Microsoft reveals cheapest Windows Phone to date

Microsoft unveils its cheapest Windows Phone handset so far - the Lumia 530. We take a look to see what you can get for less than £100…

If you think the battle between high-end smartphones is hard-fought, you should see what it's like at the other end of the price scale. This year, we've seen numerous smartphones released that cost around £100 that don't skimp on quality, despite the relatively low price tag - the Motorola Moto E and the Nokia Lumia 635, for example.

Now, Microsoft - Nokia's new owner - has unveiled the cheapest Lumia handset to date, the Lumia 530, which is likely to cost less than £100 sim-free, but comes with the full version of the new Windows 8.1 operating system.

So what do you get for around the price of a trip for two to Alton Towers? Well, the Lumia 530 is essentially a stripped down version of the already budget Lumia 635. It has a 4in display - not the sharpest in the world at 480 x 854 pixels, but it's good enough for the basics, like browsing the web and texting.

Speaking of decent but unspectacular, you also get a five megapixel camera. There's no front camera though, so selfie fans are out of luck.

Not that you'd be able to save that many duck-faced photos on the Lumia 530 anyway - it only comes with 4GB of storage. Fortunately, that's expandable up to 128GB with a MicroSD card, and Microsoft throws in some cloud storage too, so you can save things online if you run out of room on the handset.

Also inside the Lumia 530 is a quad-core 1.2GHz processor and 512MB RAM, making it more than nippy enough for most jobs.

The really good thing about the Lumia 530 is that it comes with Windows Phone 8.1 as standard. Microsoft's really stepped up its game with the latest version of its mobile operating system, making much-needed improvements to the keyboard, and adding more personalisation options and a notification centre, which allows you get on top of all your various messages in one place

At some point, the Lumia 530 will also get Cortana - Microsoft's virtual assistant that reacts to natural speech, much like Apple's Siri. Cortana's US-only at the moment, but we're hoping it comes to the UK sooner rather than later.

The Lumia 530 itself at least will definitely be here soon - its worldwiden release date will be in August, and it'll cost €85 (£67) before tax.

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