The Nokia Lumia 530 is an entry-level Windows Phone device that rocks a 4-inch display, Snapdragon 200 quad-core CPU, dual-SIM connectivity, Windows Phone 8.1, and a price tag of just almost Php5K. With Android dominating the budget smartphone segment, is the Lumia 530 still worth considering? Read our full review to find out.
Design and Construction
The Nokia Lumia 530 is Microsoft’s budget Windows Phone device which was announced back in July and the successor to last year’s Lumia 520. One might expect the Lumia 530 to be a sleeker looking device but in fact it is rounder, chunkier, and a tad heavier than its predecessor like it has gained baby fats over the year.
On the front you will see the the 4-inch display, earpiece, and the microphone. The company dropped the capacitive buttons found on the Lumia 520 and opted for the on-screen navigational keys. On the right are the volume rocker and power/lock button.
Found on top is the headset jack while down at the bottom is the microUSB port. Flip it on its back and you’ll find the removable back cover, the 5-megapixel rear camera, and the speaker.
Although I prefer the edgier feel and look of the Lumia 520, this is not to say that the Lumia 530 is inferior. Quality-wise it still feels sturdy and well-made. It’s comfortable to grip and easy to put inside your pockets.
In addition, the hard plastic shell has a matte finish and comes in four different colors – green, orange, white, and dark grey. In essence, the Lumia 530 is pretty much a solid and nice-looking device.
Display and Multimedia
The Lumia 530 sports a 4-inch display with FWVGA resolution or equal to 245ppi which is an improvement compared to the Lumia 520’s WVGA resolution or 233ppi. However, what’s disappointing here is that it doesn’t have an IPS panel unlike its predecessor. The result is a display that suffers greatly from glare, not-so-vibrant colors, and poor viewing angles.
That being said, this puts the Lumia 530 in a disadvantage as a multimedia device. To make matters worse, the Lumia 530 cannot properly play videos with 720p resolution and above. The sound plays but video is very choppy so you’re limited to just viewing 480p files and below. On the bright side, the Lumia 530 has a very loud speaker which is good for playing MP3 files.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software side for the Lumia 530 is Windows Phone 8.1 OS. That means that it has features such as swipe-down Action Center, Word Flow, and changeable Start screen backgrounds. There’s also Cortana but its features are mostly optimized for the U.S. market.
A few apps are pre-installed on the Lumia 530 such as Nokia Camera, MS Office, and Skype. The Windows Phone Store is here to take care of your app needs like Instagram, Whatsapp, Spotify, and Asphalt Overdrive. It has improved in terms of the number of apps available but it is nowhere near what Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store can offer.
The Lumia 530 has 4GB of internal storage which is another downgrade compared to the Lumia 520’s 8GB. It has 2.11GB allocated for system files which means you are only left with 1.89GB as usable. The good news is it supports up to 128GB microSD cards and allows to install apps there.
The Lumia 530 comes with a 5 megapixel fixed-focus camera. That means it cannot adjust to take close-up shots. Colors are okay but you’re most likely to end up with a blurred shot with this camera. Take a look at a few samples below.
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As for video recording, it can record video files, however, you’re only limited to 480p resolution at 30fps. It’s okay for quick YouTube uploads but not exactly for high-res viewing.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Lumia 530 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, Adreno 302 GPU, and 512MB of RAM. Windows Phone 8.1 OS is optimized to run well on a device with such entry-level specs so we didn’t encounter any significant lags, app crashes, or random reboots.
We tried a few games like Asphalt Overdrive, City Racing 3D, and Zombie Tsunami, so far all of them ran smoothly on the Lumia 530. As for benchmarks, it got a score of 11,477 on AnTuTu. Although it has nothing much to boast in terms of hardware specs, we’re very much satisfied with its performance.
Providing power for the Lumia 530 is a small 1,430mAh battery. If you’re mostly on Wi-Fi and a light user (no games), it is capable of lasting a whole day with a little more left before bedtime.
We ran our usual battery test which involves putting it on Airplane mode, playing a movie file on loop at 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged in, and the result is 6.7 hours worth of playback which is not really stellar.
The Lumia 530 is a good-performing entry-level Windows Phone device that features a solid build, hand-friendly form factor, and cute aesthetics. However, it feels like a downgrade in certain aspects if you compare it to the Lumia 520. This is unconventional for a so-called successor but can be justified if you look at the price. It is just priced at Php4,490 which is significantly more affordable than the Lumia 520 which entered the market at Php7,990.
To conclude, the Lumia 530 is not here to wow consumers with its specs but it’s here to give interested buyers a chance to get a very capable smartphone with a good build and Windows Phone 8.1 OS without breaking the bank. Yes, it is still worth considering in a market that is dominated by affordable Androids, however, its biggest challenge are other WP 8.1-powered smartphones that offer better specs for almost the same price. One of them is the Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe.
Nokia Lumia 530 specs:
4-inch FWVGA TFT display, 245ppi
1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core CPU
Adreno 302 GPU
4GB internal storage
up to 128GB via microSD
free 15GB via OneDrive
5 megapixel rear camera
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Windows Phone 8.1 OS
MS Office, Action Center, Word Flow, Cortana
119.7 x 62.3 x 11.7 mm
orange, green, white, dark grey
What we liked:
* Good build
* Small form factor
* Loud speaker
* Affordable price
* Good performance
What we didn’t like:
* Poor display
* Fixed focus camera
* Below average camera output
* No front camera
* No HD playback and recording
Being a middle-age guy, I tend to stick with whts familiar. I am an old nokia user, have been since the 5110 years. I still cant understand theobsession of most people nowadays on iphones and samsung, phones that cost so much. I am going to buy this. Thanks for the review, gonna retire my 8 years old e63 and replace it with a touchscreen
I dont believe its an age thing. Besides, you might find a Lumia to be anything but ‘familiar’ when compared to e63.