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Nokia’s Lumia 620 could be Palm Centro of 2013
The Nokia Lumia 620, a modestly priced entry-level Windows Phones, represents one of the best value devices we’ve encountered yet on the platform. The 620 replaces the Lumia 610, a device that went on sale last year and now runs Windows Phone 7.8. But in our opinion, the value impact of the 620 is leaps and bounds higher than its predecessor.

Make no mistake, this is an entry-level device that is not meant to rival the 800/900 series of Lumia Windows Phones. But also know this: it is one cool device and we’re having a hard time putting it down

The Body

The Lumia 620 clearly borrows heavily from its bigger brother, the Lumia 820. Both have “shell” cases that wrap around the back and sides of the device, allowing one to pop it off to swap out the 1300mAh battery, microSIM or add a microSD (up to 64GB).

Weighing in at just 127 g (4.5 oz) it is significantly lighter than the Lumia 920 which is at a hefty 185 g (6.5 oz). That’s not to say it’s especially thin because it’s not—in fact it’s just as thick as the 920 just smaller. But it’s a comfortable, ergonomic design that doesn’t feel cheap.

Due to the Lumia 620 only having a 3.8” display, it is easily one of the tiniest phones we’ve used recently. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. Not everyone needs to or wants to stare at their phone for extended durations and some just want a phone that makes calls and good some “smart things”. It should also be pointed out that the original Lumia 800 also had a 3.8” display and that phone had quite a few fans as well.

Speaking of fans, the Lumia 620 has won numerous accolades from Windows Phone admirers due to its bold, colorful design. Coming in two toned colors (what Nokia calls "Dual Shot" where two colors are layered on top of each other) it is supposed to create "depth effects" and "textures."

Marketing language aside it is certainly eye catching. With colors ranging from white, matte black, blue, yellow, red and the popular lime green/yellow, the aesthetic matches the Windows Phone OS perfectly. We’ve heard some dismiss the more bright colors as making the phone look “toy like” but for those users, opting for the more traditional black will solve that critique. Personally, we love the lime green/yellow and are sticking with it—it’s just fun looking.

No word if Nokia will sell the shells separately, allowing you to changes colors at will but hopefully they will.

Overall, the smooth, cool-to-the-touch plastic shell, pocketable size and quality materials (such as the ceramic buttons) make the Lumia 620 a fine little device—at least on the outside.

The Display

In 2013, it’s hard to get excited about an 800x480 TFT LCD display--having said that as far as entry level displays go the Lumia 620 is a tremendous improvement over the washed out Lumia 610. If we had to make a direct comparison, it’s like Nokia took the display from last year’s Lumia 710 and tossed that into the 620. And yes, we mean that because it also includes Nokia’s famed ClearBlack polarizing display technology, which filters out certain wavelengths of light to give deeper, richer colors with a low-reflectivity. It works.

Sure the Lumia 620 lacks PureMotion aka the 60 Hz refresh rate found in the Lumia 920 and Corning’s Gorilla Glass, but for less than $300 you’re getting a sharp screen with rich, vibrant colors. The colors are not oversaturated like those found in AMOLED displays and at 3.8” you are still getting a modest 245PPI.

The Lumia 620 also omits the Super Sensitive Touch technology from the Lumia 920, which means you’ll need to pull your gloves off to use the touchscreen on a cold day. But it does include Nokia’s “Sunlight readability” option whereby the display ramps up way past “max”, giving users a temporary reprieve from the harsh light on their display. That is a very useful feature and it’s great to see it included here.

As far as screen sensitivity goes, it’s certainly usable but you do feel it requiring a little more effort than the more high-end devices. It’s not bad but you can feel slight performance degradation here but that’s more a nit than complaint.

In short, it’s obvious that last year’s mid-range technology is now this year’s entry-level and it’s kind of awesome. For a “cheap phone” the Lumia 620 does not compromise on the display and in fact, offers more than what its competitors can offer due to the patented Nokia technology on board.

The Hardware

Powered by a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, the Lumia 620 is certainly on the low end when it comes to horsepower. Whereas most Windows Phone 8 devices opt for the more powerful 1.5GHz dual-core variant, Nokia has presumably shaved some cost off of the device here with a speed reduction. Does it matter? In practical terms, no. It’s certainly noticeable when you put it side-by-side with a 1.5GHz machine but when it comes to using it in isolation the little green phone feels just fine.

Let’s be clear though: it is slower but it never approaches the point of frustration. Does it handle racing games like Asphalt 5 without stutter? Absolutely. And really that’s all you need to know, you can use the Lumia 620 without pulling your hair out. All apps and games installed and we saw no limitations.

Speaking of, the 620 sports 512MB of RAM unlike the earlier 610, which only had 256MB. That latter spec prevented the device from running certain games and even Skype. With 512MB of RAM, any software barriers have vanished. Once again, not much to say here as the phone was able to run every app we threw at it. Case closed.

The phone also sports Microsoft’s tap + send feature, meaning yes this “low end” phone even has NFC on board. Though near-field communication is still nascent, who wouldn’t want to have such hardware built in, especially when Apple couldn’t be bothered with it in the iPhone 5?

Battery wise, the Lumia 620 sports a modest 1300mAh battery which yes, is on the small size. The good news is with a 3.8” display and the efficient Windows Phone 8, it will last you easily a day and a half of modest usage or a full day with more heavy usage. It’s also replaceable so you can always pick up a spare.

Real world tests it edges out most phones of its class. (Rumor also has it that Nokia has some optimizing new firmware that improves performance and battery life in the pipeline). Nokia claims 3G talk time is around 9.9 hours and while our numbers fell below that it was not too far off either.

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