Nokia Lumia 530 – A little too late – Review

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The Nokia Lumia 530 is a successor to the hugely popular model Nokia Lumia 520. Though we saw the Lumia 525 take the charge from 520, it was pretty difficult to take the reigns from an alpha like the 520. Now that is not exactly what the 530 is trying to do here. It is a stripped down version of the 52x and it is available at a lower price. The only major upgrade Lumia 530 has over its predecessors is its quad core processor. Nokia is not trying anything new here, but to follow Motorola strategy and introduce a cheaper version of the successful line up like the case of the Moto E.

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In the Box

  • Nokia Lumia 530
  • Battery – Li-Ion 1430 mAh battery (BL-5J)
  • Headset – Earphone – WH108
  • Wall Charger – AC 18NZ – Output 550 ma
  • Data cable – No

Design

The Lumia 530 inherits a lot of its design language from it predecessors including the colorful swap-able back panel, small and sturdy built. The device is thick at 11.7 mm and it weighs 129 grams. It has a 4 inch display and no front facing camera. The 3.5 mm audio jack is at the top. The 5 MP fixed focus camera along with the mono speaker is at the back. The left side houses the volume buttons and the power button. The replaceable back panel reveals a 1430 mAh Li-Ion battery and underneath the battery we have slots for 2 SIM cards and a micro SD card.

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Display

The display is quite small at 4 inch when compared to some Android devices. But this is the best size for pocket-ability and convenience. It has a resolution of 480 x 854 which gives it a pixel density of 245ppi. The display quality is not brilliant and the colors looks a bit washed out, but there is nothing to complain here given that the device is priced at Rs 5500.

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Specifications

Before we move ahead with the review, have a look at the specifications of the Lumia 530 compared against its predecessors.

Specifications Nokia Lumia 530 Nokia Lumia 520 Nokia Lumia 525
Dimensions 119.7 x 62.3 x 11.7 mm 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm 119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm
Weight 129 g 124 g 124 g
Display TFT capacitive touchscreen IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
Screen Size 480 x 854 pixels, 4.0 inches (~245 ppi pixel density) 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density) 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
Card slot Yes Yes Yes
Memory 4 GB, 512 MB RAM 8 GB, 512 MB RAM 8 GB, 1 GB RAM
Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP v4.0, A2DP, LE v4.0, A2DP, LE
Primary Camera 5 MP 5 MP, 5 MP,
Video 480p@30fps 720p@30fps 720p@30fps
Secondary Camera No No No
OS Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft Windows Phone 8, upgradeable to v8.1 Microsoft Windows Phone 8, upgradeable to v8.1
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Qualcomm MSM8227 Qualcomm MSM8228
CPU Quad-core 1.2 GHz Dual-core 1 GHz Dual-core 1 GHz
GPU Adreno 302 Adreno 305 Adreno 305
FM Radio Yes Yes Yes
Battery Li-Ion 1430 mAh battery (BL-5J) Li-Ion 1430 mAh battery (BL-5J) Li-Ion 1430 mAh battery (BL-5J)
Price Rs 5500 Rs 7000 Rs 8500

Performance

The processor has received a major upgrade in the Lumia 530. Now it has the 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor with 512MB of RAM. It also has a dedicated graphic processor unit Adreno 302. Though it is not the best in class, Windows Phone OS is known for its optimal performance on low-end specifications. The bench mark results are satisfactory and it handles some resource intensive games with ease. If I have anything to complain, that would be the low internal memory. 4 GB is not enough. If you decide to install and run applications from the SD card, then you better get a class 10 high performance SD card, because the regular cheap class 4 memory card performs really bad in the Lumia 530.

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Operating System

The device ships with Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box. WP 8.1 has seen some significant improvements in the user interface including the expandable notification bar and extra column for live tiles in the home screen. But the significant UI feature which you will notice in the Lumia 530 is the on-screen navigation buttons. Though this is yet another feature borrowed from the Android, it is a welcome change. Personally, I don’t like it as is occupies one row of screen real estate. But it offers better user experience compared to capacitive screens. Also the bezel below the display is smaller, giving a smaller height to the device in general. The OS shows no signs of lag anywhere during my usage. It is very smooth and the interactions are highly responsive.

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Camera

The Lumia 530 has a 5 MP primary camera on the rear and it does not have a front facing camera. It does not have a flash as well. This has been a point of disappointment in the range of mobile and though users have complained about it constantly, Nokia refuses to heed to the request. In the name of reducing cost, they choose to cut hardware that would make user shell a little more for this device. The Lumia 530 comes with the Nokia Camera app and we have talked in length about the power of this software already. So ill skip it for the time and coming back to the quality of pictures, the Lumia 530 does a decent job under well-lit conditions. The contrast levels and saturation is not spiked up unnaturally and the overall quality of the image is decent. Though it seriously falls behind when the light conditions are challenging, it is definitely a better camera compared to the ones in 52x mobiles. Check out the image samples. I am completely disappointed with the 480p videos from this device.

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Battery

The Lumia 530 is powered by the same Li-Ion 1430 mAh battery (BL-5J) as the 52x mobiles. Under normal usage it lasts for day. When I saw normal usage, that would involve 2 hours of music, 30 min of call and a few minutes spent on games, camera and browsing.

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To buy or not to buy?

It is the year of the budget devices. We have seen the market dominated by the sales figures from entry-level devices which have disruptive marketing or predatory pricing strategies. At this point in time, it makes sense to introduce a competitive product that has decent specifications and is priced low. But Nokia Lumia 530 is a device that has low specifications and low price. At this price buyers have a lot of choice that has higher specifications. The Moto E, Xiaomi Redmi 1s, Asus Zenfone 4 are a few to mention. Though I must not be comparing a Windows phone with Android which would be like comparing oranges and apples, yet the budget buyers are concerned about the price more than anything. If they get a better value for their money, they will move over to the better choice. In terms of Windows phones, the biggest competitor for the Lumia 530 is the Lumia 525 which continues to dominate this segment of smart mobile. But if you are hell-bent on buying a Windows phone and on a tight budget go for the Lumia 530.