The Windows Lumia 435 is a smartphone that won’t wow you with its specs, but makes up for it with a budget price tag and colourful look.

It has a 4-inch screen and comes with interchangeable back covers – the one I looked at had black and bright green back covers, but there are also orange and white options available.

I found the screen highly reflective and had to find just the right angle to view anything on it while outside. Its screen resolution is good enough to handle basic tasks like reading emails and text messages, but it isn’t up to scratch for watching videos. Both front and rear cameras took grainy photos.

The back covers are easy to replace, though they popped off a little too easily for my liking and I was afraid it could come off while in my bag and the battery would fall out. Dust quickly collected in the gaps around the screen while the colourful cover was easily marked by everyday pocket dust. Overall, the plastic construction of the phone felt cheap.

The battery life was quite bad. I struggled to make it the whole day with only a few calls and checking my emails once an hour, then it would take 6 hours to recharge. The sound quality was crackly, but its large volume range helped make up for this.

This phone comes with Cortana speech recognition, but for it to work I had to change the region and time zone to US and the language to English (US), which meant I was stuck with the wrong time and weather. I tried out Cortana with some standard queries, which it handled well. It struggled when I used Maori words at first but eventually understood me.

I think the Windows Lumia 435 is a solid performer for its bargain price of $89, however its shortcomings, such as mediocre screen quality, sub-par cameras and poor battery life, would make me think twice about buying one.

Essential specs

  • Price: $89 on a Vodafone Prepay Carry Over $19 plan
  • Size: 8GB
  • Screen: 4-inch, 800 x 480 resolution
  • Processor & memory: Dual-core processor up to 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM
  • Cameras: Front 0.3MP; Rear 2MP
  • Operating system: Windows 8.1

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By Erin Bennett.