During the time when Nokia had been in-charge with the development of Lumia smartphones, they had always maintained balance between pricing, quality, and design. This principle had resulted to the amazing portfolio of beautifully crafted, highly innovative Lumia handsets. Of course, we all know about the success of the Nokia Lumia 520 as the best-selling Lumia and Windows device last year. Most WP users worldwide had actually chosen the Lumia 520 mainly because of its affordable price tag combined with functionality that only Windows Phone 8 can offer. Because of the 520’s popularity, it came as no surprise that people were really looking forward to its successor – and that’s how Microsoft ended up launching the Nokia Lumia 530.
Introduced as the most affordable Lumia smartphone yet, can the Lumia 530 live up to our expectations as the Lumia 520’s successor? Let’s find out more about the newest flagship of the low-end division in our review.
Lumia smartphones had always excelled in terms of phone design (receiving multiple recognitions at the iF Design Awards 2014 is more than enough proof of our claim). And just like all the earlier Lumia handsets, the Nokia Lumia 530 stands out proudly above its current low-end rivals when it comes to this aspect. With the same people from Nokia now working under Microsoft, the trusted formula of vivid colors on polycarbonate was again adopted for the Lumia 530, resulting to very cool and stylish device that is so perfect especially for the younger generations who wants to be unique with the choice of phones that they are using.
The Nokia Lumia 530 comes in four color variants – the flagship green and orange for those who want to be hip and in style, and the standard black and white for those who want to just blend in with the crowd. The first two colors are really hard to ignore; the orange variant that I’m using for this review seems to glow especially in bright sunlight. Bored with just one color? If you some extra cash to spare, you can actually purchase more back shells so that you can customize your phone color depending on your mood or just to match the color of your clothes. Microsoft offers not only standard back shells for the Lumia 530, but also what they call “flip shells” – back covers that are connected with a flip cover to protect your phone’s screen.
The size of the Lumia 530 is just right for an average user; with dimensions of 119.7mm x 62.3mm x 11.7 mm and weight of 129g, the device can be held comfortably and can be used effectively with only one hand. You might want to be careful though, since the matte back shells are quite smooth, and are therefore prone to accidentally slipping off your hands.
The actual phone design of the Lumia 530 reminds me a lot of the Lumia 620, which in my opinion, was the best low-end Lumia in terms of physical appearance. Lightweight, handy, fits perfectly in your pocket, and looks really good in the eyes – Microsoft definitely did a great job when it comes to the Lumia 530’s phone design.
I Design is remarkable – but how about the device performance? For a low-end smartphone, I’m really impressed with how smooth the Lumia 530 runs. Swipe it in all directions and you’ll easily notice that the Nokia Lumia 530 doesn’t have any lags or delays in response to touch – comparing it to my Lumia 920, there are times that my own phone reacted slower that the new handset. The main reason for this good performance of the Lumia 530 is the list of high-quality specs inside the device. It runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, allowing the Lumia 530 to process data faster than earlier high-end Lumias with only dual-core processors. The presence of processors with higher core is also important in battery conservation, which I’ll be discussing on a different section of this review.
Before I continue to the performance test, it is important to mention RAM size at this point. While many users expected higher RAM to be a common feature on new Lumias, the Lumia 530 only sports a 512MB RAM (just like the Lumia 630 and 635). Until today, we are still wondering why Microsoft still made smartphones with lower RAM when most of their rival companies had already made 1GB the minimum RAM size for their devices – is it to allow lower pricing? Regular consumers won’t notice the difference, of course, since the Lumia 530 is really responsive and lag-free. But there will come a time that they’ll notice that there are some apps and games that are not available for them to purchase simply because of RAM limitations.
Similar to my review of the Nokia Lumia 930, I did further comparisons between the Lumia 530 and my Lumia 920 in terms of device performance. As expected, the 530 managed to keep up with the 920 when it comes to playing smartphone games. From startup to gameplay, the Lumia 530 ran smoothly all throughout the time. Games that I tested with the device include Subway Surfers, Zombie Tsunami, Ice Age Adventures, and Spider-Man Unlimited (which was recently made available to handsets with lower RAM). I initially thought the last two Gameloft games can be too much for the Lumia 530, especially Spider-Man Unlimited, but I was able to play it without any problem (as opposed to my Lumia 920, which becomes quite laggy every time I open this game). I also tried downloading games like Heroes of Order and Chaos and Dungeon Hunter 4, but unfortunately, the internal memory is not enough to accommodate these games.
Just like its predecessors (Lumia 520, 521, and 525), the Nokia Lumia 530 sports a 1,430 mAh battery. Not enough battery juice, you say? Well, the Lumia 530’s power source is much better owing to the presence of quad-core processors. Microsoft claims that the Lumia 530 can last a maximum standby time of 22 days compared to the Lumia 520’s 14 days and Lumia 521’s 16 days. On a heavy usage, the Lumia 530 can last up to around 7-8 hours; this is how long the device lasted when I used it for gaming, web browsing (data on during the entire test), watched videos, took an hour Skype call, casual SMS activity, played music while browsing (battery saver disabled). But when i used it only for music playback with casual SMS activity and browsing, it took more than a day before the battery cries out. Of course, this depends on which tasks you prioritize for your phone and how well you can conserve the battery life. We suggest switching off unnecessary notifications, turning off your data connection when you’re not using it, and using Battery Saver if needed – I personally follow these tips and I can guarantee it will help you a lot, regardless of the Lumia you are using.
Don’t expect too much with the Lumia 530’s 4GB mass memory; trust me, with all the apps pre-installed, you’ll just have around 1.5GB left to spare. Since most of the best games in the Windows Phone Store (like the ones I mentioned earlier) require more free space to be downloaded, the Lumia 530’s internal storage can be a problem, especially for those who entry-level users.
But since the Lumia 530 can accomodate up to 128GB of micro SD card, then it should resolve the problem. I understand that this is part of maintaining the cost low to make it more affordable. Compared to other entry-level smartphones, they are only limited to 32GB expansion.
Now, if you are more worried about storage space for your precious digital files, the Lumia 530 offers 15GB of cloud storage via OneDrive. If you are lucky enough to avail the additional storage offered recently in the Camera Roll promo, then you’ll have a total of 30GB of OneDrive space to fill – more than enough for saving your music files, videos, photos, documents, etc.
The Nokia Lumia 530 will have Lumia Cyan pre-installed, so no need to worry about waiting for the update to arrive. This means that you’ll have all the good stuff from Windows Phone 8.1, including Cortana, transparent Live Tiles, Start Background, Action Center, Word Flow keyboard, Internet Explorer 11, and dual SIM support. With the Lumia 530, you can also take advantage of most Microsoft apps and services, such as Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Skype, and Microsoft Office Tools. The Lumia 530 offers the same Windows Phone experience we have enjoyed ever since WP7 and WP8 days.
On the downside, since most of Nokia’s portion of the Lumia Cyan update are actually improvements to imaging capabilities, don’t expect it to be noticeable in the Lumia 530. But don’t worry; you can still use most of the rebranded Lumia photo apps like Lumia Creative Studio, Lumia Storyteller, and the innovative Lumia Camera. Unfortunately, the Lumia 530 also doesn’t support Lumia SensorCore, a new technology that allows users to accurately monitor their daily activities using their Lumia smartphones. You might be a bit disappointed, especially since other low-cost devices like the Lumia 630 support this new innovation, but we can tell you – considering the affordable pricing of the Lumia 530, we believe Microsoft had given the best features possible to match its cost.
If you are not satisfied with what Cyan has to offer, you still have Lumia Denim to look forward to for your Lumia 530. More features like Live Folders, Apps Corner, and improvements in messaging and security are coming with the update, and since Microsoft promised to start rolling out Denim in Q4 2014, we believe that it’s only a matter of time before we receive the update.
Any smartphone these days is not considered complete without a camera, and even though the Lumia 530 doesn’t have the top-of-the-line imaging features found only in high-end Lumia devices, its 5MP main camera is good enough for an average user. It can shoot decent photos in good lighting conditions and can even shoot images in lowlight, although the result is not as stunning as the one captured on a Lumia 830, given the low image sensor and lack of flash. The Lumia 530 doesn’t have a front camera, so if you are a selfie addict, most of your shots can only be taken using the main camera; you can always use the Lumia Selfie app to guide you into shooting better selfies.
However, if you are a WP user switching from the Lumia 520, you’ll immediately notice that the Lumia 530’s camera has shortcomings in imaging compared to its older sibling. Since the camera doesn’t have digital zoom or auto-focus (both of which were present in the Lumia 520 and are really important in shooting better photos and videos), the Lumia 530 becomes more of a “downgrade” when you consider this particular smartphone aspect.
Here are some of the photos captured using the Nokia Lumia 530:
Here’s the sample of the Lumia 530’s video capture.
The Nokia Lumia 530’s screen may not be that appealing in the eyes given that it only has an LCD display screen with FWVGA (854 x 480) resolution, but this doesn’t mean that it is not a good choice for those users who love watching videos on their smartphones. Aside from slightly washed out colors due to the absence of the ClearBlack display technology, I can see no other problems with the device when playing videos. In fact, the overall media experience is better than what you might expect – a combination of crystal clear sound output and smooth video playback.
If you are a music lover, you’ll also enjoy using the Lumia 530. As mentioned above, the sound quality is remarkably clear and is perfect for long hours of listening to your long playlist. The Windows Phone Store also offers an array of music app for you to enjoy, which includes MixRadio, Xbox Music, Spotify, Beats Music, and many more.
If you are looking for a Windows Phone device that offers the best of Microsoft and Lumia without compromising your own unique style and your limited budget all at the same, then the Nokia Lumia 530 is a good option for you! Some may say that there are other Lumia devices that can offer a better experience, such as the Lumia 630 or 635. But we cannot deny the fact that the Lumia 530 basically offers the same WP experience – only that it comes with a cheaper price tag. It is only priced for only 4,990 PhP (79$ on T-Mobile and $50 on Cricket). Furthermore, we believe that the Lumia 530 has a higher chance of helping Microsoft in strengthening the low-end division of their smartphone portfolio.
Given the minor flaws we have mentioned above, the Lumia 530 did not fully live up to our expectations as the Lumia 520’s rightful successor. But we still believe that this stylish handset can make its own mark in market shares reports, because of its affordability, good phone design, and durability. We can definitely tell that this device can give you more than your money’s worth.
NOKIA LUMIA 530 DUAL SIM KEY SPECIFICATIONS
- CPU name: Snapdragon™ 200
- Number of cores: Quad core
- Clock rate: 1200 MHz
- Display size: 4 ”
- Display technology: LCD
- Display resolution: FWVGA (854 x 480)
- Touch screen technology: Capacitive Multipoint-Touch
- Mass memory: 4 GB
- Maximum memory card size: 128 GB
- Free cloud storage: 15 GB
- Power management
- Battery capacity: 1430 mAh
- Maximum music playback time: 51 h