Among all the Lumia's we've reviewed thus far, the Lumia 720 has easily been the most impressive. Being a mid-range handset, it embodied some of the best features of Nokia's Lumia range at a price we thought was acceptable for a Windows Phone 8 device. With a drop in price, Nokia has a new offering in the Rs 20,000 slot in the form of the Lumia 625. Going by the naming convention, it signifies an upgrade to the Lumia 625 but still a bit inferior to the Lumia 720. Let's see how Nokia's largest handset in the family fares against its predecessors.
Design and Build
In terms of design, the Lumia 625 is a mash-up between the 620 and the 720. Like the 620, the handset comes with interchangeable shells and is more rounded around the corners. However, it loses its ugly thickness in favour of the 720's slender chassis. The build and finish of the 625 is very good much like the Lumia 720. Upfront, we have a big 4.7-inch IPS display which is extremely sensitive to your input. Sadly, it lacks the ClearBlack technology that went into the 720 so the black levels and sun light legibility isn't very good.
The buttons on the sides include the power/sleep button, volume rocker and the camera shutter. There's the usual array of capacitive buttons down below. These don't light up however, so it's a little tricky in the dark. Also, a notification LED would have been a nice addition as I don't want my screen lighting up every time I receive a Whatsapp notification.
Good looker and built well
Around the back, we have a 5MP shooter and a single LED flash. The mono speaker isn't very loud so it can get a little tough to hear alerts in noisy environments. Music doesn't sound very good either so it's best you stick to your headphones. Overall, the Lumia 625 has very good build and is quite aesthetically appealing.
The shell is interchangeable and the buttons are nice to use
The Lumia 625 ships with Nokia's Windows Phone Amber update which is a software patch from Nokia and not Microsoft, although that's one and the same now. The Amber update brings with it some new camera features, performance improvements, FM Radio and gestures to silence calls. Visually, there's no change to the Operating System and it's business as usual. Nokia bundles along quite a few apps like BigFlix (you get free streaming for a month), BookMyShow, Flipkart eBooks, TripAdvisor and a bunch of Microsoft apps like Office suite. Overall, the 625 is well catered for right out-of-the-box.
On the face of it, it looks the same even after the Amber update
In terms of performance, the UI is quick and fluid and we didn't find too much lag. We also get a slightly faster SoC in the form of the Snapdragon MSM8930 which now runs at 1.2GHz and features the same Adreno 305 GPU. The limiting factor here however is the RAM which is just 512MB. While this might not be a problem for most apps, games are affected the most as the high-end games simply don't show up in the app store. This is kind of a good thing since you don't really see what you're missing so you won't feel too bad about it. Recently, some developers have started porting their games to work with lower-spec'd Lumias as well so you can finally play Temple Run on phones as low as the 520.
The Lumia 625 is a well-equipped media device thanks to Dolby’s Headphone Sound Enhancement. This adds a pleasing punch to your music which sounds good even with the stock earphones. There are equaliser presets in the main settings menu and you can also toggle the Dolby enhancement mode and Audio levelling. The enhancements work on a system-wide scale and not just for the music player.
You get Dolby enhancements for audio
The video player is capable of reading a few MOV, MP4, WMV files but AVI refused to play. Full HD videos also playback just fine and the colours are fairly vibrant with good detail. There's 8GB of onboard memory out of which about 7.8GB is available for use, which is pretty good.
Nokia has included most connectivity options we’d expect from any standard mobile handset these days, minus a couple of features. The Lumia 625 features tri-band 3G capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, EDGE and GPS with GLONASS for Nokia Drive and HERE Maps. What's missing from the list is NFC. What the handset lacks is Wi-Fi Direct and AV out (MHL). Sadly, there's no option for a Wireless Charging jacket as well. On the bright side, memory expansion is present with support up to 64GB.
Maps and surfing the net is a fun experience thanks to the large screen
We didn't have an issue with call quality as the ear piece is loud enough to be audible even in noisy environments.
The Lumia 625 is fitted with a run-of-the-mill 5MP shooter without any help from Carl Zeiss. The snapper does a decent job of low-light shots provided it's of the horizon and not indoors. The Amber update also lets you take advantage of Nokia's new Smart Cam app which captures a sequence of images in burst and later lets you manipulate them. You can choose between Best Shot, Action Shot,Motion Focus, Change Faces or Remove Moving Objects. These modes work relatively well as long as there's good lighting, you don't have many moving objects and the objects aren't moving very fast.
Camera is just about average for low-light shots
The front camera is a just a VGA sensor so the max you can do is 480p video. However, video recording on the 625 goes all to 1080p.
The 2000mAh battery put up a good show as the 625 sailed through our 8-hour loop test. We were left with about 38 per cent of the battery which is not bad for a full day's worth of usage on 3G.
Verdict and Price in India
While the MRP of the Lumia 625 is Rs 19, 999, you can find it online at varying price points depending on the colour you pick. We feel this is an expensive price for the phone especially since all you're getting is a larger screen, without any increase in resolution and important features which have been sacrificed. We would recommend the Lumia 720 over the 625 any day for its better display, NFC, better front and rear camera – all of this in a lighter and much more compact body. There's even support for wireless charging for those who want to get the most out of their Lumia device. We feel Nokia sacrificed way too much for the 625 and simply increasing the size of the display doesn't warrant a higher price tag. This phone would do well under Rs 15,000 where it would replace the Lumia 620 but certainly not at its current price.
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