Microsoft Lumia 650 full review

The Microsoft Lumia 650 is a budget smartphone which offers a removable battery and only weighs in at 122g making it a lightweight smartphone. The Windows 10 Mobile phone houses a sluggish Snapdragon 212 chipset and 1GB RAM – coupled with an Adreno 304 GPU chipset, the phone is clearly not intended for intensive multi-tasking apps or any sort of mobile games. Read next: Best budget smartphones.

Microsoft Lumia 650 review: UK price and availability - Where to buy the Microsoft Lumia 650, best Microsoft Lumia 650 deals

The Lumia 650 is only available in a 16GB storage size, where it can be found for around £149.99 through various resellers in the UK, such as MobileFun (who were kind enough to send us the review sample) Amazon and Carphone Warehouse, whilst on Microsoft’s own website it costs £159.99.

If you don’t want to spend £150 on a phone right now, you can also find it on contract through various mobile providers within the UK, such as EE, O2, Vodafone and iD. Read next: Best SIM-only deals.

There’s a lot of competition out in the market already, such as the Moto G 4G 2015, Xiaomi Redmi 3, Cubot P12, Motorola Moto E 4G, Bluboo X9 and our current favourite, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6. All of these phones sit at around £150 and are often found for a cheaper price. 

We should also mention that there are various phone cases you could purchase, such as the Krusell Malmo Folio for £24.99 and the Mozo Leather-Style Flip Cover for £19.99, among many others to personalise and protect your Lumia 650.

The Lumia 650 comes with a 2 years warranty.

Microsoft Lumia 650 review: Design and build quality

The phone boasts weighs in at an impressively lightweight 122g, meaning it sits comfortably in your hands whilst having a reasonably big 5in (1280x720) screen – it also has a thickness of only 6.9mm. Unfortunately, due to having a large screen and only a HD screen, it sits quite low with its pixels density of 297ppi. This meant we were able to see text a little more pixelated over a full-HD screen or 2K display. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

Microsoft Lumia 650 Review - Build Quality

Speaking of its screen, we found the overall brightness and contrast of the display to be well presented. We didn’t have any trouble using the phone in bright sunny conditions, nor at night with its brightness ramped all the way down. Despite having an OLED display, we found the Lumia 650s screen to have a yellow-tint to it. In comparison to an AMOLED screen it is thankfully less blue-toned, but versus an IPS display such as the one found in an Apple iPhone 6s, we noticed the Lumia 650’s white point wasn’t accurate.

In terms of viewing angles we were happy with the Lumia 650’s display, which was able to portray a good colour reproduction at extremely off-centre angles – useful for watching movies and pictures.

The phone’s display is well protected from scratches and drops by having a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen.  However, it does attract fingerprints meaning you’ll have to clean your glass screen regularly.

The overall size of the phone could have been smaller, with the bezels around the display being a little larger than we would have liked. This especially applies to the top of the phone where the top bezel is large due to the Microsoft logo being written across the top. Due to having on-screen buttons, the lower bezel might also seem a little large to some.

Microsoft Lumia 650 Review - Display

Looking around the phone, you’ll find a Micro-USB port at the bottom, alongside a front-facing speaker. At the top of the phone you’ll find the phone speaker, proximity sensor, 5Mp front-facing camera, and a 3.5mm jack next to the phone’s microphone. On the right-hand edge of the phone there is an on/off/wake/sleep button and a volume rocker.

Around the back of the phone there’s a rear-facing 8Mp camera, LED flash and a square Windows logo. The rear panel can be removed to reveal the removable 2,000 mAh, 4G LTE Nano-SIM card slot and Micro-SD card expansion slot which enables you to add a whopping 200GB of storage to your phone. We should also note that the back panel has an NFC chip on it, allowing you to quickly connect your phone to an NFC-enabled device.

We should note that there is a Dual-SIM variant of the Lumia 650, which seems to be available in certain markets around the world. Also see our dual-SIM buying advice.

Microsoft Lumia 650 review: Core hardware and performance - How fast is the Microsoft Lumia 650 review?

The Lumia 650 is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 processor which runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 212. The Windows 10 Mobile phone has only 1GB RAM and an Adreno 304 GPU which is clocks up to 400MHz. We found the inclusion of the slow Snapdragon 212 chipset to be disappointing – despite Windows 10 Mobile working generally great on lower-end devices, we found the Lumia 650 to be sluggish with basic tasks, let alone heavy multi-tasking (which business users might need) or for gaming purposes.

Microsoft Lumia 650 Review - Removable battery

We did find the phone acceptable for very light gaming, but as soon as we ran anything intensive, then we were bottlenecked by the 212 chipset. We do not suggest comparing the phone’s specification to the specs of an Android or iOS phone, but in terms of the overall feel and responsiveness of the user interface, we felt that the phone was bottlenecked by its limited hardware.

In our benchmarks, you’ll be able to see that the AnTuTu benchmark score was low and its GFX T-Rex benchmark, which was run at its 1280x720 resolution was incredibly disappointing, hitting only 5.69fps at HD, whilst its competitors such as the Xiaomi Redmi 3 (24fps at 1280x720) and Bluboo X9 (12fps at 1920x1080). On the plus side it did score better than the Cubot P12 (4fps at 1280x720), but the Cubot is a £75 smartphone, half the price of the Lumia 650 and yet was only had less than 2fps difference. Read next: What's the fastest phone.

We were unable to use Google Chrome in our browser tests and therefore used Microsoft’s Edge Browser, the default browser on all Windows 10 devices. Unfortunately, we were again disappointed by the results that the Lumia 650 was able to deliver.

The Lumia 650 comes with only 16GB internal storage which is a little conservative given smartphones these days are heavily used for photography and videos. With that said, unlike Apple’s iPhone SE which also comes with a mere 16GB storage, the Lumia 650 can be coupled with a Micro-SD card and be expanded to an additional 200GB of storage space. The fact that Microsoft has included a Micro-SD card expansion is fantastic, especially seeing as cards are extremely cheap to buy.

The Lumia 650 houses a 2000mAh battery and we found it good for a day’s worth of usage. We do feel the battery life could have been slightly better, but feel that Windows 10 Mobile has several features which will allow you to improve your overall battery life.