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Nokia Lumia 625 Review

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Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a new internet technology that delivers ultra fast internet to consumers. This new technology has been becoming very popular to people lately up to the point that even smartphones have it too. At first, only high end smartphones offer LTE but lately, mid-range Android smartphones like Sony Xperia SP (click for the review here) is now packing LTE. Nokia took us with a surprise when they announced back in July the Nokia Lumia 625, the first mid-range Windows Phone packing with LTE goodness. At last, I got a unit for review. Let’s have a quick tour of the specs.

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Nokia Lumia 625 specs:

  • 1.2GHz Dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • Adreno 305 graphics
  • 512 RAM
  • 8GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 64GB
  • 4.7 inch IPS LCD display (480 x 800 resolution) 199 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 5 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • VGA front facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • 2,000 mAh battery
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Price: Nokia Store – P13,200; Kimstore – P8,600; DBGagdets – P9,200; Hot Gadgets – P8,680

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Hardware and Design:

Just like any other Lumia device, the Nokia Lumia 625 is made with high grade polycarbonate. The design of the phone makes it easy for any hand to hold and grip.  For me it is a perfect size both for my pockets and hands. I do still have a soft spot with phones with 4.7 to 4.8-inch screen size. A camera shutter button is also a nice addition meaning I don’t have to struggle using the camera while using it with one hand. One thing I admire about Nokia is their excellent hardware. You will know it is well built when you hold it.

Display:

One major gripe of many tech blogs I’ve read is the display. On paper, it only has a WVGA resolution with 480 x 800 pixels that is stretched out on a 4.7 inch screen. I admit that pixels are evident when looking it closely. But this is a Windows Phone device  meaning it uses more blacks even on the starts screen, app tray and selections.  Its not a big deal for me since its very bright even using it under direct sunlight. It is also an IPS panel which means the display is good even looking at it on extreme angles.

Performance:

The device is powered by a 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm processor which may sound underwhelming. Let me remind you again guys that this is a Windows Phone device and not an Android one. Windows Phone devices ran well even with lower grade processors and low RAM and the Lumia 625 is no exception. Playing games like Minion Rush and Temple Ran well too despite low 512MB RAM. Just don’t try to download and play graphic intense games. On Antutu Benchmark, the phone scored 8,905

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Did I mention that it has LTE? The catch though is LTE bands available on the Lumia are 850, 1800 and 2600 mHz. Globe uses LTE 1800 while Smart uses LTE 2100. This means if you want this phone mainly because of LTE then only Globe is your only option. Smart will still work but you will only be stuck at HSPA+.

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Software:

Like what I’ve said on my previous article (click here), Windows Phone is indeed better than Android and iOS because of two things – it rans well on any phone with various types of specs like Android without the lags and hiccups and offers the same smooth experience like iOS at a lower cost. All the apps you need is already in Windows Phone store – social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram; photo apps like Photo Grid; camera apps like Camera 360 and Nokia Smart Cam and chat apps like WeChat, Line, Viber, and KakaoTalk. It still lack other apps like games but the good news is that the Windows Phone store is ever growing.

Web Browsing:

If you are a first time Windows Phone user, there’s no Google Chrome found on the Windows Phone store. You just have to use the preinstalled Internet Explorer. Unlike its PC sibling, the IE for Windows Phone is not sluggish and slow. I think its even faster than Chrome or Safari.

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Camera:

One of Nokia’s greatest strengths is the camera and the Lumia 625’s lens didn’t disappoint. I think it is one of the best 5 megapixel cameras on a smartphone I’ve tested. Pictures are generally good but not great. The strength of the camera begins to shine when you take pictures in low light. Yes, the phone doesn’t have BSI but it take pictures well in light. See the sample pictures below.

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When this picture was taken on a Samsung Galaxy Core only the upper stairs was seen but everything was completely dark.

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Good lighting

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Dimmed light

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Good lighting

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Taken with no light but with flash

Battery:

I was very impressed with the 2,000 mAh battery. Sometimes those trade offs like the low res screen really helps improve battery life. The phone lasted about 16 hours of heavy usage (social networking, watching You Tube videos for hours, web browsing, playing games for hours and LTE on). On light to moderate usage, the phone will last for 2 full days. Impressive isn’t it?

Verdict:

The Nokia Lumia 625 is a strong contender to one of the best mid-range smartphones today – the Sony Xperia SP. The only advantage of the Xperia over the Lumia is the mobile OS since Android still has more apps than Windows Phone. But other than that they are almost equal in almost every way. If you want a phone with a different mobile experience and still has the essential apps you need plus a great camera, the Nokia Lumia 625 will best serve you.