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The Nokia Lumia 530 Review

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Introduction

The Lumia 530 is the second entry-level Smartphone running Windows Phone from Microsoft devices (formerly Nokia). This  is a dual SIM Smartphone that takes over from the Lumia 520 that was launched last year and went ahead to become the most successful Windows phone Smartphone in many countries including Kenya. The Lumia 530 has been in Kenya for less than a month now and I can see it taking over the market without any problems.

Compared to its predecessor, the Lumia 530 is somehow better with new and better features. It is currently retailing at Kshs. 10,999 which is quite a bargain for the features you are going to get. This review will look at the good and the bad of the Lumia 530 and whether you should get it.

Hardware

The Lumia 530 has a solid build quality that is quite nice for an entry-level Smartphone. It weighs 129g and measures 119.7 x 62.3 x 11.7mm, the perfect size for those who want a Smartphone that is easy to hold. It has a plastic back panel that is slightly curved on the edges for an easy grip that feels smooth and comfortable. With this back panel, you do not feel like you are holding a ‘cheap phone’ as it is of high quality. The size of the Lumia 530 makes it easier to hold and operate with one hand, I have big hands and I found it easy to hold and operate with one hand.

Lumia 530 back panel

Lumia 530 back panel

Read: Differences between the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 520

At the back of the Lumia 530, you will find a small speaker opening and a 5MP camera. On the right side, there are volume and power buttons that can be accessed easily when holding the phone because of its small size. These buttons are protruding slightly making it possible for you to access them even in the dark. The left side is empty giving the phone a smooth feel. The standard 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top with the Micro USB port at the bottom.

Generally, the hardware and design of the Lumia 530 is not bad for its price.

Display

The Lumia 530 is an entry level Smartphone so do not expect a high-end display. It has a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and a pixel density of 245 ppi. This is slightly better than the Lumia 520 that had a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and 233ppi. This pixel density is slightly higher than that of the Nokia X2 that I reviewed recently.

Read: Nokia X2 Review

Nokia unfortunately did not use ClearBlack polarization technology and instead opted for the IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen for the display, so you may have problems seeing the screen when outdoors. In my short time with this phone, I can honestly say that it is meant for indoor usage as under direct sunlight, you will have problems seeing the screen. Most of the times when I was out of the house, I had the screen brightness set to ‘high’ and I could see it clearly if I was not under direct sunlight. When I happened to be under direct sunlight, I ended up with a faint screen that made it difficult to use.

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With that said, you will still be able to see the screen when indoors. The viewing angles are not the best in the market but for a price of less than Kshs. 11,000, no one is complaining. I never had any issues with the display itself as colour rendering was accurate and sharp especially when I was in the house. The availability of many display settings on Windows Phone 8.1 makes the Lumia 530 perfect for reading.

Performance and Specs

The Lumia 530 is not your average entry-level Smartphone when you look at the specs. It has a Quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 that clocks at 1.2 GHz. This is quite a huge improvement from the dual core processor found on the Lumia 520. With this new processor, switching through apps was fast for me. Considering this is an entry level Smartphone, I expected some lagging with apps and the phone in general but I was impressed none of these happened for the period I had the phone. The graphics department is taken care by the Adreno 302 GPU that is perfect for normal graphics. For those who may run heavy graphics, expect some issues with this phone.

The Lumia 530 has 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. The 512 MB RAM may be small but remember this is an entry level Smartphone. The internal storage space can be expanded up to 128GB using a microSD card.

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In terms of overall performance, I did not have any major issues apart from a few cases when some apps crushed for no reason. Most of the apps that crushed are those from indie developers so the issues may be related to the apps and not the phone. Opening apps is surprisingly quick with no lag.

Read: Nokia Lumia 530 Specs Review and Best Price in Kenya

The Lumia 530 has a 1430 mAh battery that could last close to two days with normal usage and about 12 hours with heavy usage. When I say normal usage, I mean using the phone to make a few phone calls, reading messages, reading and replying emails, chatting on WhatsApp. All this happens with the brightness levels either low or medium but mostly low.

Heavy usage involves all that makes light usage plus gaming, web browsing, spending time on social media, taking photos. With heavy usage, all I mean is that the screen is on for most parts on the day. The phone also has a battery saving feature that reduces consumption by stopping some apps when the battery is running low. All in all, I was impressed with the battery of the Lumia 530.

Camera

Nokia has and is still is one of the leaders in the Smartphone camera market. The company has been making some good cameras for years and the one on the Lumia 530 is not different. It is a 5MP one that shoots some impressive photos and videos. Included in the phone are two camera apps for both beginners and pros. There is the first camera with a minimalistic design that targets the beginners and the Nokia camera for the professionals who want to control the lighting and other features so as to get the perfect pictures. I used the minimalistic camera as am no pro at this. The only issue with the camera is that it is a fixed focus one and does not have LED flash.

The Lumia 530 has no front facing camera. As for the quality of photos and videos, they were generally good but not great. Quality in low light conditions disappointed me a bit but outdoors I could get good photos and videos.

Software

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The Lumia 530 is powered by Windows Phone 8.1 (WP 8.1) which is the latest version available on the market. WP 8.1 has some additional features such as resizable live tiles that give you the opportunity to personalize your phone the way you want it. This was my first run with WP 8.1 and I was impressed especially seeing it on an entry-level device like the Lumia 530.

Conclusion

The Lumia 530 experience for me was nothing short of phenomenal. The fact that this is an entry level Smartphone that is able to perform to the levels it did still amaze me. I have used this phone for just two weeks and in all that time, I did not have any serious issues that will make me not recommend this phone to anyone. From the overall performance of the phone, to apps, to the camera, to the WP 8.1 experience, I was very impressed.

I would recommend this phone to anyone thinking of buying his/her first Smartphone or to those who are thinking of switching from Android and are want to experience Windows Phone before getting a premium device. This phone is retailing at Kshs. 10,999 which is quite affordable when you look at the specs and features it has.

The only big issue with this phone is the screen which is not the best one for use under direct sunlight but given this is an entry-level device, we can let that pass.

About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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