resolve by itself over time depending on market penetration.

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Specifications

Nokia Lumia 620

:: Processor
:: Memory
8192 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
3.8 inch 15:9, 800x480 pixel, Multipoint-Touch, capacitive, LCD, ClearBlack, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
8 GB SSD, 8 GB (Net ca. 5 GB), plus 7 GB online storage (SkyDrive)
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: microSD, up to 64 GB, Sensors: Position sensor, Distance sensor, Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope, Compass,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 3.0 Bluetooth, NFC, W-CDMA, GSM-Quadband (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS-Quadband (850/900/1900/2100), HSPA+ (up to 21.6/5.76 MBit/s)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 115.4 x 61.1 x 11
:: Weight
0.127 kg Power Supply: 0.04 kg
:: Battery
4.8 Wh Lithium-Ion, Nokia Akku BL-4J (1.300 mAh), Talk time 9 h 50 Min (according to manufacturer), Standby 330 h (according to manufacturer), Music playback 61 h (according to manufacturer)
:: Price
269 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Phone 8
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0.3 MP (Vorderseite, 640 x 480 Pixel, 5.0 MP (Rückseite, 2.592 x 1.936 Pixel, Videos bis 720p), Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: Virtual, Micro-USB quick charger, AC-50, microUSB charge and data cable CA-190CD, stereo headset WH-108, Nokia City-Compass, Cards, Music, Navigation, Bus & Train, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer 10, DirectX 11, 24 Months Warranty

 

Microsoft on-board: Windows Phone 8 as the OS.
Microsoft on-board: Windows 8 Phone as the OS.
The main camera on the back has a 5 MP resolution.
The main camera on the back has a 5 MP resolution.
A 0.3 MP webcam adorns the front.
A 0.3 MP webcam adorns the front.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC has enough power for demanding games like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC has enough power for even demanding games like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
A hardened glass panel protects the LC display.
A hardened glass panel protects the LC display.
The top of the device houses the headphone jack.
The top of the device houses the headphone jack.
The audio quality of the Lumia 620 is great.
The audio quality of the Lumia 620 is great.
Three soft touch keys are found on the bottom edge: Back, Windows and Search.
Three soft touch keys are to be found on the bottom display edge: Back, Windows and Search.
Optional back-panels: six different case colors are available....
Colorful offering: six different case colors are available....
...and some more color options for the tiles.
...and some more colors for the tabs.
Also included in the delivery: microUSB cable, power adapter, In-Ear headphones.
Also included in the delivery: microUSB cable, power adapter, In-Ear headphones.
The Microsoft app store is slowly being filled.
The Microsoft App store is slowly being filled.
Nokia enthusiastically contributes to the App Store with its own Apps.
Nokia enthusiastically contributes to the App Store with its own Apps.
In contrast to many other Smartphones, the Lumia 620 can be easily opened.
In contrast to many other Smartphones, the Lumia 620 can be easily opened.

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Low price
+Great 3.8 inch display
+NFC and Dual-Band WLAN
+Simple Windows Phone 8 interface
+Storage can be increasing using a SD card
+Swappable battery
+Good battery life
+Nice camera
+24 months warranty
 

Contra

-Low screen resolution
-Weak webcam with only 0.3 MP
-Average performance
-Around 5 GB net storage space

Shortcut

What we like

The good quality, bright LC display and nice workmanship.

What we miss

A higher resolution and a more extensive app offering in the Windows app store.

What surprises us

Nokia offers the Lumia 620 for a competitive price, and they have not cut many corners: workmanship, connectivity and performance are top-notch for this class of device.

The competition

Other Windows Phone 8 smartphones:  Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8 and the Samsung ATIV S.

Rating

Nokia Lumia 620
03/14/2014 v4
Manuel Masiero

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
38 / 75 → 51%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
50 / 60 → 83%
Weight
94%
Battery
89%
Display
83%
Games Performance
26 / 75 → 35%
Application Performance
30 / 65 → 46%
Temperature
83%
Noise
100%
Average
70%
83%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Nokia Lumia 620 Smartphone
Author: Manuel Masiero, 2013-04- 2 (Update: 2013-06- 6)