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Battle of the cheap Nokias: Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630

We compare two of Nokia’s best-value cheapy Lumia smartphones, the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 630, to see which best suits your needs.

Even the geekiest Nokia fanboy could be forgiven for getting confused over the enormous range of Lumia smartphones. From the 4G-packing Lumia 635 to the super-premium Lumia 930, there’s a dozen or so on the go at one time, with nothing more than a string of numbers to differentiate.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630 smartphones compared: which is best?

But if you’re looking to bag a Nokia Lumia handset with the full Windows Phone experience for under £100, you only need to look as far as the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 630. These value smartphones offer some decent specs, colourful design and impressive performance for the price, but what’s the difference and which Lumia is best for you?

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Fast facts

Name Price Screen size Our rating
Nokia Lumia 530 £60 4-inches 4 Stars
Nokia Lumia 630 £89 4.5-inches 4 Stars

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Design

Both the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 630 sport Nokia’s usual bright and colourful design – if you don’t like standing out in a crowd, you might want to look elsewhere, or at least opt for the obligatory black/grey model.

Both handsets come in eye-meltingly bright orange and green colours, but only the Lumia 630 rocks a lemony yellow variant. Don’t worry if you grow sick of your chosen palette either. If you want to change up the look of either Lumia, you can simply prise off the back cover and replace it with another colour.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630 smartphones compared: which is best?

Aaaaaagh, my eyes, my eyeeees!

The Lumia 530 is the smaller model at 4-inches, compared with the 4.5-inch Lumia 630, and it’s basically the short, dumpy relative. Both phones weigh about the same and they’re both comfortable to operate one-handed, not to mention compact enough to slip into a pocket or handbag without any trouble.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Usability

When it comes to usability, there’s nothing between these two phones. As well as being mini enough to use one-handed, both the Lumia 530 and the Lumia 630 rock the very latest Windows Phone 8.1, giving you all of Microsoft’s cool new features.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630 smartphones compared: which is best?

For a start you get Cortana, the smart and helpful voice assistant who can recognise pretty much any song you play, learn your preferences and give you vital info when you need it most.

Windows Phone’s interface is now better than ever too, with proper notifications, the ability to set wallpaper and a host of other excellent features. In fact, it’s so good that we reckon it easily stands up against iOS 8.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Media

If you need a smartphone to keep you entertained on your commute with movies or shows, your best bet is definitely the Lumia 630.

The Lumia 530’s TFT screen is rather uninspiring, despite boasting pretty sharp visuals. Stick it next to the Lumia 630’s IPS LCD display and you’ll see the Lumia 630 produces much more vibrant colours and enjoys wider viewing angles. And of course, the Lumia 630’s screen is more spacious, making movie viewing a little easier on the eye.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630 smartphones compared: which is best?

The Lumia 630 has an extra 4GB of storage space (8GB compared with 4GB), but both phones have a micro SD memory card slot, so you can carry around a decent-sized media collection.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Performance

While the Lumia 630 boasts the better specs, rocking a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 compared with the Lumia 530’s Snapdragon 200, both phones run Windows Phone 8.1 perfectly.

We had no trouble playing games or running apps on either phone, a testament to Windows Phone’s low requirements and efficiency.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630 smartphones compared: which is best?

That said, the Lumia 530 is likely to show signs of ageing before the Lumia 630, so if you want a phone to last you for the long haul, the 630’s your man.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Battery life

There’s not a massive amount between these phones when it comes to battery life. The Lumia 630 does come out on top, however, comfortably making it through a full 24 hours with regular use, while the Lumia 530 sometimes fell just short.

As for streaming video, the Lumia 530 lasted 270 minutes in our tests, while the Lumia 630 hit the big 300.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Camera

Both phones have a basic 5-megapixel rear snapper with no flash, and no front-facing camera for video chats or selfie moments.

Nokia Lumia 530 camera test photos Nokia Lumia 530 camera test photos

Above: Nokia Lumia 530 test shots

Both cameras offer the exact same functionality, and we found our photos came out with pretty much the exact same quality. Indoor shots can sometimes look a little hazy, but our outdoor photos packed a decent amount of detail, looking bright and crisp when we viewed them back on a full-sized monitor.

Nokia Lumia 630 camera test photos Nokia Lumia 630 camera test photos

Above: Nokia Lumia 630 test shots

The Lumia 630’s camera does have built-in autofocus, which makes it easier to take sharp close-up shots, but the Lumia 530 did an admirable job on macro photos even with a fixed-focus lens.

Video fans will get more from the Lumia 630, with support for 720p video recording. The Lumia 530 can only manage 480p recording.

Nokia Lumia 530 vs Lumia 630: Verdict

If you’re after a mobile to watch or record video on the move, the Nokia Lumia 630 is going to be the better choice for you. However, if you want to save a few pennies and you’re not too bothered about the lacklustre TFT screen, the Lumia 530 is a great wallet-friendly choice. For your everyday jobs such as checking emails and getting online, the Lumia 530 more than does the job.

Check out our full reviews of the Nokia Lumia 530 and the Nokia Lumia 630.

Read next: The best smartphones under £100

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