Microsoft Lumia 535 in-depth review - Inaugural handset fails to impress

 Microsoft Lumia 535 Review - Inaugural handset fails to impress

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/18/2014 3:05:14 PM


out of 10



out of 5

Look and feel


out of 5

Ease of use


out of 5



out of 5

Battery life


Flagship level features | Changeable case and matching accessories available | Incredibly budget-friendly price point


Under-powered processor | No 4G LTE | Known touchscreen bugs | Very average screen

The Microsoft 535 will be remembered for a long time for being the first one to bear Microsoft’s logo across the back instead of Nokia’s. With a choice of matching accessories it remains to be seen if it becomes a device of choice for those after a head-turning option without breaking the bank.

Microsoft Lumia 535: Look and Feel

Blindingly bright is the first phrase that popped to mind when I saw the phone, but then Lumias have carved a niche for themselves within the staid world of smartphones with their flash propositions. Ours was an almost neon green that seemed to exude brightness to such a degree that I found myself checking to see if it was bleeding colour…

Although numbers have usually meant a bigger phone with the, frankly, gargantuan 1520 ruling the size roost, the 535 should have meant a petite little beauty- no sir!

The Lumia 535 is a frankly not to be sneezed at…5.5-inches body with a 5-inch screen and neither is the weight easy to forget at 146 g. The covers are interchangeable and at that price point, you will be able to match one with your outfit everyday. It is quite easy to take the cover off without chipping your nails and the battery too is removable. Sadly the cover isn't oleophobic and you will find yourselff wiping the phone down just to see through the cloud of fingerprints.

Don’t get me wrong, you will never be in any doubts about the price of the handset and it doesn't look premium in any respect. On the back, the camera lens protrudes slightly but not as much as that of the Lumia 1020. 

Microsoft Lumia 535: OS and performance

It is a Windows phone and that is both the best and worst thing about it. Running Windows 8.1 with Denim updates, the Lumia 535 runs the whole suite of productivity apps like OneNote, Office 365, Outlook, Skype, Cortana (beta) and OneDrive and this makes syncing, moving and saving documents a dream. 

The phone comes with Skype preloaded as well as MixRadio so entertainment will never be in short supply.

Cortana’s beta version is faster, easier to use and peppered with references about your actual likes and dislikes- some of which you had forgotten Microsoft knew about! So it is a great party trick to have on your phone!

Gone are the days when the best apps were the forte of iOS and Android, the Windows App and Games Store is now brimming with options, however, downloading the CBeebies Playtime app on the phone’s puny 8GB storage space meant everything getting very very cramped indeed.

Although it packs everything that we have seen in previously released Lumias, there was nothing brag-y, shiny, new and fantastic about the 535, expect perhaps its rainbow hued cover. So, as the first device to flash the Microsoft name, the Lumia 535 does not have any stand-out features.

With no NFC and 4G LTE the processor is the only aspect of the phone that lets it down- in a world where you can get quad-core Snapdragon 800 and 850 processors, the 1GB RAM and a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 brain makes it a midget amongst giants. 

We wouldn't have expected better for the price point and admittedly, you will be able to carry out day-to-day functions absolutely fine with it, but the phone will struggle and crash if you need it to multitask.  

Microsoft Lumia 535: Look and Feel 

5-MP cameras on both front and back makes for a very attractive proposition. The selfie camera comes with an array of filters that is sure to be a hit with younger consumers. 

Here's our selfie using it- will definitely not be winning any prizes for it...

Microsoft Lumia 535: Verdict

Brilliant price point at under £110 and packing all the features of its pricier stable-mates, Microsoft’s first phone to bear its name is startlingly devoid of punchy new features and tricks. 

An identikit Lumia phone with a sluggish processor, we had hoped for more… Perhaps the next one will sweep us off our feet.

The phone will be priced under £110 and be available in the UK in early 2015.