We’ve unboxed the lovely Lumia 535 for you and now we’re back with the results. Let’s do this.
- 5MP wide angle selfie cam fits more people in, provides acceptable shots even in low light.
- 15GB free One Drive storage means no more losing photos and docs.
- Skype looks, behaves, and feels close to the desktop version.
- MS Office is handy for opening downloaded or created files.
- Here Maps can be used offline.
- Dual SIM feature means you can carry fewer phones.
- There’s that feeling of single-apps-only focus, so it feels satisfying, somehow.
- Outdoor visibility is good.
- Gorilla Glass makes the display tough and scratch-free.
- Curved edges of protective soft-surface shell make for comfy handling and grip.
- Live tiles can serve as notifications, reducing the time you spend glancing at apps and pulling down the action bar to check what’s happening.
- Lovely and well-thought about Lumia camera tutorials.
- Dual SIM small touches – two boxes on the home screen for each SIM, and a quick SIM toggle on the messaging app – reduce SIM confusion.
- The rear camera, with sufficient light, takes good pics with enough resolved details and with high color accuracy (not oversaturated). In fact, the Lumia 535 takes pictures with better color fidelity (under well-lit conditions) than the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, which oversaturates blues.
- Good enough battery life – about 7 hours on WiFi.
- Relatively cheap, at P6,000.00.
- Interchangeable shells with lovely colors.
- Adequate call quality and WiFi reception.
Sample Rear and Selfie Shots
The Maybe Bad
- Colors are muted: Facebook blue, for example, looks like anemic blue.
- Rear camera struggles in low light.
- Not USB OTG ready. You can’t bring your fave movies in a USB OTG flashdrive.
- Windows Store trails behind iOS and Android.
- Not a heavy mobile gaming phone, by contrast, a P7k Android can play any game.
- P6k price range quickly invaded by local octa-core Androids.
- Not LTE-ready.
We highly recommend the Rapoo S500 Bluetooth Headset when listening to music, when watching videos, or when taking calls. It’s chic, minimalist, and water-resistant.
Here’s Where We Stand
A budget Windows phone is a will-get-things-done compromise – with capable but not cutting edge specs, adequate by not ultra-crisp display, decent but not low-light champion cameras, sturdy physique but not premium-in-your-hand, and it’s affordable at P6,000.00.
Lumia balances these out by adding conveniences – Here Maps which can be used offline, App Social which informs of you the latest apps, 15GB of One Drive storage, the best Skype experience, MS Office (a capable version of it) right in your phone, Lumia camera rear camera tutorials that banish fear of touching camera settings, and of course, the super wonderful wide angle selfie camera. These, and others, are all wonderful.
- The Lumia 535 has two camera apps: rear and selfie - click to view
That’s right – two. The Lumia Camera uses the rear cam and its features, while the Lumia Selfie loads by default with your real-time image, ready to take a selfie. The latter camera app has an auto-selfie mode that shifts to the rear camera and starts a countdown once it detects any number of faces – meaning you can flip the phone around and use the higher megapixel rear camera to take selfies. In practice though, the selfie camera takes better selfies.
Still, a budget Lumia sails in a sea of similarly priced Androids and users that have varying motives for buying a budget phone. Are you tired of tweaking your Android’s settings and skin and simply want something beautiful that works? Here’s a Lumia for you. Are you sick of holding on to a hand-me-down aging iOS phone? Try this. Do you want a secondary phone that works and doesn’t need tons of over-the-air updates? Here’s a dual SIM budget Lumia you won’t be ashamed to be seen with.
There is a tight, no fuss, curated beauty to the Window Phone OS that neither iOS nor Android can currently match – and that’s likely to remain undiscovered by those who only shop according to price and according to what their friends know about. And it’s a shame.