Interface and performance
Operating the Nokia Lumia 630 is similar, if not identical to previous Lumia generations and the upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 has made very few changes.
Nevertheless, swiping around the various screens is smoother and more responsive than Windows Phone 8 and the bigger screen means it’s plenty big enough to do most things easily.
Although the 4.5-inch display doesn’t have the best resolution, it’s plenty good enough to make sure the tiles and menus are sharp and clear.
The screen, though responsive, does stick to the finger a little and isn’t as smooth as the likes of the iPhone 5S or HTC One. It also seems to smudge easily and gets messy more quickly than others.
The interface on the Nokia Lumia 630 appears the same as on Windows Phone 8 phones.
Once switched on you start on the lockscreen, which shows the time and date as well as an overview of any unopened messages or emails and any useful reminders pulled from your calendar or Facebook. Behind that is a standard wallpaper which you can customise using Facebook to display random images from your account.
Swiping up takes you to the start screen which a variety of live tiles for apps and menus, which you can scroll through vertically.
Pressing and holding on to a tile lets you move, resize or unpin it from the screen. The colour scheme is also as interchangeable as the case; this can be changed in the settings menu.
Something new on Windows Phone 8.1 however is the ability to add another column of times to your homescreen, taking it from two up to three. Now this works well on larger handsets such as the 5-inch Lumia 930, but things can get a little crowded on the Lumia 630.
You don’t have to have this third column, and it can be easily toggled in the settings – but it’s nice to have the option if you are really live-tile crazy.
You can organise the live tiles in folders on your start screen and also create folders that can be pinned to the start screen, making your files much more organised and easy to find.
This is a feature which has been added by Nokia rather than coming direct from Microsoft – and it’s an extremely welcome one.
To see the full list of apps you can swipe left and they are displayed in alphabetical order. Long-pressing an app on the list lets you bring it to the start screen or delete it to save memory. You will find the settings screen in here, and from there you can change sounds, ringtones, set-up Wi-Fi etc.
The biggest addition to the interface that has been included in Windows Phone 8.1 is the Action Centre. Anyone who is familiar with iOS or Android will know this as the notification area.
From the start screen or app list you can swipe down from the top of the phone, allowing you easy access to any new notifications as well as toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera access and screen brightness.
You can go to the wider settings categories from here and the Action Centre also displays your remaining battery.
The Nokia Lumia 630 features an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor running a 1.2GHz and backed by 512MB of RAM.
As a result, it outperforms both the Nokia Lumia 520 and 620. It’s certainly plenty for day-to-day usage and keeps the new Windows Phone 8.1 OS running smoothly. Previously frustrating loading times have also improved – although it’s still not the best. I’d recommend sticking to mobile sites if you want to cut down on waiting times.
I also tested the processor against its predecessors with the help of AnTuTu and WP Bench and the scores are pretty good for a lower end Windows Phone. It’s certainly outperforming the Nokia Lumia 520 amongst others – although that should be the case with the added quad-core processor.
Equipped with an Adreno 305 GPU the Nokia Lumia 630 can handle 3D games from the Xbox section, however don’t be expecting outstanding quality. Don’t forget the phone is cheap – it’s certainly not a mobile games console for the hard-core gamers out there.
As you’d expect at that price, the Nokia Lumia isn’t 4G enabled but it comes with the standard Wi-Fi and 3G and the token web browser of choice is of course, Internet Explorer.
However, the new Windows Phone 8.1 does come with the upgraded Internet Explorer 11. Whilst this is an upgrade, it hasn’t got anything spectacular that you wouldn’t expect from competing browsers.