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Life on the move with the Nokia Lumia 625

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A review by Bill Bennett for Scoop Techlab

You get a lot of smartphone for $500 with the Lumia 625. It includes most of the features you’ll find in Androids and other smartphones costing twice as much. There’s a decent back camera for photos and one on the front for video chatting. There’s Bluetooth, GPS and the phone will work on today’s 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 today’s standards the processor and memory are at the low end of what you’ll 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 has Wi-Fi. This is standard on smartphones, but suddenly it’s a lot more useful than it has been in the past thanks to Telecom NZ’s network on wireless hotspots.

Usually when you buy a mobile phone plan, you get one or two GB of data. If you’re like me, you can chew through this very quickly. On a busy day I might use most of my monthly allowance. I’ve already signed up for additional data, but I can always use a little more.

That’s where the hotspots come in handy. You’ll find them all over New Zealand - mainly attached to public call boxes. If you’ve a Telecom NZ mobile phone account connecting costs nothing and you get a GB of extra data each day. I’ve already started planning my day so that I can sit in cafes close to hotspots between appointments and catch up on work.

Nokia’s 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. I’ve 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. There’s 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. It’s 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. There’s 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. There’s also a neat extra Here app that helps you find public transport. It does a great job in Auckland but may not work if you’re in a small town.

Another notable app is Nokia Smart Cam. It’s the same app you’ll 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.

Content Note: This post has been enabled by Telecom NZ , but the thoughts are the blogger's own. Find out more about Telecom Moblile Phone Picks here. Scoop TechLab is a project of Scoop Independent Media www.scoop.co.nz. It is edited by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson.

 

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