Brand new Microsoft Windows 8.1 smartphones go on sale

Microsoft may have announced Windows Phone 8.1 early last month, but the first smartphone running the latest tiled operating system only just went on sale. The entry-level Nokia Lumia 630 is now available in Asian markets, with Europe to follow next week.

The first Windows Phone 8.1 device to hit store shelves costs just over £100 before any taxes and mobile operator subsidies are applied. Expect to shell out slightly more for the dual-SIM version. For the money you get a decently-specified smartphone, with a 4.5in display.

Read more: A closer look at Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana: A bold new experience

The Lumia 630 features a 4.5in IPS display, that can be operated using gloves, with a modest resolution of 480 by 854; 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor; 512 MB of RAM; 1,830 mAh battery; 8 GB of internal storage; microSD card slot (can house cards up to 128 GB in size); 5 MP back-facing camera with 720p video recording (no front-facing camera is offered); 3G cellular connectivity; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; GPS with Glonass; Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0. The Lumia 630 comes in at 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2 mm and 134 grams.

The usual Nokia-branded software (and access to the exclusive app store collection in Windows Phone Store) is included. That means users will be able to enjoy apps like HERE Drive+, HERE Maps, Nokia Camera, Nokia Refocus or Nokia Creative Studio, as well as other offerings tailored for Lumia devices.

Based on price, in Europe, the Lumia 630 will go up against the newly-unveiled Motorola Moto E, which offers comparable specifications but runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The latter costs £90 (but that price includes VAT). The better-specified Moto G runs for £149 after local taxes are applied, for the top 16GB, non-4G LTE, trim.