It's a time of change. The Nokia we've known ever since mobile phones
first appeared has finally been acquired by Microsoft and is now officially a subsidiary of Microsoft's Devices Group, which handles the Xbox and Surface product lines. The Lumia 630 is
the first new phone out the door since the deal went through, but it's
obviously been under development for quite a while. Still, it's obvious
that things have changed - subtly but surely, this is the start of
The dual-SIM version of the Lumia 630 has launched in
India, and it's the first device to run the new Windows Phone 8.1
update. Interestingly, it isn't a clear replacement for the Lumia 620 -
it's a bit cheaper than the 620 was at launch, but is also in a lower
With new hardware and new software to boast of, the Lumia 630 could be quite potent package. Let's take a closer look.
Look and Feel
seems to have been able to come up with dozens of variations on the
same theme: colourful polycarb shell, black front face, buttons all on
one side, and simple lines, but different shapes and curves. The 630 is
no exception, although this time the shape is more flat and blocky than
usual. It's a clean rectangle with sides that taper towards the back,
making it fairly easy to grip. The rear bulges only very slightly.
review sample had a matte-textured white shell. It's definitely nothing
like the high-gloss finishes we've seen on some other Lumias, and
unfortunately it began picking up dirt and scuffs from almost the first
time we set it down on a table.
The front face is blank apart from
a Nokia logo up top, since navigation is taken care of by on-screen
soft keys now. The power button and volume rocker are on the right edge,
but there's no camera shortcut key now. The left edge is totally blank,
and the top and bottom have only the headset jack and Micro-USB port
each. The back is almost completely blank, with only the camera lens and
a round speaker hole to be seen, apart from a faint Nokia logo in the
We don't usually concern ourselves with the boxes that
phones come in, but we have to note that Nokia (rather, Microsoft
Devices), has switched to a flat, white design, ditching the blocky blue
rectangles we've seen with every Lumia release so far. More to the
point, the Lumia 630 does not come with a headset or even a USB cable.
The charger has a fixed wire with a Micro-USB plug, and we really have
to wonder how much money the company will save by not shipping a
standard charger head with a removable USB cord.
Features and specifications
Lumia 630 has a powerful enough processor, the trusty Qualcomm
Snapdragon 400. It's a 1.2GHz quad-core system-on-a-chip with integrated
Adreno 305 graphics. There's only 512MB of RAM which is a significant
step down from the 1GB found in the cheaper Lumia 525.
other manufacturers have done recently, Nokia has used a dedicated
processor for sensor input which allows the main SoC to power down and
save battery life. The SensorCore, as it's called, ties in to the Bing
Health and Fitness app which can act as a pedometer and activity
tracker. This won't be a big feature for the Lumia 630 considering it
lacks advanced sensors, but higher end devices such as the upcoming
Lumia 930 will take better advantage of it.
You get 8GB of
built-in storage space, which is somewhat offset since Nokia says up to
128GB microSD cards are supported. The screen is 4.5 inches diagonally,
but has a lowly resolution of 480x854 pixels. This is by far the lowest
pixel density we've seen in a long time, and it's very evident at first
glance that this is not a premium quality display at all. It's duller
than we've come to expect from Nokia, with less-than-impressive colour
accuracy and poor viewing angles. The Windows Phone interface isn't
terribly grainy, but text in apps and on websites reminds us of what
used to be considered high-quality a decade ago.
The screen is
proportionately a bit taller than the one on the Lumia 525, and its
resolution is very slightly greater than 16:9 which is a good thing
because a bit of vertical space is lost to the on-screen buttons (which
are almost permanently visible).
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support is up
to date, and there's also GPS. The only sensor seems to be an
accelerometer - there isn't even an ambient light sensor to help adjust
screen brightness automatically. All in all, the Lumia 630 has a
somewhat unbalanced list of features - it's outclassed in some areas by
other phones in its price range.
The biggest story
of course is Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft's update is fairly
significant, with plenty of improvements both major and minor. The one
thing Microsoft can boast about abroad is Cortana, its version of a
voice-based intelligent assistant, but that it doesn't work in India.
Tweaks to get it running do exist, but for all practical purposes, this
isn't a feature to take into consideration yet.
The other visible
change is - finally - the addition of a notification shade, which
Microsoft has named Action Centre. Just like in Android and iOS, you can
swipe downwards from the very top of the screen to pull down an overlay
which displays notifications you haven't dealt with yet. When you pull
down the Action Centre shade, you'll see expanded information about your
notification bar icons, such as the battery level in percent. There are
also four handy shortcuts: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Camera and Brightness, and
you can swap these out for other choices, but can't have more than
The brightness control is handy since the Lumia 630 doesn't
adjust it automatically, and the camera shortcut somewhat makes up for
the loss of the dedicated physical button. We would have liked to have
had more shortcuts, but have to make do with clicking through to the
The much-publicised background photo option only
works well with some photos, and if you arrange your Start screen tiles
carefully. Simple patterns work better than actual photos. You can also
fit a third column of large tiles, but this looked terrible on our Lumia
630 thanks to the low-res screen.
The Lumia 630 is the first
dual-SIM Windows Phone, so there are a few unique touches in this
regard. For starters, there are two distinct phone and messaging apps,
which is a very odd and potentially confusing way to handle things. The
icons for each SIM card are only slightly different in colour (and the
first set goes transparent if you use the new background photo option).
You'll have to deal with fragmented call history lists and inboxes,
although the contact list is shared and you can choose to send a message
or make a call from a different SIM even from the other SIM's apps.
This could help keep work and personal communications separate, but not
everyone will like this approach.
There are a new few apps and
tweaks too - Battery Saver does exactly what it sounds like and lets you
check which apps have been draining your battery the most. Data Sense
allows users to define cellular data usage limits, and Wi-Fi Sense is a
unique tool that can automatically sign you in to password-protected
Wi-Fi hotspots that your friends have used in the past. Yet another tool
called Storage Sense lets you manage apps, clear caches and swap things
around between the internal storage and microSD card.
visible are tweaks to the keyboard, which now lets you drag a finger
between letters, Swype-style. Skype and OneDrive are more deeply
integrated, and Internet Explorer has received a few improvements under
the hood. While a lot of common complaints have been addressed, the
Windows Phone experience is still not without its own unique problems.
The on-screen buttons are visible even when playing video full-screen,
the Back button still behaves illogically, and the Marketplace is still
highly lacking, compared to the Google Play store and iOS App Store.
had a proud tradition of improving upon Microsoft's work even further.
The Lumia 630 comes with a set of additional features collectively known
as Lumia Cyan, which includes an extended set of photography apps. Also
present are Nokia's other trademark features, Here Maps, Here Drive+,
and Nokia MixRadio. Surprisingly, the highly useful Glance screen, which
in other Lumia models lets you see notifications while the screen is
off, has been cut out.
The Lumia 630 comes with a lot of
third-party apps too: BoxTV, Evernote, Facebook, Flipkart Ebooks,
Gameloft Gamehub, Line, PayTM, and Zomato.
always throws in a lot of camera apps, and this time we have
Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, and Glam Me for a variety of effects
ranging from animation to face enhancement. Options in the Nokia Camera
app include shutter speed and manual focus, and you have quick access to
ISO and white balance settings.
We were very impressed with the
photos we took in daylight. The details and clarity were good enough to
make us think our test shots had been taken with phones which cost twice
as much. Things weren't as great indoors, and we saw noise increase
drastically even in pictures of our well-lit office floor. Photos taken
at night were full of noise and lacked detail. Video was blocky and
compressed, with an artificial quality to it.
We would have been
grateful for a flash, but we didn't miss having a front camera as much.
At this price point, a front camera would be so low quality that we'd
rarely use it anyway.
(Click to see full size)
As expected, Nokia and
Microsoft's curious decisions regarding the Lumia 630's configuration
made a big impact on the device's performance. The biggest issue we ran
into was that some tests, such as GFXbench, simply could not be
installed thanks to the low amount of RAM. Users will face this problem
with other apps as well. The two companies might have decided that 512MB
was enough for WP8.1, but again, we wonder how much it would have hurt
to go with 1GB.
Benchmark scores in other tests, such as
SunSpider and the Windows Phone version of AnTuTu were slightly higher
than or at par with those for comparable WP8.0 phones, such as the Lumia
525, but well below those of the mid-range Lumia 1320.
interface feels smooth enough, but Web browsing was a bit laborious and
even non-HD video clips often felt jittery. We aren't confident that the
Lumia 630 will hold up for more than a year or two, especially if you
load it up with apps, and if future OS updates require beefier
The screen's low quality was very apparent when
watching videos. It isn't completely terrible, but we're now used to at
least 720x1280, and there is a perceptible difference.
life was impressive at just a shade over 11 hours in our video loop
test. We're confident that we could use this phone intensively through a
full day of work and not be left scrambling to find a power outlet.
happy with most of the improvements we've seen in Windows Phone 8.1,
but there is still work to be done. We hope minor issues such as the
always-on soft buttons are taken care of soon, and we look forward to
spending more time with the Sense tools. That said, we have a few
reservations when it comes to the Lumia 630 itself.
It's a solid
workhorse phone with good construction quality and phenomenal battery
life, and of course the assurance of Nokia's brand name and
dealer/service network are big plusses. It's also stylish, and some
people do respond very well to Windows Phone's unique look. What it
comes down to is the Lumia 630's fairly unique combination of
capabilities - if you like Windows Phone and need a dual-SIM device with
a large screen, you'll be happy with it. If you care about gaming,
movies or longevity, you should seriously think of spending just a
little more money for a better device.
The step down to 512MB RAM
and the absence of a flash are inconvenient, not dealbreakers, but
customers who choose Android phones in the same price band won't have to
make similar compromises. Moreover, there are also far better phones
such as the Moto G which cost only very little more. We feel as though
the Lumia 630 will be more competitive once its price drops by around
Rs. 1,000 - 2,000.
Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM in pictures