Take it slow with the Lumia 650

The smartphone is light in weight and on the pocket, but not up to speed

Editing documents or spreadsheets while on the go is a breeze on the Lumia 650.
Editing documents or spreadsheets while on the go is a breeze on the Lumia 650. PHOTO: MICROSOFT

The Lumia 650 is a no-frills Windows Mobile smartphone designed for corporate users at an affordable mid-range price.

And if you need constant access to your suite of Office 365 apps, such as Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint, it has you covered, too.

Unfortunately, you also get what you pay for, and the Lumia 650 is throttled by its mid-range performance.

Dragged down by small storage capacity and an older processing chip, apps take a noticeable amount of time to open. This is especially so for memory-intensive ones like Maps or Skype.

Even Office 365 apps like Word or Excel, which are optimised for mobile use, sometimes takes a while to boot.

That said, the Office 365 native apps are very convenient and easy to use for the power user.

Editing documents and spreadsheets while on the go is a breeze. All the options available on a PC are right there at your fingertips, thanks to clever menu options that pop up to expand a whole host of functionality while still maintaining enough screen estate for your documents or slides.


  • PRICE: $338

    PROCESSOR: 1.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212

    DISPLAY: 5-inch, Oled, 720 x 1,280 pixels, 297 PPI pixel density

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 10 mobile

    CAMERA: 8MP, f/2.2 (rear), 5 MP, f/2.2 (front)

    MEMORY: 16GB (microSD expandable up to 256GB), 1GB RAM

    BATTERY: Removable 2,000 mAh


    DESIGN: 4/5

    FEATURES: 3/5




    OVERALL: 3/5

While the phone's 5-inch Oled display may not give you much room to work with, the apps are precise and intuitive enough for you to make adjustments or format that important document to your liking.

Being a mid-range phone, it lacks some useful features its big brother, the Lumia 950, has, such as Continuum mode, which allows you to project the phone screen into a monitor and have it behave like a PC.

One advantage that Windows 10 mobile has going for it is its tight user integration. The Lumia 650 is clearly designed for those within the Windows ecosystem, with apps pre-installed and ready to go right out of the box.

One niggle is that given the amount of security patches and updates that Microsoft pushes out for its products, I had to spend some time updating these apps before I could use them.

The Lumia 650 tips the scales at a lightweight 122g. At 6.9mm thick, it is Microsoft's thinnest phone. This makes carrying it as a secondary work phone less of a hassle, as it can slip unobtrusively into a pocket or bag compartment.

It also has a surprisingly rugged frame made of anodised metal and a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display. I can see it as a secondary phone for NSmen who want a small, tough smartphone for their reservist stints.

  • Verdict: The corporate-focused smartphone is cheap, light and mobile, but unfortunately marred by occasional slow performance.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Take it slow with the Lumia 650'. Print Edition | Subscribe