|Style & Handling|
|+ 4G||- Weak camera|
|+ Affordable||- Low resolution screen|
|+ Solid build||- Lacklustre battery|
Verdict: The Nokia Lumia 635 combines slick performance, speedy 4G and a low price tag, but a weak camera and disappointing battery hold it back.
There aren’t a huge number of Windows Phone handsets so your options are limited, especially if you’re on a budget, and once you throw a desire for 4G into the equation there are very few choices.
But the Nokia Lumia 635 is one option. It’s a low end device, in fact it’s almost identical to the Nokia Lumia 630, the main difference being the addition of 4G. Super speedy data and a super low price tag of around £100 SIM free are its main selling points, but is that enough to justify a purchase? And what aspects of it aren’t so good? Read on to find out.
The Nokia Lumia 635 has a 4.5-inch 480 x 854 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 221 pixels per inch. That’s not a great resolution and it shows in use, with text and images not looking quite as sharp as we’d like and while it’s not terrible for a cheap phone there are better options out there, for example the original Moto G has a 720 x 1280 display of the same size and doesn’t cost much more, while even the 4G-toting EE Kestrel has a 540 x 960 display for about the same.
Still, what it lacks in resolution the Nokia Lumia 635 somewhat makes up for in technology, with IPS ensuring that images look bright, ClearBlack technology improving the contrast and the combination making it easy to use in bright sunlight.
The 4.5-inch size is pretty good too. To our mind the optimal size would probably be ever so slightly bigger, at maybe around 4.7-inches, where phones start to reach the limits of being comfortably useable with one hand, but 4.5 inches isn’t far off that, it’s not too big and not really too small either.
The Nokia Lumia 635 has a fairly plain design, but that’s to be expected from a budget handset and that’s not to say it looks bad. The phone is cased in a removable plastic shell, with a glossy, colourful look available in a variety of shades.
At 9.2mm thick it’s somewhat chunky but it feels solid and well-built and the colourful design ensures it looks like a Lumia.
It’s not overly heavy at 134g and while large bezels bring the dimensions up to 129.5 x 66.7mm it still doesn’t look unattractive.
The Lumia 635 is also fairly comfortable to hold. The glossy finish isn’t as slippery as it looks and the power and volume buttons are easily reachable.
The only disappointment when it comes to buttons is that there’s no dedicated shutter button, which is a shame particularly as most Lumia’s do have one, but as you’ll see further down in the review this is just the first of many camera disappointments.
There’s a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM in the Nokia Lumia 635. That may not sound like much and it’s identical to the innards of the older Lumia 630, but much like Apple’s devices, Lumia’s tend to get a lot out of their hardware.
So despite the lacking RAM and low-end albeit quad-core processor the Nokia Lumia 635 actually delivers surprisingly slick performance.
It’s not faultless, games don’t always hold up perfectly and other demanding tasks can cause performance to take a visible hit, but for general navigation around the home screens and using most apps there’s plenty of power here.
Of course the Nokia Lumia 635 also has 4G, so its web browsing, streaming and downloading performance is pretty great, even when not connected to Wi-Fi.
The camera is far and away the most disappointing aspect of the Nokia Lumia 635. It has a 5 megapixel front-facing snapper, which is an unexceptional specification but not surprising for a cheap handset.
But it doesn’t even have a flash, so while it can take some okay snaps when lighting is good, actually beating out much of the low end competition in fact, it’s next to useless in low-light.
Its video recording abilities aren’t great either as they’re capped at 720p. But perhaps worst of all there’s no front-facing camera at all, so there’s no opportunity to take selfies or make video calls.
Combine all that with the lack of a dedicated shutter button and the camera really isn’t up to much.
Other than 4G the main feature of the Nokia Lumia 635 is that it runs Windows Phone 8.1, which is a slick, intuitive operating system and being the latest version of Windows Phone it’s also full-featured, with the likes of Action Centre for notifications, the Cortana virtual assistant and an accurate keyboard.
The Nokia Lumia 635 has an 1830 mAh battery, which according to Nokia is good for up to 648 hours of standby time, 14 hours of talk time or 58 hours of music. In practice it should just about see you through a day but you’ll be charging it every night, so it’s certainly not one of the best smartphone batteries around.
There’s just 8GB of built in memory but there’s also a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 128GB and for connectivity options you get Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth 4.0, but NFC and infrared are off the menu.
The Nokia Lumia 635 is a solid smartphone at a great price. If it weren’t so cheap it would be utterly unexceptional, but from around £100 SIM free you get a sturdy phone with a quad-core processor, a good size screen and 4G support.
It’s lacking in a number of areas as you’d expect for the price, including screen resolution and battery life, but neither of them are terrible. The only thing that might really be a deal breaker is the camera, which while adequate in bright light struggles in poorer lighting as it doesn’t have a flash and is completely useless for selfies as, well, there isn’t a front-facing camera.
So if you plan to take a lot of photos (particularly of yourself) this isn’t the phone for you, but for anyone else if you’re on a budget and want a 4G handset the Nokia Lumia 635 is a fine option.
|Nokia Lumia 635 Review SpecificationDimensions : 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2mm Weight: 134g Screen size: 4.5” (480 x 854) Screen Resolution: 480 x 854 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 221 Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core application processor RAM: 512MB On-board Memory: 8GB (microSD card support) Camera: 5MP (rear) 720p@30fps, (no front-facing) Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ No Battery capacity: 1830mAh Colours: Bright Orange, bright green, bright yellow, white, black Launch Date: Out now Price: £100|