When my 12 year old son wanted to replace his old Samsung Android phone we looked around for pay as you go phones and the one that caught his attention was the new Lumia 635 from Nokia (or should I say Microsoft Mobile). He already has a Surface and wanted to use the same style of OS on his phone plus he also liked my Lumia 1520 so he went for the Lumia 635 running Windows Phone 8.1.

The 635 is costs £99 on pay as you go so it’s by no means a high end phone but it certainly doesn’t feel cheap. Let’s start off with the specs, it has a 5MP camera, 4.5 inch screen running at 854 x 480 powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor. The Snapdragon 400 is not particularly a faster processor and Windows Phone works pretty well on slower processors and in this case the 635 works well. Most of the time everything flows very well but there is the occasional pause especially when switching from the app store back to the start screen or going from a game back to the start screen. This may not be all down to the processor it could also be the 512mb RAM that comes with the phone. Most of the time the performance or the phone is great and the occasional lag is a minor irritation.

The display is 4.5 inch running at 854×480 and it’s not the fantastic screen that is on the 1520 but it does the job and its ClearBlack, IPS LCD screen is clear, bright and works well in bright sun light. The slightly odd screen size is due to the phone having software buttons rather than the dedicated buttons of other Windows Phones. This is how many Android phones operate (including the Nexus 5) and while you lose some screen real estate the buttons are not as easily caught by accident. Another omission is a dedicated camera button which is a shame as being able to quickly jump to the camera is a really handy feature and it slows down going from the pocket to taking the photo. The 635 has a 5MP camera which takes good snaps and my son loves it for posting pictures onto Instagram, you get great pictures in good light however there is no flash so you are not going to get very good indoor pictures and the other missing feature is a front facing camera which is a surprise as a budget phone like this is going to be used by kids posting selfies.

The coloured back pops off the off the phone where you can swap the battery, Nano-SIM and add an SD card. As with other Nokia Lumia devices the 635 is well made and doesn’t feel in any way cheap, it doesn’t have the same feel as the 1520 but it’s a few hundred pounds cheaper so you can’t complain about that and it certainly feels better than some of Samsung’s budget phones.

The battery is 1830mAh and Nokia say that should give you 14 hours of 3G talk time. My son tends to charges his phone overnight so as long as he gets a day out of the battery he is happy and Windows Phone 8.1 has a Battery Saver app so you can see which apps are using up your battery. Plus you can get it to extend the battery life by turning of background tasks.

As I mentioned above the Lumia 635 has a Micro-SD card slot which you can expand the 8GB internal storage with up to 128GB of additional storage. Windows Phone handles it very elegantly by enabling music, video, apps and other downloads to be stored on the card.

The Lumia 635 is one of the first phones shipping with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Cyan so you get the latest version of Windows right out of the box. You get Action Center with all your notification and a swype style keyboard. As with other Nokia phones you get extra software on top of Windows Phone, you get Nokia’s Camera app which has auto and manual modes and you get Nokia’s mapping and navigation apps including HERE Drive which is a turn by turn voice navigation app.
For someone looking for a budget phone the Lumia 635 is an ideal package, it has 4G, Bluetooth 4 and it runs the latest version of Windows Phone. The downsides are there is no front camera or flash and 512mb is a bit skinny but it’s well made and is easy to expand the storage. My son is very happy with it and is a good example of a budget smartphone from Nokia.

Thanks to James for letting me borrow his phone while I do the review.
Here are some pictures taken with the Lumia 635
Taken with the Lumia 635
It’s always checking site like to see if there any offers available as they sometimes have offers from the likes of EE and O2.

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