Hands On With The Lumia 535: TechWeez First Impression

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Lumia 535 has a 5 inch screen
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The Microsoft Lumia 535

Microsoft announced the Lumia 535 on last week, and Techweez has managed to get an exclusive hands on look at it. You may wonder why release Redmond decided to release another affordable Lumia device when the current product range seems to have all price points covered with the recent Lumia 530 (KES 11,000), Lumia 630 (KES 16,000), as well as last year’s Lumia 520 (KES 10,000) and Lumia 625 (KES 22,000). As the first Lumia device sans Nokia branding, the 535 continues the Nokia tradition of defining new products at amazing value points.

Let’s get this out of the way, when you hold the first Lumia 535, you will not believe that this feature packed device is priced at the MSRP of $140 (before taxes and subsidies). In summary, the Lumia 535 has a triple threat of “fives”, what Microsoft dubs the “5x5x5”:

  • 5 inch qHD (960×540) IPS Display with Gorilla Glass 3 scratch resistance)
  • 5 MP Wide angle Front Facing Camera
  • 5 MP rear facing camera with LED flash
  • Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 with “Denim” Firmware
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Quad core (with an Adreno 305 GPU)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8GB Storage + microSD slot (expandable to 128GB)
  • Full suite of Microsoft services (Skype, OneDrive, Office, etc.).

For full details on specs, see our earlier post.

Device Ergonomics and Build

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At only 8.8 mm thick and with curved corners and edges, the Lumia 535 feels great in the hand. Even though it sports a larger screen than the Lumia 920 (5 inches versus 4.5), it is the same width, marginally taller and much lighter than the first Lumia powerhouse device. At 141 grams, the Lumia 535 is also a full 50 grams lighter than the Lumia 920.

The device build is solid using polycarbonate materials. The replaceable shell (which comes in 5 colors) fits snugly to the phone but is yet easy to remove. Underneath, you’ll find the removable 1905 mAh lithium-ion battery that is rated for 13 hours of continuous talk time on a 3G network. (Full battery tests will come in our full review).

The Lumia 535 comes with the Smart Dual SIM system. This allows you to simultaneously use two SIM cards so you can use an Orange SIM for your Data, and a Safaricom SIM for calls and messaging. As a newcomer to Dual SIM, I can already state that It wil be hard to go back to a Single SIM phone.

Camera

The 535 brings imaging features that have not been available at this price point. The tweaked 5MP rear facing camera comes with a single LED flash (absent on the Lumia 520, Lumia 530 and Lumia 630). The camera lens is slightly protruded (like the Lumia 1520). This helps keep the rest of the device slim. In my initial shots, the Lumia 535 camera is quite impressive with fast auto focus times and great color reproduction. Though we will test the camera to the extreme over the next few weeks, it appears that the Lumia Denim update has made large strides with imaging.

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The standout feature of this device is the 5 MP wide angle Front facing camera. This is the same camera that the Super Selfie Lumia 730 has. This lens makes captures those moments with your friends in great detail. It also enables you to have great SKYPE calls.

Software

Lumia 535 has a 5 inch screen
Lumia 535 has a 5 inch screen

The Lumia 535 comes with Windows Phone 8.1 update 1 and the Lumia Denim Firmware. This version of the Windows Phone software adds:

  • Live Folders – you can drag and drop live tiles into a dynamic folder that will automatically update when the Tiles in that folder update.
  • Apps Corner – You can create a specific start screen that’s allows access to only the apps that you choose. This would work well in a workplace environment where you’re issuing phones to employees
  • SMS Merge and Forwarding
  • Consumer VPN
  • Improved IE Browsing.

In fact the combination of the 5 MP Front Camera, Dual SIM capability, the 5 inch screen, the productive Microsoft services such as Office, One Note, Skype, Lync and VPN access makes the Lumia 535 a great choice as a corporate device.

Though Microsoft has not provided a definite release date or price for our market, it’s safe to say that no matter what price point you are looking for, the Lumia device range (Lumia 530, Lumia 630, Lumia 730, Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia 1320 or Lumia 1520)  including the Lumia 535, has you covered for the coming festive season.

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