Once again, Windows Phone 8 fails a bit on the app
front. The native camera app is pretty lean on features, relying instead on
things called Lenses - additional camera modes that are downloaded separately
(from within the app).
You get one Nokia-made extra Lens with the Lumia
625 called Smart Cam. This is a burst mode-based lens that lets you pick the
best facial reaction of your friends, remove moving objects from a scene and
more. It seems conspicuously designed to make the Lumia-series cameras keep up
with the feature-packed snappers of phones like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy
However, in reality it's only useful for fiddling
about with for fun. It takes shots at significantly lower resolution than the
'standard' camera, making them pretty useless for anything beyond a quick
Twitter post. Even for Facebook snaps we'd strongly recommend using the
As already mentioned, the standard Lumia 625 camera
app is dead easy to use, but is almost entirely bereft of additional modes.
Most notably, there's no panorama and no HDR. Both of these seem like staples
for a modern camera phone. You can plug them in with additional lenses, but
we'd really like to see these staples incorporated in the basic app. Lenses can
feel a little clumsy, and many are paid-for.
Nokia Lumia 625 - Call Quality and Sound Quality
The Lumia 625's earpiece speaker is of fairly
decent quality. It's reasonably loud, but sounds a little scratchy at top volume.
Although we were unable to pin-point it when scouring the phone, there is a
secondary microphone used to remove ambient noise from the call signal before
it reaches whoever you're talking to.
From sound quality of calls to music quality, Nokia
Lumia 625 has a pretty poor internal speaker. It's a mono speaker that outputs
from a hole on the phone's rear. For a phone of its size, the scale of the
speaker's sound is disappointing. It's tinny and brash, and not particularly
Some consideration has been put into sound quality
in another respect though, as there's a Dolby mode that purports to alter sound
for the better by creating a 'virtual surround' sound stage. You can turn this
on when using headphones.
It's a bit too invasive for music, but it works
fairly well for films, making the soundstage sound appear more expansive (if
not any wider). Thanks to the clean headphone output, microSD memory card slot
and the decent integrated music player app, the Lumia 625 makes a handy little
Nokia Lumia 625 - Battery Life
It's not the perfect road warrior, though. The rear
may be removable, but you don't have any access to the battery. It's a 2,000mAh
unit that's locked into the phone.
Click to enlarge
Battery life is good, though. Naturally, if you're
using 4G (or even 3G) a good deal, you will need to charge this phone every
day. However, with light use it will sail through a couple of days' use without
a charge, thanks to the relatively battery-efficient way Windows Phone 8 can
operate. The low screen resolution also helps too.
The Lumia 625 will play video for about 10 hours
constantly off a charge, although as already noted the low resolution means
it's not really as good a video jukebox as the large screen size might
Should I buy the Nokia Lumia 625?
The Nokia Lumia 625 is yet another solid value
Lumia phone. Set to sell for around $399 without a contract, it's one of the
most affordable routes to 4G land (forgetting the pricey 4G contracts).
However, it is not a miracle. The screen really
doesn't have enough pixels for its 4.7-inch size, and it's particularly
noticeable when watching videos or browsing the web - both areas where a
large-screen phone should excel. Specs-per-pound, this is a cracking phone. But
in the flesh there are some real compromises to deal with.
The Nokia Lumia 625 is one of the cheapest 4G
phones you can get. It's colourful, stylish and has the same Windows Phone 8 OS
as other Lumia phones. However, the screen is disappointingly low in
resolution. With a 720p screen this would be a corker. In its current form this
is a cheap 4G smartphone that's not quite the finished article.