Nokia Lumia 530 review: A plus-sized model among zero-size phones

Written by Leela Prasad | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 19 2014, 00:39am hrs
Lumia 530The Lumia 530 is priced Rs 8,199
It is that time of the year again when you break the bank, rummage through your savings to be a willing participant of the festive Dhamaka sale. It is October, the month of Diwali. And it is snowing. Snow flakes of different hues green, orange, white and black appear to float down like a cascade of matrix code. Lumia, derived from the Finnish word for snow, has just brightened the mood by coming out with the Lumia 530.

The 530 has a strong lineage. Its roots can be traced all the way back to the 510, the first of the three affordable models released in the Lumia series. Then came along the 520, a major upgrade over its predecessor, which was the highest selling Nokia Lumia phone in 2013. Without delving too much into genetics, the 530 carries the same genomes as its parents but can it prove to be a worthwhile successor to the 500 series Lumia family

Key specs: 4-inch LCD capacitive 480854 resolution, Windows 8.1, 1.2 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad core processor, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory expandable up to 128 GB, 5 MP camera, 1430 mAh battery.

Design and display

If the brain tissue of the designer behind the 530 were to come under the scalpel of a neuroscientist to study what was going through his/her head whilst designing the phone, then the results would read like a scene from a neo-noir film.

Scene 1: Nokia headquarters Night

It is raining. Dark clouds swirl overhead. Trees sway like the crowd at a Gas Light Anthem concert.

A table stands in the centre of a gleaming, white-tiled floor. Two tall figures, wearing lab coats, ponder over a set of coloured Lego blocks, studying each with close interest.

Figure 1: I always used to play with these as a kid.

Figure 2 (POV): Now, we can play with these once again (holding an orange Lego block).

The two designers must have used a hammer and chisel to carefully sculpt those Lego bricks into the shape of a Lumia 530. The 530 feels sturdy, firm in your grip, and comfortably heavy in the pocket. It is, perhaps, Nokias answer to wafer-thin phones, designed with anorexic supermodels in mind. It is more on the lines of if you have it, flaunt it.

Screen: Its four-inch screen certainly matches the iPhone in size, but is no different from the 630 in quality. If one were to cherry-pick words from the lexicon of clichs then they would heavily apply those to describe the screen quality. Its smudge-magnet screen means that it probably might end up in the evidence room of a forensics department. Nokia certainly plunged into a massive guilt-trip for not shipping the 530 with a Gorilla Glass 3 coat and bumped up the screen resolution to 480854 same as the 630 as compensation. And, yes, the usual yada yada like screen visibility outdoors, viewing angles, colour contrast are best left blank.

Interface: When it comes to describing the 530s interface, one cannot do justice by stringing together letters to form a gargantuan, self-praising adjective. The best way is to borrow from the ever-evolving, colourful street slang. The word we were looking for her is DOPE. Microsofts trump card, its customisable live tiles does all the heavy-lifting.

Storage: 4 GB internal, expandable up to 128 GB

Performance: No complaints.

Camera: From those heady days of Nokia 6020, smartphones with built-in cameras have rapidly progressed to a point that even 5 MP cameras seem like a second graders pin-hole camera, which is loosely held together from falling apart with mashed rice acting as glue.

Without pegionholing every 5 MP camera phone, we would like to say that the 530s camera is like one of those now, extinct Kodak disposable cameras. Just click and save. It does, however, have a few basic tweaks like white balance, exposure and ISO, but nothing fancy. However, you can take pictures in different pre-set scenes like close-up, night, sports etc. It does not come with a panoramic shot option, but can take 16 pictures in burst mode.

And like an annoying middle-grade math teacher who always insists on repeating tables at the beginning of class, Nokia appears hell-bent on repeating the same by not providing front-camera and flash for Lumia phones priced below Rs 10,000.

Battery: At full use, its 1430 mAh should have enough juice left after 12 hours.

Verdict: The 530 is like a plus-sized model amongst zero-size phones, which is a welcome change. But it definitely is not the successor that would make the 520 proud. The 530 can stand out, but cannot eat up and spit out its competition.

At Rs 8,199, the 530 seems a lot steep when compared to other available options. But if you are feeling a bit festive and do not want to lose all your saving at a game of cards on Diwali, then you can get this at 28% discount online.