Review: Nokia Lumia 930

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The Nokia Lumia 925 was my favourite Windows Phone. It took great photos, gave all the promise Windows Phone had to offer, and somehow managed to deliver in the most attractive package among the Windows Phone ranges. To me, the camera was somehow better than that of the Lumia 1020, and the whole experience a lot more easy than the Lumia 1520.

The Lumia 930, one of the early efforts in flagships from now the Microsoft owned phone division, is the next version of the Lumia 925. Featuring certain new features such as wireless charging, a screen that fits in 3 big squares across horizontally in the tile grid rather than the old 2, i.e. better resolution, and obviously upgrades to the hardware all around, this phone is the new representative of the Windows Phone age. With the latest updates to Windows 8 bringing features such as Cortana to all users, this phone packs in everything Windows Phone has to offer now, and that is why we took it for a ride.

Phone Specs – the highlights

  • 137 x 71 x 9.8mm – 167g
  • Windows Phone 8.1, with Denim update
  • 5 inch FULL HD AMOLED Touch screen
  • 20MP Pureview Camera, Dual Flash
  • 2.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processor
  • 32GB built in memory, no SD Card expansion
  • NanoSIM
  • Comes with a wireless charger (only phone I have seen so far to pack in one!)

Look and Feel

Nokia Lumia 930 looks and feels very different to the usual Lumia as well as Nokia experience. Yes, the beautiful pastel colours in the fascia offerings are still there, but the phone comes with quite a premium feel. In fact, if the lime green coloured phone I was sent came in black, and didn’t have the Nokia logo on it, I may have thought it was a premium product made by people who either work at Sony or Apple.

The 5″ screen looks at you at the front, with a Nokia logo/wording at the top right, and the Windows keys at the bottom. At the back is a smooth finish cover, showing off the 20 MP camera, the dual flash, a couple of microphones and the speaker.

The edge around the phone is beautifully finished brushed metal, with things such as the FCC approval and CE engraved in. The bottom has the micro USB port, the top the port for your SIM as well as the 3.5mm port. The left side is smooth and clean, while the right brings us our favourite buttons, the power and volume key, and that oh so important dedicated camera key.

All in all, this looks beautiful, lovely, premium, and somehow very Nokia all at the same time. Good and solid to feel, the back doesn’t slip in your hand, and it feels really good for taking ¬†photos as well.

The hardware

The 930 has added a lot more oomph to itself when it comes to processing power. Everything runs smooth, well, and fast. The display isn’t the experience you get with the likes of LG G3 or the Z3, but it is pretty decent. Battery life is limited to one day of normal use, which is okay, but all in all, the phone, which has been designed purely for the Windows Experience, delivers well.

The software – The Windows experience

Windows Phone has come a long way for the phone using market. The last few years have seen aggressive moves from Windows, giving people new features as well as apps. However, despite all that it packs, Windows is still playing catch up with the likes of Apple and Android. Blackberry has a backup, letting people use Amazon Appstore to install Android apps. There is none of that for Windows Phone. You are stuck with what is available, and from what I have read, there are certain limitations which means app developers can’t do certain things. I am talking about things which I will want to have on my phone, like the Pebble app. Anyway, I am no developer, and can’t really comment.

So, how does it all feel? Good. Great even. Windows Phone has addressed some of the things that have been missing in it for the last few iterations. You have a notification menu, which is a bit limited (Windows 10 is looking to address that), Cortana, which is better than the others in some ways, not so much in others, and Bing, which seems to be best at giving you really lovely looking desktops on your lock screen.

I can’t seem to find the Glance screen option any more, which I do miss.

Otherwise though, once you get used to how the phone and the OS works, there isn’t much to hold you back.

Actually. I lie. As long as you can find a decent enough app that lets you do what you want, there isn’t much to hold you back. The main problem Windows Phones have, and have had in the recent years, is the fact that apps are still playing catch up. Facebook and Twitter are okay, but Instagram is still in Beta, and it does kick you out occasionally, or give you issues. A lot of games are missing, and so are other apps. On the other hand, email works, messaging works, Whatsapp works, and you have the likes of Netflix and Spotify available.

I haven’t found a Pebble app though, which means I will find the transition hard. Speaking of which, a lot of fitness bands do not have apps for Windows Phone yet either.

The Dropbox app, which is something I heavily use for its Camera Uploads feature, was also quite hit and miss. The Camera Upload feature only uploads photos, not videos, and it seems to only do so when the app is active.

The Camera

No review of a Lumia phone is complete without looking at the camera, and once again, I have to throw in a whole section.

The camera is great, though it didn’t wow me as much as the 925 did. Expectation is a bad thing, isn’t it! The camera works, and if you use the Lumia Camera app, you have full manual control over everything apart from the fixed aperture.

 

The results are below, showing some of the pictures I have taken over the last two weeks. They include pictures in London, and in Paris, as well as some indoors and outdoors shots.

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St Paul’s Cathedral – my favourite shot!

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Some interesting food in Pairs

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Looking at an empty glass

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Notre Dame Cathedral at night

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Paris, by the river.

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Thet Eiffel Tower – a good example of how using manual controls gave me a better image on a very dull and grey day!

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Some more food shots!

One of the thing I noticed was that at times there was some over-saturation of colours. It is a common issue with many phone cameras, but it is something to lookout for.

More information

For more information, you can visit the Nokia Lumia 930 page on Vodafone’s website:

http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/shop/contracts-and-deals/nokia-lumia-930

The device comes free on contracts from £30.50 per month, and if you get one before the 31st of March, 2015, you even qualify for a free Fitbit Flex, courtesy of Microsoft!

Verdict

The Lumia 930 is, to me, the best Windows Phone you can buy right now. It offers a great set of hardware features, mixed in with a very well integrated software, and of course, probably one of the best cameras in a phone. Only thing holding it back is Windows Phone, the OS, but it is fast catching up. Is this the phone for you? It all depends on how fussy you are with your apps, but a streamlined Windows experience may prove to be better than what you have as alternatives.

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