One of the inescapable trends from Mobile World Congress this year was the multitude of so called “entry level smartphones”.These phone were of varying quality where some were absolute rubbish made by no-name-brand verses those made by the big cellular brand companies. The need to move from feature phones to smart phones is on the cards across the globe but affordability has been the major stumbling block.
I received the Nokia 630 to review which is my first Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone experience. Priced at R1999 and available through all cellular networks, the Nokia 630 is supposedly an entry level smartphone so I wasn’t expecting much. I expected a device that would limp along as it preformed the various tasks leaving me frustrated.
I was wrong.
What I was in fact holding was a responsive, cheeky device that simply got on with everything a high end phone could do. Send mails – check. Instagram – check. Facebook – check. Music – check. Play games – check. It is the little engine that could !
The Nokia Lumia 630 is an LCD capacitive 4.5-inch touchscreen at 480 x 854 pixels smartphone. It isn’t the thinnest phone measuring at 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 mm and weighing 135grams but it is solidly built and feels like it will survive the odd bump and drop. It has 8 GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB via the microSD) and has 512 MB RAM. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad-core 1.2 GHz processor with a Li-Ion 1830 mAh battery that just lasts and lasts and lasts. The Nokia Lumia 630 has a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera that snaps shots at 2592 х 1944 pixels and has no front facing “selfie” camera.
What I really liked about the device is that is had everything pre-built in right out o the box. This allows the user to access premium features as soon as the phone is powered up which is really appreciated by the buyers of entry level phones.
Here are some of the apps on the Nokia Lumia 630 that you need to check out:
Bing Health and Fitness
The Nokia 630 has not forgotten about the health and fitness trend that is sweeping the mobile world. The Health app is multi-layered and includes not only a step-counter but dives deeply into nutrition , diet trackers, workouts and even has an interactive medical symptoms checker.
The app pulls information out of Healthline, Harvard Health Publications, Visual Health Solutions, Fatsecret, Eatingwell.com, AMI and Cengage. This app alone can keep you busy for hours as you explore each item.
Mapping and Navigation
The one feature I use constantly on my device is the mapping application. Again, the Nokia 630 completely surprised me with just how good the mapping software is. There is a quick GPS built into the device and so the turn-by-turn navigation is a pleasure to use.
The mapping software has several layers that you can add including places of interest and traffic. It also has the option to see where there are nearby WiFi spots too.
Bearing in mind the cost-sensitivity to data, there is an option to download the maps for offline viewing too.
The speaker on the Lumia 630 is powerful, clear and doesn’t distort even at full volume. The Music app is simple to use and a breeze to navigate between your tracks. If you use a Windows machine, there is a cool synchronisation tool called Sync Wizard that will finds your tunes and copy your music onto the phone. Simple.
This is a great app that allows you to set up your own radio station. Simply select the type of music you like or the specific artists you want to listen to and the app finds the tracks that suit your taste. There is also the option to have professional mixes delivered to your phone. For the data-cost-conscious the music can be stored offline on your SD card so you are not streaming live data and chewing through you data.
If you upgrade to MixRadio+ for R25 per month you also get access to 15 million songs, better quality audio and even streaming lyrics.
Socially speaking, all the apps are represented. I used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (this is in Beta but I found no issues at all). I also use WeChat and WhatsApp and Skype as my communication tools.
If you tap onto the App Social icon on the phone, it allows you to follow friends and see which apps they recommend. You can also create your own recommendations and join the world leader board so others can discover any hidden apps you find.