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Nokia Lumia 530 review

A small smartphone for a small price

Nokia Lumia 530 review
Big boots to fill - but the Lumia 530's feet just aren't big enough

Our Verdict

The Lumia 530 wants to claim the budget crown in the face of stiff Android competition. It's a valiant effort that represents good value for money, but it's a case of two steps forward and one step back for Nokia.


  • Very cheap
  • Micro SD card support
  • Snappy performance
  • Easy to use one-handed


  • No front camera
  • No flash
  • Limited battery life
  • Fairly poor display

There's no mistaking Nokia's aim with the Lumia 530: the budget phone designed to clean up in the entry level market, just as its predecessor did.

The Nokia Lumia 520 was the top selling Windows Phone handset ever. The 530 brings a few improvements to bear, but retains the brightly coloured plastic body, solitary 5MP camera, and diminutive 4-inch screen.

But here's the issue already with the new model: it's not different enough from the 520 to justify an upgrade.

There's a slight boost to the screen resolution, now 854 x 480 pixels, and a newer 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, but Nokia really has feature phone holdouts and budget shoppers looking to switch from Android in its sights here, and as such needs to be hitting this market harder.

Pricing is even more aggressive this time round though, as you won't have to pay more than £90 (around $150, AU$160) for a SIM-free Lumia 530. In fact, in the UK, O2 is offering it for £80 and Carphone Warehouse has it for just £70 on PAYG (Pay As You Go).

Nokia Lumia 530

This is a seriously cheap smartphone

One step down from the impressive Lumia 630, the Lumia 530 is going up against competitors like the Moto E, Sony Xperia E1, and Samsung Galaxy Fame.

Making decent quality phones at knock-down prices has always been one of Nokia's strengths. Can you buy a better smartphone than the Lumia 530 for this kind of money? Let's find out.

Nokia Lumia 530

You get what you pay for, so does cheaper mean poor quality?


All of the phones in this price bracket seem to be rounded and chubby and the Lumia 530 is no exception. It's also a paid up member of the funky colour club, with bright green or orange options. Thankfully these are buoyed by black and white choices for more conservative customers.

The Lumia 530 is pretty average for a budget phone in terms of size, weighing in at 129g and measuring 119.7 x 62.3 x 11.7mm.

Nokia Lumia 530

Like most Nokia phones you can get the Lumia 530 in a range of fun colours

The plastic back panel is smooth and comfortable to hold, though it offers little in the way of grip. There's a small opening for the speaker near the bottom, a Nokia logo in the middle, and the camera lens near the top.

Nokia Lumia 530

Small and comfortable to hold in one hand

The left spine of the Lumia 530 is naked. Up top there's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack while the bottom edge is home to the micro USB port. The right spine has the volume rocker with the power button below it... all in all, the Lumia 530 is very easy to use one-handed.

Nokia Lumia 530

Button are kept to one side of the handset

You'll have to prise the back panel off to access the SIM and microSD card slots that are tucked under the removable battery, but at least it's good to see both on offer.

Four inches is starting to look distinctly small in the display department. Although there's a jump in resolution compared to the 520, the 854 x 480 pixel resolution gives the 530's display a fairly disappointing pixel density of 245ppi.

Nokia Lumia 530

Even Apple has moved away from smaller phones

If you've had any experience with higher end phones then you're going to notice the limited brightness, poor contrast, and generally washed out look, although to be fair it's about average for a budget phone. It doesn't match the Moto E, but it's slightly better than the Xperia E1, on paper at least.