Nokia Lumia 620 Australian Review: Right Phone, Wrong Price

Nokia just keeps adding phones to the stand-up Lumia range, with the 620 set to make its debut next week. We went hands on with the baby Lumia and were slightly troubled by what we found.

What Is It?

The Nokia Lumia 620 is the baby Lumia. With a 3.8-inch (800x480) AMOLED screen, a dual-core 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and five-megapixel camera, the Lumia 620 sits at the more budget end of Nokia's Lumia family. It also features a set of incredibly fetching interchangable covers, 8GB of internal storage, a microSD expansion slot and Nokia's awesome ClearBlack display. All that will set you back $329 from major electronics retailers, including JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Dick Smith, Harvey Norman and Allphones.

Let's compare the Lumia 620 to its bigger brothers. The Lumia 820 is $120 more expensive, while the 920 is $379 more expensive (compared to the prices at Kogan and MobiCity). On the spec front, you'll find a difference in the processor, RAM and camera departments but not enough to make you baulk. Read our full reviews of both the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920 to check them out for yourselves.

What's Good?


The Lumia 620 — like the 820 — features removable covers, which retain the bright and colourful identity of the Lumia. These look amazing and have the uncanny ability make the 620 look like a handset you could impress both your friends at the pub with, as well as your suit wearing colleagues.

Under the hood, it's the same Windows Phone 8 experience we loved on the higher-specced Lumias. All the Lumia goodies are there too, including City Lens, Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps as well as the different camera lens apps. Despite the fact that the Lumia 620 has entry-level specs, you don't get an entry-level experience. Browsing, multitasking and generally using the handset day-to-day is fast and fluid.

The 620 takes further design cues from the 820 with its flat screen. The Lumia 920 — the flagship — actually has curved glass covering the screen, meaning the glare can get annoying. The 620, however, has a great screen. So crisp and bright, even in direct sunlight. The screen is more visible in direct sunlight than handsets that cost three times as much like the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S III.

This plucky Lumia doesn't have 4G which is disappointing, but I'll settle for HSPA+, which it has. Also, the speaker is absurdly loud. I never expected a noise of that volume to come out of anything this size.

Finally, despite the fact that it's only a 1300mAh battery, it has a surprising amount of life in it. Under heavy use I got just under a day, and with minimal use you can expect to get three. It's quite astounding.

What's Bad?

The Lumia 620 has a great screen with only one fatal flaw: its positioning on the handset. Nokia made the 620 with a large bottom bezel, which means the screen sits off-centre on the handset. That's super-annoying at first, just because it feels like there's just too much of bottom bezel there for the hardware keys it needs to accommodate.

Also, because the screen is off-centre on the handset, it can affect your perspective on the way you view things on the handset. Images, for example, look like they're way too high on the screen when you view them in portrait mode. If you're OCD, expect that to cause problems almost immediately. If you're not, however, it's something you can get used to.

While we're on screen size and positioning, it's worth noting that because of the smaller 3.8-inch screen on the Lumia 620, the keyboard blocks out much of the screen when it's active. Thankfully Windows Phone 8 is clever enough not to block the text box you need to be typing in, but if you're a junkie for screen real estate, steer well clear of the Lumia 620.

Don't expect to use the camera as any sort of compact replacement. The images are just passable on the 3.8-inch screen. The images have visible noise and the shutter is just a bit too laggy. Check out our sample image gallery from below.

And it's worth noting also that Windows Phone 8 is still missing a few killer apps you'll find on other platforms, but it's not the Lumia 620's fault. It's more something to keep in mind when you buy.

Finally, the Lumia 620 has removable covers but no wireless charging option? What gives, Nokia?

Sample Images

Click to enlarge...


This Is Weird…

As soon as I finish writing this review, I'm picking up the phone to chat to Nokia in Finland, because whoever designs their SIM card trays needs a stern talking to. I like to think myself a smart guy, but it took me far too long to fathom just where in the hell the SIM tray should go back in.

When I popped out the battery, it tore the SIM tray out with it, meaning I had no idea where it went. I consulted the manual of all things and after what felt like far too long tinkering with the thing, I finally put it in its rightful place. What's wrong with a pop-out tray, Nokia? Stick to that in future.

Should You Buy It?

Nokia built the Lumia 620 to a set of exacting specifications. It couldn't be within shouting distance of the Lumia 920, but it had to be specced and priced in such a way that it appeared as good value when slotted in next to the Lumia 820. The only problem is the price.

At $329, the Lumia 620 is a good deal, or should I say, it would be if it were just a little cheaper. Even if Nokia had managed to make the Lumia 620 cost $299, or ideally $249, it would have satisfied the price test. The 620, however, is still within a stone's throw of the 820 as far as pricing is concerned. The Lumia 820 costs a mere $120 more than the 620, which also puts it $379 away from the flagship Lumia 920.

So which is it: was the Lumia 620 priced incorrectly for it to stand on its own merits as an inexpensive way to get into Windows Phone 8 on a Nokia, or is it a cheap ploy from Nokia to get people to buy more Lumia 820s? Probably both, if we're all honest with each other.

When we reviewed the Lumia 820 we said that it was almost as good as the flagship 920 when placed side by side with it, so much so that an ordinary consumer would likely be confused which one to pick if it were up to them. Most likely it would come down to price, in which case they'd choose the 820. There isn't enough of a difference between the 920 and the 820 — other than size and screen resolution, of course — to make the two stand far enough apart. If the Lumia 820 weren't to exist, however, we would be left with a fantastic, uncluttered range between the 920 and the 620.

It's all a great shame, really, because the Lumia 620 is a fantastic handset. It's cheap, it's cheerful and to be honest, I think it looks and feels better than the Lumia 820 despite the larger screen size on the latter.

If you want Windows Phone 8 but don't want to be anywhere near a contract, then the Lumia 620 is for you. If you firmly believe, however, that you ultimately get what you pay for, then skip the 620 and the 820 for that matter, and spend the $659 getting the Lumia 920. That's Nokia's plan, after all.


Comments

    http://www.mobicity.com.au/nokia-lumia-620.html

    MobiCity Price
    $289.00

    All that will set you back $329 from major electronics retailers, including JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Dick Smith, Harvey Norman and Allphones.

    At $329, the Lumia 620 is a good deal, or should I say, it would be if it were just a little cheaper. Even if Nokia had managed to make the Lumia 620 cost $299, or ideally $249, it would have satisfied the price test. The 620, however, is still within a stone’s throw of the 820 as far as pricing is concerned. The Lumia 820 costs a mere $120 more than the 620, which also puts it $379 away from the flagship Lumia 920.

    Has it occurred to you that it's these retailers jacking up the price and not Nokia?

    This place even has it for $229.
    http://www.becextech.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=3076#.URgqIqWkoTY

      Hell yeah!

      I've had a chance to hold (caress, even fondle) a 920 over the weekend and as much a I love the tech it's just too damn big. If my L800 was getting WP8, I'd have zero reason to leave it behind. A dual-core CPU, card slot, removable high-capacity battery and WP8 is a good upgrade, although the 5MP camera is a bit of a tradeoff a sub-$300 pricetag is very appealing. I was really expecting this review to point out a few more flaws, but it really looks like price is the single weakness.

      If that wasn't enough, looks like I can get a cyan cover! The 620 just made it to the top of my list.

      Although that place sells it for $229, the shipping is $74.95 with no other choice of shipping but $74.95

      Harvey Norman sells it for $276 according to their website. I think most budget Windows Phone 8 have large bezel, the Huawei W1 is the same too. I think the HTC 8S is the same too but more stylish but useless at only 4 gigs ram and costs more.

    Those photos don't look too bad. Compared to other camera-phones perhaps, but on their own they don't look bad at all.

    I've always felt like Nokia are about 12 months behind the competition when it comes to smartphones and the Lumia series aren't doing anything to convince me otherwise.

    Don't get me wrong, Nokia make fantastic feature phones (or "dumbphones" as they are often labelled as these days), but in the smartphone market they just seem to be playing catchup all the time.

    The Lumias are a step in the right direction but they need to stop walking and start breaking into a jog if they want to truly compete I think.

      Where exactly do you think they lag behind? The 920 has the best camera you can get on any phone and specs that are on-par with, or better than, the current iPhone (except storage). Maybe a few Android handsets have more grunt but they need it just to keep up. Even a Lumia 620 will feel as slick as a Galaxy SIII in most situations. And for all we know, these phones could have been ready a year ago, just waiting for MS to release WinPhone 8. Overall though, I think the Lumias stack up incredibly well against the competition. I mostly ended up with an HTC handset because that's what Virgin were offering.

        Where exactly do you think they lag behind?

        Windows Phone.

          And which parts of WIndows Phone do you find lags behind? I'm sure you've used it enough to make an objective, well balanced call on it, haven't you? Or are you a jackass?

            And which parts of WIndows Phone do you find lags behind?

            Apps?

              Which apps in particular? What do you need to get done that you cannot get done on WinPhone? Because I'd go the other way - Windows Phone has some exclusive apps that make it the no.1 choice for me when it comes to apps. When Android or iOS get a weather app as good as Weather & Surf Australia I will start to listen to whining about WP apps. Until then, numbers mean nothing if you don't have the quality we enjoy in the WP ecosystem.

                When Android or iOS get a weather app as good as Weather & Surf Australia I will start to listen to whining about WP apps.

                You're talking shit:
                http://www.shiftyjelly.com/ios/pocketweatherau

    I think this is a temporary problem because before Xmas you'd have been hard pressed to get an 820 for less than $500. If they have come down by more than $100 in 6 weeks or so, then it will be just a matter of time before the 620 hits Luke's sweet-spot, I imagine. Journos really do struggle with the reality of retail outside of Apple, don't they?

    Last edited 11/02/13 6:51 pm

    I would put those Lumia 620 photos ahead of what the iPhone 3GS produced

      You could also put them ahead of the original iPhone, it only came in 2007

    Most places that I have seen the 620 including harvey norman online and in allphones have it for around $280.

    "Even if Nokia had managed to make the Lumia 620 cost $299, or ideally $249, it would have satisfied the price test."

    My Mum bought one of these the other day for $280 from Allphones, and it came with a free charge battery thingy.

      They're $280 on mobicity and you can find them from $220 from some Aus online retailers.

      The article feels as though Luke is blaming Nokia for the price hikes that some Aus retailers are putting on the phone.

    Luke, you are in the "retail space" you must be aware of RRP's, in-feeds, rebates and dealer margins. I hope!

    If not, I'm certainly not going to get into the why's and how's of this as this is knowledge that you should have, as a pre-requisites for discussing (pricing), reviewing and giving advice on consumer electronic products.

    Another phone review that forgets to mention, how good it is on "Making phone calls"

      It's a smart phone. It only needs a good camera!!!

    I always check out this website for iPhone alternatives - www.microsoftapple.com - My personal favourite is the Nokia Lumia because of the camera and speed of the operating system.

    'There isn’t enough of a difference between the 920 and the 820 — other than size and screen resolution, of course — to make the two stand far enough apart.'

    Yeah. Oh wait, there is also: form factor and size and weight of handset, removable back cover vs sealed unibody, removable battery vs non-removable battery, micro SD expansion vs no micro SD expansion, 8GB vs 32GB, 1650mAh battery vs 2000mAh battery, flat Gorilla Glass 2 vs curved Gorilla Glass 2, refresh rate of pixels in the screen, Amoled vs IPS LCD, 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash vs 8.7 megapixel Pureview camera with OIS and Short Pulse High Power dual LED flash, and the price difference plus the two points you said yourself.

    I am sure there are even more differences than the number I gave above!

    You clearly do not know much about the Lumia's if you say there is not enough of a difference between the 820 and 920.

    Lol. He finds it hard to locate this SIM tray. It is obvious enough...
    http://asset1.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2013/02/08/35551447-3_610x435.jpg

    They don't need to 'break into a jog' when they have already started sprinting. Do you seriously think that Nokia is 12 months behind the competition?!

    They are still leading trends such as the use of oxidised aluminium (N8) and then polycarbonate (N9), NFC, and QI wireless charging.

    Then what about their innovations such as: Puremotion HD+, use of synaptics, Pureview phase 1 with oversampling, Pureview phase 2 with OIS, Rich Recording, Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband speech codec for calls, and the list goes on.

    On top of all that there is the development of indoor mapping, augmented applications, nanotechnology, super hydrophobic coatings, graphene, and flexible devices.

    They also make beautifully simple industrially designed phones that make IPhone's look old and boring.

    From a slightly different angle, they are also leading the way with 4g LTE, broadband, and mobile networks.

    If all of that does not convince you then just wait and see for what they have instore for us at MWC.

    I have the 620 and at $276 (from Harvey Norman) it's a good deal. No issues so far apart from an annoying habit of reducing the ring volume to zero after disconnecting from the car charger. That I can't seem to fix.

    There is a problem with ALL windows 8 phones and that is you CANNOT do a local sync of your contacts or calender. This makes the phone effectively useless for people using outlook with more than 1 email address. I tried the nokia 610 for a week and this issue made it unusable for me and i now use Android as all other phone OS's offer sync of local contacts and calenders. Why does nobody who reviews these products report this issue. This issue is a megga drawback to what could be a nice phone.

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