Lumia 530 Review -Budget Phone

When talking about Lumia phones, many still have to come to terms with the fact that it is Microsoft and not Nokia behind them. That said, all the credits and criticism at this point will still be pointed at Nokia. Early last month Microsoft announced the availability of Lumia 530 in the Kenyan market. This phone is significant in many ways especially if the script had remained the same….that is Nokia selling it and not Microsoft. First, it is the immediate successor to the top selling Lumia phone ever, Lumia 520 and it would be interesting to see how it will perform in the market. Secondly, it is a phone that is capable of competing with any entry level smartphone in the market at the moment and it is possible that Nokia thought this would be among the phones to help them regain their footing in the developing market like Kenya.

Talking about Kenya what do Kenyans consumers look for, when shopping for a phone? This is a long standing debate but roughly the following are some of the things that Kenyans look for in a smartphone.


Price is everything. Usually the conversation about buying a phone starts with the question of the budget. Like you want a phone what is your budget. Start with the budget then fits in the phones within the given price range. How about Lumia 530? It is an entry level smart phone retailing at Kshs 9,999 in Kenya. That price can be considered affordable to the majority of Kenyans who are looking to buy smartphones. Here is what Kingori Gitahi, Product Manager, Microsoft Devices Group said about the phone

“With high end apps, features and exceptional build quality at an amazing price, the Lumia 530 sets the benchmark for affordable smartphones. The Lumia 530 demonstrates our focus on welcoming more people to the Windows Phone ecosystem with amazing devices that light up Microsoft’s digital work and life experiences at an affordable price point.”

As expected, high praise indeed by Kingori but in terms of pricing he is on point. I will come back later to this pricing maneno and the so called growing Kenyans middle class and what type of phones they buy


The next thing is the location. In other words the availability of the phone. This might be seen as non-issue but because there are many shops in town which sell fake phones, knowing where to get the phone is important to most Kenyans when looking for a phone. So where do you get Lumia 530? Microsft Kenya has partnered with orange for the activation of the Lumia 530 and that means the phone is available in all the Orange shops countrywide. On top of that you can get the phone from the authorized dealer’s shops within the major towns. As you can see so far the first two things have nothing to do with the phone specifications.

The Beauty

I am always amazed at the number of Kenyans who make their mind about a phone based on the look or the color. From what I have observed it is a big deal to many people. The great thing about Nokia is that design wise they never disappoint and it does not matter whether you are talking about the high end or entry level point gadgets. I like the feel and the looks of the Lumia 530 but with things like this, it is always about the beholder. Small and comfortable to hold but these days small in the phone world does not necessarily mean great. So I went around the office asking randomly what people think about the phone at a glance and the verdict is most of them like it. One word for it colorful … it comes in bright green and orange as well as black and white.



Whether a phone is able to connect to 3G or 4G or 2G is a feature which most Kenyans put entirely on the doorstep of the mobile phone operator like Orange or Safaricom. Some phones especially on the low end are not capable of connecting to the 3G even where it is available. Network operators take all the sticks whenever subscribers feel like they can’t connect to the internet even in a situation where the problem is actually the phones they are using. Lumia 530 has basic features but surprisingly it is equipped for HSPA+ speeds …yes that is 4G.


Phones are rapidly replacing the external hard disks and already obsolete flash disks (well not yet but soon, just like floppy disks). Lumia 530 has internal memory of 4GB and can hold up to 128GB in external storage. On top of that the good people at Microsoft have started using their cloud nicely, meaning there is additional 18GB free cloud storage. As basic as Lumia 530 is, it has a storage capability of 150 GB…

Battery Life

This is one area that smartphone makers still lag behind. Battery life has remained problematic for all due to the increasing capabilities of new generations of smartphones. Lumia 530 has the Maximum talk time of 8.4 h with active or continuous 3G connections. So on paper the battery life is 8.4 but in reality, it is about 6 hours. That is disappointing, considering how good the battery of Nokia feature are


Sorry, Lumia 530 has no front facing camera for the selfies and that is not cool at all. The good people at Microsoft need to realize that with the current digital generation, selfies are the most important pictures ever. No flash too. In the positive side of the things, the phone has 5MP rear camera.


Operating System

Lumia 530 is available in both single SIM 3G and Dual SIM 3G and runs on Windows Phone 8.1. The Dual SIM 3G variant offers easy switching between two SIM cards. One interesting thing which I have seen on the Lumia 530 is what they call Word Flow keyboard, you can anticipate every word you write, for quicker chats. This is slightly different from word predictive feature which is completely annoying in most cases.


1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200…good performance


Why you should buy it

  • Affordable
  • Micro SD card support- storage space
  • Good performance
  • Easy to use

Why you need to think first

  • No front camera
  • No flash
  • Battery life



Kennedy Kachwanya1080 Posts

--- Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.


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