Three weeks ago I started my Windows Phone 8.1 experiment with the Nokia Lumia 630. I sold my Motorola Moto G and decided to give another chance to Windows Phone. At first I was positively surprised by the Nokia Lumia 630 and some new features of the 8.1 version of Windows Phone. What’s the result? Will I keep the phone? Will I definitely move to Windows Phone 8.1?
I’m Jerome and this is my Nokia Lumia 630 review...part 2!
Three weeks is more than enough to know what are the good and the bad things of this device.
- Build quality: For the price of this smartphone, there is nothing really wrong with the build quality. It is a plastic device that doesn’t feel cheap. Nokia is well known for making quality handsets and the Nokia Lumia 630 is no exception.
- Screen: The screen is not HD but it is actually very nice, bright, and colours really pop. This is probably one of the best non HD screens out there!
- Ultra portable: We are living in an era of huge smartphones and I am sure for a lot of people a small, light device is a welcome change.
- Accessories: The range of Nokia accessories for the Lumia 630 is limited but the cover cases are great, and the Nokia MD-12 (read review here) portable speaker is a must have accessory for the 630.
-512 mb of ram is a joke: This phone is snappy to browse around the OS but can be slow when you open apps. I blame Microsoft for that because they still think that 512mb of ram is enough for Windows Phone, but it is not. Opening an app can be a very slow process, and refreshing the status of some social media apps can be a real pain! Windows Phone 8.1 needs more Ram to perform.
- Slow camera: The camera is decent on good lighting conditions, but very poor in low light, and the most important is that the camera app is very slow. Expect a few seconds between snaps, and in some cases it can feel like an eternity!
- Something missing: We are in an era of "selfies", and Nokia/Microsoft is targeting a young audience with the Lumia 630, so why didn’t they include a frontal camera? This is one of the worst decisions, not only for selfies, but think about Skype! Microsoft own Skype and it is well integrated on Windows Phone 8.1, so the lack of front camera is a very bad move (as bad as launching Windows Vista!).
Windows Phone 8.1: Any improvement?
When I used Windows Phone 8 last year (with Nokia Lumia 820) I thought the OS had great potential: it was visually refreshing, had some great Nokia apps. Finally I decided to sell my Lumia 820 because I was really annoyed with some features of WP 8.1, and I was not impressed by the camera of the 820. But I decided to give Windows Phone 8.1 another try because I saw some new additions to the OS and in some ways it looked better.
How does it feel to live 3 weeks with Windows Phone 8.1? I am going to be very honest with you and this is only my personal opinion. I'm sure that WP 8.1 is right for a lot of people but this is not for me.
I think there are two good moments using WP 8.1: when you start using it (for the first 2-3 days) and when you decide to stop using it! I know, it can sound very harsh but I will try to explain to you why:
- The once refreshing OS didn’t age very well, and in fact it looks very dated. In general I have the feeling that WP 8.1 is on its last legs and need a huge design revamp. The new notification centre is a nice touch but basically that’s the only major improvement (apart from resizing live tiles). All the other improvements are not really noticeable on a daily basis usage.
- WP 8.1 is a little bit of a mess! We love to criticise Samsung for some duplicated apps and functions on their Touchwiz UI, but wait for Nokia/Microsoft! In my opinion the worst is about the camera app. Functions are duplicated, to use some nice features you have to launch 2 different applications and basically it feels complicated, messy and not really user friendly. It is a real shame because the strong selling point of WP 8.1 are the Nokia apps! They are all excellent but the synergy with Microsoft is still not there yet.
-I love Nokia Mix Radio: I am a big fan of Nokia mix radio, this is a very nice application and I think they should export this app to other platforms (like Blackberry with BBM). But unfortunately Nokia Mix Radio is not good enough to save the Titanic.
- Say Hello to Cortana: This is the new personal assistant from Microsoft. I never really liked Siri on iOS, but I was very excited to try Cortana. Unfortunately Cortana is not available in the UK or any other countries apart from the USA. Eventually with some investigation I have been able to test Cortana (the US version). It is surprisingly good and to be honest I liked it. It can do more than Siri and Google Now but I still prefer the way 'OK Google' works!
- Google where are you? And finally, the worst for me was the poor integration of Google services on Windows Phone 8.1. Basically, they don’t get on together and this is a huge problem for me. There is no Gmail app and the ones available on the App Store are poorly designed and with limited functions.
So, after three weeks, I decided that Windows Phone 8.1 was not for me, and probably not for millions of other potential users. If you are a huge Google user, my advice is to avoid the Microsoft mobile OS, and go with iOS, Android or Blackberry instead. I really tried, and I was really excited about this experiment but I feel like the Magic has gone. WP 8.1 is an improvement, but the OS is not there yet and probably will never be. Microsoft has spent billions of dollars on Windows Phone and so far it is not a success. And the people buying Nokia's Phones are buying the most affordable. I think it will be extremely difficult to keep going like that for years to come.
I love to experiment and I am glad I did it. I had three very interesting weeks with my Nokia 630, but I am glad it came to an end. It is now time to move on and try something new. And believe me….I think I've finally found the best phone for me…..I will tell you more about it next week!
If you are a Windows Phone user don’t be offended because this is only my personal opinion based on my experience. I am always moving from one mobile OS to another and there is no perfect solution. WP 8.1 is simply not good for me, but I am sure that it will be perfect for some people. However I don’t think it will ever get more than 10% Worldwide market share! Maybe Microsoft should invest more on the software side and try to earn more money with their apps on other platforms?
As always, thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please use the Like button and you are welcome to share on your social network. I love reading your comments so feel free to write. If you are a Windows Phone user, let me know what you love about it and how is your daily experience with it. For me it's a NO, but maybe the next Windows Phone update will be better for me.