Before I get into the review, I would like to make clear; I have no associations with Microsoft, Telstra or BigW. It was just a coincidence that Telstra/BigW were selling the Telstra network-locked Lumia 532 for $19, thus I bought one.
As per my usual reviews, this review will not focus on the technicalities or features, etc. It will focus solely on my personal experience with the device, what I liked and disliked about it; along with my opinion on whether the device is actually usable or another display piece for the shelves.
In my Nokia Asha 503 Review. I mentioned that Microsoft killed off the Asha line-up (which was a great idea by the way), in favour of delivering cheap Windows Phone-based Lumia devices. The Lumia 532 is one of the products created from this initiative.
What comes in the package is pretty standard.
- Lumia 532 device (with back cover pre-attached)
- 1 battery
- 1 charger (Mains to USB converter)
- USB cable (USB to micro USB)
- pair of headphones
- user manual
As the device I bought is Telstra branded, I also got a prepaid Telstra SIM/starter pack and a prepaid mobile recycling bag to recycle a old mobile phone.
The very first thing you’ll notice when you see the Lumia 532 is it looks almost identical to a Asha devices, less the clear plastic layer.
On closer inspection, you will notice the design of the Lumia 532 is more refined, and contrary to what has been communicated to the public in the past, only high-end devices would get dedicated capacitive touch buttons, the Lumia 532 has dedicated capacitive touch buttons – but sadly they’re not back-lit though. This can be a bit of a problem to use at night.
The larger 4″ capacitive touch screen coupled with the well refined Windows Phone 8.1 OS means the Lumia 532 is usable – but I would advise people with chunky fingers to look for a device with a 4.5″ or larger screen (it’s still usable, but user experience would suffer a little).
Last point on design, the screen resolution is a nice 800×480, giving it a ~233ppi, which is much higher than other alternatives at this price range.
To my surprise (though I shouldn’t be surprised, as Windows Phone running smoothly on dual-core devices), the Lumia 532 running on the (quad-core) Snapdragon 200 chipset is very snappy.
In general usage, the Lumia 532 is as snappy as the Lumia 930. I’ve yet to come across any lag (do note: I do not play games). The Lumia 930 does have its lead when it comes to core processing tasks such as starting up, loading apps, etc. but the ‘noticeable’ difference is minimal.
The camera is a bit of an interesting area. Microsoft has seemed to taken a bit of a one-step forward and one-step backward position.
They have decided to remove the LED Flash light (present in the Asha 503), but compensated for it with a secondary front-facing camera. Now you can have proper Skype calls, Skype calls are just not the same if you cannot see the other person.
They have also done a similar thing on the software side too. The Lumia Camera app brings all the goodness that is the Lumia Camera app (manual controls of ISO, Shutter Speed, etc). But for some strange reason they’ve removed the ability to focus. So you cannot specify a particular spot to focus. I hope Microsoft resolves this in a future OS/firmware update.
In terms of camera performance, it’s a pretty good performer, it captures better low light photos than my dated Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Overall I am very happy with the Lumia 532 and would gladly recommend it to others looking for a budget friendly smartphone (or for the kids). It is the first budget friendly smartphone I have come across in the sub AUD100 price range that is actually usable and provides the full smartphone experience.