Microsoft’s Windows Phone is headed in the right direction with the Lumia 635

There has been an influx of mid-tier no-contract phones recently. More often than not, they are at great price points and offer the best “bang for buck” options for everyday users out there. The small no-contract movement started by the Google Nexus devices a few years ago has now become a full-scale movement with all 3 of the big 4 cell phone providers giving you contract-free options. T-mobile kicked it off with its Uncarrier moves and was swiftly followed by Sprint and AT&T.

Just this year, we have seen the successful release of the Moto E and the Moto G. Nokia has got itself into the act with the new Nokia Lumia 635 – a successor to its 521 line. The Luma 635 is a vibrant and fun phone with its interchangeable plastic back cases. The cases come in various bright colors that have curved edges, not dissimilar to the iPhone 5C.

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It comes with a 4.5in screen with 854×480 display, 5-megapixel camera and is run by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 512MB RAM. However, the best spec of all is its price, at just $99 with no-contract, its a no brainer for someone who just uses it for average use. You have all the major social networks, music and video apps, it has a great email client and has a decent web browser. It also comes with 4G LTE so your web browsing experience will not be hindered by you network’s data speeds.

One of the most surprising aspects of the Lumia 635 is how well it runs the new Windows Phone 8.1. Made up of colorful tiles, it is buttery smooth and flows from one screen to the next. It might not have all the features of an iOS or Android, but WP 8.1 might just be the best OS for a budget smartphone. The only downside is the sorely-lacking app store – but if the 635 is successful, you might be seeing a lot more apps headed to the Microsoft app store.

Overall – its a great smartphone for beginners and while it does not have all the bells and whistles, at $99 – it is the best “value for money” smartphone out there.

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