Thursday, October 19

The Lumia 535 is the first Microsoft-branded smartphone

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While Microsoft has launched a number of Lumia phones since its purchase of Nokia’s Devices division earlier this year, they have all retained the Nokia name. But we knew that had to end soon—the publicly announced terms of the sale told us that much—and today it does. The Microsoft Lumia 535 is adorned not with the Nokia name but with Microsoft’s.

Compared to the lacklustre Lumia 530, the Lumia 535 looks like a healthy step up. The screen is bigger, at five inches compared to four, and higher resolution, at 960×540 compared to 854×480. It’s also better quality, using IPS technology and a Gorilla Glass 3 protective layer. The processor is the same, a 1.2 GHz quad core Snapdragon 200, but the RAM has been doubled to 1GB, thereby eliminating most or all compatibility issues with games. Internal storage is doubled, too, to 8GB.

The biggest upgrade, though, is to the cameras. The rear camera retains the 5MP resolution, but it’s now an autofocus unit instead of fixed focus, and it adds an LED flash. The 535 also includes a front-facing camera with the same 5MP resolution.

The 535 also reinstates weird omissions from the 530, such as the missing ambient light sensor. Altogether, it looks like a strong upgrade to the Lumia 530, one that turns it into the true successor to the cheap and cheerful Lumia 520 that we really wanted.

Like so many other Lumias before, the 535 will be available in a variety of colors. There will be both single SIM and dual SIM versions, with the only slight fly in the ointment being that it’s a strictly 3G device with no LTE capability.

The Lumia 535 will be available later this month in China, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh, starting at €110 (about $135).