Lumia 520 vs Lumia 530: the most popular Windows Phone gets a successor, but is it worthy?

Lumia 520 vs Lumia 530: the most popular Windows Phone gets a successor, but is it worthy?

If you’ve kept yourself updated with the latest in tech news, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the newly released Lumia 530. Equipped with a slightly higher resolution screen, a quad core CPU, and Windows Phone 8.1, is this new device really the successor to the most popular Windows Phone device? Read on to find out.

The Lumia 520 was described as the best budget device on the market for a very long time. But the popularity of the Lumia 520 didn’t end there, even after having been superseded by the Lumia 525, the Lumia 520 still retained the spot for the most popular Windows Phone device of all time, primarily because it provided a premium smartphone experience at a fraction of the price.

I won’t talk a whole lot about design because that is more of a personal preference, but I would just like to say that the Lumia 520’s design was much more appealing to me compared to the Lumia 530. Moving on, the devices do have their fair share of similarities, but don’t let that confuse you as the devices do differ quite a bit when it comes to the internal specs.

Starting with the screens, both phones sport a 4-inch display, albeit the Lumia 530 stands a bit higher in terms of PPI and resolution, but you would need to squint to see a difference and the extra resolution is basically for the new on-screen buttons. It is also worth noting that the Lumia 530 has a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to the 15:9 on the 520. In short, this small difference would reduce the black bars you see while watching movies (and other 16:9 content). However Nokia opted for a lower quality TFT LCD screen instead of the IPS LCD found on the Lumia 520. You also lose the “super sensitive touch” feature with the Lumia 530.

Lumia 520 vs Lumia 530: the most popular Windows Phone gets a successor, but is it worthy?

If you’ve seen any of Nokia’s new videos on the Lumia 530 (or read the specifications), the quad-core CPU is highlighted as one of the new “improvements” but higher clock speed and more cores do not always result in better performance. The older Lumia 520 used a pair of dual core Cortex-A9 cores whereas the Lumia 530 device uses four Cortex A5 cores. In addition to this, the Lumia 520 has an Adreno 305 GPU as opposed to the Adreno 302 found on the Lumia 530.

How much of a difference does this make? Well in short the Lumia 520 should provide you with much better performance in apps and games compared to the Lumia 530. Both phones still have 512 MB RAM, which limits the number of games you can download from the Windows Phone Store, but apps are being optimized for 512 MB RAM, the most recent one being Subway Surfers.

For those of you who are mobile photography enthusiasts, if you weren’t impressed with the 520’s camera, don’t expect any miracles from the 530. Nokia has removed the autofocus, the shutter button, and also limited video recording quality to 480p. In a world where “HD” has become the norm, it is a bit disappointing to see such low resolution video capture on an otherwise budget snapper.

The Lumia 520 was no slouch when it came to battery performance. It may not have been exceptional, but it was still good. So Nokia opted to use the same 1430mAh battery on the Lumia 530.

There have been cuts made in the storage department as the Lumia 530 comes with 4GB of internal storage memory (compared to the Lumia 520’s 8GB) but supports SD cards up to 128 GB. This is a huge advantage as Windows Phone 8.1 allows you to store a lot of your content on the SD card -- even apps -- but the downside is that internal memory is faster than SD cards, plus the 128GB cards on the market are a bit expensive at the moment.

Other trade-offs have also been made in the sensor department as the Lumia 530 lacks an ambient light sensor and a proximity sensor. The 'SensorCore' low-power motion processor is also not seen here.

In conclusion what I would like to say is that the Nokia Lumia 530 was not exactly designed to be a successor to the Lumia 520, but instead a phone intended for those who wish to replace their ancient devices and get a smartphone. This is the only audience that this phone really appeals to -- the Lumia 530 might just be a good option for your Uncle who has been looking for a cheap alternative to his old flip-phone.

Nokia has adopted a similar strategy to that of Motorola, and the Lumia 530 is designed to compete with the Moto E which is also designed for those who wish to replace their old phones and finally make the leap of faith to a smartphone.

The true successor of the 520, would definitely be the Lumia 630, but with Nokia’s new and confusing naming strategy, I leave you guys with a question. What do you think about the future of the Lumia 520? Will it be replaced by a “true” successor, or is the Lumia 530 justified to be called its successor? Sound off in the comments below.

This story was written by Salman Ahmad. You can follow him on Twitter here: @therealSACHD

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment.