Microsoft Lumia 532 Dual SIM Review – The Second Cheapest Lumia

As we know, the after taking over Nokia’s devices unit, Microsoft focused on the low-end and budget smartphones running their own OS. The Lumia 532 is not only one of those Lumia devices printing “Microsoft” on the phone but it’s also one of the two most affordable Lumia smartphones ever introduced – to name it the other one is Lumia 435. The dual SIM version of the Lumia 532 has been trialed and the review you can find after the break.

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Just take into account that Lumia 532 DS (dual SIM) is pre-loaded with Windows Phone 8.1 and Lumia Denim software update. The screen size is 4 inch with transmissive LCD and resolution of 800×480 pixels – it’s around 233 pixels per inch. 1560mAh battery is backing it up. 1.2 GHz dual-core processor is on board with Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC along with 1GB of RAM. Expandable memory with up to 128 GB via micro SD card is supported as well as 8 GB of mass storage is available on the phone. On imaging part, the Lumia 532 equips with a 5 megapixels fixed focus primary camera and as well a VGA camera on the front.

Take a look at the unboxing of Lumia 532 which we did a couple of days ago.

If you plan on purchasing one, please note what you get in the sales package along with the device. It’s a charger and the headphones. There will be no data/connectivity cable just like other recent low-end or budget smartphone from Microsoft. You will have it all for only Rs. 12,000/- yes! it’s the second most affordable Lumia smartphone.

The Hardware, Design and Build

Now when the smartphone world has gone to touch bigger sized displays, the screen like 4″ already tells you that it’s a budget phone – I remember when 3.5 or 4 inch screens also served higher-end specifications. Anyway going with the time and fashion, the Lumia 532 with its 4″ display is sure a low-end Lumia device but for the value, it has a lot to serve as a good smartphone for huge base of consumers.

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When you are reading, you must think that a phone with 4″ screen must be handful for many. It is, at some extent but its thickness is something that still makes me wonder, why Microsoft needed to make it as fat as 11.6 mm.

Looking at it, really make you feel it’s not really good for its thickness but it’s gripping isn’t that uncomfortable as it seems. However unlike any slim and plainly finished device, the Lumia 532 is unlikely to slip from your hands. But in your pockets, it is more prominent than enough.

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Lumia 532 – The thickness and glossy finish on the borders

The first impressions will make you think about the Nokia Asha series phones as well as some about the Nokia X. With glossy finish the edges are sharp on the sides and the corners while the on the back the cover is slightly curved. Thickness apart, the design is compact and solid.

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Following the common design line, top side of the phone hosts a 3.5 mm headphone jack while the bottom side sports a micro USB port for connectivity and charging purposes. On the right side of the phone, two keys for volume control and a power button. Unlike many Lumia devices, the Lumia 532 features a fixed focus camera hence the dedicated hardware camera key is not present on the device – you will need to use a the on-screen camera capture key.

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There is nothing on the left side.

Look at the front, the top portion has the “Microsoft” branding under the earpiece which is just on the edge of the glass meeting with the back cover. A front facing camera is also present on the right corner along with the proximity and ambient light sensors.

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Standard Windows Phone navigation – back, home and search – keys under the display with a mouthpiece on the glass-edge.

On the rear view, we have have 5 megapixels camera with no light or flash on the top side and speaker grille on the bottom. The center prints the manufacturer logo. Back side of the cover is matte and really catchy.

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Opening the back cover is similar to what low-end and budget phones from Nokia have been designed with push from the center-back while taking the cover up from top corners.

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The first attempt is not that good but later it goes friendly.

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Like always with Nokia (formerly), the Microsoft’s devices do not seem to make hot-swap anytime soon in their devices. In Lumia 532, the battery needs to be removed first to reveal the two SIM slots parallel to each other and a micro SD card slot at the top side.

First Look on the Lumia 532 [Video]

It was our first start with the Microsoft branding Lumia device and it was not that good to see a purple dot (or cursor) on the corner with the logo in the middle. Also in an unimpressive way, a short press of the power key starts the phone with a deep breath before it vibrates as a boot-up signal.

The overall design is quite good and we’ll not blame it for the thickness only.

Display

If you are not yet addicted of large screens (even in budget phones), then 4″ display of Lumia 532 will be more than fine for you as it’s not that small as we have used 3.5″ displays much easily before the rise of larger displays. Getting to the point, the display on the device we have here is not even an IPS and did not impress us at all in outdoors. Thanks to the “Sunlight readability” feature that helps a little bit outside. So let’s just talk about the indoors which is most usable time of the phone.

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The 4″ display, however, delivers good pixel density at 233 PPI with the resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The screen size with this resolution is not bad combination for reading experience. Viewing angles are not too good which struggle to show something to two of you. More simply if you, with your partner, are watching a movie, it will not be real good experience. What left is the sticking to your phone from direct as mostly would you. There you will have quite sharp and vibrant colors with easy to read text due to a good pixels density. If you are worried to know about finger prints on the screen then yes, it does get some quickly but much better than many.

We were impressed to see the Glance screen support on this non-AMOLED display as well as the double-tap to wake feature. They both are really useful features if you believe it or not.

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Outdoor visibility does have impact when comparing two devices, however considering the rare chances you use your phone outside in direct sunlight, the score to deduct would rather be low. But be noted the camera feature is what has equal probability of being used indoors or outdoors so let me tell you that it’s real hard to use camera outside in direct sunlight when you will be looking at the view finder.

The Software and UI

Lumia 532 comes with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim software pre-loaded. The dual SIM version comes with special features which are really friendly operating between two SIM cards whether you are calling or sending text messages. Other than the Dual SIM option in 8.1 there are various other features including the notification center, start screen and themes, the storage and data sense, Wi-Fi sense. VPN support over IKEv2 and L2TP with IPSec.

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If you have read the list of features in the Windows Phone 8.1. Background customization and the start screen customization are two of them. Lock screen can be customized with desired notification items as well as notes from various supported apps like calendar. On the other hand the start screen can be customized with the background behind the tiles that floats as you scroll up and down on the screen.

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A new new third column option is also present in Windows Phone 8.1. You can see the 3rd and 4th screenshot above with the settings interface and start screen with extra space on the 3rd column. Practically you will find it more useful and brilliant on the high resolution devices and not like the Lumia 532 as the smaller tiles were not really friendly for me.

As mentioned above, Windows Phone 8.1 introduces the support of dual SIM into Windows Phone devices with some exclusive user interfaces you will see below.

Dual SIM Support:

Windows Phone 8.1 gives a distinct way of presenting you with the different tiles for both the SIM cards for calls and messages. By default you can initiate call or text message by tapping on the relevant SIM tile. The Phone app presents the history of calls and other information that is related to the SIM you entered with into the Phone app. 2nd screen below shows the SIM1 history when I tap on the SIM1 Phone tile.

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But additionally there is an option to link both the Phone tiles that will present all the phone calls history from both the SIMs in one screen. When in a Phone app, you have the option to link the it to other Phone tile.

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Once linked, you can see all the history in one screen with all the calls from both the SIMs. Every log entry then labeled with the SIM information it’s related to as shown in the most right screenshot above. You can always unlink them if it suites you better.

Messaging behavior is also just like that you can link two separate listing and management of text messages on both of your SIMs. You can choose right in the composer which SIM to use to send this text message.

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If you don’t like the way of linked information, you can just unlink them back to see individual conversations from both SIMs.

The dialer screen also serves the option to switch over the SIM you want to dial the number with. The other facility in the dialer interface is the Skype integrity Windows Phone 8.1 introduces in the OS.

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When you call a number, the next screen provides you with a few options including the new one introduced in Windows Phone 8.1, “Skype”.

Official: You can switch from a voice call to a video call if you and the person you’re talking to are both signed in to a compatible video-calling app, such a Skype, and both have the app installed on your phones. When you do this, your cellular voice call will end and a new video call will start right from there. This feature isn’t available on Windows Phone 8.

Overall Windows Phone OS is growing and Microsoft trying best to bring to their smartphone OS with the upcoming Windows 10 and we are expecting it to be good among competition.

I wonder why don’t anyone talk about the clipboard life in the Windows Phone. If you have not noticed yet, then the copy/paste content through the system only lives before you lock the device. Once you lock the Windows Phone device, any thing in the clipboard will be destroyed. That’s not convenient for me at least. Microsoft should really make upgrade the feature for better use.

Camera performance and User Interface

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Now you know that Lumia 532 comes with a 5 megapixels primary camera and it has no flash. There is no dedicated camera button on the phone for quick shooting and it’s fixed focus camera. The good thing is that now Lumia devices come with Lumia Camera (formerly Nokia Camera) as default camera app which delivers competitive user experience with its manual controls.

For the camera specifications, the images from the camera are not that bad to be shared. But of course we’ll give the credits to the “Lumia Camera” app for the manual control. Or otherwise in low light the the auto settings won’t be impressive.

 

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Some low light or night shots are listed below which were taken with manual settings at lower ISO sensitivity to have lowest possible noise. I had to keep my hands steady with this as with lower ISO the camera will use slower shutter speeds and make it more likely to take shaky objects in the image.

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You need to know that the camera can not go further down from 1 second for exposure. In fact 1 second is more than enough to introduce shaky objects in your image. If your hands are steady enough then you can take a bit good image (with no moving subject) with a little faster than half a second of exposure.

Just to see a difference how auto settings of cameras perform in most smartphones today with the manual settings from Lumia Camera, look at the following photos.

(Left – auto camera settings) (Right – manual camera settings)

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Overall the camera is average in day light however the low light images can be better with manual settings. Considering a low budget phone they are not that bad and for sharing they are fine for you.

Battery and Power Performance

Lumia 532 is packed with a 1560 mAh battery which is removable. For such a phone this battery has moderate power backup. Like always, during our trial, we used the phone as our primary phone the whole day for more than a week and found it really well capable of staying live more than 15 hours easily with all sensors and connectivity options turned on. Browsing and surfing on the web through Wi-Fi when ever available or otherwise on the 3G all the time (Note that Lumia 532 does not offer 4G/LTE connectivity). Considering, it’s a dual SIM phone, the data will be available through only one SIM you choose for data.

The regular phone usage include calling, text messaging, browsing over web, surfing on social networks, discussions on instant messaging, gaming (no heavy), music, online video playback etc. Also note that we do not turn off background apps for push notifications for the testing the performance.

Overall, the battery performed well with no objections.

Verdict and Conclusion

We assume you have read all above and found a few objection we have made over the factors like the fat design and the display performance in direct sunlight. However including 1 GB of RAM in the low-end budget phones, Microsoft has done an appreciable job. Considering the fact as Windows Phone is not a memory hog operating system, the 1 GB of RAM is healthy addition to the budget phones.

For Rs. 12,000/- the Lumia 532 with dual SIM support is a good option to choose among other brands’ budget phones. Yes because most of them run on Android OS which is really not comparable for performance on a phone with 1GB RAM and in the Windows Phone, we believe you will get most of what you need. For starting, the Lumia 532 is a good option for you.

But the clause, I want to mention again is about the display quality outside. If you really care about its visibility and readability when you are you under direct sunlight, Lumia 532 will make you struggle with it. So make your choice accordingly.

If you want your first smartphone for even lower price, you may wait for another review of a sibling Lumia 435 Dual SIM which we are trying to bring soon.