Review: Nokia Lumia 635

Design & Build Quality
Battery Life
Audio & Call Quality

The Nokia Lumia 635 is the best Windows Phone device you could get for under a $100. It has the latest Windows Phone 8.1 OS paired with above average hardware, making it a great value.

Buy Now

The Nokia Lumia 630/635 was one of the very first devices to ship with the new Windows Phone 8.1 OS. The device itself has some respectable horsepower given the fact that it was sold at a the price of an entry level smartphone. In this review, we will find out how the well the Lumia 635 performs. Let’s take a brief look again at the specs of the device.


  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 400
  • Display:  4.5″ ClearBlack IPS LCD, with 854 x 480 resolution at 221ppi
  • Memory: 512MB of RAM
  • Storage: 8GB with microSD expandable memory
  • Camera: 5MP rear facing camera with auto focus
  • Battery: 1,830 mAh (Removable)
  • OS: Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Cyan



Design & Build Quality

The Lumia 635, like its predecessors, features a removable back cover constructed entirely by plastic. The device came with a matte black finish, which is great when it came to dealing with fingerprints. Also, neatly tucked at the bottom left of the cover is a cut-out for the mono-speaker.

Moving along the right edge of the device, users will find the volume rocker, followed by the power button below it. The buttons themselves were responsive and has good feedback.

As with many devices that we have used, we find the button placement rather inconvenient as we had a couple accidental presses on the power button, mistaking it for the volume rocker. Again, this is a matter of preference or simply getting used to it over time.

Users will find a standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the top while the microUSB port is placed on the bottom of the device. No buttons or functionality was built to the left side of the Lumia 635.

At the back of the device, users will find a nano-SIM slot as well as a microSD slot on the left edge of the phone. This will all then be powered by the 1,830mAh removable battery.


Microsoft decided to pair the Lumia 635 with a 4.5″ IPS LCD display. Though it is not a HD display, this budget-friendly device actually impressed us. The colors were vibrant and bright despite lacking some sharpness and details.

The 4.5″ display does not feel too cramped nor does it feel large compared to the Nexus 5; definitely can be operated single-handed without much trouble.

One thing to note is the Lumia 635 does not come with a built-in ambient sensor. Therefore, it will not have the auto brightness feature. Users will have to choose their own brightness that would provide good visibility in both direct sunlight and dimly lit places.


The Lumia 635 comes with a Quad-core Snapdragon 400, clocked at 1.2GHz. During our time with the phone, the device performed well with the new Windows Phone 8.1 OS. The scrolling was fluid and apps launched when tap but not as snappy. This might be attributed to the fact that this device only comes with 512MB of RAM.

Benchmarking the Lumia 635 on AnTuTu yielded a score of 11,646, which according to AnTuTu could not be used as a direct comparison to Android devices. Games seem to play well and no noticeable lag.

Battery Life

The Lumia 635 comes with a 1,830mAh, rated at 16.4 hours of talk time and 17.3 days standby. On paper, this all seems very impressive considering it has a 4.5″ IPS LCD display paired with capability to connect to LTE networks. We were able to get a day and a half with normal usage, which includes phone calls on the AT&T network for about 5 hours, light web browsing and 2 hours of music listening. While on standby mode, we were only able to get about 5 days before it requires a recharge.

The Lumia 635 also comes with a Battery Saver feature, which turns off all features and background tasks with less frequent push notifications to help conserve battery life.


This budget device from Nokia comes with a 5.0MP camera. Therefore, users can expect the shots taken with the Lumia 635 to be mediocre at its best. The camera however, comes with a 4X digital zoom auto-focus lens, which is a welcome considering earlier budget Lumia devices do not have that as standard. It also features a f/2.4 aperture with a focal length of 28mm. The device does not come with a built-in LED camera flash or a front-facing camera, so video conference on this device is a no-no.

We noticed that in bright light and outdoor conditions, the camera is capable of capturing decent quality shots. Shots taken in low lit condition turned out noisy and lack of details.

Audio & Call Quality

With the device running on AT&T’s network, we had no issues connecting after inserting the nano-SIM. Making and receiving calls does not seem to suffer from any degradation. One thing worth noting is that this device, despite having a price tag under $100, supports the LTE network on AT&T. Download speeds were great and video streaming is not a problem on the Lumia 635.

Nokia also managed to squeeze in a tiny loudspeaker on the back side of the device. This speakers will generally serve the purpose of taking calls on loud speaker or watching a quick video. However, do not expect great sound quality produced by the mono-speaker.


User interface is mainly defined by Microsoft’s Metro UI, which is pretty evident since the release of Windows Phone 7. The UI has definitely matured from a design and structure standpoint. With Windows Phone 8.1, the UI seemed more user-friendly and adds more customization options for users.

Since the Lumia 635 came WP 8.1 pre-installed, it supports Cortana. For those of you that do not know, Cortana is Microsoft’s competition to Siri and Google Now.

Other apps worth mentioning is MixRadio, which is a free music streaming app. The device also comes with Nokia’s HERE Maps that includes turn-by-turn navigation. Lastly, Internet Explorer is the default browser for users.

Final Thoughts

Nokia has once again set the benchmark for budget smartphones under the $100 price tag. It may not have the best camera or specs but it’s really one of the better devices users can purchase for a budget smartphone.

The Nokia Lumia 635 is a great budget smartphone and packs respective hardware on the inside. Windows Phone 8.1 is definitely a step forward for Microsoft, despite having to play catch up to both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

About Ruey Yih Loh

Check Also

Review: Blue Satellite Headphone

Blue announced its wireless headphone, Blue Satellite, at the beginning of the year at CES. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *