The Nokia Lumia 520 was and is a tremendously popular Windows Phone handset. In fact according to a study from late last year it was the most popular Windows Phone handset of all time and it likely still is thanks to combining impressive performance with a low price tag.
But now there’s a new phone on the block, the Nokia Lumia 530, and it’s aiming for the same slice of the pie. It’s got a lot to live up to but first impressions are promising. Here’s how the two handsets stack up.
In terms of build quality there’s not a lot to choose between the two. Both are solidly made, as you’d expect from Nokia and both phones have colourful plastic back covers and large bezels surrounding the screen.
However there are some differences in the design. The Nokia Lumia 530 has rounded edges and comes in at 119.7 x 62.3 x 11.7mm and 129g, while the Nokia Lumia 520 has a squarer design and is 119.9 x 64 x 9.9mm and 124g, so there’s little in it, though the 520 is marginally slimmer and lighter.
Both the Nokia Lumia 520 and the Nokia Lumia 530 have 4.0 inch displays, however while the Nokia Lumia 530 has a 480 x 854 LCD screen with a pixel density of 245 pixels per inch, the Nokia Lumia 520 has a 480 x 800 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch. So in other words the Lumia 520’s screen is slightly less sharp.
On the other hand IPS LCD often leads to better viewing angles and superior colour reproduction to bog standard LCD, so it may be that the Lumia 520 actually has a better screen, but that remains to be seen.
There’s quite a lot of difference in power between these two phones. The Nokia Lumia 520 has a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 512MB of RAM, while the Nokia Lumia 530 has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor and 512MB of RAM.
So the RAM is the same but the Lumia 530 has twice as many cores clocked at a slightly higher speed, which should make it substantially speedier overall. It’s worth noting though that performance on the Nokia Lumia 520 tends to be surprisingly smooth, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular, so it’s still good buy and by extension you shouldn’t need to worry about performance on the Lumia 530 at all.
There’s little difference in the photographic skills of these two phones and neither one is up to the high standards that Nokia handsets are typically known for, equipped as they are with just 5 megapixel main cameras, no LED flash and no front facing cameras at all.
For the money you pay though that’s more than adequate and a 5 megapixel sensor can still snap some reasonable photos.
Surprisingly the Lumia 520 may actually be the slightly better of the two when it comes to video though, as it can shoot 720p video, while the Lumia 530 is limited to 480p video.
Both the Nokia Lumia 530 and the Nokia Lumia 520 have 1430 mAh batteries, but there are differences in their lifespans. Nokia claims that the Lumia 530 can last for up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G or up to 22 days of standby time, while the Lumia 520 doesn’t fare quite so well, with a 3G talk time of up to 9.7 hours and a standby time of up to 16 days.
The Nokia Lumia 520 is arguably better for storage capacity though, as it has 8GB built in while the Lumia 530 has just 4GB. But on the other hand the Lumia 530 can take microSD cards of up to 128GB, while the Lumia 520 is capped at 64GB.
Connectivity options are much the same, with both phones supporting Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 4.0, while 4G LTE and NFC are notably absent from both handsets.
There’s not a vast amount of difference between the Nokia Lumia 530 and the Nokia Lumia 520. They have a similar build and design, the same battery size, a similar camera, the same amount of RAM, the same connectivity options and the same size screen.
There are some differences though and they don’t all work out in the Lumia 530’s favour. That phone has a marginally higher resolution display, a more powerful processor, a slightly longer battery life and supports larger microSD cards.
On the other hand the Lumia 520 is a little better for video recording, uses a potentially superior display technology and has more built in storage, so there are good and bad points to both and really not a lot in it overall.
It’s worth noting also that while the Nokia Lumia 530 comes with Windows Phone 8.1, the Nokia Lumia 520 is upgradeable to it, so again no real difference there.
Ultimately the Lumia 530 is likely to be the slightly better phone, as the power difference could be quite substantial, but it’s not a huge upgrade overall. The Lumia 530 is likely to launch for around £79, which is roughly what the Lumia 520 costs, so you might as well get the newer one if you’re not sure which to buy. But if you already have the Lumia 520 there’s very little reason to swap it for the 530.
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