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First impressions: Nokia Lumia 630

First impressions: Nokia Lumia 630
Nokia announced the new Lumia 630 on the sidelines of Microsoft's BUILD coference.

NEW DELHI: At its Build 2014 conference, Microsoft unveiled the next iteration of its mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1. The event also saw Nokia announce three new mobile phones that will run on the new OS — Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930. Windows Phone 8.1 brings a number of new features in order to catch up with Google's Android and Apple's iOS including a centralized notification tray which Microsoft calls Action Centre, voice assistant Cortana, tweaks to the home screen and updated native apps, among others.

Among the new Nokia Lumia phones, while Lumia 930 is the top model, Lumia 630 is a budget smartphone which will also feature a dual-sim option and Lumia 635 is the US version of the 630, with support for 4G LTE.

At a Microsoft event in Delhi where the company showcased its new Windows Phone 8.1 mobile operating system, we got a chance to spend some time with Lumia 630's dual-sim version that runs Windows Phone 8.1. Here's what we think about the new device.
Lumia 630 follows the same design philosophy that we've seen the company use in Lumia 620 and, to some extent, in Lumia 625. It sports a colourful, interchangeable polycarbonate back shell that wraps around the phone. The cover which will be available in black, white, green, orange and yellow colours, sports a matte finish. We'd love to see fresher designs from Nokia, even on budget and mid-range phones. Overall, materials used in the phone are of good quality and feel durable.

The right edge of the phone features the power and volume rocker keys, in the same colour as that of the shell. Strangely, a major omission in Lumia 635 is the camera shutter hardware key, which is available in Lumia 620 and 625 smartphones. This means that you'll only be able to activate the shutter through soft keys. Perhaps the focus is not so much on the camera (more on that later).

The right edge is barren, while the bottom edge features the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top. The back features a 5MP auto-focus camera but there's no LED flash, which makes the phone useless for dark and low-light shots. It is worth pointing out that the phone's predecessor, Lumia 620 sports an LED flash.

Removing the cover reveals the two micro-sim card slots, a microSD card slot and the battery compartment. The phone comes with an 1850 mAh battery.

The front of the phone is dominated by its 4.5-inch 480 x 854p (FWVGA, 218ppi) ClearBack LCD display. Due to the low resolution, the screen doesn't really look rich and vibrant but it is decent enough considering it is a budget offering. The display has good viewing angles and comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection to prevent minor scratches and bumps.

We also noticed the absence of capacitive touch keys below the display for navigation. The phone comes with onscreen soft keys for back, search and Home. This feature has been introduced with Windows Phone 8.1.

Unfortunately, Nokia has cut some corners and unlike Lumia 620, the Lumia 630 doesn't come with a front-facing camera. This means you won't be able to do Skype video chats even though Windows Phone 8.1 features better Skype integration and allows users to switch to Skype calls directly from voice calls.

Under the hood, Lumia 630 is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB RAM. It comes with 8GB internal storage expandable up to 128GB via microSD card. During our brief use, we found navigating through the home screen and launching apps quite smooth. A Nokia India spokesperson told us that the OS has been optimized for all devices and the low RAM would not make a difference.

We still feel that Nokia should have shipped the phone with 1GB RAM as graphics-intensive games are initially available and optimized for Windows Phone devices with 1GB RAM. Developers do port their apps to 512MB devices but it takes time. The recently introduced Nokia Lumia 525 entry-level smartphone also comes with 1GB RAM.

Lumia 630 runs Windows Phone 8.1 and offers dual-sim capability. We quite like the dual-sim implementation as the phone allows users to have separate Messaging and Phone tiles for both sim cards. It even allows you to link the two and have integrated Messaging and Phone apps. Lumia 630 supports 3G only on the primary sim but the phone comes with smart dual sim enabling users to automatically forward calls to the sim which is in use for calls. The phone also includes 'SensorCore', low-power motion sensing for fitness apps.

The Action Centre is another highlight feature and on Lumia 630, it supports four customizable settings toggles including a camera toggle, in addition to notifications for apps.

The Start screen can now have a customized background with transparent tiles. We also tried the phone's Swype-like Word Flow keyboard that allows users to type by sliding a finger across keys, and found that it does make typing faster.

We'll have to say that the OS looks more feature complete than ever, however, we'll have to give it a spin to be able to give a detailed feedback.

Lumia 630's dual-sim variant has been priced at $169 (exclusive of taxes). It is expected to arrive in India in May. The pricing would be the key to the phone's success as Nokia has cut corners especially at the camera front. We would expect the phone to be priced in the Rs 11,000 to Rs 12,000 price range.

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