Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM Overview

I said i may buy & review it, and i did. After having used it for like 4 days now, I've decided to share my thoughts on the phone.
Unlike the usual full-blown review though, I'm gonna write a shortened and simplified summary of the pros and cons of the phone and give a little personal overview on the general features of the phone instead. There's really no point in spending a lot of time in writing a long professional review and then getting little to no response.
Here goes...
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The Specs:
Read here: http://www.gsmarena.com/microsoft_lumia_535_dual_sim-6792.php
Specialties: Dual-Sim. (still uncommon on WP devices) HSPA 42Mbps. Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Wide-Angle 5-MP Front Cam
Price at the time of the review: 14,250 PKR
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The Build:
It's the usual Lumia type build with replaceable back covers. It's all plastic but the quality is good. It comes in 5 or 6 colors, the black & the white versions are matte, while the other color versions are kind of glossy. So you know which one to get if you're not a fan of fingerprints. The phone's behind is slightly curved which although feels good, it also makes it more slippery and you're likely to drop it unless you hold it tightly.
The screen is qHD 5.0" which results in a DPI of 220, which is only average but it looks just fine. The colors and contrast is really good though. It's also very bright and the viewing angles are good.
Now now, although the screen itself is good enough, the touch is not the same. It has some issues. Precision is not very accurate. Detection can be unresponsive sometimes. (Microsoft is working on a update to fix these issue, i will edit this part once the update is out)
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The Cam:
The back camera is one of the better 5 MP phone cams I've used. It is nothing to write home about, but it's above average and really good for social media usage. The amount of resolved detail is fine and compression is not very apparent.
The front cam is selfie king in my book. It's among the best front cams I've tested and I'm really impressed with it. Of course the amount of detail is less compared to the back camera, but the saturation is higher (probably to make better selfies), and it has a noticeably wider capture angle. Of course the background turn out slightly blurry due to lacking an autofocus, but they're still really good photos.
Video-recording of both cameras is a whole different story though. It's 480p 30fps. Nothing fancy about it. The quality is fine and the framerate is smooth, but there's absolutely no reason why it shouldn't be able to record 720p videos. It can decode them properly, even high-profile ones, so encoding them, even in Mpeg-4 if necessary shouldn't have been a problem at all. I guess we can't seek perfection in a budget device.
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Media Playback:
The phone doesn't support any fancy audio enhancement technologies like Dolby Headphone or similar. Irregardless of that though, the audio comes out surprisingly good. It's loud enough, the bass and treble values are good. Overall it's all positive here, everyone except audiophiles will love it. You're gonna need your own pair of good earphones though as the ones bundled with the phone are the cheap kind.
Video playback is decent but not great. The phone can play upto 720p videos smoothly (1080p is extremely laggy and unwatchable). Of course I'm talking about H264 or Mpeg-4 MP4 videos here, cause unfortunately as it goes, official MKV support is still missing on the platform. You can try some apps like Moli Player (paid only) or CCPlayer (this one is free) for playing MKVs, but the playback was somewhat stuttery, watchable but not the best experience.
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Other things:
-It comes with WP8.1 by default, there's little bit of customization according to the specs of the phone but overall it's the same thing as any other WP device.
-Calls and messaging is the usual WP8 type. Call quality is fine on both ends. Loudspeaker is decent as well.
-Browsing is fluid. There's really no issues here other than the lack of Flash support, but HTML5 does the job.
-Battery performance is fair, the usual one day type.
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So, let's summarize:
Pros:
*Bright and vivid screen with good viewing angles
*Good form-factor and traditional Lumia design
*Decent specs that work even better due to the critically acclaimed optimization of Windows Phone OS
*High-quality audio via headphones. The volume levels are good and the clarity and bass is superlative in this class.
*Both cameras are solid performers. The front one is one of the best selfie cams I've personally tested.
*Dual-Sim supported, and it works flawlessly. It even supports separate management of each SIM calls/messaging which puts it above Android dual-sim phones. (you can also link them into one if you prefer it that way)
*Extremely competitive price makes it highly irresistible to the targeted audience.
Cons:
*The touch-screen has some issues. (a promised fix is on it's way)
*Video recording is limited to 480p @ 30FPS.
*Overall battery performance is average. That's not bad by any means. The standby and talk-time is rather good, music playback is also impressive, but web-browsing or watching movies on the go will require you to recharge it sooner than you may want it to.
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Conclusion:
Excellent!
This is by far the best budget device I've used in the recent years. The amount of value you're getting for the measly price is nothing short of impressive. I'm a supporter of Chinese phones, but yet i will straight up recommend you to go for this instead of any Qmobile or similar phone in this price range.
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I may update the overview when and if i feel necessary.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

I have Lumia 620 and planning to buy a larger screen WP.

I think 535 has a 5-inch display, how does that worked for you? How about the remaining internal storage after WP 8.1?

I agree, the Lumia series is definitely better than those Chinese Phones.

The 535 is definitely a good upgrade over the 620. Just about everything is upgraded.

Yes it has a 5" display with 540x960 resolution, and as i mentioned above, the screen is pretty good other than the touch-screen issues (which are supposed to be fixed by an upcoming software update by Microsoft). Of course having a large screen also means that the device is relatively larger than the 620, but as long as you've used large phones before, you won't have any issues with it. Just for the sake of idea, the phone resembles the Qmobile i9 in both size and shape (the 535 is more curvy and better looking though).

The total internal storage is 8GB, of which i had about ~3.5GB free space available upon starting the phone, after updating built-in apps and installing some basic everyday usage apps I'm left with 2.9 GB of free space. All media is stored on the SD card.

Yeah, branded phones are better than chinese phones, but usually chinese phone have an edge over branded phone in terms of pricing, but here there's just too much value being provided by a supreme brand, so there's no reason to choose an inferior product in the same price range.

Thank you, Upsilon. I found your review to be refreshingly balanced, straightforward and honest as most of the people on Pakistani forums are so opinionated (actually hostile) when it comes to discussing Windows phones. The typical mindset is to compare low-end Lumia phones with the medium-end Samsung ones -- while lusting for the top-of-the-line, brand new (read: unaffordable) Apple iPhones :-)

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

Upsilon:

There's really no point in spending a lot of time in writing a long professional review and then getting little to no response.

[/quote]

The reason has been that you were reviewing very low end buget phones and even among them you were selecting low end chinese phones, which inspire little to invest in reading and reviewing and participating in unintersting phones..

this review, even though concise has already sparked much attention and interest because it is a very popular and "in" phone even in the buget series..the motivation to read this was high for me even though i wont ever be buying this exact model.

in summary, reader enthusiasm has been low in your recent reviews because the items themselves were uninteresting.. they were helpful reviews but items were not hot..

majority of your reviews are very Semi-professional, and very well written.. and some of them are just Excellent reads, word to word. :)

He can be MKBHD like famous all he need is encouragement + tripod + camera + girly hands

Upsilon you should start your own blog specially for phone reviews since youtube is banned in pak but you can put your videos on blog…

@tsahar You're welcome. I try my best to write unbiased reviews.
@Fakhir1990 Yeah 520 is literally the most succesful Lumia phone to date, but i believe it's time is up. I see the 535 as the perfect successor to it for various reasons covered in the review... But maybe that Microsoft branding instead of Nokia is going to affect it's sales.
@farhan_ds I try to review only the uncommon phones, i mean all the popular phones already have dozens of reviews online, so then why should i write another one pointlessly? That's why i usually target Qmobile type phones which usually don't have any well-writted reviews anywhere on the internet. The only reason i reviewed this device was because I said i would...
@armada Nah man, i do this for hobby. I'm not interested in making a career out of it. If i wanted to do this for the money, i would've bought a domain and did all this there and not on this forum. But thanks for compliment.

[quote=“Fakhir1990, post:, topic:”]

I am using Lumia 520, and i think that this is the best windows phone so far, i mean it really have a nice battery, quite big screen, works smooth. and its affordable. so in my opinion if you are willing to pay less but want to enjoy full windows phone experience i would prefer that you should go for lumia 520. and i also would prefer you to buy nokia online from daraz[dot]com.

[/quote]

Fakhir, I have seen the Lumia 520 in action with a friend, and there is no doubt that it is an amazing phone in that price-point. It remained a very good phone even when they announced the 530 as the latter didn't offer much (disappointing display, etc.). But I think that, as of now, the 535 is a game changer in the low-end Lumia phones. Check these comparative specs:

http://www.phonearena.com/phones/compare/Nokia-Lumia-520,Nokia-Lumia-530,Microsoft-Lumia-535/phones/7745,8779,8989

I just used Lumia 535 and I am definitely impressed with the overall phone. The size is much better and looks good for a WP and is available in the market for around PKR 13,500 which is better than most of the Q's and G's. It's slimmer than the Lumia 620 I am currently using. I'll buy this for sure.

microsoft may still be able to pull a nokia...:D

#nvd650 #replycomingsoon #Hashtag

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Hmm, well the 535 is not on the pie yet, but considering it just came out, I'd say it has plenty of time to make it's mark.

If the rather imperfect 630 managed to secure a decent 8% marketshare within 8 months, then there's no reason why the much ideal 535 shouldn't be able to break past that. All Microsoft needs is good marketing strategy & they've got a highly successfully device on their hands.

In Android ram memory is quite necessary for smooth multitasking, is it the same case with windows phones ?

^ Not really. Multi-tasking in Windows Phones is rather limited (which is the primary reason why it remains so buttery smooth even after installing tons of apps in comparison to the laggy Android). Only particular system apps & background processes keep running in background, all user apps get 'frozen' so that they're eating very little resources. Contrary to what you may be assuming, this technique works rather well in most scenarios.

Basically, in Windows Phones, more RAM primarily helps in letting you run more demanding apps (heavy games and such that require at least 1GB of total RAM to run).

from windows 8 onwards, 1 gb ram is considered high end.. where as even 3gb in android is not usually enough due to poor coding.. till LP optimised apps start appearing, ram will always be limitation in android.

[quote=“Upsilon, post:13, topic:21796”]

... Only particular system apps & background processes keep running in background, all user apps get 'frozen' so that they're eating very little resources.

[/quote]

Just a nitpicking on Upsilon's post. It is not simply that "only particular system apps & background processes" are run in the background, and "all user apps get 'frozen'" as if they are not allowed to run in the background. The app developer can use, for example, what is called "background agents" in windows 8 to make apps appear multitask. (In any case, we are not talking of any real and pure real time OS here.) Additionally, the user can disable/enable those background apps to conserver battery power.

On my Lumia 720 (which has "only" 512 MB RAM), I have the following apps that run in the background:

  • third-party: Facebook, Fitbit, Nextgen Reader, Wunderlist, and Whatsapp
  • Microsoft/Nokia: Skype, Weather, News, Internet Explorer, Calendar, Battery Saver, FM Radio, Music, OneDrive, and Store.

^ I had read an article months ago that explained the wp8 multi-tasking procedure in detail, i can't seem to find it now otherwise I'd link it here.

Basically according to it, the apps you listed get frozen and defrozen on user demand. Also, apps like Whatsapp & Weather, etc are running background processes to sync data and give you notifications. These bg services consume much less resources compared to keeping the whole apps open on Android unless you manually close them by swiping or otherwise.

Anyways, i never said there's no multi-tasking, rather "limited-multitasking" which is true. You can only "focus" on a single app which is on-screen at the moment. For example, if you're running a flashlight/torch app, you need to be on the app screen to keep the light on, as soon as you try to switch the task, the torch will turn off.

Similarly, in order to download torrents on a WP device, you need to lock the phone on the torrent client's app screen, if you switch the task to anything else, the torrent activity halts.

I don't know what you consider this, but I'll straight up call this "limited-multitasking"... Just saying.

But yeah, even though it can be a bit annoying sometimes, i still prefer it a lot more than the lagginess of an app-loaded Android phone.

Android with many apps installed after app updates is soooooo bad to use...

even home screen starts halting..

samsung is the worst at it.. all samsung phones need full wipe after every month for a power user.. even the best of them, software wise..HTC and sony suffer after 2 3 months of use..

i have not heard yet of any windows phone slowing down.. there may be bricks or crashes but slowdowns are extremely rare.. which is the hallmark of a well coded software environment.

Like we root android to remove bloatwares, gain full access and make more suitable customizations is it possible in windows phone devices too? Can we root lumia?

^ Why would you want to root a Windows Phone? Just try a WP8.1 (any WP8 phone can be updated to 8.1) device & you'll realize why it doesn't need to be 'rooted'.

In any case, AFAIK it's currently not possible to root a WP8 device. If you buy an older WP7 device then there are some root tools available which can successfully 'root' your phone, but it's not nearly as beneficial as on Android.

If you want to experiment with your phone, then you can 'developer unlock' the phone free of cost to unlock some of the security features & try beta updates & unofficial apps.

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BTW, if you're concerned about bloatware, then don't be! Nearly all the 'bloatware' can be uninstalled on a WP device! Only official Microsoft apps & Lumia apps (in case if your device is from Nokia/MS) cannot be uninstalled.

As for gaining full access... well you can't gain full access per say, but you'll have all the access you'd need for the platform. Customization are going to be limited though, but the fluid and friendly UI more than makes up for it IMO.

In the end, as i once said before... "Windows Phone... Perfectly sits between both those OSes.. Half the customization from Android, and half the user-friendliness from iOS."

^ words of wisdom indeed.