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Nokia Lumia 635
What's Hot: Solid features and design for the money. A budget phone with LTE 4G, an IPS display and a Snapdragon quad core CPU: nice.
What's Not: No front camera, not a particularly high resolution display.
Reviewed July 31, 2014 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
Perhaps this is Windows Phone's future: very affordable handsets that reach the widest possible demographic. The platform has so far done particularly well there. The Nokia Lumia 635 is one of the least expensive smartphones on the US market. The T-Mobile version used for this review lists for $168 outright (no contract, no monthly pay off) and sells for just $129 on MicrosoftStore.com and $119 on the Home Shopping Network. The AT&T GoPhone version is $99 full retail. And surprisingly, the phone doesn't stink. Quite the opposite: it's nice enough looking, has a decent display, 4G LTE where most ultra-budget phones stop at 3G, a quad core processor and a decent rear 5 megapixel camera.
In the spirit of the Moto E, the Lumia is meant to be a phone that most anyone can afford (T-Mobile does offer $7/month payment plans if the full retail exceeds the contents of your wallet). Yet it ships with the latest version of the OS, Windows Phone 8.1, has a truly good voice assistant named Cortana and important core features like expandable storage via microSD card slot and a replaceable battery. Yes, it lacks features that high and mid tier smartphones offer like a front camera (that will be a deal breaker for some), and it has a paltry amount of internal storage. To a certain extent, you do get what you pay for, so everything is scaled back here to achieve the affordable price tag. Build quality is good and you can get different colored backs for $15 apiece from Microsoft's store.
The Nokia Lumia 635 is essentially the 4G LTE version of the 3G Lumia 630 available overseas. It runs Windows Phone 8.1 on a 1.2GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and it has 512 megs of RAM and 8 gigs of internal storage (with around 4 gigs actually free for your use). It has a microSD card slot under the removable back cover and it uses a micro SIM rather than the more obscure nano SIM used on some higher end Lumia phones and the iPhone 5s. The smartphone has single band WiFi 802.11n where dual band is the norm, Bluetooth 4.0 and a GPS with GLONASS. It ships with Nokia HERE Maps, HERE Drive+ and Here Transit: all solid offerings. Like all Windows phones, a mobile version of IE and MS Office are pre-loaded. The 4.5" ClearBlack IPS display doesn't win resolution awards at 845 x 480 pixels, but it does have decent viewing angles, good color saturation and plenty of clarity.
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