The Nokia Lumia 630 is a low-cost handset with a lot to offer. broadbandchoices looks at that’s good, what’s bad and what’s missing…
The word 'budget' often comes with negative connotations. "I can't afford food this month because I went over-budget", for example. Or "oh no, the national budget just made gin more expensive."
But over the last year, we've seen a spate of handsets that are doing their best to change the perception of the word by offering many features you'd find in pricier phones, without skimping on the quality.
Which brings us to the Nokia Lumia 630. It's not the cheapest handset Nokia does, but it's not far off, typically available sim-free for around £129, or for no upfront cost with affordable mobile plans.
Which begs the question: how much smartphone can you get for that money? If the Nokia Lumia 630's any indication, the answer is quite a lot.
Display and design
You get a decent-sized screen for one thing. The Lumia 630 sports a 4.6in display - fairly generous for its price point. It's not very sharp, sporting a resolution of 480 x 854, but it's enough for text to be legible when browsing the web.
One minor irritation is how easily fingerprinted the screen gets. Regular use over a few days left noticeable greasy smudges on the screen, to the point where I had to wipe it down with a cloth fairly regularly. Still, the Lumia's bright screen is perfectly acceptable for the price, so it's hard to feel too aggrieved.
When it comes to looks, the 630 slots right into the Lumia family. As is common for the range, it features an interchangeable shell case, with different colours available - bright orange, sunny yellow and a startling shade of green, or simple black or white if you're boring.
Actually, that's a little mean-spirited. We're big fans of the colourful Lumia designs, but we accept that not everyone is. Regardless of colour, the Lumia 630 looks good, and removing the case if you fancy a change is a snap when you learn how to do it.
Sadly, it doesn't feel quite as good as it looks. There's a noticeable roughness to the casing, and a little give when you push down on it, which makes the phone feel a little plasticky. The thing about it is that it's actually quite robust - it just doesn't feel like it.
Power and performance
The Nokia Lumia 630 features a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and 512MB of RAM. For the most part, that's enough to get the job done. Most basic apps, including Here maps, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer run fast, and load quickly. Switching between apps isn't always completely smooth, but it's good enough.
Still, the Nokia Lumia 630 isn't the most powerful device in the world, and that's very apparent when you try to use graphically intensive apps like games. If you want a phone that can work as a powerful multimedia device… well, this ain't your best choice, let's put it that way.
Interface and Features
The Lumia 630 is a Windows Phone 8 device, which means that you know pretty much what to expect from the interface.
Sure enough, it's extremely easy to use, based around large tiles that display information, and lists that are navigable with straightforward swipes and taps. It's all very intuitive.
Unlike some budget handsets, which stick to older versions of operating systems to keep costs down, the Lumia 630 supports the latest version of Windows Phone (8.1). All the improvements that version added to the Windows Phone operating system - and there are many, including vastly improved notifications, a much better keyboard, and more - are present and correct on the Lumia 630 out of the box. What's more, future updates should roll out to the handset soon too.
Nokia Lumia handsets have built a reputation for offering excellent photography options. The Lumia 630 does not live up to this legacy.
In fact, photography's one area where you start to notice some of the corners that the Lumia 630 cuts to achieve its competitive price. There's no front camera, for example, so if you're hoping to fuel a selfie addiction, you're out of luck.
The rear camera is five megapixels (MP) and rather bare bones, without even a flash. Pictures, as you can hopefully see, are decent enough for a camera of this price, but you'd never be able to call them outstanding.
There's a slight fuzziness to some shots - it can be slow to focus and sometimes take the snap - and colours can come out looking a little washed out. These lemons were a deep yellow in real life, but try as we might, we couldn't get the colour to look right on the Lumia 630's photo.
When life gave us lemons, we got an unremarkable picture.
One thing that's far from unremarkable though, is the battery life. We got more than a day out of the Lumia 630, with moderate use, and medium brightness settings. Even when abusing the battery by binge watching series on Netflix, it was able to see out the bulk of the day. On standby, it was even better - lasting for days with only a small drop in charge. Impressive stuff.
Some corners have been cut to get the Nokia Lumia 630 to its low, low price - the absence of a flash and front camera for example - but it remains a quality product. It packs the key features of Windows Phone 8 alongside good build quality, excellent battery life and typically slick Lumia design.
The camera is a weak link, and it's not a powerhouse either, but for anyone looking for a low-cost handset, it's well worth picking up.