Offering reasonable performance combined with the security and productivity benefits of Windows Phone 8.1, the Lumia 535 is one of the best affordable handsets available to businesses.
Cheap, reasonable performance for its price, robust security, Windows Phone productivity services
Only 8GB internal storage, battery life could be better
€ 110 (around £90)
Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200
Display: 5in, qHD 960x540, 220 ppi, IPS LCD touch screen
Storage: 8GB, microSD, 1GB RAM
Camera: 5MP front and rear
Connectivity: 3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1
Microsoft confirmed plans to drop the Nokia brand from its devices almost immediately after completing the purchase of the Finnish firm's phone business.
Most buyers expected this to happen in the distant future and to see Microsoft release a top-end smartphone with cutting edge specifications. So when Microsoft revealed that its first own-brand phone, the Lumia 535, would be a budget affair, many buyers justifiably questioned the decision.
However, having finally got our hands on the affordable €110 (around £90) Windows Phone we have to say we're impressed.
Visually the Lumia 535 doesn't stray too far from the iconic design Nokia created and refined since it began making Windows Phones back in 2011.
The Lumia 535 is built from polycarbonate and comes with interchangeable cover options and the same colourful feel as its predecessor, the Lumia 530.
In fact, were it not for the polycarbonate cover's glossy, as opposed to matte, finish and the Microsoft logo on the front and back it would be all but indistinguishable from previous budget Lumia models.
This lack of changes to the Lumia design is a positive, in our view. Lumia devices have been a constant and welcome change from the multitude of grey and black handsets flooding the Android ecosystem.
In fact the Lumia designs are so unique that even Apple stood up and took notice, releasing a device that looked disturbingly similar to the Nokia Windows Phones, the iPhone 5C, in 2013.
We also found that the Lumia 535, while feeling nowhere near as top-end as higher priced handsets, does feel reasonably well built. Additionally, the rounded sides and travel friendly 140x72x8.8mm dimensions and 146g weight make the Lumia 535 reasonably comfortable to hold.
Our only problem with the design is that the green review unit chassis we got sent was prone to picking up scratches and scuff marks. Luckily the device can quickly be made to look respectable again by clicking on a new backplate, which can be purchased for a few quid.
Screen quality is always one of the first compromises when designing budget smartphones. Sadly this remains true on the Lumia 535, which comes with a 5in, qHD 960x540, 220 ppi, IPS LCD touch screen.
Comparing the screen with even slightly more expensive smartphones, such as the Motorola Moto G which features a 4.5in, 720x1280, 326ppi IPS LCD touchscreen, the Lumia 535's display is noticeably less sharp.
That said, we were reasonably impressed considering the Lumia 535's low price. Despite not being as crisp as we'd like, colours on the Lumia 535 are reasonably vibrant and screen brightness levels are noticeably higher than we'd expect on a sub-£100 smartphone.
While we'd like to have seen Microsoft include the Clearblack display tech seen on past Lumias such as the Lumia 930, we were happy to see the inclusion of a Sunlight readability enhancement. This lets the Lumia 535 detect when it's in adverse lighting conditions, such as direct sunlight, and tweak the screen settings to keep the display legible.
The screen does turn reflective in direct sunlight, but it remains fairly usable.
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