Road Test: Nokia Lumia 630

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE -

Nokia – now part of Mi­crosoft – may have trou­ble com­pet­ing with Ap­ple and Sam­sung’s f lag­ship smart­phones, but is mak­ing a dent in the mar­ket for mid-tier de­vices. The Lumia 630 is Nokia’s lat­est ad­di­tion to the bud­get smart­phone fam­ily and the only thing about this de­vice to sug­gest it’s a ‘cheap’ phone is the price tag. A pedi­greed thor­ough­bred might im­press your friends, but this is the mutt you picked up on the side of the road that is a trust­wor­thy friend.

For less than a quar­ter of the price of an iPhone 5S you get a re­ally good 4.5” dis­play, 5MP cam­era, quad-core pro­ces­sor and im­pres­sive bat­tery life. The 630 also has a mi­croSD slot where you can up­grade its 8GB stor­age g ca­pac­ity p yy by up to 128GB. Drop p it in the toi­let? No prob­blem. At this price you u can buy another one while out get­ting a pizza.

The 630 also has dual-SIM sup­port, so you could have two SIM cards from dif­fer­ent cel­lu­lar net­works in the same de­vice and choose which one to use when mak­ing calls.

More im­por­tant than the hard­ware, how­ever, is the Win­dows Phone op­er­at­ing sys­tem, which has had a bumpy ride so far, but is fi­nally start­ing to look the part when com­pared to Ap­ple’s iOS and Google’s An­droid. Win­dow dows Phone used to feel aw awk­ward, un­fin­ished and unl unloved by app de­vel­op­ers. No Now, with ver­sion 8.1, it’s loo look­ing sleek, pol­ished and enj en­joys a well-stocked app sto store. This is all due to the har hard work of Nokia that is now hav­ing some 12 000 of its s staff made re­dun­dant as a ‘tha ‘thank you’ from Mi­crosoft.

As good as Win­dows Phone has be­come, it’s still dif­fi­cult to rec­om­mend it to peo­ple who have al­ready in­vested their time and money in another plat­form, and herein lies the bat­tle for Mi­crosoft. Once you’ve spent a few hun­dred rand on apps for your iPhone and con­fig­ured your mail and other ser­vices to work the way you want them it’s not ap­peal­ing to have to find al­ter­na­tives and start from scratch on a new plat­form. This is why be­ing a lag­gard in mo­bile is so hard. It’s a bat­tle for hearts and minds.

Mi­crosoft has the right stuff now, but con­sumers will make the f inal de­ci­sion. The Lumia 630 is tes­ta­ment to how good – and af­ford­able – cut­ting-edge mo­bile tech­nol­ogy can be. Nokia’s ser­vices for lo­ca­tion and mu­sic also com­pete favourably with the best of the best.

When you can get this much phone for less than R2 500 it’s hard to imag­ine spend­ing more than dou­ble that for some­thing that is only a lit­tle bit bet­ter.

Com­pe­ti­tion: Mo­torola Moto G

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