Budget mobiles have typically been miserable pieces of tat forcing poor screens and underpowered processors on those not willing to splash the cash on top end devices. The Lumia 620 might be part of the budget lineup but it offers a hell of a lot for an extremely reasonable �150.
For that cash you'll get a bright, bold 3.8-inch screen, a host of helpful Nokia apps, a 5-megapixel camera and the ability to swap the case for a rainbow of vivid colours.
It's available now for �150 on pay as you go or free on contracts starting at �13.50.
Should I buy the Nokia Lumia 620?
With its colourful, interchangeable cases and its very affordable price tag, the Lumia 620 is perhaps the definition of "cheap and cheerful". It's a great choice for younger phone fanatics looking for something to carry around that's a bit different to their mate's Android or BlackBerry.
It doesn't have the screen real estate of phones like the Galaxy S3, but it's sharp, bright and has great colours. The People Hub in the Windows Phone 8 software is great for socialites, allowing you to see all your friends' social networking activity in one place.
Its dual-core processor is more modest than you'll find in the Lumia 820 or 920, but I found it handled the same tasks with ease. Is it worth splashing the extra cash on the 920? Yes, but only if you crave the bigger screen and the better camera. The 620 offers the same Windows Phone 8 experience for hundreds of pounds less.
If you're after an attractive, pocket-friendly phone that's a bit different from the norm -- or if you simply want to take Windows Phone 8 for a test drive -- then the 620 is a great option. If you want a more well-stocked app store then Huawei's G330 is a similarly affordable Android phone but I found Windows Phone 8 to make better use of more modest hardware than Android is generally capable of.
Design and build quality
The first thing you're likely to notice about the 620 is its extremely bright colours. That's courtesy of a number of interchangeable back cases, harking back to Nokia's heyday with the swappable fascias on the 3210.
There are various colours available, including yellow, white, pink, blue, orange or -- if you're not keen on the dazzling hues -- black. They're certainly eye-catching, particularly the green case that has an inner yellow ring, making it look like there are two cases on. If you're after a phone to really stand out amongst your friends' black iPhones then the 620 will do the job perfectly. The cases are sold separately but Nokia says that they'll be under �20, which seems reasonable.
Of course having changeable backs isn't just about aesthetics, it also means you don't need to worry as much about scratches and dirty marks. Handily, the headphone jack comes built into each case, not the phone itself. This means that if, like me, you make a habit of destroying the jack by getting your headphone cable caught on a door handle -- as happened to my Galaxy S3 only last week -- you simply need to swap the case to get a new jack.
The phone itself is 115mm long and 61mm wide making it smaller than a lot of the top-end smart phones around but perfectly sized for most hands -- at no point do you have to stretch your thumbs to get across the screen. It's made even more comfortable by the pleasant rounded back. It's 11mm thick and weighs 127g, which again isn't super-slim or super-light, but you won't have any difficulty carrying it around in your pocket.
Build quality is excellent on the whole. The thick, stiff casing seems ready to protect the more delicate internals from all but the most brutal of attacks and the toughened glass front should shrug off attacks from coins and keys in your pocket. The buttons don't seem unpleasantly rattly either, but they're all part of the casing which can be replaced anyway if the worst does happen.
On the sides you'll find a volume rocker, a power button and a dedicated camera shutter button that allows you to half-press to focus. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top and a micro-USB port on the bottom for charging and data transfer. There's only 8GB of storage, which won't last long, but you can pop in microSD cards up to 64GB. There's a camera on the front and one on the back, both of which I'll come to later.
The 620 also boasts near-field communication technology, or NFC to you and me. It lets the phone talk to devices simply by touching them together. I found I was easily able to pair the phone with one of JBL's PlayUP NFC-enabled speakers quickly and simply, without having go to the hassle of pressing and holding buttons and finding the speaker in the phone's settings.
The 620 packs in a 3.8-inch display, which is undeniably rather small in comparison to the majority of new smart phones. That's not necessarily a bad thing though -- it makes it easier to stretch your thumbs across and packs in a good amount of pixels, making it sharper than low-end phones with big screens.
In fact, it has a resolution of 480x800 pixels, the same as the 4-inch Huawei G330, making the picture slightly sharper overall -- although I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference, side by side. Small text and icons are crisp and reading for longer periods is perfectly comfortable -- although its diminutive size does mean you're unlikely to want to read full-length ebooks on it.
Colours are great too. Nokia's ClearBlack display results in deep black levels, giving good contrast and punchy, vibrant colours. Images and videos in Netflix are very watchable. Display quality is often an area that's skimped on in budget mobiles to keep the price down, but the 620's screen thankfully hasn't seen such cuts.
Windows Phone 8
The 620 runs the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software. Unlike Android, WP8 isn't tweaked and skinned by phone manufacturers so you'll have the same layout and experience on all WP8 phones.
It's made up of colourful tiles showing live information in a flowing grid. You can resize and move these tiles around if you want to give a certain feature more prominence. Swiping to the left takes you into a list of all your apps. It's a neat and fairly easy to navigate interface that doesn't take much getting used to, even if you're new to the smart phone world.
My favourite aspects of the software are the People and Me hubs. Once you've connected your email, Facebook and Twitter accounts to the phone -- which thankfully is easy to do -- these hubs will show all your contacts' information from all networks in one handy place. You can then contact them using any method (email, phone, text, Skype, Facebook etc) without having to jump in and out of different apps. The Me app allows you to instantly share photos or statuses to your various networks from one spot.
The biggest problem with Windows Phone 8 is its app store. While you can get certain gems like WhatsApp, Skype and Netflix, it's woefully understocked compared to the iOS and Android stores. Apps like Spotify do not yet feature on its shelves, which is a crucial omission for me and many of my friends.