Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reviewing the Microsoft-Nokia flagship product: Lumia 630

Nokia Lumia 630

Post the acquisition of Nokia, Microsoft has launched its first device, the Lumia 630, noticeably without the Nokia name. The phone is the first of its generation and requires several modifications. However, it is the start of something new which is appreciable.
The Lumia 630’s Dual SIM version has been released in India with the Windows Phone 8.1. Although it is cheaper than the Lumia 620, it is actually in a lower segment and not a patch on the phone. With new software and hardware to boast of, the Lumia 630 could become the next big thing.

Feel and Look
The shape of the phone is more block and flat than usual. The phone has sides along the rectangular body that taper back which makes it easy to grip the phone. The back part of the phone does not bulge too much.

This mobile phone has a matte textured colourful casing. It is nothing similar to the highly glossy finishes that were seen on the other Lumia models and this sort of a finishing picks up dirt and specks as soon as you expose the phone.
The front part of the phone does not have anything except Nokia’s logo on top as navigation is taken care of by soft keys. The volume and power buttons are on the right edge although there is no shortcut key for the camera. The left side is left completely blank while the bottom and top have the microUSB port and headset jack each. The rear has been left fully blank too with the rounded speaker hole and camera lens poking out apart from the hardly visible Nokia logo right centre.

The phone does not come with a USB cable or headphone. The charger is connected to a microUSB plug with a fixed wire.
Specifications and Features
A steady Qualcomm 400 Snapdragon powerful has been used in the Lumia. The processor clocks 1.2GHx on a quad core SOC with Adreno integrated 305 graphics. Only 512MB of RAM has been provided which is quite a downscaling from the 1GB placed in the Lumia 525.

The built in storage space given is 8GB which offsets the requirement to include external storage cards. Earlier models of Nokia could support up to 128GB external memory cards. The screen measures 4.5 inches diagonally although it has an abysmal resolution of 480X854 pixels. The pixel density on the devise is very low and it does not appear premium quality at all. It does not live up to the already low standard of Nokia’s device which offers bad viewing angles and limited colour accuracy. Even though the interface is not very grainy, the textual matter on websites and applications might remind you of high quality 10 years ago.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity of the device is up to date along with GPS. Only an accelerometer has been included among the sensors. Screen brightness needs to be adjusted manually for the lack of an ambient sensor. The list of amenities offered by the Lumia 630 is lopsided and other phones in this price range out do it.
The biggest attraction of the Lumia 630 is its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. The update is much significant and there have been minor and major improvements. Outside India, Microsoft may boast of the Cortana, which is a voice based intelligence assistant. However, the feature does not exist for the Indian version of the phone. There are roundabouts which will get the feature working on the phone, although it is not much needed.
A notification shade has been added which users were waiting for very long. Microsoft has called it the Action Centre. Like in iOS and Android, swiping down from the top of the display unit will reveal an overlay that shows notifications that have not been taken care of yet. When the Action Centre is pulled down, expanded information about the icons on the notification bar like battery percentage are revealed. There are also some useful shortcuts like brightness, camera, Bluetooth and these are customizable, although not more than 4 can be added at one go.

Nokia Lumia 630
New Nokia Lumia 630
The device is the first Windows Phone that supports 2 SIMs and there are some new touches for it. For example, there are 2 distinct messaging and phone apps which is a little odd and confusing. The icons for the 2 SIMs are quite similar in colour while the first set becomes transparent in case the new option of background photo is selected. Fragmented inbox and call history lists need to be dealt with. However, contact lists are shared and making calls and sending texts from the other SIM’s app is allowed. It is quite useful for keeping personal and work communications separate. However, not everyone would appreciate this technique.

Nokia has always included numerous camera apps and this time it is no different. The Lumia 630 has Creative Studio, Cinemagraph and Glam Me for numerous effects that range from face enhancement to animation. The camera app by Nokia includes options such as manual focus, shutter speed, quick access to white balance settings and ISO.

The photographs clicked in daylight are quite impressive. Clarity and details are comparable to that of a camera on a phone which is twice as expensive as the Lumia 630. However, photographs clicked indoors are not that good and photographs become noisy very sharply even when they are clicked in office floors that are well lit. Photographs clicked at night did not have too many details and had too much of noise. The video appeared compressed and blocky and had an artificial feel to it.

The Lumia 630’s interface is quite smooth although browsing the internet is quite a task and playback of non HD video clips produced glitches too. The Lumia 630 will probably not last you more than one year or two, particularly if you include a lot of apps and the future operating system updates need heavier specifications.
The battery life is quite impressive as it lasted more than 11 hours in a continuous video loop test. The phone can be confidently used intensively through the day and you would not need to grope for a power outlet for charging your phone.

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