Just 3 months after launching the first Microsoft branded Lumia smartphone, the company is out with two budget phones. The Lumia 532 and 435 are the two budget smartphones Microsoft has launched to lure the entry level customers in the Indian market.
I was using the Lumia 532 as my default device for the last week; this article holds my personal opinion about the device. So let’s see how the phone stands out (if it does at all) and examine the aspects where it excels and lags.
While many companies are trying to make their gadgets slim and thin, I feel like Microsoft doesn’t care much about it. The Lumia 532 is a bulky piece of hardware without any visual appeal. My first impression of the device was not satisfactory.
But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t judge based on looks, the Lumia 532 can certainly be held comfortably while using it. The size is decent and just one hand is enough to operate the phone. The back cover is not at all slippery and even those buttery fingers will not drop the device accidentally.
The back panel is removable, but you might need some practice before you can master the art of removing it. Please read the manual before you try to remove the panel as there’s a chance you might damage the phone. At the top there’s a headphone slot in the middle and directly below is the micro USB port.
The left edge has nothing and on the right, you have the power button and the volume rocker. The buttons are made of plastic, just like the back cover. On the back you have a speaker and a 5MP camera without flash.
The 4” display on the front is accompanied by capacitive navigation buttons without any backlight.
As for the colors of the device, users have the option to choose from orange, green, black, and white. Not sure about women, but talking from my personal experience, guys should avoid the orange and green colors. It sure does attract a lot of attention in a crowd, but not the positive kind.
Hardware and Benchmark
The Microsoft Lumia 532 is powered by a quadcore 1.2 GHz Snapdragon Qualcomm 200 processor with 1 gig of RAM. The phone has 8GB of internal storage space and the chipset can handle up to 128 GB of expandable storage. Considering the fact that it’s only around Rs. 6000 in the Indian market, that’s a decent hardware specification for the device. As you can also install apps on the SD card, you will never run out of space on the device.
The benchmark score is average for a device of this spec. The data read/write speed is around 50 MB/s and the frame rate was around 50 FPS in a triangle test. So performance-wise, the 532 barely sails along; that’s pretty much what you can expect at this price.
The Lumia 532 has a 4 inch display with 480×800 pixel resolution at 233 PPI. I am disappointed by the screen resolution and the quality of display. While other companies are bringing out 720 and 1080P resolutions at more or less similar prices with greater PPI, the 532’s display is just unacceptable. Videos and gameplay also suffer because of the poor screen. Things get worse in bright daylight, to the point where all you can see is your fingerprints on the display even at full brightness.
The touch response is good though. Typing was a breeze, even on a 4” display. The Microsoft keyboard predictive emojis are also quite handy while chatting on WhatsApp and Hike.
The predictive keyboard is probably one of the best software features of this budget device. Normally such small-screen devices have keyboards that suck, but this one’s keyboard can give a run for money to all other smartphone keyboard apps out there.
The device comes with a 5 megapixel fixed focus camera and a VGA front camera without any LED flash. The 532 is not a phone you should buy when it comes to photography. Even profile pictures won’t come out great on the phone. The fixed focus kills macro photography and the absence of LED flash strikes out night photography.
The camera is only good when it comes to bright daylight photographs. The VGA camera on the front is not an ideal choice for video calling, or even for selfies and groupies.
The minor pluses I could find were that the camera loads fast and gives some advanced options like shutter speed, white balance, and ISO.
Gaming and Performance
The Adreno 302 GPU makes sure that all games run smoothly on the device. The responsive touch adds to gameplay. Lower spec games like Subway Surfer and Temple Run can be played without any lag, and I didn’t observe any frame drops. High-end games like the Asphalt 8 lagged when on the highest settings. But when set to low graphics, things were smooth again.
The only thing that can take the fun out of it is the 480P display, which isn’t crisp enough. Other tasks like web browsing, messaging, and working on documents are faster than they are on most Android devices. What I like best is that I never came across any crashes while using apps.
The 1560 mAh battery is enough to power the device and it easily lasted a day and a half on normal use with 3G services running in the background. I tested the device with just a single SIM and chances are that using 2 SIMs might decrease the battery performance when compared to just one. The display doesn’t take much juice, so for a person who simply needs the phone for social use, the battery is fairly sufficient.
The battery saver feature is also available if you need to run the phone on steroids.
The Grades Are In…
The screen is responsive
The back case is not slippery
You will never run out of storage space w/ external SD
Decent battery life
Fixed focus back camera with no LED flash
VGA front camera
Overall, we recommend Lumia 532 if you have a tight budget and can’t do without Windows Phone. In fact, if you can’t do without Windows Phone then you should save money and try to get the Lumia 535 instead, because that’s a better phone at a price that’s still well below 10K. But beyond the Windows Phone zone, Android has some compelling products near this price range (Redmi 2, for instance) that can dampen the lure of this device.