Introduction and design
With the Nokia Lumia 520 now the world’s top-selling Windows Phone 8 handset, it’s no surprise that Nokia and Microsoft are concentrating on strengthening their low-budget range as it tries to dominate an area of the market.
The Nokia Lumia 630 was the first Windows Phone to arrive straight out of the box with Windows Phone 8.1.
Price-wise the Lumia 630 slots into the bottom end of the range just above the Lumia 520 and the newer Nokia Lumia 530, but it comes jam-packed with features thanks to the upgraded operating system, therefore you get a lot more bang for your buck.
Windows Phone 8.1 offers a lot more upgrades and additions than you would expect from the usual ‘point upgrade’, it’s almost a complete overhaul of its predecessor.
All of the desirable features of Windows Phone 8 remain, however the upgrade pushes the OS closer to its competitors iOS and Android, replicating their existing features with the likes of the new Word Flow Keyboard and Action Centre.
Other additions to the new Windows Phone system are all focused on putting the smart back into smartphone as it focuses on getting you the most out of your features.
Data Sense and Wi-Fi Sense look to take the hassle out of data usage and Wi-Fi connection. The new ClearBlack screen allows you to enjoy the new entertainment features and apps available, including Xbox games.
The Nokia Lumia 630 also has new internal hardware ready to take advantage of the SensorCore SDK announced at Build 2014 so it can essentially act as your personal pedometer and measurement tool, because who doesn’t take their phone everywhere they go.
The operating system isn’t the only upgrade on the Lumia 630; it also has a generous 4.5-inch ClearBlack, 480 x 854 display, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 512MB of RAM, beating out both the Lumia 530 and 620.
All that is not too shabby considering you can pick up the Nokia Lumia 630 for £99.95 SIM-free, £79.99 locked on pay as you go, or free if you buy it on a pay monthly deal from £9.50 per month. A dual-SIM variant is also available from around £120 SIM-free.
Although it’s certainly an improvement on previous low-end Lumia’s, there are still some features missing that you might expect. The Nokia Lumia 630 still doesn’t have NFC, a camera flash or a front-facing snapper so if those are must-haves then this isn’t the phone for you.
However, if you can live without those then it’s not bad for the bargain price.
Statement colour is the cornerstone of the Nokia Lumia range and the Lumia 630 is no exception. The Nokia Lumia 630 has a removable, and therefore interchangeable, case so you can switch from the outspoken and fun bright green, bright yellow and bright orange to a more understated and professional black or white case.
The removable case also allows for easier access to the battery and SIM card so you won’t be scrambling for a safety pin to get to the SIM (let’s face it, you’ll inevitably lose the actual tool for the job).
It also makes the Lumia 630 feel lighter and less bulky and allows for a larger screen than previous designs due to a smaller bezel.
The Nokia Lumia 630 is more rectangular and less smoothly finished than most of its competitors, however it has a strong and eye-catching design that follows the line of the higher-end Nokia’s like the Lumia 920.
Its change in design makes it slimmer than the Lumia 620, 530 and 520 at just 9.2mm. Yet the increased screen size makes it heavier at 134g and wider at 129.5 x 66.7mm. This alongside the rectangular design does mean it feels quite wide in the hand, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you have small, delicate hands.
Although the shell is removable, as with other Lumias it is a strong enough case that you don’t need anything in addition. You can still customise the design to an extent – case manufacturers are bound to already be beavering away on alternative designs.
The front of the Nokia Lumia 630 is mostly screen and a good sized one at that for such a low-priced design. At 271 pixels per inch it’s certainly not the best quality screen you’ll find out there but for the price, what more can you expect?
You can also use gloves with it, which is becoming more common but it’s a great selling point, or it will be in the winter at least.
Although the screen is sizeable, it isn’t edge-to-edge. There’s a black border running the entire way around it. The border becomes wider at the top to allow for the Nokia logo, ear and mouth pieces and at the bottom where you’ll find the start, back and search soft-keys.
The back of the Nokia Lumia 630 is very simple with just a small loudspeaker, the 5MP camera lens near the top and of course the small Nokia logo in the centre.
The right edge of the handset houses all of the phone’s physical buttons, with a volume rocker and the power button just below it. The signature camera button has been removed which is a shame as it was an added bonus on previous Nokia devices.
The left edge is completely free of any features, ports or buttons at all. The top is home only to a 3.5mm headphone port on the left-hand side and the bottom edge has a micro USB port in the centre, which is used for charging or connecting the Nokia Lumia 630 to a computer.
The back cover is easy to remove – you simply use your nails to peel it away at each corner. The cover is suitably strong enough and therefore unlikely to snap even if you’re changing it every five minutes.
Once that has been removed, you’ll have access to the 1830mAh battery, which is bigger than the Lumia 520 and 620.
Beneath the battery there are two slots – one for a micro SIM card and one for a microSD card. The Nokia Lumia 630 supports up to 128GB cards, which is useful for extending the fairly limited 8GB of on-board memory and 7GB OneDrive cloud storage.