Lumia 630 introduces SensorCore, but excludes the Ambient and Proximity sensors

The Lumia 630 announcement at the Build conference earlier this year was met with a bit of confusion as to whether the device packs in the expected proximity and ambient light sensors. In absence of a clarification from Nokia, most argued that the sensors were missing while the official product listing mentioned the ambient light sensor in the features adding to the confusion.

However, now we know that while Nokia introduced SensorCore in the device, it took away the two sensors to keep the lean specifications for a budget smartphone.


The Lumia 630 packs in a new innovation called SensorCore that will also be available for Nokia Lumia 1520, Lumia Icon, and Lumia 930 with the Windows Phone 8.1 update.

SensorCore allows motion sensors to run as background tasks in a low-power mode. Essentially, when you take a step the Windows Phone in your pocket will know it. By tracking your movement and location, the feature will allow Lumia 630 to also work as a fitness tracker using apps like Health & Fitness. The app continuously tracks, analyzes and provides insights on your daily steps taken.

Increasingly, several apps in this category require to utilize sensor data which may put strain on battery life. SensorCore is the software solution combined with a hardware buffer that attempts to overcome the battery drain problem. The Nokia SensorCore SDK provides developers APIs to access step counter and activity information but also capabilities to record your location data in a very low power mode.

Proximity Sensor

In a nutshell a proximity sensor turns the screen off when you put your phone to your ear for phone calls and turns the screen back on again when you bring it away from your ear to end the call or use the touchscreen.

The Lumia 630 does not include a proximity sensor, but I didn’t face any problem with unwanted taps on the touchscreen while I took calls. I discovered that the touchscreen detects large objects like face or the ear and blanks the display. Unlike with the proximity sensor, I found that this happens when the object touches the display and not when it gets near (obviously, since there is no proximity sensor).

To check, on an active call I placed my palm on the phone and the display went off and when I moved the hand away, the display turned back on. However, tapping with a finger allowed me to work through the Windows Phone interface. Essentially, having used the device for a couple of days I did not mess up any calls with unwanted taps on the touchscreen.

Ambient Light Sensor

The ambient light sensor can monitor the light levels in your environment and adjust your screen accordingly. In a dark room for example, since you won’t need the screen to be very bright, the automatic brightness level adjusts the screen display brightness appropriately, also saving the battery life considerably.

The Lumia 630 does not include the ambient light sensor and hence the setting to automatically adjust brightness is missing. The left screenshot is from a Nokia Lumia 920 with the proximity sensor. I’ve been using the Lumia 630 with brightness set to medium and it hasn’t been awkward.

Before we learnt the specifics, the missing sensors were a cause of worry. But the device, at its price and positioning, works around the lack of the proximity and ambient sensors well for a comfortable user experience. Of course, the addition of SensorCore is an interesting proposition.

What are your thoughts on the sensors, or the lack of them, on the Lumia 630? Is the lack of a proximity sensor and/or ambient light sensor a deal breaker?

  • Those parts should be cheap now.
  • Even cheaper if you don't use them.... It's a low end device... But, they did better with 52x bang for the buck.. They obviously don't want the 630 eating into 52x sales...
    IMPO I wouldn't buy this device it's just too expensive compared to other devices in its range that either add a little more for the same price, or have only slightly less for way less.... $49.99
  • Are they dual-sim with Nokia quality, though? Even Nokia's entry level phones enjoy better quality than much of the competition, in my experience.
  • Yeah, they are. 520, 521, 525........
    Well, no dual sim....
  • Still it has a quad core processor which is easy better than 520 as well as ips display. So in a way its bit better. But I still love my 520!
  • Actually the 520's dual core krait processor is better than the 630's quad core.
  • Proof? Link?? Explanation?
    Without any of that your claim holds no water...
  • Still, no evidence.... User assumption, speculation, and guessing isn't proof enough for me... Actually using the device, and experiencing apps opening faster, better battery life, and access to more features is proof of better performance... Where's that?
    I can guarantee you that the 630 does at least two out of three of the things I mentioned better... Not, saying that the 630 is a awesome device, but I'm giving credit where credit is due...
  • I don't think that even a comparison review would be enough for you either I'm not gonna bother searching, good day sir.
  • An unbiased comparison between the two devices is exactly the kind of proof we need... Good luck finding that this early though...
    So, as I said in the beginning.. We have no evidence to support those kind of claims yet.. Thanks.
  • Exactly how quad core processor benefits the user in a meaningful way?
  • You can't argue about performance.. That's a loosing battle... My 920 performs better than my Focus, and my 1520 performance is better than my 920's.. Probably due to better graphics processing,, which higher end processors always have... So, you can argue that there's no benefit all you want, and use the old WP fan way of thinking which says that WP devices don't need this, or that, but I know better.. And judging from MY experience using different processors I'll take my SD800 over older, or lower end, WP SD processors any day.. Faster, smoother, more efficient, and more capable is just better...
    The features of WP8.1 that the 1520/Icon/930, and possibly the AtivSE can take advantage of that other WP devices can't are meaningful to users like me.. Not you? Well, you're entitled to your opinion.... So, what device do you have❔❔❔
  • well 520 is not faster than 630 but yes 1 krait core is faster than 1 core of A7 cortex so that means 630 is just one step faster...not so big deal but is faster
  • I really think 630 is the successor to the 520 price wise...i mean a 620 successor jst can't have all of its existing features stripped...
    This probably means that the 6xx series and the 5xx series are getting pushed down to a lower price point...
  • But, why wouldn't they just use 430, 330, or 230???
  • It becomes clearer every day what a great phone the 620 was. Ffc, flash, Clear Black display, switchable dual shot backs, camera button, capacitive buttons, full sensor array, full Here Drive. Literally the only thing it was missing was wireless charging. Sure, it has a small screen and 512MB RAM, but the size can be an advantage and the RAM is no big deal if you're not into gaming. I don't think we'll see another small phone as fully featured again.
  • The 620 reminded me of my nokia surge 6790, last phone I had before I switched to iphone 4, then 4s, then 5. Now I have a galaxy s4. Windows phone needs more hardware or more niches devices. Really need a good waterproof rugged smartphone that can take a beating. I think the samsung galaxy s5 active will be that phone. Microsoft needs to act faster and get oems to flood market with low end devices. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Don't forget that it has HAAC mics, and the screen is also super sensistive. I was blown away by all of the high end features in a phone that I only paid $80 for!
  • Yup I noticed an amazing thing when I made a voice recording I was also able to hear the ticking sound of the clock in my house among with other sounds. Nokia is truly amazing and hardworking!
  • ALL Windows Phone 8.x Lumia Phones have a super sensitive display.
    When you have "lumi" (Finnish for "snow") on the ground then you need gloves
    Most of the Androids and all the "innovative" POS iPhones make you take your gloves off
    Too bad - unless you early mornings are warm enough...
  • i have the 620 for over a year now. I wished that it has larger battery capacity as mine only last about 20hrs from a full charge,on standby with 3G. Other than that,it's a great phone for it's price.
  • Honestly yeah, it is a deal breaker. This device is aimed at the low end market of 2012, not of 2014, and certianly not of 2015.
  • I don't think the proximity sensor is a deal breaker, as they approximated the function intelligently. I think the lack of an ambient light sensor is a bigger loss as there was no approximation of the feature. I would add that I still see people with feature phones, so there's clearly still a market for a gateway device like this.
  • There are 2 things Nokia shouldn't have omitted: FFC and Flash. Those two, put together would cost perhaps $20 more and I would DEFINITELY pay that much more to get a device with all the potential.
    I have been waiting for a rather cheap device that would have those two, but Nokia doesn't seem to deliver. HTC 8S had the flash at least.
    The sensors are no problem, because Nokia has worked around the proximity sensor limitation with another, gigantic sensor: the display. The light sensor is really not that important. But FFC and flash? One is for Skype, and the other for when you are in the dark used as a torch, and happens a lot.
  • Honestly, if Microsoft was a little more aggressive and a little smarter they would have killed this device before it left the factory. The 630 does nothing but hurt the Lumia name that Microsoft just spent so much money on.
  • I think its pretty smart you can sway users into neat feature not seen on budget phones by cutting features that's most users probably wont notice are missing
  • That's true.... The iPhone is considered a high end device, but to tens of millions of men, women, and teenager this article would read like some alien language...
  • I agree. The way to differentiate low end and high end is on non-core features, and I count these as that.
  • Why no sensorcore for Nokia 1020
  • Maybe hardware
  • Probably needs the 800 or 400 chipset.
  • It's a year old phone.
  • No it's not
  • It's close enough. 10 months. And it's not current gen hardware. No promise was made for this tech to go to that phone.
  • It's most likely the processor... See, its not about the fact that the 1520/ 930, have a massive, and powerful, processor... Rather, that they support the low power technology.. So, the processor in the 630 is a newer breed than the ones in the 1020/920/925/928... Those devices are now what we can realistically consider "outdated"....
    Which brings me to another point... So, the 1520/Icon/930/630 have low power capable processor, that's obvious.. So can we count on being able to call out Cortina's name from across the room, with the devices sleeping, and get a response back❔❔ .. With a future update of course...
  • Just don't let Cortana hear you calling for Cortina, though...;D
  • Male version!!!!
  • Male version? You mean "Cortano"? 
  • :D well said man.. Good eye..i read it as Cortana.. :D
  • Good catch by DCJBS, but what about my point?????... Lol!!
  • I dunno man.. Cortina doesn't sound like a male's name.. It was a good attempt nevertheless, if that makes you feel any better. :P :D
  • is this fitness app on the 1020 via 8.1?
  • At only 10 months old, and with no competition anywhere, even in the Lumia line, for its incredible camera, the 1020 cannot be considered "outdated" in any way. Too bad, as I wish I could buy a police with this class of camera, plus S quad core sensor, bigger battery and removable storage!
  • It does have the most capable camera.... But, overall yes it is out dated... Af far as high end WP devices go the 1020 isn't fully capable of taking advantage of some features that are available in WP8.1.. Other newer high end devices can take advantage of sensor core technology, the new Dolby 5.1 audio, and are possible to receive the always on advantages that Cortana might be updated to, better performing processors, and better screen quality...Not even comparing the 1020 to Android devices,, it is outdated by WP high end devices... Actually, overall the 930/Icon/1520 blow the 1020 out of the water... It takes more than one feature to be the better device, and even other Lumia devices have 20mp cameras with the exact same technology of the 1020, so that also takes away from the credibility of the 1020.... But, I will agree that the 1020 is in a class of its own, its just that now technically, overall, being outdated it only has one advantage over the others...
    If we were looking at whether devices were outdated by just judging by the camera then the 1020 certainly wouldn't be considered outdated, but we don't do that... We look at the device in every aspect, and in this case it just doesn't have more of the latest technology than other devices... Outdated isn't technically bad, it just sounds bad, when we know the 1020 is still a very capable device in all aspects.. But, you must look at the reality, and the reality is that in May of 2014 MS's flagship camera phone should offer more in terms of hardware, and newer technologies.. It needs a successor like yesterday....
  • The problem with this device is that Nokia didn't make this a legitimately useable device for real world users. It's more apparent that ita focus was to prototype the new things 8.1 brings to the picture and ONLY those.on screen buttons, no camera button, new resolution screen, sensor core, Nokia cyan, etc. It showcases all the new features well but that's about it. Things its predecessors did just fine are cut to create a device that is good for JUST showcasing 8.1. This isn't a useable device imo.
  • To say it isn't usable is a bit extreme. As far as I can tell you can turn it on use all the apps, touch the screen, make phone calls. I would consider that using the phone, thus making it usable. The removal of two fairly insignificant sensors does not make a device lack use.
  • I may have worded that argument incorrectly, I apologize. You're right, it is useable. Its actually quite a nice looking device, in fact. But it is gimping a lot of features we have come to expect from windows phone mostly to, as I said before, "showcase", if you will, 8.1. It almost feels like Nokia designed it as a test device for developers with only the bare minimum and change for the sake of change to specifically show all of 8.1s new features while stripping away past features. The lack of a camera button, flash and ffc are acceptable considering this is a budget device, but the lack of arguably cheap sensors that are indeed important, and lack of real incentive to choose this over a budget device like the competing Moto g(also priced cheaper with better specs) is really a big flaw for a company that's already struggling to differentiate. Maybe my biggest gripe is the fact that Nokia keeps "side grading" instead of upgrading their devices.
  • Well, it I supposed to be low end, but, you're right.. It's all about bang for the buck.. The 630 comes in low in that area compared to other devices...
  • Hate to say it, but I agree fully. They heavily sacrificed user existence just for the sake of making a showcase device. Really disappointing. That's not to say it's a horrible phone, but definitely not as good as it could (or should) be. Samsung has taught us what happens when features are valued above the user experience. Most disappointing Nokia, most disappointing indeed.
  • I agree, but why are we calling this a showcase device? Because it's the first dedicated WP8.1 device?
  • Because it seems designed to pretty much only use new features in 8.1.
  • Isn't every late Lumia device designed to use all the features of WP8.1?.... The fact that it uses 8.1 features is a good thing... No sense in mistaking that for the fact that the hardware is lacking..
  • Except it is, considering it drops a lot from its predecessor...
  • I would love an inexpensive dual-sim phone like this for travelling. I don't need a high-end phone for that purpose, I need dual-sim and great battery life. Don't compare this to single-sim phones when comparing the value.
  • Glance needs the proximity sensor and to read under sunlight you need the ambient sensor. What happened to their market about read under heavy sun? Every phone had this feature in the x20 generation and now the 630 came just to show new things but without the old ones. L520 will have Glance and have a way to use it with glove. What L630 have? Dual SIM and a quad core processor?
  • This phone continues to impress everybody.
  • LOL
  • It continues to impress me with how bad it is. 
  • Lol exactly.
  • lol.. This phone counties to depress everybody.
  • Feel free to do away with ambient light sensors on Nokia phones, as the auto-brightness setting on my 920 has been overly aggressive and therefore useless for some time now.
  • I feel the same about it on my Icon. I turned to doing it manually.
  • Yep, me too. And it sucks because it used to work great for the first year I had it, but somewhere in one of the updates last year they screwed it all up! :D
  • Do you miss Glance❔❔
  • The three manual steps for brightness are just not enough for me, especially in darkness, the low setting is still WAY too bright for my eyes, whereas automatic goes down really far.
  • Yes...this is a problem for all WP phones, but it's worse for this one since there's no auto.   Really dumb that this wasn't fixed in 8.1.  
  • The 630 has a brightness slider, so you have complete control over the interface, rather then the three step or auto of earlier models. I think thats better.
  • And when you receive a notification on a banner, the screen will turn on even if the device is in your pocket?
  • Unless it picks up on your leg as touching the screen.
  • If touch sensitivity set to high, it should detect the leg or chest (depends on where you put the phone) ... According to my logic though. But one thing for sure, my 520, although it has proximity sensor, it still light up the display when notification received. Even when I put the screen facing my leg. So?
  • Seems not better than Lumia 620 excep processor and connectivity
  • not a successor to the 620, if anything its the 520's successor
  • Except my 520 has Ambient and Proximity sensors. It is a successor of 520 but has LESS features. Your own agrument bit you back.
  • What? Where was I argueing? Calm down, I was just correcting your statement..
  • It's more like a 420
  • Nokia has been avoiding the Lumia 420 because imagine the weed outrage from it
  • The performance difference between s4 and s400 is barely noticeable. I saw somewhere that the s400 is slightly faster in terms of general usability but the s4 trumps in gaming (with the same gpu on both devices)
  • These sorts of comments really make me smile - "still not better than the 620, except for the things that are better than the 620"
  • Oh come on this device us not deserving all the "hate" ut gets. It is an amazing device I absolutely love. The proximity sensor is not wanted with this device, it turns off when you bring it close to the ear and the ambient sensors are not missed either. It is better for me to manually switch between brightness. And I am not a selfie person so I don't need a ffc and the camera on this phone is soo good I don't need a flash light.
  • I'll mostly miss the light sensor for auto screen dimming... But its not a deal breaker.... Perhaps they could add a brightness slider to the volume drop down?? But, on the flip side my wife hates auto and just keeps it on high....
  • Ever since the action centre, it may not be so much of a deal breaker. You can manage the brightness level quickly and easily with the it.
  • I would LOVE a slider. I also hate the auto and keep mine at low, which is still often too high for me.
  • Still worse than 520
  • I don't see them pushing the 520 away especially since it receives all the upgrades as other devices, I've seen them selling like hot cakes as prepaid att phones, parts get cheaper yet maintain same price
  • Where do we have proof that parts have gotten cheaper? Do we just say that because that's what we're used to thinking?... Parts may have gotten cheaper, with time, in the past, but are we sure that's the case currently? How do we know that some the metals, and other precious resources, that it takes to make a device haven't increased in cost?... Recycling cost money as well.... I'm not disagreeing, I'm just bringing up some things to think about.
  • Actually some parts are getting more expensive than what they used to cost few years ago due to shortage, controversy and moral issues surrounding Rare Earth Materials.
  • Clever
  • Horrible and unacceptable alcatel pop c1, LG optimus L3, samsung galaxy ace... almost all low-price smartphones have both sensors or at least proximity sensor... even those who are significantly cheaper... After all, I was thinking of buying 630... it is beautiful.... but is...  this is just not ok   (Also... why developer info says that 630 has the sensors when it hasn't?)
  • Maybe they didn't know...
  • Three words...economy of scale
  • Nokia motion beta ain't working on my 1520 since 8.1.
  • These are not the deal breakers on this phone. It's the screen resolution with the large screen combo. Makes no sense to me. I would have recommended it had the case been that they cut these less used features to invest in a higher resolution keeping the cost loss low.
  • It should have a 720p resolution, like the Moto G.
  • I liked the way Nokia managed a way around it, but that could've cut the price a little but. It's still too expensive for what it offers -and lacks.
  • Yet they are not selling this phone to you. It does not even have 4glte. It aim at the emerging market and those new time phone buyers do not know a darn about spec. This way msft might make some money on the phones and not lose billins like motorola. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Yeah, since I'm CRAVING for this phone... What I mean is: They could've cut down the price a little bit, ESPECIALLY since it's aimed at emerging markets. The ordinary people couldn't care less about specs; however, they care a lot about price. That's why I said that.
  • Really? What about the Moto E? Which market is that being targeted to? It has sold in between 80,000-100,000 units on its launch day in India. And that also, when its available only online. You're right, people do not know about the real implications of the specs, but they do compare the values of those specs, and this phone comes up short when compared to the Moto E.
    Remember WP's target market was not people who are already entrenched in other smartphone ecosystems, but people who are on feature phones and are making an upgrade. Well, unfortunately Moto E has that covered, unless they price the 630 competitively, 'coz feature-wise this is now even worse than the Moto E.
  • That's exactly the point: The price tag. Here in Brazil, unless they (Microsoft/Nokia) work out better strategy or lower the price tag, not even the vendors in the stores will be able to sell them compared to the m Moto E. I guess MS forgot that WP is still in its infancy (regarding the market share) and that newcomers to the platform will only be interested in investing in it if the price is, at least, compelling.
  • In Brazil you'll get DTV for the Lumia 630 only - and only in Brazil!
    Now I finally understand Kain...envy
  • Lol!! But yeah, I get why they did that only for Brazil. People here in Brazil use this kind of thing a lot! Anyway, the Moto E will have s variant with DTV, too.
  • No you are getting wrong. In emerging markets will also give a darn about that cheap health sensor.... It is useless compared to the two missing sensors. And in emerging markets dominated by galaxy, android devices a person who goes for Lumia is different from he discards the galaxy and androids seen everywhere in college, office, trains to go for something different. He is not that very average phone buyer who asks friends, shopkeeper help. So he thinks.... And all this small things which set him apart matters to him... So that tap to awake is something he would have liked to flaunt or been confident while clicking pics with the camera button..... But due to 512 ram subway surfers not running, no compass in maps will make him think twice. Lumia 520 would have gained twice the sales it did on places like India had it also launched an dual sim model. And 620 would have had twice the sell if it had an fm radio attached. So this emerging market theory is not completely correct as the profile of an entry level Lumia customer and entry level galaxy,android customer is very different. So please understand it ms and should try not to mess and Lumia line up look like another galaxy line up
  • With only 512 Mb of ram, a horrible resolution, no camera button and awefull cameras, I might Just buy the phone, but to throw it at Elop's face
  • lol... Sorry it wouldn't work, it does not have a proximity sensor :)
  • Deal breaker. Definitely.
    Seriously, even the cheapest budget Androids we've bought have all had PROXIMITY SENSORS. And why wouldn't you have a camera button on a NOKIA?? This feels like one step forward and two steps back.
  • Reminds me of the song in GTA
  • They should have named it 530......... Coz they degraded 620!
  • It seems worse than the 520. Name it 430.
  • This isn't a successor to the 620. And truth the told, the 620 should have been called the 720 because it was that good of a phone. They kinda messed it up there with the numbers. But the 530 should be even cheaper than this. So...
  • +620 I would like to see the true 620 successor.
  • We already have a 720 and it is better than the 820 except for the 512 MB RAM. I guess it was not available in your country.
  • No, it's more like a 420
  • rather
    Lumia 330 the basic model
    Lumia 331 the DTV model
    Lumia 332 the dual SIM model
    Lumia 334 for the 4G model
    I'd accept the Lumia 430...
  • The upcoming Motor E will be priced much more aggressively than the Motor G.  It will not only pose threat to the L5xx and L6xx phones, but also the Nokia X and the Asha feature phones.  Hopefully, MS/Nokia is ready for that onslaught of challenges.  Motor E will be equipped with 1gb and Snapdragon 200 processor.  It will be priced $129 in India.  MS/Nokia will have a lot explaining to do to the consumers that less RAM is better.  :-)
  • Well the biggest difference will be the processor. I'm sure Nokia will use the s200 in their 530
  • No one looks at that who does not come forum like that. All they care about is how smooth it runs and the top ten most popular apps. Believe, i can remember telling blackberry were crap, but it had bbm and that all that mattered. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • And yet, smoothness won't matter. These days Indian consumers ask what the RAM, clock speed, no. of cores...and the PRICE are. This phone's fate is the Moto E.
  • I'm not that pesimistic about L630.  Motor E has basically the similar specs as L525 - Duel Core, 1gb, no flash and no front camera.  L530 will probably has the similar specs with SD 200 processor.  But if it goes back to 512mb as L520, it would be bad.  I'm totally disappointed with the L630's specs which just can't compete with Motor G's.  Motor G has been hurting the Nokia low end phone sales as shown in tthe Nokia 1st quarter report, 2014.  Nokia has no answer to Motor G thus far. On the brighter side, I think the WP8.1 with Cortana will create some excitement for the WP low end phones.  It adds some fresh values to the WP phones that money can't buy.  The only problem is that Cortana is only available in US now and won't go international until later this year.  If the L530 and L630 prices can be made more aggressive, there are definitely fighting chances.  But what I really like to see is that MS/Nokia would come out with a L635 (or L730) model quickly with better specs than Motor G while selling at the same price range.  The Cortana will be a major differentiator.
  • Yeah I would always prefer motors
  • I rarely make phone calls and I adjust the screen brightness manually on my Icon anyway thanks to it being an option in the action center. Out of the negative things about the 630, and there are several, for me personally this doesn't rank very high. No front facing camera and only 512MB feel much worse.
  • Lumia 625... In the UK at least, it's competitively priced and not as compromised as the 630. The 625 should be the base phone for the wp platform. The 630 seems superfluous. Odd
  • Wtf with Nokia always leaving out functionality, can the sensor even cost more than a dollar?
  • Yes?
  • The Moto G has more features than this. Nokia shouldn't have left out so many functionalities. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Please don't start that MotoG crap.. A lot of devices have more features, but they don't run WP...
  • The average user doesn't give a crap about that, Rodney. And you know it. People will pick this up and compare it with the next cheapest thing. And that'll be the likes of the Moto G and Moto E.
  • I know, I know..... Geeeeeezzzzz❗❗❗
  • Wrong, check the forum you are posting in, this is a site dedicated to windows phone. If I want to consider android as an option (god forgid) I would be off trolling one of their fan sites }:o) It is only relevant to compare this handset to other handsets running windows phone, otherwise whats the point?
  • Not necessarily true... In the real world we should be comparing WP to Android.. That's what MS has to do to sell devices, and that's what the average consumer has to do as well... In the low end its all about being super competitive with the others in price, and features.. Now, if we were talking about high end devices then I would agree with you, but that rule would still apply to an extent still...
    Case, and point... In the real world WP has to be compared to the competition because the devices have to sell on the same shelves...
  • .....but if the customer want