Nokia Lumia 530 unboxing and first impressions: old wine, new bottle

“At first glance, it looks like a mixed bag with some obvious advantages over its predecessor, but at the same time, not a very compelling offering in terms of the pure hardware”

Nokia might have slowed down in terms of device launches after being gobbled by software giant Microsoft, but doesn’t mean it’s down and out. The latest device to launch from its stable is the Lumia 530, which the brand hopes, will carry forward the legacy of the Lumia 520 in being a bestseller. Carrying budget pricing, the 530 also boasts quite a few features which weren’t available in its predecessor.

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The Nokia Lumia 530 has just hit our labs, and we’re going to welcome it with our traditional unboxing.

The rectangular-shaped cardboard box highlights the colourful exterior of the device at the front, while the back mentions the contents inside as well as key specs. Keeping things simple, pulling out the box from the outer cover reveals two compartments. While one side has the smartphone along with its battery and manuals tucked below, the other side houses the accessories which include a travel adapter along with the earphones. Sadly, there’s no micro-USB cable for transferring data between the phone and the computer.

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Coming to the Nokia Lumia 530 itself, it’s built around the same screen size as its predecessor, i.e. 4-inches. While it’s compact as before, there are subtle design changes when compared to the Lumia 520. The 530 sports curved edges and corners much like the recently-launched Lumia 630 (review | FAQs). In terms of handling, it feels really good in the hands and thanks to its compact dimensions, can easily be used by a single hand. Looking closely, you’ll also notice that it lacks a dedicated camera button as well as other hardware navigation buttons. Onscreen keys handle the navigation. The display bears a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, which is quite low from today’s standards, but Nokia has still managed to make it look vibrant.

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Unlike the 1GHz dual-core processor of the Lumia 520, the 525 gets a bump to a quad-core chipset in the form of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 clocked at 1.2GHz that ticks inside. Sadly, while the 520’s successor, the Lumia 525 doubled the RAM to 1GB, the latest contender moves back to square one with the same meagre 512MB. Of course, compared to Android, Windows Phone is much better in handling system resources and hence, it should work smoothly in all the cases. We’ll be in a better position to comment on it once we review the device, specifically trying out games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne. For storage as well, Nokia has halved the 8GB onboard memory of the 520 and offers 4GB flash storage with the device. Thankfully, a microSD card slot is available to expand it up to 128GB.

Keeping the tradition of colourful Lumia devices alive, the plastic rear panel of the Lumia 530 is available in a multitude of bright hues such as orange, green and more. Our review unit however, is in classic grey. Similar to the Lumia 520, the back cover extends to the edges and can be removed. Underneath, you’ll find a 1,430mAh battery and slots for a pair of SIM cards (micro-SIM type) and a microSD slot. Dual-SIM support is one of the key differences between the 525 and its predecessor, making it the second offering after the Lumia 630 to feature this. The first SIM slot supports 3G, while other connectivity features on board are Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and GPS.

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There’s not much to talk about the camera capabilities of the handset, since just like other budget Windows Phone from Nokia, it only has a rear camera with a fixed-focus 5-megapixel sensor minus the LED flash and no camera on the front either.

The Nokia Lumia 530 ships with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box, along with signature Nokia apps such as Here Maps for navigation and Nokia Camera. The latest version of WP brings several features to the device, which we’ll testing out in detail.

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The smartphone carries a budget pricing of around Rs 7,200 and faces competition from not only its predecessor, but the upcoming Micromax Canvas Win W092 (first impressions) as well. Not to mention WP’s arch-nemesis Android, which is seeing an upheaval in this segment with the arrival of devices like the Moto E (review | FAQs), ASUS Zenfone 4 (review | FAQs) and the soon-to-be-launched Xiaomi Redmi 1s (first impressions). At first glance, the Nokia Lumia 530 looks like a mixed bag with some obvious advantages over its predecessor, but at the same time, doesn’t seem very compelling in terms of pure hardware. We’ll find out soon enough whether our experience of using the Nokia Lumia 530 as our daily driver changes that opinion.

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