Microsoft Lumia 650 review

Another enterprising offering from Microsoft

Microsoft Lumia 650 review
Microsoft Lumia 650 review

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The Lumia 650 is something of a strange beast. Despite the odd choice of an underpowered processor, its try-hard design it makes for a nice first impression. But with such strong competition out there, is it enough?

We liked

The screen on the Lumia 650 is really rather good. With great colour accuracy, plenty of punch, good brightness and sufficient resolution it's one of the strongest displays at this price point.

The phone feels great in the hand – it's easily the most comfortable Lumia I've ever used. And despite having a somewhat small battery pack, it has enough juice to make it through a full day of typical use.

The front-firing speaker is decent, turning out a respectable volume, and both cameras are capable enough for the most users, with the camera app offering a good degree of manual control.

We disliked

Windows 10 Mobile, although improving at a reasonable click, is still quite buggy in general, with a number of long-standing issues persisting. The operating system still lags behind when it comes to apps as well, with the lack of high-quality first-party apps in particular a concern.

And while the Snapdragon 212 chipset does its best to power things along, it just isn't enough. Especially for the price point, this is a very slow phone.


The 600 series within the Lumia line-up has always been where the best of budget and premium combine to offer something distinctive. From the 620 through to the 640, these have been popular, powerful devices. The Lumia 650 is a different beast.

It's the experience of using this phone that sets it apart. The lovely in-hand feel, the dependable camera, the decent battery life, the surprisingly good speakers and the mostly smooth day-to-day operation are all key to what a good smartphone experience should be.

The poor processor selection is all that holds this device back from real greatness. If Microsoft had followed the competition, and gone with the likes of a Snapdragon 616, 652 or 617, and maybe doubled the RAM, the Lumia 650 would fly.

Despite this, for business owners invested in Microsoft's services, for Windows fans, and for those looking for a respectable upgrade, this phone is well worth a look.

First reviewed: March 2016

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