Microsoft Lumia 435 review

A different breed of Windows Phone

TODO alt text


  • Mostly snappy OS navigation
  • Good value
  • Fun, friendly design


  • Dim, low-resolution screen
  • Processor stumbles easily
  • Battery inconsistent

The Microsoft Lumia 435 is an odd little phone. Immediately recognisable as a Lumia, given its bold colours and polycarbonate body, yet boasting sharper lines, a more boxy design and a Microsoft logo, this is a different breed of Windows Phone.

As the first 400-class device in the Lumia family, the Lumia 435 is designed to appeal to a different audience from its older siblings. It's for those graduating from their first feature phone, those looking for a device to hand their child, or those seeking a back-up.

Given the price point, this is clear to see. Available from under £60 ($95, around AU$12), and as low as £40 (around $62, AU$80) SIM-free and a mere £24.99 on PAYG in the UK, this is a low-risk investment. Yet, for this price, what do you get?

Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Typically, buying a 'good' smartphone for less than £100 ($150, AU$200) has been a difficult proposition. With every increment, more features are dropped. The 435 is competing with the likes of the ZTE Kis 3 Max, Vodafone Smart 4 Mini and not really much else. Regardless, the spec sheet is reasonably beefy.

The device touts a 4-inch 480 x 800 pixel screen (with 233ppi), a dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, a healthy 1GB of RAM, HSDPA+ connectivity and 8GB of internal storage. For the price, this is quite decent.

Despite this, for just a little bit more the Moto E (2015) has a better, bigger screen, more battery life, a better processor and 4G. The same is true of the Honor Holly - better specs for a little more money.

Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Both of these devices also have access to the superior Android app ecosystem. With such fierce competition, can the Lumia 435 successfully prove its worth?

Despite its budget price you won't be left with an ageing operating system as Microsoft has revealed that the Lumia 435 will be one of the first handsets to get Windows 10 Mobile when it launches later this year.

This should mean that the Lumia 435 will get a new lease of life when Microsoft drops its new mobile operating system, and it means this budget phone will remain somewhat future proof for the time being.


At first glance the Microsoft Lumia 435 has an unmistakable shape about it, almost unlike any other Lumia. I could see distinct design influences from Nokia's ill-fated X-series of forked Android devices.

After a long stare, however, it hits you: this is the successor to Nokia's Asha line of advanced feature phones, with their odd, angular aesthetic – especially the Asha 503.

Despite this unusual first impression, the Lumia certainly impresses. For the price, this device is solidly crafted.

With a tiny 4-inch screen, the 435 sits comfortably in almost any hand. The sides hug the palm snugly, with no sharp edges to be found. At 134g, the phone is light but not insubstantial, and the even weight distribution ensures that it has a nice balance, making texting on the go a pleasant experience.

Microsoft Lumia 435 review

With a removable back cover users have the option of a number of different colours; my unit came in a blindingly radioactive orange. The shell is constructed from a sturdy matte polycarbonate, meaning the 435 feels as though it can take hits in its stride.

When the back is removed, the MicroSD slot can be accessed to add in some supplementary storage, while the MicroSIM holding mechanism is hidden under the 1560 mAh battery.

The sides are relatively uncluttered in the normal Lumia style, with the power and volume keys all clustered on the right side of the phone, which is potentially something of a problem for left-handed users. All of the buttons have a nice click and are easy to tell apart, revealing some nice attention to detail.

Microsoft Lumia 435 review

As usual the USB is hidden away on the bottom, while a 3.5mm headphone jack is placed on top.

From the sides, the back rises in a gentle curve, much like the Lumia 930, with the contours easily hugging the palm. Sporting a single rear-firing speaker, the Microsoft branding and a fixed-focus 2MP camera, this is a mostly minimal affair.

The screen is where the first obvious sacrifice has been made, as it lacks Gorilla Glass. It doesn't have the distinct oleophobic coating that would otherwise allow it to shun fingerprints. Within minutes of using the Lumia 435, the screen hoarded my fingerprints as if they were going out of style; with regular use it will require the odd wipe.

Microsoft Lumia 435 review

This phone isn't going to win any style awards, nor will it be carried by Dolce & Gabbana any time soon. It is a comfortable utilitarian box, that's completely unthreatening.

As such, for the price and its intended audience, the Lumia 435 is something of a quiet triumph.