Microsoft Mobile has just introduced the Lumia 530 today. This is the first phone launched by them after Nokia was acquired by Microsoft and became known as Microsoft Mobile. Given that the Lumia 520 and Lumia 525 have been the main drivers behind the growth of Windows Phones due to their low prices, the Lumia  530 will be a very important release for Microsoft this year.

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The phone has a very typical Lumia design. It looks like a Lumia 620 more than its predecessors, which is nicer in my opinion. The edges are not as sharp so it might be more friendly to your hand when you hold it. There are 4 colors available, namely green, orange, black and white. The back covers are interchangeable too. They look good on polycarbonate but I do miss the yellow color found on other Lumias. It does not have capacitive keys or a camera shutter which means you have to use on screen navigation keys instead.

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While Lumia 530 is the successor for both phones mentioned earlier, the upgrade on hardware is not that significant. The main improvement will be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core 1.2GHz processor, which is quite a bump from the dual core 1.2GHz found on its predecessors. There are single sim and dual sim versions too. It also comes with Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Cyan update which is yet to be available for Lumia 520 and Lumia 525. This means that you can use Cortana, the personal digital assistant and also the other new features such as Action Center, Wordflow Keyboard and many more.

Not all aspects of the phone has received an upgrade. In fact, some parts are having a downgrade here.  The 4 inch screen is kept the same and its 512MB RAM is the same with Lumia 520 but it is a drop from the 1GB from Lumia 525. As Windows Phone can run smoothly on devices with 512MB of RAM, some demanding apps will not work on them. The 1430mAh battery capacity is also the same, which is fine as the battery life on Lumia 520 and 525 is not disappointing.

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The internal storage has also dropped to a pitiful 4GB. You definitely need to spare some budget to get a micro-SD card for Lumia 530. The good thing here is up to 128GB of micro-SD card is supported. The front camera is still absent and the rear camera is downgraded to a fixed-focus 5MP shooter. This means that you do not have auto focus and tap to focus here, which is a big deal.

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Lumia 530 is priced at 85 Euros ( RM370 or USD115) before tax, which is lower than the launching price for Lumia 520 and Lumia 525. In fact, the slightly higher-spec Lumia 630 has the same launching price with them. This means that Microsoft is trying to push the price of the Lumia line-up even lower so stay competitive. I would said this phone will be great for basic users given the price and more importantly, the free services such as FM radio, offline navigation and Microsoft Office. These will be important as normally people who choose these phones will not opt for a data plan.

However, I am not sure if Microsoft has overdone the cutting down. I would prefer to get a Lumia 525 which has the similar price if I wanted to try a Windows Phone as it has a better camera and 1GB of RAM. You can also find similar priced phones with Android such as Xiaomi Redmi 1s, Moto E or even ASUS ZenFone 4 (which will cost you RM299 only). Lumia 530 will have a better chance if its price can be lower than RM400 after tax. The battle of the budget phones is now fiercer than ever.

You can click here to learn more about Lumia 530.

[Update] Nokia Malaysia had announced that Lumia 530 will be available in Malaysia at retail price of RM355, which is a competitive price given that Moto E is priced at RM369.

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