The Nokia 625 bids to take on the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is Android, with a spec sheet that is better than most mid-range kits out there and a price tag that's even more unbelievable. Could this be the best-value smartphone currently in the market. Read on to find out.
Nokia’s all-new budget blower is a colossus. Measuring in at 4.7-inches and with the look and feel of a top-end smartphone, it doesn’t have the air of a budget device. It blasts into life quickly and feels nippy when flicking through Windows Phone’s various native apps, as well as the various Nokia add-ons. It’s hard to believe that this is a sub-£200 handset.
Much like other Nokia Lumia phones, the 625 is a plastic device with real heft. That’s a plus point, as it feels as if it can withstand any nasty drops and scrapes. Its size is comparable to Google’s Nexus 4, while its curved rear design means its sits comfortably in the hand.
The buttons along the right hand side of the handset aren’t obtrusive, while our white model didn’t appear to pick up any nasty fingerprints on its rear shell. There aren’t many cheap smartphones that can match the Lumia 625 in the design department.
Including 4G on such a cheap handset is a masterstroke by the Finnish phone maker. The Lumia 625 is arguably the most accessible 4G device out there and will be available at the same time as O2 and Vodafone’s LTE networks launch here in the UK. It makes every web function on the phone better and means 4G is finally in reach for the masses.
The other key story here is the Lumia 625’s display. Its size means its in the same ballpark as most high-end devices. However, with a resolution of just 800x480, it falls well short of the competition. For flicking through email and casually browsing web pages it’s fine, but it looks positively medieval when watching movies and clips on-the-go. The question is, is it a trade off worth making for the price? We’d say yes, if only because the more eyeball-friendly Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC One Mini are both almost £200 more without a SIM card.
The five megapixel camera is passable, helped along by a single LED flash. It works well when in normal light conditions. However, bust it out in the dark, and you’ll find it struggles to produce crystal clear images without much noise. This is understandable, but still a shame seeing as Nokia is leading the way when it comes to smartphone imaging. For the odd social media snap though, it does the job.
Windows Phone 8 remains an intuitive and underrated platform, as laden with features here as it is on the top-notch Lumia 1020. But it’s the Nokia specific apps that really make the Lumia 625 great. Its Smart Cam is superb, allowing you to shoot a sequence of images, before tweaking them according to your own preferences. Add blur to emphasise motion, get rid of unwanted objects or change people’s faces so everyone’s smiling. Think of it like an intuitive, easy-to-use version of Photoshop.
The mapping software is also superb. Nokia’s Local Scout function serves up pertinent information about restaurants, bars and POIs close by, while its HERE maps are excellent. The turn-by-turn navigation keeps pace brilliantly, its accuracy and design a great match for Google’s market leader.
The Lumia 625 is a breezy, easy phone to use. Windows Phone is a doddle to understand and get around, even if it is still lacking some key apps (hello Instagram). The camera app is logically designed, while Nokia’s own add-ons follow the same design language, so there’s very little friction to overcome. In all, this is a great budget smartphone.