Earlier the Lumia 530, then the Lumia 535 that was a little disaster due to the unstable touch response. But now, the Microsoft Lumia 532 enters the market with a decent price tag and some appreciable specs under the hood. Always been a fact that Windows Phone OS doesn’t use much resources, and that is a reason why Microsoft launched smartphones with entry level spec internally, including a 512MB RAM but that didn’t went well with the consumers. The Lumia 532 rectifies these and comes in with the durable body, the latest Windows Phone OS but a few disappointments as well.
As far as the specs are concerned, the Lumia 532 has a 4-inch WVGA display on the front, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, quad-core chipset clocking at 1.2 GHz, and 1GB of RAM. The device has about 8GB of storage internally, and a MicroSD card slot for expansion of storage. Microsoft hasn’t done much with the cameras, as the Lumia 532 has a 5-megapixel rear shooter and a VGA front-facing camera. There is a 1560 mAh user replaceable battery included as well.
Design, Form Factor
Nokia held its legacy for a long time, especially for the build they made for the feature phones, smartphones and anything they made. Microsoft acquired the company, and the good thing is, they aren’t trying to change what Nokia was famous for. The Lumia 532 continues from the earlier devices, though there is a difference from the Lumia 535 that had a glossy body. Here, the Microsoft Lumia 532 has a tough, matte finish on the back with sharp edges and corners.
The difference doesn’t really help here, and I’d prefer the 535’s build more than the one on Lumia 532. The sharp edges are made by a transparent plastic frame wrapped around a white thin strip continuing from the white back. The pictures below might give a better idea about what I’m talking. It might be enough to give the device an extra protection and durability, but it doesn’t really look good. The back cover is removable, and users getting a Lumia might struggle initially to pull it out. Under the cover, is the replaceable battery under which, are the two SIM card slots and a MicroSD card slot.
The entire body though ensures you have a good grip all the time holding the Lumia 532, but that sharp corner pushes itself onto the palm. On the back, is the camera without flash (that is another story, Microsoft still hasn’t placed a much-needed flashlight), and towards the bottom is the speaker grill, and between both is the Microsoft branding.
On the bottom is the MicroUSB port, and the top has the 3.5mm headset jack. The right frame has all the physical buttons for volume and power functions. Below the display on the front, there are touch sensitive navigation keys that don’t light up. They serve the standard functions – back, home and search.
For a phone this thick, one might expect it to be heavy. It is otherwise, quite light and that helps in giving the user a comfort while holding the Lumia 532. If you have been a Nokia device user, either the Lumia or Asha series, you might see nothing surprising. But for an Android user (we say Android as most of the other brands have Android smartphones), this build quality that doesn’t give you a premium feel but at the same time, not disappointing with the comfort, will be a welcome change for you.
The display comes with a modest pixel density of 233 PPI, for the WVGA resolution given for 4-inch size and that is quite enough for standard usage, but still this isn’t something Microsoft might boast about, given that the competitors have a better resolution and an actually better display quality.
What a user should least expect and will actually get, is the smooth touch response. That was quite a debacle with Microsoft’s first Lumia, the Lumia 535, which had a poor touch response. Here, the 532 responds perfectly, and no where we felt like the device taking touch too quick or too late. On the other side, the pixels are clearly noticeable, and the screen is reflective and thus, it is harder to read the content under bright sunlight.
The viewing angles are not great, as the colors don’t show the same on all angles. The typing was swift and that is commendable for a small screen. The color output is good as well, thus the overall experience with the low-on-resolution 4-inch display is not bad at all on long use, unless you are comparing this with any high-end device.
Part of the UI, but the Glance Screen should be something we really appreciate for giving the little details about pending notifications, and lets you then decide on whether it is really important to unlock the screen and check the notification or ignore for now.
OS, User Interface
The Windows Phone 8.1 OS looks the same in most of the devices, and it just changes the number of tiles shown based on the screen size. Here, it still looks decent and for a budget device, the live tile interface looks good and there are some pre-installed apps that might come to good use for a first-time user, but we’d safely call it a bloatware when there is so much already installed and there is no need. These apps could have been downloaded by the user later on.
The pre-installed apps include BBM, Facebook, Foodpanda, Gameloft Hub, Jabong.com, Paytm, Redbus.in, Star Sports and TrueCaller apart from the Lumia-centric apps such as Lumia Camera, Lumia Selfie, Lumia Storyteller, Lumia Cinemagraph, Lumia Creative Studio and Here Maps, Here Drive+ and the list doesn’t end here. It is never hard to manually search and download the apps, thus I prefer less junk in the app list when I use the device for the first time.
This version of WP 8.1 brings support for folders, thus we see a full-fledged Files app for the management, and there is Cortana (personal assistant feature from Microsoft, and for those who are new to this, it is similar to Siri for iPhone and Google Now for Android) as well, ready to take your commands and respond to them. But that again won’t work for the Indian English, as we get an error about the region.
The Internet Explorer browser is still being worked on, I suppose. The most standard websites open properly, without any problem, but heavily loaded sites that aren’t optimized for mobile viewing, aren’t rendered properly by the browser to open it normally.
The performance is far better than several Android phones, and while we say that, there is a difference in the UI that is making sure the performance is swift. There are no heavy graphics or intuitive features that might keep you interested, but that is why the phone is quick at actions.
Switching between the apps, browsing the web and even running social apps for long was all negotiated pretty well, and there were occasional issues seen only when switching between the apps was very frequent, like going straight to the Photos gallery, keeping a game app open in the background. Sometimes, when several apps are being used, the game app tends to close down the current progress by itself.
Low-end games played decently well, but the device struggled to perform well and keep up with the frame changes in little better quality games. We kept our expectations low for the Lumia 532’s game play, thus satisfied with the smooth low-end game experience.
The major issue with the Lumia 532 is its camera. The 5-megapixel camera on the back of the device is a major compromise in terms of not just the numbers but also the features. It is a fixed focus camera, and the lack of tap-to-focus or tap-to-zoom is a missing feature. It simply captures the object in the frame without giving a focus on particular part in the given frame.
Moreover, there is no LED flash support as well. But talk of the actual capture quality, the Lumia 532’s rear camera has been able to capture decent photos if you are not looking at macro shots (which are not possible) or blurring any background area. The colors are retained and there is little loss of detail on appreciable light conditions, and you shouldn’t be looking out for much in low light conditions.
The 1560 mAh battery in the phone isn’t high on numbers, but the Windows Phone interface takes up low resources and it isn’t really heavy on the battery. The WVGA resolution display too, although is not good for a viewing experience, is something that won’t use the battery much.
Still, if you are expecting to use the phone on battery while always trying to browse the web, use social apps and keep it active, expect it to run for no more than 12-14 hours. The blame goes on the battery drain while the connectivity is active, but usually, it is low on battery consumption when you are making voice calls or chat via. messaging app.
The Lumia 532 isn’t on an easy path here, as there are several Android smartphones that claim a better score than this Windows Phone device that isn’t good on camera, though keeping itself smooth and good. While I have been a little partial towards Windows Phone in the past only for the smoothness, there is so much offered by Android OS for the same price. It, in the end, is the user’s choice on what they need while spending about Rs. 6500 to get a smartphone.
The design again, takes some blame as the phone feels quite cheap although it is something one might like if they have used Nokia/Microsoft devices earlier to this. Finally, look for the Android One phones, Moto E, or a little higher on price, the Redmi 2 from Xiaomi if alternatives are okay for you. And if at all the camera is not a consideration at all, better to skip the Lumia 532 to get the Lumia 430 that has almost the same specs but a 2MP camera on the back.