The Nokia Lumia 620 is one of Nokia's low-end smartphones with Windows Phone 8. Its main competitor is the HTC 8S which managed to get a head start in terms of availability to market. But how does the Nokia Lumia 620 fare against the HTC 8S? Is it a better choice? Let's find out from this detailed review & comparison.
Hardware Specifications & Packaging
Even though the looks and design of the HTC 8S and Nokia Lumia 620 are very different, their hardware configuration is similar in many ways. Both phones use a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor running at 1 GHz and they have 512 MB of RAM. The display on the Nokia Lumia is an 3.8" LCD ClearBlack with a resolution of 800x480. The HTC 8S has a slightly bigger 4" screen and uses the same resolution and a similar technology for displaying the image. The Nokia Lumia 620 is slightly heavier at 127 grams vs. 113 grams (HTC 8S) and slightly thicker: 11mm vs 10.28 mm. The battery on the Nokia Lumia 620 has 1300 mAh while the HTC 8S has 1700 mAh. The Nokia Lumia wins when it comes to storage space available - 8GB instead of the very limiting 4GB on the HTC 8S. On both phones, the storage space is expandable with the help of a microSD memory card. The rear camera has 5 megapixels on both phones. Nokia Lumia 620 stands out by offering a VGA front camera, taking shots are 640x480 pixels. Here you can find the detailed specifications for the Nokia Lumia 620. The packaging is the standard used by Nokia for all its Lumia phones. It includes: the phone, the battery, headphones, the USB cable, the USB charger and the phone's documentation. More can be learned from the unpackaging video below.
I recommend that you read this phone's documentation as it is not very intuitive where to insert the microSIM. Its slot is hidden beneath the battery.
As you can see from the picture above, I have tested a Nokia Lumia 620 with a cyan cover. I also received a magenta cover which I will be showing in the next section of this article.
Design & Build Quality
The Nokia Lumia 620 is a cute phone. Yeah, it has a plastic body but its colored covers are nice and solid.They are made out of poly carb and they don't break easily. The phone feels good when holding it in your hand - the combination of its size and weight feels just right.
The button layout is the same as on all other Lumias, which is great. You will have no issues in unlocking the phone with just one finger, nor when taking screenshots. However, these buttons are built into the cover, not into the phone itself. The same goes for the audio jack. This is so that you can easily exchange covers of different colors, in case you get bored with the one you've been using. The downside is that the buttons are slightly harder to push than on other Lumias but it did not bother me much in the one week of using this phone. Below you can see the two covers I received with my test Nokia Lumia 620: cyan and magenta.
The screen is not great and that's to be expected when using affordable phones like this one. Its black and white levels are not exactly the best, but they are good enough not to be bothering.
The outdoors visibility is good though, just as on the higher end Lumia models.
The Phone Experience on the Nokia Lumia 620
The phone experience is OK. Here I'm referring to the call quality and the signal strength. They are not great by any means but they are not poor either. The speaker is loud though. So loud that your phone conversations can be easily heard by someone sitting in the same room with you. If you lower the sound volume, you end up not being able to hear the person you are talking with well. This problem is caused by the polycarb covers - the sound seems to go through them quite easily. I found it pleasantly surprising that the Nokia Lumia 620 has built-in HAAC microphones, just like those on the higher end Lumia models. You can record audio at very good quality, without the distortion present when using other low end phones. Below you can see a clip made by a Lumia 620 user, recording his drum performance.
When listening to music, the sound quality is also OK. Nothing spectacular but not poor either. The same goes for viewing movies. The only downside is the fact that the audio jack is built into the cover. You need to pay attention and make sure it is plugged in correctly. Otherwise, you won't hear the sound well. The rear camera is OK. It takes decent pictures even though it doesn't have the Pureview technology used by the higher end models. The sensor is capable of 720p capture which is great for an affordable phone. The colors are a bit soft and pictures taken in less than ideal conditions are not very clear - they lack in detail and crispness. Overall, I was OK with how the rear camera performed. It delivered what I hoped it will. The front camera is very poor. It was surprising that Nokia even included one on their low-end phone. It is going to be useful only for making video calls. In light use scenarios, the battery can last up to 3 days. In normal use though, a full day is something the Nokia Lumia 620 can always deliver. If you're not playing games, which drain the battery quite fast, it can last up to two days. Browsing the web, checking email, social networks and using a bit of GPS is something that its battery can handle with ease.
Nokia Apps for Windows Phone 8
I don't have much to add about the Nokia apps for Windows Phone 8. I've said it many times that they provide real value to users and they are an important differentiator. Apps like Nokia Maps, Drive or Smart Shoot are very useful to all users.
However, the Nokia Lumia 620 also includes an exclusive Storage Check feature. This is highly useful on devices with low storage space (8 GB or below).
Even though the space on the Nokia Lumia 620 doesn't fill up as fast as on the HTC 8S, this tool makes an important difference when managing the space available on your phone. You can use it to clear out temporary files and learn which apps use the most space, etc.This feature alone makes the Nokia Lumia 620 a better buy than the HTC 8S.
Performance in Benchmarks
Next, I ran a couple of tests, using the MultiBench 2 and WP Bench benchmarks. According to MultiBench 2, the HTC 8S is slightly outperforming the Nokia Lumia 620. The biggest difference was measured in the graphics test - 4.5%. In other tests the differences were as small as 1%.
WP Bench shared similar results for its processor test. The Nokia Lumia 620 is slower by 4%.
In the other tests, the picture was mixed. The Nokia Lumia 620 had more frames per second in the graphics test and better transfer rates when writing data to its RAM memory. The HTC 8S was writing data faster to is storage memory.
Looking at these results, it is clear that the performance difference between HTC 8S and Nokia Lumia 620 is very small. This is confirmed also by the Sunspider benchmark. When browsing the web, the HTC 8S was only 2% faster.
In real life use, you won't notice such differences. Both phones were just as fast (or slow) in opening apps, browsing the web, browsing the operating system or when playing games. When it comes to the time it takes for the phone to start and load Windows Phone 8, they are again very similar. The Nokia Lumia 620 needs 45 seconds to load the operating system, while the HTC 8S needs 46 seconds.
Last but not least, I tested how long the battery lasts while being stressed to the maximum with the WP Bench benchmark. The result was clear - the 1700 mAh battery on the HTC 8S lasted an hour longer than the 1300 mAh battery on the Nokia Lumia 620.
This result was to be expected. Even so, the performance of the battery on the Nokia Lumia 620 is very decent.
Nokia Lumia 620 is a great low-end phone. I would dare to say that it is one of the best low-end smartphones, regardless of the operating system being used. It looks good, Windows Phone 8 runs well on it, without many hiccups and the apps provided by Nokia are great. It definitely beats many low end Android phones I've seen in recent years and it is a more balanced phone than the HTC 8S it directly competes with. Last but not least, it provides more storage space and the required tools to manage it. This is a great selling point, especially for low-end Windows Phone 8 devices, where space is an important issue. If you are looking for an affordable smartphone, you should seriously consider the Nokia Lumia 620.