Nokia Lumia 530 Review - Camera, Battery Life and Verdict Review

Sections

Nokia Lumia 530 – Camera

One of the Nokia Lumia 530 cuts we’re most disappointed with is that it does not offer an autofocus camera, something that has to-date been seen in even pretty low-cost Nokia phones. Instead it has a fixed focus system.

This means you can’t really take proper close-ups, or choose a specific item to be in focus. It makes photography feel extremely rudimentary, even though with the Lumia 530 you get access to the same Nokia Camera app as the Nokia Lumia 930. It gives you access to manual controls, but we honestly don’t think there’s much point using them here.

Shooting is also very slow. There’s a delay of about 2.5 seconds between shots, and given there’s no focusing to account for, this is a very, very poor performance. Fixed focus cameras should really be quicker than their autofocus rivals, but the Lumia 530 is slower if anything.

Image quality is, as you might expect, not great. The 5-megapixel sensor isn’t capable of rendering all that much detail, and thanks to the small 1/4-inch sensor noise introduces pretty obviously as soon as light levels dip below the optimum.

We’re not going to trash it entirely, though. We’ve seen far more unnatural-looking or weak colours at this sort of entry-level spot, and while we noticed a tendency to underexpose in scenes with a bit of light variance (making us wish there was an HDR mode – there isn’t), it can deal with outdoors night-time show reasonably well.

Here are a few samples to demonstrate:

The Nokia Lumia 530 doesn’t have an LED flash or a front selfie cam. Aside from software borrowed from its brothers, the camera’s only real key feature is that it’s not completely dreadful.

Nokia Lumia 530 – Battery Life

The Nokia Lumia 530 has a removable battery, a 1430mAh unit that you can take out and replace if you’re brave enough to use spares from eBay. While we got a full day out of a charge with reasonably careful use, battery performance is not really all that great.

With a mid-day top-up, we still found the battery level was skirting the floor by bed time, and with fairly light use you’ll still chomp through about 5-10 per cent charge an hour.

We have a feeling this may be down to the kind of processor used. While low-powered, the Lumia 530’s 45nm processor architecture is a good deal less efficient than the 28nm type used in the older Lumia 520. Once again we’re left missing a phone announced more than 18 months ago.

For a less anecdotal take on the Lumia 530’s battery life we left it playing a looped MP4 video. It didn’t even make it to the four-hour mark, lasting for 207 minutes – just under three and a half hours. That’s dreadful stamina, and a sign that we only got through the day because using this phone dissuades you from doing too much web browsing or gaming.

Nokia Lumia 530 – Call Quality and Sound Quality

There are loads of cutbacks in the Nokia Lumia 530. However, we still found call quality to be reasonably, with the usual robust sound we expect from Nokia.

The maximum volume of the internal speaker is unusually high for an entry-level phone too. It really pushes the tiny driver. Unfortunately this does show through in the sound quality a bit. The Lumia 530 does have a rather grating effect on the ear at top volume.

Should I buy the Nokia Lumia 530?

The Nokia Lumia 530 is a phone that saddens us. Last year, Nokia re-established itself as a great force in budget phones with mobiles like the Lumia 520 and Lumia 620.

They looked good, they felt good, worked well – and they sold by the truckload as a result.

The Nokia Lumia 530 is a phone that runs off the fumes of this initial momentum, and it feels like a cash-in on the goodwill the company worked for last year. Corners have been cut at almost every turn, and every viable cut to the hardware has been made – no doubt with the aim of increasing the profit margins earned from the excellent Lumia 520.

Where the Lumia 520 seemed like a bargain, the Lumia 530 now feels overpriced if anything – having been trumped by so many phones in the year between the two models. Our top tip – grab a Lumia 520 while it’s still on shelves. For all its faults, the Nokia Lumia 530 is still a workable phone with some minor charms. But it’s ultimately a disappointment.

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 530 cuts out every little extra, streamlines every feature to save money. But it does so to too great a degree, offering a worse experience than either its now-cheaper predecessor or the many Android alternatives.

Read our round-up of the best mobile phones

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 6
  • Camera 5
  • Design 7
  • Battery Life 5
  • Value 6
  • Software 8
  • Calls & Sound 7
  • Screen Quality 5

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.