It is hard to shift to something new. For a brand, for a user or for someone reporting about it. I lost the count of number of times I named the Lumia 535 with a prefix “Nokia”, because it was always Nokia and Lumia together. The acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft will not go easy. But the transition is already happening, as we go hands-on with the Microsoft Lumia 535 smartphone.
The design recipe is kept the same by Microsoft, and the Lumia 535 looks no different from the previous Lumia smartphones. This design language has never failed, although the glossy back, especially because Nokia has been giving users a choice with colors to choose from, and Microsoft is doing the same now – Orange, Green, White and Black colors will be available in India. On the back, you see the Microsoft branding, and the speaker grill and the 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. The back cover is removable, and it extends till the edge of the screen, and curves down at the sides, giving the device a smooth finish with no sharp edges.
The front has the 540×960 pixels 5-inch display, which is not so great at response (note: we used the early build devices, so won’t already comment on the unit that would go on sale in market) and it attracts fingerprints, which still go unnoticed on full brightness, and because now the Windows Phone OS now allows you to set a wallpaper for the tile interface, it isn’t the standard black and it looks a lot better.
Above the display is the much-hyped 5-megapixel selfie camera, which actually does a very good job for the price you are being asked for it. The display has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and the navigation buttons are a part of the display. Overall with the display, it was quite comfortable to hold, with Microsoft able to keep it around 9mm and the edges aren’t digging into your palm, although the orange and green ones with glossy back are a little slippery and would require some grip to hold.
The specs are well upgraded, and that is what was lauded by most of the users who complained of the low RAM availability on the Lumia 530, and the Microsoft Lumia 535 has a quad-core Snapdragon 200 with 1GB RAM and out of the 8GB internal storage, about 3.5GB is available for the user, and a MicroSD card slot is a great help.
Windows Phone 8.1 is what the device runs, and the special point – Denim update. Microsoft smartly removed the Nokia tag from each of the apps, and there is a long portfolio of “Lumia” apps in the app list, including Lumia Beamer, Lumia Camera, Lumia Selfie, Lumia Cinemograph, Lumia Creative Studio and Lumia Storyteller. We’ve always seen the settings section cluttered with the long list, making you search for a particular setting, and that is unchanged, with an even longer list now.
MS Office comes pre-installed with the full version for free for the Lumia 535, and the OneDrive app is pre-loaded as well for giving a free cloud storage. One of the handy setting we found in the Lumia 535 is the double-tap-to-wake function, which many would love to use so that the phone doesn’t need to be lifted all the time for pressing the physical button to wake the screen.
The camera apps are different, as you see a Lumia Camera app for the rear camera and there is a Lumia Selfie app for the front-facing camera, and they do have a few differences. For those wondering, the front camera is a fixed-focus one and it captures a mirrored image which you will have to manually rotate later after the capture, but the capture quality isn’t really bad. Don’t expect much for video recording with both the cameras, as the maximum resolution for video capture is 848×480 pixels, i.e. FWVGA resolution.
For the early impressions, Microsoft did all things right with the first “Microsoft-branded” smartphone which they have tried to bring into the budget range, but the pricing isn’t aggressive at all. If the company had brought this into the price range of around Rs. 7000, it would have been a sureshot success, given that there are several competitors in the Android smartphone market with that pricing, but no perfect device with Windows Phone was available in the range.