on 10-08-2014 16:46
Note: Please don’t hate me for poor spelling and grammar. I have proof read this but I suffer from Dyslexia and I miss things which seam easy. Also this isn’t a marked essay so it don’t really matter that much.
Reasons for picking the 1520 in the first place:
When I upgraded my phone in Feb there was a few important factors which it had to fill. The first was it had to be a Windows Phone. I’ve had others before, IOS, Android, RIM, but they never gave me just the right level of customisations I wanted. IOS was too little, Android was too much and rim well, nothing. Windows Phone gave me just the right amount. I’m the kind of person who loves to change the way his phones look and feel every other day. Icons, colours, themes the lot, Windows Phone satisfied this itch without over stressing me out like Android would with too many possibilities. The second factor was a big screen. Now you don’t know me but I have mutant thumbs. Seriously they look like someone took a hammer to them and turned them into pancakes with nice nails on top, a big screen was essential. Also the nature of my job involves me reading e-mails, documents and more on my phone, I’m a University Lecturer by the way. Yes I can pull out my Mac to do this but sometimes i just want to do it quickly and my phone is always on me. To add to this I love to read and I abuse the Kindle App more than a newbie at an all you can eat buffet. This explains the third factor, screen quality but I also wanted an SD card slot, fourth factor if you didn’t guess. I have a 64GB card which is full of music which I always want on me. The final factor was a good camera as I’m a keen photographer. I have my camera set up, the stupid bag with lenses and tripods but can I be bothered to carry this around with me 24/7? god no! What if I leave it in the pub after a few jars? So this lead me to the lumia 1520.
What went wrong with the Lumia 1520:
The camera decided it wanted to act drunk when taking pictures and videos, below is a link. Now i’m all for being drunk but my phone needs to stay sober to counter my drunken phone actions, thank you auto correct!
Why did I pick the Lumia 635 as my temporary phone?
This one is simple, its cheap. But there are plenty of cheap windows phones on the market you say? yes but I needed it to be running Windows Phone 8.1. I was running the Developer Preview on my 1520, downgraded and while I waiting for the official release of 8.1 I had the joys of 8.0. Anyone who joined me in this action will know my pain. I will quickly go through the other factors which made me pick this phone, SD card slot and is allowed for sensor core to track my running. I know the screen isn’t that great when you compare it to the 1520 but I told myself that it will do, it will only be a few weeks.
What are my initial thoughts of the 635?
So I picked up the device, put in the battery and was amazed on how light it was. It was a nice feeling but it also felt more like a Fisher Price toy phone at the same time, this may be due to the bright orange shell. Then I booted it up and set up all my details etc etc etc, you know the rest. My initial reaction was “the screen is tiny” but again this will be me readjusting from the 1520 and then it hit me, the thought which will be burned into my head for the rest of time. I use a retina Mac, iPad Air, Lumia 1520 and I became accustomed to one key feature, screen quality. The tiles are not as distinctive, the letters are not as clear and it doesn’t look that great. Is it usable? yes. Am I being biased due to the 1520, probably. But this day and age HD/Retina/SuperHD is common place so I think more people would notice it. Now before you start to yell at me that the 1520 and 635 are different phones for different markets, I know. I am simply giving you my comparison from a top end to a mid/low end market. I know a lot of people who are jumping ship from IOS and Android and they ask me which Windows Phone should they get. Nokia is flooding the market with cheap phones so should they buy one of those and get a cheap sim only deal or spend that little bit more and get a top end one.
After a few hours I had all my apps downloaded and I decided to work on that start screen. I decided to go for the extra row of icons to be simular to the 1520 but after a while I found these very hard to read and focus on, I even started to feel a headache coming on. The words on the tiles were so small to the point of pointless. With this in mind I quickly changed it back to the standard two rows and found this much more comfortable and natural for this size screen. I love that we have the option, I love choices, and in two weeks I may change it back to three rows.
After 24 hours of use:
Now I have to say I am impressed. The phone OS and general usage is the same speed as my 1520 with a very few “resuming” screens. Installing apps is just as quick and loading them up as, again, just as quick. For the record I am using a O2 UK 4G network. One of my most used applications is Music and Nokia Music. I am happy to say these also work just as good with no noticeable difference in quality. When driving around I used Here Drive+ and, yet again, I was impressed on how fast this worked and created new routes. This phone is very impressive and I was very happy to have motion sensors to track my steps, I run a lot so this will come in handy on Monday. So now I tried some games, Subway Surfers. On my 1520 this ran quite well but it still frustrated me with lag. I’m not just talking about any old frustration but the kind I used to get when my Sinclair Spectrum couldn’t load a game after an eternity of trying. If you remember this please join me in a nostalgic sigh. On the 635 it actually played well but it did have more lag than the 1520 but still playable. A final aspect to mention is the battery life is quite impressive if you have the screen medium of low, have it on high and the battery disappears like putting Ice in a oven. Sadly this was my own fault because I am used to Auto Brightness and this doesn’t have it because this doesn’t have a sensor to allow this feature, this will take some getting used too. Overall am I impressed, yes I am. I am even getting thoughts of keeping this as my main phone and selling the 1520 but there are a few things holding me back such as screen size and quality, lack of light sensor and front camera. Lets see what tomorrow brings.
48 Hours after use:
So i’ve spend two days in Liverpool visiting friends. They all asked where my TV sized phone is and what was i doing with a toy phone. A few friends also commented on the screen quality and compared it the their iPhone 5s’s but I countered it with the price difference. I’m currently on my way back, writing this on the train, listening to some music and using internet sharing with my Mac and all I can think is how impressed I am with this phone but I do miss my 1520. The lack of a proximity sensor makes me miss some small, but fun, features such as, double tap to wake up, auto brightness and wireless charging. However when I think of these I could easily live without them if it came down to price difference. The battery on this phone has blown me away. I got into Liverpool at 10:30am and unplugged the phone from my laptop fully charged. The phone didn’t go back on charge until midnight and it was on 49% with a moderate amount of social networking, camera, news, GPS use to look for local bars, restaurants. I know my way around Liverpool as i spend a few years living here but I wanted to test the phone. This was with location and the screen on medium the entire time. Another impressive feature was sensor core and the bing health and fitness application. It tracked my steps and i reached an impressive 16000. Another point to commend on is the build quality. Now this isn’t a lumia 1520 or iPhone 5s standard but it is a good quality. It feels safe in my hands and I feel like if i drop it won’t do any major damage. The ability to change the rear shell is a helping hand in this as a new one can make a old/scratched phone feel new again.
Now here comes the negative bits. The camera is not the best in the world with pictures coming out grainy and dark. This is mainly due to the lack of a flash but this is a big problem if you want to take lots of pictures. Also selfies are out due to no front camera. This isn’t a big problem for me but if your love the odd selfie don’t get this phone. Another small problem i noticed, and this is very small, is the start screen or application list can, occasionally, take some time to load up. For example when I left an application and went the start screen all the tiles where there but they had no information in them for a few seconds. This occasionally happened with the application list too.
So final thoughts on this phone. The price is right, it covers all the key aspects you would expect from a phone which costs between £99 - £129 depending where you shop. This phone reminds me of a time when i would buy a Nokia 3310 for £99 on pay as you go. I would easily buy this phone as a gift and recommend this phone to people but I would rule out a few things. Do you need a good quality screen? Do you want to take a lot of pictures? are you addicted to capturing your life in selfies? if you say yes to any of those then avoid this phone. You may be interested by the price but these would come to annoy you over time. If you want a phone which can run most apps like the big boys can, social network with ease, capture e-mails etc then this would be a good phone for you. Now for here is the real kicker, am i keeping it as my main phone and sell the 1520 when I get it back? Sadly I am unsure but the simple fact that I am unsure should tell you that it has had an impact on me. I will give you an straight answer when I do get the 1520 back. If I could sell my Lumia 1520 for the £250 - £300 mark this would become very tempting proposition. Another idea I am considering is keeping this phone as a fitness device to monitor my behaviour and actions. The 1520 is a big to carry in my running arm band so I carry it in my backpack, this could be the answer.
When I get back to Sheffield I will be installing the Developers Preview of 8.1 update 1 and try that one out. I will keep you all updated and if there is anything you want to know about the phone please ask away and I will do my best to answer them.
on 10-08-2014 16:46
on 10-08-2014 16:49
I reviewed the 1020 for O2 recently which prompted me to buy the 520 as the windows ui was a breath of fresh air and I loved the live tiles.
Once again thank you for sharing.
on 10-08-2014 17:21
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
on 10-08-2014 17:52
Great review, I picked up the predecessor the 625 mainly to upgrade a PAYG SIM to 4G, but It's not a bad little phone either. Not up to the 1020 I trialled but much better batterylife. It does have the double tap to wake though, is it absent on the 635 or just turned off?
on 10-08-2014 19:23
Brilliant comparison review @L_W_Ward
Personally, I will not be changing from Android phones any time soon....(I enjoy the 'comfort' of remaining with this platform...its an age thing)
However, I loved reading this..... to see how, why and what appeals to different individuals.
Thank you for posting.
on 10-08-2014 19:30
Thanks everyone. I am impressed by the phone and if it wasn't for my constant photography I would seriously consider keeping this as my primary phone.
Just installing 8.1 (update 1) developers preview now, off to the pub quiz so i'll keep you all updated.