You get a lot of smartphone for $500 with the Lumia 625. It includes most of the features youíll find in Androids and other smartphones costing twice as much. Thereís a decent back camera for photos and one on the front for video chatting. Thereís Bluetooth, GPS and the phone will work on todayís 3G networks as well as the fast 4G services that are being rolled out around the country.
The Lumia 625 has less pixels than more expensive smartphones and by todayís standards the processor and memory are at the low end of what youíll find. What at first look like shortcomings are not necessarily a bad thing.
I found in practice I could get a lot more use out of the phone on a single battery charge than I manage with more expensive phones. The graphics and processor are less draining and Nokia has loaded the 625 with a slightly better battery than you might find elsewhere. The upshot is that you can get almost two days out of the phone between charges. Most smartphones need extra juice on a daily basis.
As well as the features mentioned earlier, the phone also Wi-Fi. This is standard on smartphones, but suddenly itís a lot more useful than it has been in the past thanks to Telecom NZís network on wireless hotspots.
Usually when you buy a mobile phone plan, you get one or two GB of data. If youíre like me, you can chew through this very quickly. On a busy day I might use most of my monthly allowance. Iíve already signed up for additional data, but I can always use a little more.
Thatís where the hotspots come in handy. Youíll find them all over New Zealand – mainly attached to public call boxes. If youíve a Telecom NZ mobile phone account connecting costs nothing and you get a GB of extra data each day. Iíve already started planning my day so that I can sit in cafes close to hotspots between appointments and catch up on work.
Nokiaís Lumia 625 is a Windows Phone 8 device. That means it uses a version of the same Microsoft operating system most people already have on their desk – some of us also have Windows on tablets.
Windows Phone 8 has a few other things going for it as well as instant familiarity. It comes with a full set of built-in apps. Iíve already mentioned the version of Microsoft Office in an earlier post. There are few other stand outs. Nokia includes Data Sense which helps you manage your mobile data. You get warnings when you get close to your monthly limit and the software tells you which apps use the most data.
The phone comes with apps for Facebook and Twitter. Thereís also the People app which combines an address book with a social media hub. You can see friends Facebook updates and tweets here – you can also write your own updates. Itís possible to set up private groups – Microsoft calls them rooms. The phone comes with a Family Room already set up so that parents can communicate privately and safely with children. Thereís also a calendar app which can link to your desktop computer calendar.
Nokia Here Drive and Here Maps are great for helping you get around. You can use them with the GPS to plan driving or walking routes through unfamiliar territory. I find both apps are better than the alternatives from Google and Apple. Thereís also a neat extra Here app that helps you find public transport. It does a great job in Auckland but may not work if youíre in a small town.
Another notable app is Nokia Smart Cam. Itís the same app youíll find on high end Nokia smartphones. Among other things it will shoot a sequence of photos, then you can either choose the best shot or merge pictures. It can also be used to remove unwanted objects from images.