Microsoft Lumia 650 review

Another enterprising offering from Microsoft

Microsoft Lumia 650 review
Microsoft Lumia 650 review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Smartphone cameras are getting better all the time, helped by the availability of cheap high-megapixel BSI sensors from the likes of Sony and OmniVision. Although generally still lacking when it comes to low-light photography, they're generally capable in most situations.

And this is true of the Lumia 650. While not boasting the same megapixel count as cameras on devices such as the Honor 7, Wileyfox Storm or even the Lumia 640 XL, the 8MP rear-facing snapper is still a dependable workhorse in most situations.

Images shot in good light are sharp and colours are well reproduced, and the handset displays an acceptable dynamic range.

Microsoft Lumia 650 review

One odd quirk is that images have a tendency to be quite dark, although this can be easily remedied courtesy of the well-designed Windows Camera app, a legacy of the former Windows phone-builder Nokia's smartphone camera dominance.

The app offers easy access to settings such as white balance, ISO, shutter speed and manual focus, and exposure compensation is also easily applied.

As ever, the Rich Capture mode is a welcome assistant, and at this price point having such an easy access to usually hidden features is a nice bonus.

Microsoft Lumia 650 review

The only real weakness of the camera (apart from a lack of resolution) is its low-light performance, which just isn't up to par. For a quick snap in a dimly-lit bar, shared to Instagram, it's certainly sufficient, but you'll be lucky if you get a shot you're proud of.

The lack of a two-stage camera button is also something of a let-down, as there's no more convenient way to launch a camera quickly, while also providing tactile feedback.

For the selfie-lovers out there, the 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera is capable enough. There is some detail in the shots produced, although as you might expect they look quite flat and muted. It's a similar story with video, with footage appearing crisp, if over-sharpened.

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.