Over to connections, and Microsoft’s 435 is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to budget phones.
On the one hand, we’re seeing more and more $99 to $149 4G phones than ever lately, and in that area, the Lumia 435 is a bit of a downer, only including 3G, with nothing super-fast to write home about.
Oh sure, you could write home, but we’d stick to emails, because a video chat will be pretty low resolution with the 3 to 5Mbps download speeds and 1 to 3Mbps upload speeds our speed tests achieved.
That’s not great for a 3G phone, and we certainly expect closer to 8 to 15 from such old technology, so we’re a little confused why this is the case.
One reason, though, might have to do with the positive feature of the 435, and that’s two SIM slots.
Yes, the dual SIM technology has finally landed on Windows Phone, allowing you to make phone calls and text people from two different SIM cards, or from two different numbers and plans.
That means if you have both a work and a business phone, you could technically throw both SIMs into the one Lumia 435 and go for your life, killing two birds with the one stone. Alternatively, if you go overseas, you could leave your regular SIM in and take phone calls on it, switching to another SIM for data.
Really, the possibilities are endless, and Microsoft even makes the jump between the two SIMs really easy, with a lighter shade of your Lumia colour theme providing the box for you to jump into SIM 2 for phone calls and SMS, as well as a switch inside the SMS and phone dial-pad to let you jump from SIM 1 to SIM 2.
And we’re actually impressed with Microsoft’s SIM card slots for another reason: the SIM slots actually feel well designed, with little doors that allow you to close the SIM in place.
Interestingly, while the phone has been designed for a microSIM, this door locking SIM slot means you can also use a nanoSIM, which is especially handy if you have one of those instead.
At least the battery life fares well for a budget entry, nabbing us a full 24 hours, with that second day possible too provided you take it light on the work you exert.
That was with one SIM, and our estimation is the full day will also occur with two SIMs, which isn’t bad for a hundred dollar phone, so you’ll probably want to charge this nightly, as most people do.
So good points and bad points are here for the Lumia 435, but there’s also one thing that is seriously wrong with the phone, and does it no favours.
While this is obviously a budget phone, Microsoft manages to make the Lumia 435 feel like a bit of a dunce at the camera level, and that’s frustrating because while Nokia made some pretty bold strides with its Lumia range, the Lumia 435 that Microsoft has made feels like a slap in the face for all that PureView research.
It’s almost as if Microsoft put a call out in the Kingdom of Lumia to say “bring me the worst possible camera you can find, and we shall put it in the Lumia 435.”
The good people of Lumia responded in kind with a 2 megapixel shooter that shouldn’t even be used on something called a “smartphone”, simply because there is no auto-focus and no flash, and is the sort of camera you’d expect on a budget dumb phone, not a budget smartphone.
It’s the sort of camera you’d be better off not using simply because it is completely inflexible, totally unremarkable, and generally terrible, providing the sort of images that you probably wouldn’t want to post online simply because the images aren’t amazing to look at, and any compact camera you own — even one from a decade ago — will do a better job than this.
The front camera manages to make things even worse, bringing a 640×480 camera to the mix, which is barely usable for a selfie, and will probably at most make you look okay on the tiny screen of the Lumia 435, but a big lot of soft pixels on another display… any display.
The thing is, it’s a real shame that the camera is so weak on this camera, especially given that some Android phones manage to tackle similar prices and yet offer at least 5 megapixel shooters on the back, and at least 1 megapixel up front, and given that Microsoft has left Nokia’s excellent camera software that lets you change ISO and shutter speed like an advanced camera, you’re left feeling like this is wasted, since the Lumia 435’s camera is so weak, there’s no reason to attempt it in the first place.
There’s also no camera button, something we’re not shocked by, though it would have been nice given most of the other Lumia models have featured this in the past.
Given how terrible the camera is, we can’t say we’re surprised by this exclusion, though again, it’s a little annoying to see a previous Lumia staple missed out on.
Microsoft’s take on the budget smartphone certainly has its positives, but its negative is pretty severe too, with low 3G speeds and a piddly little camera that just feels so out of place in a modern device, even one with this sort of price point.
Strangely, these two issues make it a bit of an odd creature in the smartphone world, because while it’s an acceptable entry level smartphone for someone who doesn’t need much, or someone who wants something easy — say a child or a senior — you also want something a little better quality for the camera, because those two categories would expect something at least half usable, which unfortunately the camera is not.
And that’s where the price stops us, because really, this should be under the $100 price, not $29 over it.
Simply put, if the Lumia 435 was closer to the $79 mark (or even lower), it would make more sense, offering enough of what budget phone buyers are looking for, without realising their pennies are getting pinched. Over the $100 mark and it’s harder to see the value, though street price is obviously different from what Microsoft recommends, so if you can find it lower, even at $99, it might make an excellent beginner’s smartphone.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Relatively inexpensive; Features two SIM slots that work for both micro- and nanoSIM; Decent battery life for a budget phone; Windows Phone makes dual SIM slots easy to work with from a software point of view; 8GB storage inside with a microSD;
Not the best screen; Easily one of the worst cameras you’ll find on a phone; No camera button; No 4G, and the 3G speeds aren’t great either; No lights under the soft buttons;