Design and Display
It is no surprise that Microsoft has cut corners with the Lumia 535 because when you place the device in your hands, it is extremely light weight, not to mention that the company has incorporated a plastic exterior to the phone that comes in many different color schemes. We are going to have to forgive Microsoft on this occasion as they were only trying to roll out an inexpensive device and to do that, they could not stick to a premium design.
As for the display of the Lumia 535, we were happy to see a large 5 inch IPS panel on the phone. The IPS panel would improve image quality but not to the point where we our jaws would drop to the floor as the Lumia 535 only possesses a 960 by 540 pixel resolution. While the 5 inch screen size allowed us to navigate around the interface freely, the resolution made every single detail seem fuzzy. What Microsoft should have done was at least incorporated a 720p display to give an embellished layout of the interface in the 5 inch form factor.
After we popped open the casing, we could easily view the microSD card slot and SIM tray. For one thing, we were happy to see that the Lumia 535 battery does not weigh that much to make the phone heavy.
Power and performance
Similar to the iOS platform, Windows 8.1 Mobile provided us with a fluid navigational feel that we have not yet seen in the lesser performing models running Google’s Android operating system. However, we have to say that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 200 chipset’s quad core processor and 1 GB of RAM did not provide the level of performance we were hoping to witness. While regular tasks opened without experiencing any delay, it was the successive opening of applications that ended up delivering a jittery experience. Occasionally the opening of multiple applications end up dismantling the fluidity of the Windows 8.1 operating system.
At this particular stage of the review, we were a little ambivalent with the storage solution that Microsoft has provided us. One on hand, you have 8 GB of internal memory that is going to get filled up in a matter of eye blinks, and on the other hand, you have a microSD slot that can accommodate up to 128 GB of memory. Quite a disparity we should say but nevertheless, beggars can’t be choosers and as much as we hate to see the small amount of internal memory assimilated to the device, we were extremely ecstatic when we heard the device could support up to 128 GB of external storage. For a 5 inch screen size, and low performing hardware, the least we could do was stuff in all the low resolution photos and videos we could find.
As much as we want to skip this part, we feel that we have an obligation to provide an impartial review to our readers. In a nutshell, the 5 megapixel rear camera is downright pathetic. The front camera does not improve things at all, since it is only capable of capturing images and videos based on the VGA resolution. While the 5 MP shooter provides an image resolution of 2592 by 1936 pixels, coupled with features such as autofocus, and LED flash, the overall image quality was not impressive. To add more pain to our grief, there weren’t a whole lot of options available in the camera’s software to augment the overall quality of images and videos.
We understand that Microsoft has targeted the lower market segments by presenting a cheaply priced product. In simpler terms, that would also mean toning down the build quality by incorporating a plastic chassis rather than an expensive one. While the plastic exterior was not a surprise to our eyes, the feel once we held it gave us the impression that the device was extremely sturdy. That did not compel us to drop it to the floor in order to test out its internal integrity but if you do happen to drop your phone erroneously on an unforgiving pedestrian footpath, chances are that the Lumia 535 will be able to absorb a whole lot of damage. Thanks to the plastic however, you will end up seeing a permanent mark on the impacted region.
Considering the price and the overall performance is not bad. Compared to high-end Lumia smartphone, this surely is a perfect alternative to many Lumia devices if you are not looking for good quality camera. We can say it is one of the best affordable smartphone that you can buy to do your day to day tasks.
You can buy the Microsoft Lumia 535 from Amazon at $174 with free shipping. Buy MS Lumia 535
Update 4th Feb 2015
It is now almost two weeks that we are using Microsoft Lumia 535 to do some testing and basic stuff. After writing the Microsoft Lumia 535 review and testing the smartphone, we found that the touchscreen controls aren’t accurate. Sometimes you intend to open something and you end up on different screen. For example, search button at bottom often pressed without intention when you try to press something near to the button. Touch screen response time is also not accurate and it is very slow. We have used other Lumia devices as well, but never faced such an issue.
However, the price you pay for the device and comparing these issues is just Ok! There are many other options are available in similar price with accurate touchscreen control. We would still recommend the new Lumia 535 to our readers.