Microsoft's latest Lumia, 532, continues budget play with Cortana and entry-level specs

If you're looking for Microsoft to make a high-end Lumia splash, the 532 is nothing special. However, it does stay the course on Nokia's strategy before Microsoft stepped in.

Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt

Editorial Director / CNET Franchises, How-To, Performance Optimization

Jessica Dolcourt leads CNET Franchises, How-To, and Performance. With over 15 years in journalism, her experience includes mobile phone and software reporting and reviews, and delivering advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to travel and home. Jessica got her start at Download.com and holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).

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In grand Lumia tradition, the 532 comes in some screaming shades. Microsoft

Microsoft announced its latest low-cost Lumia, the Lumia 532, on Wednesday. If models in the 1000 range are its most high-end, then you can guess where the 532's specs fall. There will be the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and Cortana voice assistant in select markets, but hardware is lean enough to support an attractive budget price.

The phone starts you off with a 4-inch WVGA LCD screen and an 800x480-pixel resolution. It isn't very high, but it fits right in with the smaller screen size (which will feel Lilliputian compared with today's mammoth phones). Microsoft's simple Windows Phone interface also lends itself to this pixel density. The 532 will come with the Glance UI, which just means you can see the date and time displayed on the screen when the phone is locked.

For the camera, you're looking at a 5-megapixel fixed-focus lens and no flash. There's a 0.3-megapixel VGA camera on the front. This is my least-favorite paring down, and one of the least effective ways to take good, clean shots. Photos will not be this phone's strong suit.

Internal hardware adds up to a lower-powered 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor that should nevertheless be able to handle the load. The 8GB of internal storage and 1GB RAM are paired with a microSD card slot that accepts up to 128GB in external storage. Microsoft OneDrive gives you 30GB more as well.

A removable 1,560mAh battery rounds out the specs, but don't look for wireless charging this time. Microsoft will make the phone in single-SIM and dual-SIM varieties. It'll sell in low-key white and black, in addition to bright orange and green. The Lumia 532 has a rated talk time of up to 12 hours over 3G and a rated standby time of 22 days.

The 532 costs €79, just €10 more than the very closely related Lumia 435 . That translates to about $100, £60, and in Australia it's been confirmed for AU$149 -- just AU$20 more than the 435.

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