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The launch of Windows Phone 8 was accompanied by hero products such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X. While both of these phones offer a lot of bang, you still need mid to low-end devices as not everyone is interested in paying 2000 Dirhams for a new phone. So its time for both HTC and Nokia to bring out the more affordable versions of their hero products and in our labs today, we have the Nokia Lumia 620 and the HTC Windows Phone 8S. Lets find out if one of them is for you.

Packaging

Both the HTC Windows Phone 8S and the Nokia Lumia 620 come packaged in nice little boxes with the usual accessories bundled inside. The HTC Windows Phone 8S has a white soapbox kind of packaging and inside you have the charging plug along with the USB cable and the average headset accompanies by a quick-start guide in English and Arabic. The Lumia 620 has a rather colourful box but, like the HTC, bundles the charging plug, a USB cable and a generic headset along with the quick-start guide.

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Build quality and design

Nokia choses to go with the fun and colorful look on the Lumia 920 whereas the HTC Windows Phone 8S, while available in different colors, has a more refined and cleaner look which I prefer. The HTC Windows Phone 8S measures 120.5 x 63 x 10.3 mm and weighs 113g while the Nokia Lumia 620 measures 115.4 x 61.1 x 11 mm and weighs 127g. This makes the HTC Windows Phone 8S slightly taller and wider, but also thinner and lighter than the Nokia Lumia 620 and a better fit in you hand. The construction quality of HTC also feels better and more premium than the Lumia 620 which is very plasticy and has a toy-ish look. However, the Nokia Lumia 620 does have the advantage of replaceable back covers to change the color of the device.

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Since both are Windows 8 based phones, they have to adhere to Microsoft’s guidelines as far as buttons are concerned and on both the devices you have a power/lock button, volume keys and a dedicated camera button. HTC places the power/lock button on top while Nokia keeps it on the right side. For smaller devices like the ones I’m looking at today, I prefer that button on top.

Since they’re both based on the same Qualcomm CPU and have an identical amount of RAM, there isn’t much performance difference between the two. Nokia provides 8GB of storage which is double of what HTC provides and that comes in very handy considering that the OS itself takes up over 2GB of storage so you don’t get much left.
The display on the Nokia Lumia 620 measures 3.8” which is smaller than the 4.0” found on the HTC Windows Phone 8S but both have similar resolution so PPI on the Lumia is higher. The quality of screen is similar on both the devices- however the slightly larger screen on the HTC Windows Phone 8S is slightly easier to type on.

Apps

Both the HTC Windows Phone 8S and Nokia Lumia 620 are based on Windows Phone 8 so the stock experience between both these phones is identical. Where you will see differences are on the apps bundled by HTC and Nokia on each of these devices- and Nokia is certainly ahead in this department. HTC bundles a Photo Enhancer app along with HTC hub which is a weather/news/stocks monitor while a”Free More Space” app moves your documents, pictures and audio/video files to the SD card.

Nokia on the other hand has developed many apps for Windows Phone and while some of them can be downloaded on non Nokia phones, many of them are exclusively for Nokia phones such as Nokia City Lens, Nokia Drive, Nokia Music, Nokia Trailers and Nokia Reading, Cimeagraph and Smartshoot. The Lumia 620 has a big advantage over the HTC Phone 8S with these apps as they’re not apps simply put together but actual quality apps that make Windows Phone experience much better. For example, the built-in location aware service called Local Scout never pulls up any places in the UAE but Nokia City Lens gives you a much better view of things around you.

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Camera

Both the HTC Windows Phone 8S and Nokia Lumia 620 phones are equipped with a 5 megapixel camera that is capable of taking video at 720p resolution. However, Nokia also has a front-facing camera that the HTC Windows Phone 8S lacks. It’s not the best camera at just VGA resolution, but at least you will be able to easily use Skype or other communication applications. The quality of shots from the camera on the Lumia 620 was surely higher in quality than the one on HTC Windows Phone 8S as you can see below.

Battery Life

The Lumia 620 has a 1300mAh battery which is certainly lower in power than the 1700 mAh battery on the HTC Windows Phone 8S, however, power management on the smaller screen size on the Lumia 620 make it about the same if not more power efficient than the HTC Windows Phone 8S. I was able to get a full day without any issues on either of these devices. Getting towards the end of day two more or less relied on how heavily I used the phone.

Conclusion

Both the HTC Windows Phone 8S and the Nokia Lumia 620 are good Windows Phone device. The HTC Windows Phone 8S definitely looks nicer and has a larger screen and battery while the Lumia 620 has the advantage of being able to run Nokia apps which is surely a plus. Also the fact that the Nokia Lumia 620 costs just AED 899 compared to the HTC 8S at 1199 tilts our opinion in it’s favour making it not only the preferred phone over the HTC Windows 8S but possibly the best phone you can buy for under AED 900. In fact, the Nokia Lumia 620 starts putting the nails on the affordable Symbian platform by providing you with an arguably more modern handset at similar price levels.

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