Vise Review: Microsoft Lumia 535 – A Rocky Start

Lumia 535
  • OS
  • Display
  • Processor
  • Memory
  • Camera

The age of the Nokia Lumia has at long last come to an end. For some years, Nokia has been the leading manufacturer for Windows phones, and it has delivered a wide range of results. Some phones were stellar with huge displays, fast processors, and crisp design. Others were not so fortunate, with many lacking key features or the spec power to compete. All of them came at a fair and competitive price, though, and that is what made the Nokia Lumia a unique line of smartphones. Now, Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has taken full swing with the release of the Lumia 535. Will it live up to the line’s name? Or is Microsoft’s first non-Nokia Lumia a stumbling block?


The good news is that the Lumia 535 shares the common design of its cousins. It has a full plastic back that can be removed and swapped out for different covers. This has always been a nice feature of the Lumias because it leaves room for customization and personalization. The phone is also larger than most Lumias. With a five inch display, the phone has a nice amount of screen real estate for being a budget phone. But, even though the screen size is nice, the resolution is a bit on the low end. The phone’s live tiles look okay, but HD pictures and videos run on the fuzzy side.

Live tiles look fine on the Lumia 535's display, but pictures and video suffer.
Live tiles look fine on the Lumia 535’s display, but pictures and video suffer.

Even for a budget phone, the screen quality here is hard to get over.

One thing that is nice about the Lumia 535 is the front facing camera, something its cousin the Lumia 635 was missing. Both the front and back cameras sport a 5 MP resolution. That isn’t necessarily great quality, but it is good for the cost (the Lumia 535 is priced at $179 in the United States – cheaper at Amazon).  A wide angle 5 MP front-facing camera is also rather impressive for a budget phone. Given that the Galaxy Note 4 has a 3.7 MP front camera, so this is actually a huge plus for the Lumia 535. Instagrammers can rejoice now that they can take better selfies on their Windows phones than those on other devices. And yes they are better than on any other camera currently out there.

The Windows OS is also as great as ever on the Lumia 535. It is still colorful and wonderfully simple to use, and the 535 comes with Cortana (the Windows equivalent of Siri) pre-installed.


The specs on the Lumia 535 are what really hold the phone back. The processor is a bit on the slow side, which makes the phone sluggish and often times non-responsive. The device also isn’t 4G capable…which is baffling, to say the least. I’m surprised that, in an age of 4G LTE, Microsoft would take the risk of making a phone only 3G capable in order to make it more budget friendly. There are plenty of budget friendly phones that are 4G capable, so I’m not entirely sure why Microsoft nixed it from the design.

Battery life is okay on the phone. Microsoft projects that the Lumia 535 can last for 13 hours over a 3G connection, which is fairly typical. The battery itself isn’t that powerful, but since it is powering a less than vibrant display and a sluggish processor, it doesn’t need that much juice.


To put it shortly, Microsoft did not impress with the Lumia 535, and that will give the line a rocky start for sure. While there are certainly worse phones in the Lumia line (I’m looking at you Lumia 530), it is a disappointment to see the first Microsoft Lumia be such a letdown. Hopefully the next Microsoft Lumia blows us all away and re-energizes the Windows market. While the five inch display is nice and roomy, it is hard to make up for the low end specs and lack of 4G connectivity. If you are in the market for a budget Windows phone, you are still better off settling for a Lumia 635, despite the lack of selfies.

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This is actually a pretty good phone for its price. I’ve used other WP 8.1 devices with 8 GB onboard memory and they work better than most android devices out there.

Abi Shaan
Abi Shaan

If only this phone came with 4G, it would be one of the hottest models in the market competing with Samsung, but not all dreams come true.. haha..

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