Hardware

The first thing that anyone will ever do with a smartphone is hold it, so we will start with the design of the phone. If you have ever seen or held any Lumia phone, then you will instantly recognize the 630 as a Lumia. The polycarbonate back is much thinner and more flexible than the 620, but has an excellent matte texture to it which makes it easy to grip and hold. The design has progressed from the earlier Lumia models with removable backs, and now features nicely rounded corners, and an angular side which makes the device quite comfortable to hold on to.

As is often the case with Lumia phones, there are several colors to choose from and in this case you can get white, black, yellow, green, or the color I received as a review unit which is a nice bright orange. As someone who has always owned black phones, I have to say that I’ve grown to really like the orange.

The power and volume buttons can be found on the right side of the device, with the micro USB port on the bottom, and the 3.5 mm jack on top. The back has the 5 MP camera sensor, a speaker hole, and a very faint Nokia logo. There is no fake chrome, or fake leather. This is a plastic phone that is made out of quality plastic, and with the small by today’s standard display of 4.5”, the phone fits nicely in the hand and is quite comfortable to hold.

The back of the device peels off, unlike older Lumia phones which definitely popped off. Behind the removable back cover we get easy access to the SIM slot (or dual SIMs if applicable) as well as the replacable battery and a microSD slot.

Lumia 620 (left) vs Lumia 630 (right)

The move to on-screen buttons for the back, home, and search keys was something that took me no time to adjust to. You can set the device to provide haptic feedback of button presses, and in that sense they work and feel exactly like the capacitive buttons of most phones. I also accidentally triggered the buttons less than the hardware buttons of other phones I’ve used, which I attribute to not having the buttons so low on the device, so if I rest my thumb at the bottom, I don’t hit search. A nice touch to the on-screen buttons is you can customize the navigation bar color to be always dark, match the background, or match the accent color.

The one thing I do miss though is the camera button, and perhaps that’s because Windows Phone 8.1 isn’t ready to give this button up yet. There’s no easy way to access the camera from the lock screen like on competing operating systems, and with other Windows Phones that’s not an issue because of the physical button to launch the camera. The workaround on this device is that one of the quick action buttons in the action center is set to the camera function out of the box. It is not the ideal fix, and I hope they add a slide right for camera experience to the start and lock screens in a future update to address this issue.

As far as the specifications, the Lumia 630 is also the first Windows Phone to sport the Snapdragon 400 class of SoC. This brings the MSM8226 model which is a quad-core Cortex A7 CPU at 1.2 GHz, Adreno 305 Graphics, integrated modem, and improved ISP over the Snapdragon S4 of the previous generation. Also in-line with the Lumia 520 and 620 is the 512 MB of RAM which is a shame in 2014. Windows Phone as an OS gets by just fine with 512 MB of RAM, but many games in the store are limited to devices with at least 1 GB of RAM, so it would have been nice to see the 630 include the 1 GB to open the device to all apps in the store. The full specifications are listed below.

Lumia 630 Specifications
  Nokia Lumia 520 Nokia Lumia 620 Nokia Lumia 625 Nokia Lumia 630
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus
MSM8227 Krait Dual-Core 1.0 GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus
MSM8227 Krait Dual-Core 1.0 GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus
MSM8930 Krait Dual-Core 1.2 GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
MSM8226 Cortex A7 Quad-Core 1.2 GHz
RAM/NAND 512 MB / 8 GB + MicroSD 512 MB / 8 GB + MicroSD 512 MB / 8 GB + MicroSD 512 MB / 8 GB + MicroSD
Display Size and Resolution 4.0" 800x480 3.8" 800x480 4.7" 800x480 4.5" 854x480
Network GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, DC HSPA+, LTE up to 100 Mbps GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps
Dimensions 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 (mm) 115.4 x 61.1 x 11 (mm) 133.2 x 72.2 x 9.2 (mm) 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 (mm)
Weight 124 g 127 g 159 g 134 g
Camera 5MP rear camera, 1.4 µm pixels, 1/4" CMOS size, F/2.4, 28 mm focal length, No Flash, No FFC 5MP rear camera, 1.4 µm pixels, 1/4" CMOS size, F/2.4, 28 mm focal length, LED Flash, VGA FFC 5MP rear camera, 1.4 µm pixels, 1/4" CMOS size, F/2.4, 28 mm focal length, LED Flash, VGA FFC 5MP rear camera, 1.4 µm pixels, 1/4" CMOS size, F/2.4, 28 mm focal length, No Flash, No FFC
Battery 1430 mAh 3.7 V (5.291 Wh) 1300 mAh 3.7 V (4.81 Wh) 2000 mAh 3.7 V (7.4 Wh) 1830 mAh 3.7 V (6.771 Whr)
Current Shipping OS Windows Phone 8.0 with Black Firmware Windows Phone 8.0 with Black Firmware Windows Phone 8.0 with Black Firmware Windows Phone 8.1 with Cyan Firmware
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, MPT, DLNA, FM Radio 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, MPT, DLNA, NFC 802.11 b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, MPT, DLNA, FM Radio 802.11 b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, MPT, DLNA, FM Radio
Location Technologies Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS, Magnetometer Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS, BeiDou
SIM Size MicroSIM MicroSIM MicroSIM MicroSIM (Dual SIM Optional)

There’s not too many surprises here. Wi-Fi is 802.11n and not ac, the 630 doesn’t have LTE (although the 635 does for a bit more money) and the camera is decidedly low end. 8 GB of NAND may seem low, but to get to this price it’s not unexpected. You can add up to 128 GB of storage via microSD though, and Windows Phone 8.1 now allows apps to be installed on the SD card, so storage isn’t really an issue.

Introduction Performance
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  • kspirit - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    Incredibly detailed and excellent as usual. Thanks for all the info. I'm glad you clarified why the 930 doesn't have Glance. It confused me, because I thought it was something MS was killing off with WP8.1. Good to know that's not the case. Reply
  • kspirit - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    Another thing I'd like to add is that the 630's display is not "real" ClearBlack. I have seen and owned devices with those, and my father has a 630, and this is most certainly NOT a CBD. It's marketed as such but there is no polarizer. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    "But again the storage of only 8 GB is no problem at all due to the included microSD card being able to add another 128 GB if needed, and Windows Phone 8.1 supports SD cards better than any other mobile OS."

    Having ran into one major performance problem with using the SD slot on my WP8/8.1 phone, I don't know how true this is in general. Earlier this year I bought a 520 to play around with WP8 and to use as a music player when the risk of breaking it was high enough that I didn't want anything expensive.

    My music collection is currently ~60GB/11,000 tracks so I figured that with a 64GB uSD card (class 10) I'd be able to load everything on the sdcard and be good to go. Unfortunately I found that wasn't the case. I often shuffle over my entire music collection instead of drilling down to a specific artist/album. This turned out to be a major problem on my 520.

    With the original WP8.0 install attempting to do so froze the phone completely for between 5 and 15 minutes before returning to normal operation mode (at this point everything worked perfectly unless I restarted the phone or changed to a short playlist and then tried to go back to the long one). This problem affected XBox Music, Nokia Music and a few free players I found so it appears to be OS related. I tried upgrading to the developer preview build of WP8.1. This fixed the total phone lockup, but gave a new problem. With the giant playlist there is an ~30s delay between pressing next/previous song and the song being played changing.

    With both OS versions this wasn't a problem with small play lists on the SD card or when playing back from internal flash (limited to shorter play lists due to lack of space).

    I don't know if this is a problem with the SD implementation in particular, I'm using a class10 card so my card itself shouldn't be the problem, or due to the total size of the playlist swamping the CPU somewhere. I haven't tried filling the card up most of the way with images or video to see how well those apps behave; but this has left me rather skeptical of WP8's ability to effectively use a large SD card to replace internal storage.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure but it may be scanning all your music upon starting the app. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    I don't think so. The app launches as quickly as anything else on the phone does, and WP8 refuses to identify music/etc unless synced using an official app (vs just copied via explorer); and lists everything in the various category based lists (artist/genre/etc). The genre/etc based lists aren't possible without a full index already existing since (unlike artist) they can't be inferred from the file system.

    In 8.0, it was clearly doing some sort of pre-processing step before starting playback (but completely freezing the phone to the point of even hardware buttons being non-responsive is totally unacceptable); 8.1 doesn't do that, but has a major runtime performance problem as a result.
    Reply
  • Kit Y - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    DanNeely is definitely right on this issue, Windows Phone 8.1 removed the on board music and videos to Xbox Music/Video that is separated from the core platform to allow more timely updates to the music player.

    However, the current music player do suffer from a lot of bugs and slowdown as reported on r/WindowsPhone quite often and major compliant of many uses.

    If I had the choice to make decision to balance cost and the features, I would forgo 4GBs of on board storage in exchange of ambient light sensor and 1GB of RAM, GG3 for Glance Screen and perhaps rename it to 530 as it seems to be a lot more appropriate given it's limitations and the similar launch price of 520 which we should see it to be drop to under $100 in many markets.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    I haven't tried any 3rd party players with 8.1; do you know if the architectural changes provide any scope for 3rd party players to preform better than Microsoft's? Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    The music app is currently being updated pretty regularly and is a LOT better today than it was a month ago.

    That said, there's plenty of scope for a developer to make a much faster app - I'm working on one at the moment. My plan is to make something pretty limited, but I would personally prefer a very basic app that's fast over one that is fully featured but slower.
    Reply
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    the latest version of xbox music on WP8.1 resolves this exact issue. it now no longer scans for entire folders for music file changes every start up... it must use some indexing thing now. It also does scanning and updating in background if you're on wifi and plugged in Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    Yeah they've been making some improvements on the latest updates. Overall the memory card support in WP 8.1 is great.

    As far as "Class 10" goes... it's almost a meaningless label. Even having a UHS-I rated card doesn't really tell you much. Unless you have read/write and IOPs figures for the memory card in question, it might as well be labeled "random flash card that I hope doesn't blow". I have an ADATA UHS-I microSD card that is rated at 1400/100 IOPs random read/write. Most card manufacturers don't even release those specs because they are so bad.

    I really hope UHS-II picks up steam and they start releasing mSD variants and devices that support it. I've seen some UHS-II SD cards with IOPs twice as high as my card or better.
    Reply

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