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In June this year, the Nokia Lumia 630 was released — a small, cheap, Windows 8.1 handset of the type that the company has managed to sell in decent numbers. Not long after, the 635 appeared — another small, cheap Windows 8.1 handset. The difference? £30 and 4G connectivity.
What helped Windows Phone build its (still small) market share was this device's predecessor, the 520. At a reasonable £130, the 635 handset is certain to appeal to the bunch of buyers looking for full-fat smartphone experience without the equivalent price tag.
One obvious way to keep costs down is with the screen size. At 4.5 inches, it's at the smaller end of the smartphone spectrum, and with 854x480 resolution and FGWA, it's not the sharpest you'll find at this price point, but decent enough. Put next to the 930's Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen, for example, it stands up surprisingly well.
Image: Jo Best/ZDNet
The other major compromise comes in the form of the camera. Nokia has made great cameras its stock in trade, but the 635's feels distinctly low-grade. The colours aren't true to life and closer photos can turn out fuzzy.
That's perhaps understandable given there's none of the usual Carl Zeiss optics and it's a five megapixel sensor, but it's hard to shake the feeling that Nokia could have done better. The camera hardware specs are almost identical to those found on the Nokia Lumia 520, released more than a year ago.
There's also no front-facing camera, which means flipping your phone around for a selfie, which is no biggie. It also means going without any videocalling on Skype, which is more problematic — for Microsoft at least, given how hard it's been pushing the service of late.
There's also no dedicated camera hard button on the side of the device — not a must-have, but it does mean that you'll spend a couple of extra seconds getting your handset ready to snap that spur-of-the-moment image.
While the hard button and the front-facing cameras feel like acceptable tradeoffs for the price, the quality of the main camera really doesn't.