Microsoft Lumia 535 review

Microsoft's first smartphone sans-Nokia branding is the Lumia 535. We went hands on with the smartphone to see if there's life after Nokia for the Lumia.
Microsoft Lumia 535 review


The 535 is the first smartphone in the Lumia family to shed the Nokia brand, after the Finnish company was taken over by Microsoft in April 2014. Bill Gates’ firm may be a renowned household name for its computing software, but can it make it alone in the smartphone world? Let’s find out…


  • Removable plastic shell
  • Two 5MP cameras
  • Inbuilt virtual assistant


  • Slow scrolling experience
  • Low-powered screen


The 535 has a removable polycarbonate (or ‘plastic’ to us normal people) rear, which is available in a selection of colours including green, orange, black, grey, white and blue. The cover can be simply clicked off and underneath you’ll find the removable battery and SIM card slot.

On the front of the phone is a 5-inch screen, which is a whole inch bigger than its predecessor Lumia 520. The 535 is a good size, but it doesn’t have the brightest display we’ve ever seen. Blacks aren’t as deep as they’ve been on past Lumia products, and colours seem less vibrant.


As Microsoft manufactures the Lumia 535, the phone runs on Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. With it you will have access to more apps than ever previously available from the Windows Phone store, including social media channels like Twitter and Instagram.

The 535 is preinstalled with video-chatting app, Skype and everyone’s favourite, Facebook. But, if that doesn’t sound like enough bang for your buck, you can now enjoy your very own personal assistant.

Cortana made a name for herself in Xbox’s Halo videogame series, and is now present on the Lumia 535 to help you out with everyday stuff. Maybe you need reminding to post that letter on your way to work, or you’d appreciate being woken up that little bit earlier because the traffic is bad – Cortana has got your covered.


The 535 has two cameras, one on the front and one on the back. They’re both 5 megapixels and are capable of taking great photos. Capturing the perfect shot can be made easier by using the Lumia Camera’s many modes, allowing you to alter loads of settings from shutter speed to brightness. There’s also a powerful flash on board and the ability to record videos.


There are loads of games available from Microsoft’s Xbox games collection, including the ever-popular Plants vs. Zombies and Cut The Rope, both of which offer a ‘try before you buy’ service. Unfortunately, the processor inside the 535, which looks after how fast the phone can operate, isn’t the most powerful. As a result you may find that games don’t run as smoothly as you might hope.

On the other hand however, there is a great battery in the 535 with a large 1905mAh capacity. Compared to the 520’s 1430mAh battery, it’s streets ahead, ultimately meaning you won’t find yourself running low on charge before the end of the day.


It seems odd that Microsoft has chosen to produce a mid-range handset for its debut model. The 535 is great if you’re looking for a practical smartphone with an affordable price tag, but the flagship products from the likes of Sony and Samsung don’t have anything to worry about yet.

Microsoft obviously has the resource for greatness, so perhaps it’s just a matter of time before we see something groundbreaking from the American company.

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Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant, is designed to boost productivity and make your life simple.
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