Reviewing the Nokia Lumia 625 - Does a Big Screen Make it a Good Phone?
If you have been reading 7 Tutorials for a while, you know that we love the Nokia Lumia 620. That's why when Nokia announced the Lumia 625 we were curious to learn what's new about it and if it is a better phone. When you first look at it you think to yourself: "Ohh, this is a Lumia 620 with a big screen!" That's right but there are also other important novelties introduced by this model. Let's find out what they are and if this is a better smartphone than its predecessor.
Hardware Specifications & Packaging
The Nokia Lumia 625 has a different hardware configuration from other phones in its market segment. First of all, it uses a better processor - a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core running at 1.2GHz. Then, it has a big 4.7" IPS LCD super sensitive screen, without ClearBlack technology and a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. This makes it one of the largest screens on Nokia Lumia smartphones. Unlike the Lumia 620 and Lumia 520, it has 4G LTE connectivity and large 2000mAh battery. Since the screen is bigger, the phone is also heavier: 159 grams vs the 127 grams of the Lumia 620.
There are also specs similar to other models its market segment: 512 MB of RAM, 8GB of storage space, a VGA front-facing camera and a 5MP rear camera with flash. If you would like to read the full set of specifications, you can find them here: Nokia Lumia 625 hardware specifications. The packaging of the phone includes: the smartphone, its headphones, the charger, a USB cable and the smartphone's documentation.
You can learn more about the whole package, from video below.
Many websites have said that the battery on the Lumia 625 is not removable. If you look carefully, you will notice a couple of small screws.
With the right tool they can be unscrewed and you can access the battery and replace it. However, you should not risk unscrewing them without the right screwdriver.
Design & Build Quality
Even though it looks and feels like a unibody smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 625 isn't one. It has a detachable polycarbonate cover that is available in five colors: orange, bright green, yellow, black and white. In our testing we had a unit with a black cover.
The body of the Lumia 625 is not only bigger and heavier but also more resistant to shocks. The cover doesn't easily fall off when the phone is dropped accidentally. Also, taking the cover off can be an adventure the first time you do it. Pay attention to the way you remove it - always use the margin on the bottom side of the screen, where the software buttons are placed. Otherwise, removing the cover will be quite hard and you will risk damaging it. The cover being more sturdy introduces a small downside - the buttons on the right-side of the phone are slightly less sensitive than on other Lumias. You need to press them a bit harder in order for them to respond. As I said before, the Lumia 625 is bigger and heavier than other Windows Phones. However, there is a good balance between the two dimensions and it never feels too big or too heavy. Unless you have small hands you won't have any troubles using it. Also, carrying it in your pocket is a comfortable experience, unlike when using a Lumia 920.
Its looks are not exactly premium. This smartphone doesn't feel as elegant as the Lumia 720 or the Lumia 925. The design and build quality of the phone tell you from the start that this is a sturdy phone, reasonably priced and with decent performance - which is exactly the case. Regarding the build quality, I identified only two issues that I would like to share:
- Even though the screen is big, it doesn't have a high resolution and it doesn't have the ClearBlack technology found on other Lumias. This feels like a waste. I want a big screen because I want to see more information and more detail. Unfortunately this is not the case. You will see the same things as on a Lumia 620 only bigger. Also, the black and white levels are not great, especially when you look towards the bottom side of the screen, where the software buttons are placed. The Lumia 620 has sharper details and better black and white levels. Also, because the screen is bigger, the quality of the text is not great. You can easily notice this problem in the screenshot below. After a while, this was annoying and I wished for a smaller screen with better clarity.
- Another small but annoying aspect is that Nokia provides you with a separate but very short USB cable for connecting the smartphone to your computer. Using it is very uncomfortable on PCs that have their USB ports placed in inaccessible positions. Also, when I'm on the road, I don't like to carry two items with me: a charger with its own undetachable cable and the USB cable. I prefer a charger that works with the USB cable.
In terms of outdoors visibility - the screen of the Lumia 625 is OK. Usable but in strong lighting conditions, you will have some issues with seeing things on the screen.
The Phone Experience on the Nokia Lumia 625
When using the Nokia Lumia 625 I enjoyed better conversation quality than on the Lumia 520 and 620. This is because the polycarbonate cover is sturdier and the sound doesn't go through is so easily as it does on other smartphones. Also, other people in the same room with you can't hear your conversations that easily. Also, the signal strength was good and I had no issues with it. When it comes to the sound quality provided by the Lumia 625 for listening to music or watching videos, the results are average. If you are an audiophile you will be disappointed but, if you are one, you should consider purchasing a high-end smartphone. When it comes to the camera, I did not notice any important improvements compared to the Lumia 620. The Nokia Lumia 625 seems to use the same 5 megapixel rear camera that provides mostly average results. If you don't have good lighting, your pictures will lack in detail and crispness. Also, the front VGA camera delivers poor quality but that's to be expected at this price point. What's different and positive about the Lumia 625 is that, when taking pictures, the dedicated apps start faster than on similar Lumias and the interaction with them is snappier. The better processor helps a lot. The battery on the Lumia 625 is good. This means that, in most cases, it will last you for a day - a day and a half. In very light use scenarios it can last up to 3 days. However, if you are playing games regularly, doesn't expect it to go for more than a day.
The Nokia Apps for Windows Phone 8
The Nokia exclusive apps continue to grow and improve, as expected. You will appreciate apps like Data Sense (for managing your data plan), Storage Check (for managing the space available on your phone), the traditional navigation apps from Nokia and many others.
Another interesting app is the Nokia Xpress. It helps you save precious MBs on your data plan, when you have little left. It is a Nokia cloud-based browser that compresses web pages so that they are small as possible.
In theory, this should make browsing faster but this is not the case. I found it to be slower than Internet Explorer because websites are first loaded on Nokia's servers and then sent to your smartphone. However, you do save bandwidth and this browser is useful when you have few MBs left on your data plan.
Performance in Benchmarks
Because the Nokia Lumia 625 has a better processor, the results in most benchmarks are better than those its predecessors. In MultiBench 2 both the CPU and the graphics scores are much higher than those of the Lumia 520 and 620, even though the Lumia 625 uses the same graphics chip - Adreno 305. The better processor helps deliver more frames per second.
The tests for memory and data transfers had better results on the Lumia 625. It was 21% faster than the Lumia 620 when transferring data to and from the storage space and 27 % faster when transferring data to and from the RAM.
The WP Bench suite of tests confirmed the same story. The processor on the Nokia Lumia 625 is 20% faster than that on the Lumia 620.
The WP Bench graphics test revealed no difference in the graphics score. Because the GPU is the same, the graphics score is identical in this test. But, the Lumia 625 did perform faster transfers to and from the storage space and the RAM.
Sunspider revealed that the faster processor also leads to faster web browsing - 18% faster than on the Lumia 620.
The boot time is another great aspect of the Nokia Lumia 625. Out of all the Windows Phones I've tested so far, this is the fastest booting smartphone. It took an average of 32 seconds to reach the Start screen.
The battery tests performed with WP Bench revealed another great result. The Nokia Lumia 625 lasted 3 hours and 21 minutes when stressed to the maximum. Much better than the Lumia 520 and 620 and a similar result to HTC 8S.
Giving a verdict for the Nokia Lumia 625 is a difficult task. In some aspects this phone is an improvement over the Nokia Lumia 620:
- It has a better polycarbonate cover that's more solid and durable.
- It has a bigger screen, a bigger battery, and a better processor.
- It offers 4G connectivity and better conversation quality.
- Quicker boot times and better autonomy.
But there's one important downside - the bigger screen doesn't provide better image quality and it uses the same resolution as the Lumia 620. Everything only looks bigger, not sharper and definitely not clearer. Also, the bigger screen makes the phone heavier which can be a downside for some users. Before purchasing the Nokia Lumia 625 it is best to test if for a while to see if its mix of quirks and cool features makes it a match for you.