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5 reasons why the Lumia 630 is better than the Lumia 520

I’ve had the new Nokia Lumia 630 (dual SIM, international) for 24 hours now, tinkering with it here and there, learning what’s new and what’s good and bad about it. I pay a lot of attention to what people write in our comments and our forums to get a pulse on what you think about the latest devices or apps.

It seems that a lot of people have read the specifications of the Lumia 630 and determined this is not much better than 5xx series from Nokia. For myself, it’s odd to compare because, by default, the Lumia 630 should be better than the Lumia 520 (or 525), though people see some of the ‘missing’ features of the Lumia 630 and think it is some weird 520 successor.

I think that’s wrong, and I have a few reasons that will show why the 630 fits nicely into the 6xx line.

1. Gorilla Glass 3 and ClearBlack Display

The display on the Lumia 630 is nice. It’s a 4.5-inch 854 x 480 resolution (really 800 x 480, the extra space is for the virtual keys). For one, that’s a 1/2 inch bigger than the Lumia 520 or 525. But that’s not that big of deal. What is a big deal is the inclusion of Gorilla Glass 3 and Nokia’s ClearBlack technology.

Corning Gorilla Glass is super important for scratch protection, durability and being a higher quality glass. The Lumia 520’s display is a bit on the rough side when compared to higher end Lumias as it gets more fingerprints it’s harder to clean, and it’s not as smooth as the Lumia 630.

ClearBlack is Nokia’s dual-layer polarizer technology found on the 6xx devices and higher. It’s what makes the blacks black, colors more vibrant, low reflectivity and better outdoor reading. In short, it’s awesome, and it makes a huge difference in quality when comparing the Lumia 5xx to the 6xx series.

Winner: Lumia 630

2. Snapdragon 400 vs Snapdragon S4

The Lumia 630 has a Snapdragon 400 Quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, versus the Lumia 520’s much older S4 dual-core clocked at 1GHz. While I wouldn’t call the Lumia 630 very fast, its processor takes on Windows Phone 8.1 appropriately with little to no stutter at all. The Snapdragon 400 is also much newer, handling the latest technology including Nokia’s SensorCore, enabling the pedometer in Bing Health & Fitness.

Winner: Lumia 630

3. Camera

The Lumia 630 has a 5 MP rear camera. The Lumia 520 has a 5 MP rear camera. Both are 1/4 inch sensors with f/2.4 apertures and the same focal lengths. They should be the same, right? Wrong. As you would expect, the latest software and firmware of the Lumia 630 outshines the Lumia 520, especially in image noise. A lot of that is probably attributable to the Cyan firmware, which the Lumia 520 will get too, but the sensor in the 630 may also be newer and of better quality.

As can be seen in the crop samples above, the Lumia 630 has much less noise and greater sharpness.

Winner: Lumia 630 (notwithstanding Lumia 520 Cyan update)

4. Battery and talk time

The Lumia 630 comes with a larger 1830 mAh battery with a rated 13.1 hours of talk time. The Lumia 520 has a smaller 1420 mAh battery with a 9.7 hour talk time.

Will that hold up in the real world? Probably, but we’ll need to test to find out. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though that the new Qualcomm chipset improves battery performance in the Lumia 630, even while giving more CPU. We’ve seen that in the Lumia Icon and Lumia 1520 as well with their 800 chipset.

Winner: Lumia 630    

5. Device Size

But the Lumia 630 is bigger, right? Yes and no. It is taller, but the Lumia 630 is only a hair wider, and it’s slightly thinner than the 520.

Lumia 630 – 129.5 mm x 66.7 mm x 9.2 mm; 134 g

Lumia 520 – 119.9 mm x 64.0 mm x 9.9 mm; 124 g

As you can see by the dimensions and weight, you’re getting significantly more battery, CPU and a larger display on the Lumia 630 with a negligible 10 g in weight and a thinner phone. (Seriously, in the real world you can’t call the 630 heavier, as 10 g is not noticeable).

Winner: Draw (though I’d give the Lumia 630 a nod for ‘more for the size’)


You can get the Lumia 630 with dual SIM (and that’s way cool).


What is the Lumia 630 missing that has some people upset?

  • Dedicated camera button
  • Ambient light and Proximity sensors

The dedicated camera button is “solved” by having the quick action keys in Windows Phone 8.1 or the camera Tile. I think most people would prefer the dedicated camera button, but in using the Lumia 630 I can’t call it a deal breaker for my own use. You may be of a different opinion, but since most smartphones don’t have a dedicated camera button, I don’t see it as a sin against humanity.

As to the ambient and proximity sensors, I can see how they’re nice but so far in using the device I don’t notice the difference. On the Lumia 630, you can change brightness with the Quick Action keys, and even set them to their own custom levels. I personally don’t find it a big deal and many people like to manage their own display brightness.

But what about phone calls?

So the million question: how does the display turn off if on a phone call without a proximity sensor?


Yup, when your ear/face hits the touchscreen on the Lumia 630 it turns off. The experience is exactly the same with or without the proximity sensor, so most people won’t notice. I assume the proximity sensor may be more accurate, especially if you’re one of those people who tips the phone away from your face, but let’s just say Nokia “solved” that too. As to whether you like it or not, well, that’s a personal choice but for myself it’s irrelevant.

Finally, there’s price. You can find a dual SIM Lumia 630 for just under $200, which is certainly more than a single SIM Lumia 520, which can be had for around $60 (on sale) from AT&T. There’s a good reason for that though, which is the Lumia 630 is not a successor to the Lumia 520! So yes, it costs more. But when the ‘Lumia 530’ comes out, it too will have a better processor, better camera, larger display and be cheaper than a Lumia 630.

Lumia 630 vs. Lumia 520

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, the Lumia 630 is a better phone in many ways than the Lumia 520. It’s meant to be, after all. That doesn’t mean the 5xx series is still not important. Quite the contrary when you take into account Windows Phone market share. But those who are dismissing the Lumia 630 right off the bat due to changes in Nokia’s priorities I think are mislead. It’s a quality, well-built phone.

Now, is it an upgrade from the Lumia 620…Well, I can do that next if people are interested.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Good review. Phone should do good and give the Moto G a good run.
  • It gives the moto g a good run with only just the camera. You just can't get a good picture with that thing.
  • With these phones directed to compete in merging markets, pics, just like the RAM is of no importance. The price point is everything.
  • Yes, but so is what you get at that price point - if two phones are the same price, better pics will make a difference at least to some of the buyers. :)
  • [ slightly off-topic ] Agree, for emerging markets. For budget conscious, MS/Nokia has 520. For budget conscious yet gamers, 525. But for budget conscious with mid-high end specs seekers, we still have no answer. This is where Moto e wins (no need for Moto g yet) eliminating 520, 525. And 630 isn't even comparable due to its higher tag price. Don't know if any WP can compete this little giant.
    PS: moto e is spreading like a virus at least here in India.
  • For mis range I guess 625 has done decent job. Mainky coz of screen size
  • Yeah, at double price tag of Moto e. I'm not saying it hasn't done well or it's not mid-high end but at the same time price is a big point for emerging markets like India and China (as aitt told in above comment)
  • Now that 630 and 635 is out.. I think 625 looks a bit misplaced in the whole line up..
  • lumia 520 despite being an year old can give moto e a run for money..yup indian mkt seriously needs a successor to 520 in a price bracket of 7k-8k!!give 630's camera a flash you will have a serious competitor to moto g(or rather eliminator)!! in short in india we want a true successor to lumia 620.which still is nowhere to be seen!!
  • Remember Microsoft also have x devices and Asha devices too
  • Nope at least i don't think so Moto e won't be a match even compared to 520 let alone 630!And with the windows 8.1 coming up these phones won't stand a chance.Ok moto series performs a bit better coz its android but still no expandable memory and a shitty camera-these are the major factors these phone will run out and this is where Wp8.1 will pick.Besides major apps are on the roll.Now if in the future a low cost wp device with a Quad Core processor and 1 gb ram comes up then that will be end of Moto.But till then...lets c
  • Would be nice if you could customize the color scheme just like the Moto G
  • I dont know about the cost at your place but the moto g 16gb non expandable, cost WAY more than the 630 in my place. We have to wait for the 730 to really compete with the Moto G.
  • This phone is not for me. I only am here for high end Lumia but I have to say they design of the 630 os quite attractive. Though I thought most people complained about the ram of the 630
  • That is a legit complaint if you're a gamer. I'm not sure the 630 is aimed at those people, but yeah, even I'd like to see that 'solved'.
  • MS does claim 8.1. is more resources/ memory efficient Perhaps that will help over time?
  • Gaming wasn't an issue few days back but with emergence of developers who wouldn't / can't make even small games work on low ram devices, it's becoming a pain for majority of WP users. So, as a new device, it had to be taken into consideration watching the current scenario where games like subway surfers won't run on it (i know it wasn't targeted at gamers but then it shouldn't be a let down). I wonder if it was more important to put a sensor core than installing a GB of ram to maintain price?
  • i heard about many 630 dual-sim handsets having an issue wherein call audio completely stops on earpiece as well as loudspeaker. and can only be fixed by restarting the phone after removing the battery and sim and putting them back again. and it is said to be WP8.1 dual-sim software issue, nothing particular to Nokia's Cyan firmware (no sources, so can't say if it's true).
    other than this, i simply can't understand why they only have 1gb or 512mb ram phones (excluding extreme high end 2gb ram phones). why can't they have a 768mb ram device too? it could help drive devices with 480p displays well while supporting more apps and better multi-tasking.
    it's so simple. some may complain about developers having to go through one more app support check for those devices, but it'll be worth it.
  • 530???Is it really coming??? If it is then i'll be waiting!
  • Daniel, can City Lens or similar apps be installed on 630? Does it lack a magnetometer?
  • Yep,no compass,so no City Lens.
    No camera button,but then I hated accidentally hitting it on 920 and Ativ,5mp I won't miss it.
    Facing cam,only seen the girls use it for putting on makeup,knock..
    512 ram,this phone locks up less...0.... and runs cooler than 920,haven't tried it on bigger games,it won't load,maybe it says more about the buggy games that had memory holes on 1 & 2gig....
    I do miss the equalizer in audio settings tho,but am still pretty impressed at the value of this phone.
    But for games...I think I really do need to bite the 1520 phablet,if performance increase is better than this,phabulous.
  • Just tried subway surfers on this phone.AAAwesome.Great 3d game and phone.World at Arms can give me a refund,hope the class action kicks in,I'll join.
    Hmmm,1520,probably won't need it to play anything but next decades games(and buggy World at Arms).Thanks guys,any other good games I can try on it?
  • I've got both high end and low end devices in past two years including 920, 1020, 1520, as well as 525 and 620. But I still think this 630 is attractive! I don't mind to get one if it come to US sometimes soon. Though, still waiting for the successor of 1020...
  • I totally agree with this statement, I own a 1520 but I do appreciate the styling of this cellphone
  • Damn dude..mind sending the 1020 or 1520 my way? (already have a 920) :P
  • Ditto... I was all interested in this because I was *SURE* that the days of 512MB were gone... and the Lumia 525 gave me good reason to think that... and then they announced this. Yeah, the processor is a tad better, the screen's made of better material and the camera performs a little better... but without 1GB, this is very very hard to consider a viable option with the 525 being the true resolver of Lumia 520's major problem. If they'd thrown in a front-facing camera (how much would a cheap little VGA quality front facer have bumped up the cost, honestly?) and 1GB RAM I'd be all over this. *Sigh*... that's kind of like leaving a plumper for a model chick... then going back to the plumper.
  • MS has said "…apps written using Windows 8.1 app model and XAML stack consistently
    runs 30% faster than apps written using the Windows Phone 8 Silverlight
    app model. It also consumes significantly less memory…" Thus, with these optimizations and new app models, perhaps  512MB on the 630 is much less of a "problem" (and thus less of a mistake if at all) than on the 520.
  • I'm testing the 630 and I really, really don't miss the 1GB memory of my 1020. Are you a gamer? That's another story. But if you're a gamer, maybe you won't go for an entry level phone, isn't it?
  • My wife has had the 720 (512 ram) for a year now and not even once complained about lack of RAM. Not even one single time. In fact she probably doesn't even know how much RAM her phone has. Not everyone is an enthusiats about their phones and not everyone plays 3D games on them. 99% of smarphone owners care about calls, txts, emails, whatsapp (and alternatives) and internet acces as well as a half decent camera so they can send picture messages to friends and family, and most of those pics will probably never make it to a big screen. You are here for 1020, 930 and 1520, I understand, so am I, but you and I represent the other 1% of smartphone owners, which 630 is not targeting.
  • yup and that's what low budget phones are aimed for.Still being a gamer i love my 520 despite the fact i can't play many top games on it but only for the fact that it is hell lot of buttery smooth than those low cost laggy Android phones.
  • Yes exactly.  My wife has a 720 and she loves the phone. My only complain about this 630/635 phone is the lack of front camera. I was planning to give one to my mom, I'm encouraging to use more skype video and because of no front camera I must skip this phone.  The 1320 is huge for her, and I know she doesn't need a high end (1520-1020-930).  So I don't have a Lumia for her ... (which is disappointing....) The 720 is impossible to find these days.
  • +1020 on True Black. I dont think Nokia/MS gets enough credit for the quality of the displays on their phones.
  • For myself, ClearBlack makes a huge difference in screen quality. It's not easy to dismiss and why it's #1 on my list.
  • meh $39 bucks for an awesome phone still cant be beat
  • Absolutely true. But the perception from people seems to be that the 630 is a 520 follow up this more expensive and has major flaws. But that's just not the case. You do get more for your money with the 630.
  • If they would have added 1gb ram it would definitely be a best seller.
  • Quite true, I don't feel the difference between 1gb and 2gb on my 1520 and 920...but I did feel the delay on the 525 and 620...just not sure about the plan of MS launching a device with 512mb at this moment...even motoG and motoE have 1gb...
  • If they give this 1gig of ram who will buy mid end phones then, remember 520 did it with with just 630 wth 1gig would imbalance things in WP
  • The mid end phones will have front facing camera's and led flash. I doubt there will be imbalance.
  • good point there, buddy
    pretty sure the 730 will be a 1 gig device
  • In the US at least, the 620 is hard to find, so I think many were hoping the 630 would have a front facing camera (and a flash, maybe) to feel like a real upgrade from the 520. I know I did. CPU and Gorilla Glass is all good, but the 520 CPU did the job (even in 8.1) good enough, and fewer people care about the glass I think than the FFC. But you're making a strong case for the 630 over the 520 for sure.
  • I also suspect that Nokia/MS also may have just moved the whole price point placement of the lower end. 630 launched at a lower MRSP than 520 did, and 530 will be even cheaper. Give it some time and 630 will be quite cheap (and already is, particulary on carries that subsidize them in some contract models) to buy and 530 even more so, once it has come out and been on the market for a while.
  • Nice yes but the features that are lacking makes me wanna stick to my tried and true 820 :) hoping for a 820 successor or mid range device from Microsoft
  • I can see that, but the 8xx series really has not done well or sales.
  • I agree that sales performance weren't great but having a device akin to a flagship like the 920 is awesome my Device has alot of the flagship features such as Carl Zeiss optics and glance but priced reasonably and I'd like to upgrade to another mid range
  • but the problem with the 820 is   just   both are like  the same, have same  lens   but the 920 have  pureview  technology, so the people that see the 820 later of  think very well  go by the 920 because by a bit more money they get an 820 upgraded version, just is that, i am not saying that the 820 and 8xx series should come with a classic plastic  lens and underpowered but   probably phone companies   prefers offer the 920 by   margin of sales that they get   which is a percentaje of the cost of the phone which the operator  gets, in my case  with claro Chile operator they offer the 820 but is not that louder    offered  i think because cost 200 dollars less than the 820 and get less money the operator by  the sale of the  820 versus 920 sales
  • They were too mean on 820 it lacked important things, I had money to buy 820 but without much effort I chose 720...value4money
  • Interestingly though, the 820 with 8.1 on it becomes waaay more relevant. The biggest issue was internal storage. Toss in a 64 GB card with 8.1 and NOW you have a great device! Battery still sucks though, lol.
  • Depends on the user.......:)
  • You chose to have a lower spec cpu and gpu you obviously do not play heavy duty games so a 820 would be a waste on you.
  • The 820 is like a 920 mini same specs my mom had its a great phone with micro SD something the 920 didn't have. It's Nokias fault the 820 didn't do to well no advertising lack of details.
  • Still wouldn't buy this over the 520, let alone the 620 which imo destroys this phone. CPU in particular isn't really a pro as even the quad core devices aren't really significantly faster than dual core WP so no real benefit there. And with the cyan update who knows how much better the camera will get in the low end WP's. No thanks.
  • I see in almost no way how the 620 "destroys" this phone. Care to elaborate? I can't even find ONE reason (I say that as someone who really likes the 620; the 630 is a followup to that phone). Quad core matters. I'd pick a quad core Windows Phone over dual core any day of the week.
  • Only two positives from 620's side..... Camera flash and ffc..... May not be deal breakers for all though....:)
  • Ah, good point. Yeah, those are nice.
  • They are for me. I don't use my FFC much, but it seems like minimum basic equipment for a smartphone in 2014. The flashlight I use almost daily.
  • I know this isn't that kind of website but is there a chance for you to run some games or heavy duty apps between one dual core and quad core WP? I'm kind of curious about the OS or the apps using more than 1 or 2 cores. Not every program in a PC uses more than 2 cores and 4 cores has been there since a long time. So, quad cores being new to the smartphone arena... well I'm curious xD Thanks,
  • Agreed,I just upgraded from a 620 to a dual sim 630 and I genuinely miss none of the' missing' features, and love the new size, speed and features of 8.1 ruining on cyan.
  • We know you meant "running", but that does kind of kill your positivity.. :¬)
  • Size. The 620 has a sane size. The 630 loses features in favor of increased size - Ambient light sensor, camera button, flash. The 630 is not the successor to the 620. It's a bigger and more powerful version of the 520 with round corners.
  • 620 has a nicer design, proximity and ambient light sensor, LED flash and a camera for video calling. 630 has: 2 extra cores that don't make any difference in performance at all.
  • The lack of whatsapp might haunt lumia 630's sales though!!
  • Sigh
  • My thoughts exactly
  • No whats app?? Really? :O why? I didnt know that..
  • Yup.. Whatsapp chose to unpublish their app to fix a notification issue that is only there in wp8 with gdr 3 which eventually will be superseded by wp8.1.. Couldn't get any stupider than this
  • Sarcasm detectors set to /OFF.
  • Whatsapp is available now with more features..
  • that affects all Windows Phones as of now, and is expected to be temporary.
  • Obviously its temporary but unpublishing the app is an extreme step which makes no sense.. Also how would you pitch this to any new WP customer !!
  • Seriously?!, I am going to sell every product I own that begins with an 'M', just to be sure I get them all
  • mariokart? :(
  • Not any more. Whatsapp is back in the store.
  • Please do the review of comparison between 620 and 630
  • yes, please! Nice review this one.
  • Of course it's better than 520, it's everything you should be expecting on a 530. The fact that you have to compare it to 520 speaks volumes. Not to mention less ram than 525.
  • Nah, I think it's perception from users who see no camera button, etc. and think this is worse. I've seen quite a few comments of "this phone sucks" from people who haven't touched it. I think it's a great phone so far. Let's face it. Some of the finer distinctions between the 5xx, 6xx and 7xx series are lost on people. I'm telling you what those differences are.
  • Then you've wasted a lot of time explaining CPU and camera etc. Those are not the differentiators at all.
    And the key complaint is the RAM. I mean c'mon 512MB is just inexcusable. If it were named 530 sans ClearBlack, it's a no brainer. But the current form is just sub par for 6xx.
  • I completely disagree.
  • Like I noted above, MS has said "&helli