Last month Microsoft announced Lumia 535, a mid range device running Windows Phone 8.1. This is the first phone under the Microsoft branding after the company took over Nokia. Microsoft Lumia 535 comes with a 5 inch IPS LCD display which has qHD resolution (960 X540) with 220 pixels per inch. The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor clocked at 1.2Ghz, the same processor powering the Lumia 530, Karbonn Titanium Wind and also Micromax Canvas W121. The phone comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage which is expandable via microSD card.
The phone also comes with 5MP rear camera with LED flash and 5MP front camera with wide angle lens for selfies. The phone also packs 1905mAh battery and runs Windows Phone 8.1 with Denim update. The phone is priced Rs 9199 in India.
Here is the detailed review of Lumia 535.
Related Reading: Lumia 535 Unboxing
Here is the video review of Lumia 535, for text version read on.
Design and Build:
Design wise, there isn’t much of a change when it comes with Lumia 535 and it follows the same design principles of Lumia 525 with curved back panel. The device comes with glossy finish rear panel and this is the same for all colors. The power and volume buttons are on the right side and there is 3.5mm audio jack and micro USB charging slot at top and bottom respectively. The device comes with Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer and Proximity sensor.
The rear panel houses the 5MP camera with flash, Microsoft branding and also the speakers. Above the display is the 5MP wide angle selfie camera. There are no capacitive touch buttons instead they are on screen like Lumia 630, 530 and 730. Overall the build quality looks good and feels solid although we would have liked the matte finish on the rear panel.
The phone comes with the 5.0 inch IPS qHD display which has a resolution of 960 X 540 pixels. The display is one of the weakest links of the device and it does not feature Nokia’s ( or rather Microsoft’s) Clear Black technology, Glove Mode or Sunlight readability. Even though Microsoft has upped the display resolution from FWVGA (found in most Lumia phones below Rs 10000) to qHD, the overall quality of the display is not great. The biggest complaint with respect to display is the poor touch response and it is laggy and this is clearly evident when playing games.
Colors looks pretty decent on the display and the viewing angles are again good, thanks to the IPS panel. Microsoft should be thinking to bring in HD display to budget phones as the competition from Android is really stiff.
Software and Performance:
Lumia 535 comes with Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box along with the Lumia Denim update which is the latest software from the company. With 8.1 update, Microsoft has added lots of new features and the most prominent one is the notification center. Apart from this, there are other customization options in the start screen along with storage sense, Wi-Fi Sense, Data sense, VPN support and many more features.
With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has bridged the gap between Android and WP in terms of feature set.
You can also customize the start screen with background images and also has the ability to manage one more tile. Additional tools like data sense allows you to keep control on your data usage. The storage sense app is very handy to manage the storage and set the default location for saving photos, videos, apps and more on the phone.
The device runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Quad core chipset with 1GB of RAM. The performance is really good with no lag or issues. The touch response was not really the best, it was unlike other Lumia phones we tested. The gaming performance of the device is pretty average and the display weas not really suited for gaming. But there was not too much of heating while playing the games. Since it has 1GB RAM, it will play almost any game available on the Windows Phone store.
Multi tasking was also good on the device as Windows Phones can even run on dual core processors.
Related Watching: Gaming Review of Lumia 535
This is also dual SIM Windows Phone and Microsoft has added a dedicated section for managing dual SIM. You can have two tiles on the start screen for two SIM cards and also link it to make it into one tile. The phone has an onscreen buttons and you can also customize the background color for the navigation bar. And for the first time, you can minimize the navigational buttons and auto hide them.
The call quality on the device was good and we didn’t have any issues with the signal strength. The speaker volume is pretty decent and good if you listen to songs. The device comes with 8GB of internal storage and is expandable via microSD card to 128GB. Another great feature of WP8.1 is that you can install apps directly on to the card, saving the internal storage.
Built in apps like Storage Sense, Data Sense and Wi-Fi senses provides additional useful features. Another good thing about Lumia 535 is that Microsoft will be providing updates directly for next two years.
The phone comes with 5MP rear camera with LED flash and a front facing wide angle 5MP camera for selfies. One of the main issues with Lumia phones below Rs 10000 has been the lack of flash and front camera and Microsoft has fixed these two issues with the Lumia 535. The device comes bundled with Lumia Camera and Lumia Selfie apps.
The photos taken with the 5MP rear camera in daylight have come pretty decent and the colors are look pretty good. But the main issue with the 5MP shooter is the lack of detailing. Photos looks either blurry or grainy even in daylight. Macro shots again have decent color quality, but they lack detailing. The low light photo ability of the camera is poor and with indoor lighting the photos were noisy but the flash works pretty well though.
Here are some of the photos taken with the rear camera.
The 5MP front camera with wide angle lens is good for selfies. With the Lumia selfie app, you can take pretty good selfies and add effects. The front camera is fixed focus. Here are some of the samples taken with the camera.
The phone supports video recording at 480P and the quality is poor. When we have 1080P recording on almost all budget Android phones, Microsoft is still sticking with 480P recording even though the processor supports 720P.
The phone comes with 1905mAh battery which is pretty decent for a budget smartphone. With Windows Phone OS not being a battery hog, you can get one day of usage with the battery on Lumia 535. The battery performance will obviously vary based on your usage and also the apps you are using. With few social apps (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and couple of email accounts configured and running the background, we could squeeze in around a day of usage on 3G. But having said that if you are a power user, you would definitely have to charge on a daily basis. On an average you should be getting close to 15-18 hours on a single charge.
With Windows Phone 8.1 you can also check which all apps are consuming battery the most and selectively disable them from running in the background.
Priced at Rs 9199 (MRP), we feel the Lumia 535 is a bit overpriced considering the competition from Android. But there are couple of things which is good in Lumia 535 and it includes bigger display (on Windows Phone), great performance and decent battery life. The display is one of the biggest disappointment of the device and so is the rear camera. If you want a bigger display Windows Phone at budget pricing, then this device makes sense, else we would suggest you to check out ASUS Zenfone 5 (review), Xiaomi Redmi 1S (Review), Huawei Honor Holly (review) or even the newly released Redmi Note.