Nokia Lumia goes big screen

For a manufacturer that had at one time smartphones with the largest displays around (remember those massive Communicators, anyone?), Nokia has been decidedly stubborn about not getting into the phablet race. However, the company has been gently increasing the size of its smartphone displays. The Lumia 925 and 920 both sported 4.5-inch displays, and now comes the Lumia 625, which sports a 4.7-inch display, the biggest on a Lumia device yet (we are hearing rumours of a Nokia phablet as we write this).

And it is the display that stands out in the device, although to Nokia’s designers’ credit, it does so without seeming overwhelming. In fact, the entire device feels compact (it is just 9.2 mm thick) and fits well in the palm of one’s hand, with its gently curving corners. The back panel comes with the colourful Lumia back panels, although ripping it off can be a bit of a problem. Below the screen are the standard three touch buttons for Home, Back and Search, and most of the business buttons are on the device’s right — volume, power and display on/off and camera. The specs are respectable — dual core processor, 512 MB RAM, a 5.0-megapixel camera and 8 GB onboard memory that can be expanded using a microSD card. There is no shortage of connectivity options ( LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS), and apart from the usual goodies that accompany Nokia’s Lumia phones — the free maps and navigation and a year of free music downloads — there is now also the option to stream and download films free of cost for three months, from a selection of more than two thousand titles. Round that off with the usual smooth interface and seamless social network connectivity, MS Office and decent mail experience that one gets from Windows Phone 8 devices (and this one comes with the latest Amber update preinstalled, improving performance), and well, you realise that the 625 delivers a fair amount of bang for the R19,000 it retails at.

It is not all smooth sailing, though. The camera is a bit of a let down by Nokia’s own high standards, with colours fading in the evening. And ironically, the display comes with a resolution of 800 x 480 which is frankly a bit on the lower side for a display of this size — the Lumia 925 and 920 have smaller displays but sport 1280 x 768 resolutions. This does not affect viewing videos much (HD videos look very good indeed), but definitely makes a difference when one is reading text or browsing the Web, as text does not seem quite as sharp as on other devices. The 512 MB of RAM also means that some apps will not run on the device (most will, though) and that some high-resource games like Temple Run will perform less than optimally.

All of which makes the Lumia 625 a very good proposition for those who love to carry their films and music around on their device, but not exactly the multimedia monster some were expecting. That price compensates for a lot, though. We would certainly call it one of the best value-for-money smartphones in the R20,000 segment in the market today.

>>  Comes with a pre-installed Amber software update
>> Well-priced compared to the competition

>> Display comes with a lower resolution
>> Camera is a let down

Processor: 1.2 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
RAM: 512 MB
Display: 4.7-inch (800x 480 pixels)
Storage: 8 GB storage (expandable via MicroSD Card)
OS: Windows Phone 8 (with Amber update)
Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth
Camera: 5.0-megapixel camera
Price: Rs 19,000 

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