Review: Nokia Lumia 930

Nokia / Microsoft's Lumia 930

Nokia / Microsoft’s Lumia 930

Nokia as a brand may be on the way out, but its work to promote the Windows Phone platform lives on. So is the Lumia 930 finally the phone Microsoft needs to take the smartphone battle to Google and Apple?

The details

The Nokia Lumia 930 is a 5 inch smartphone running Windows Phone 8.1. It’s powered by a Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space built-in. It boasts a 20MP camera with image stabilisation, can be bought in a range of colours* and is capable of wireless charging.

It can be bought on the Vodafone or Meteor networks, or SIM-free for €599.

Design

Even in its darkest days, Nokia maintained a reputation for quality hardware – the Lumia 930 is a continuation of that trend.

Despite its relatively bulky frame – it’s almost 3mm thicker than the iPhone 6 – it feels considerably well in the hand, in no small part due to its solid construction. The crispy display is surrounded by a brushed metal edge, with a matte plastic (and colourful) backing rounding it all off.

This solid construction means the battery is non-removable, but the trade-off for this is that it lends a solidity to the device that would be hard to achieve otherwise.

Hardware

Given that the 5 inch screen is the predominant feature of the 930, it would want to be an impressive one – and it is. It’s a full HD AMOLED display, using what Nokia calls its Clear Black technology to really deepen the contrasts – it’s also capable of being eye-wateringly bright (though setting the phone up this way will obviously come at the expense of the battery).

And this top-notch display is useful to have to hand when utilising the 20MP camera, which houses a sensor that’s on a par with anything you’d find in a compact camera. Adding to this is its built-in image stabilisation, which is a killer feature for the kind of quick shooting that people tend to do on smartphones, while its dual LED flash does a relatively decent job in low light conditions. The camera can also pick up HD video at 30fps, which may not allow for the great slo-mo features like on the iPhone, but is not to be sniffed at all the same.

Software

Windows Phone 8.1 cleaned up a lot of the loose ends on what was already a fairly solid operating system. Amongst the features added is Cortana – Microsoft’s voice-activated virtual assistant – as well as improved multi-tasking and the addition of a notifications centre.

One thing the OS still lacks, however, is apps. Yes, some of the bigger names like Facebook have finally made their way onto the platform, but there are so many glaring omissions, as developers continue to prioritise iOS and Android. This lack of apps has been a stumbling block for Windows Phone-based devices for some time, and it remains one to this day.

The one light at the end of that particular tunnel, however, is another feature of Windows Phone 8.1, which makes it easier for developers to make one app for mobile, tablet and desktop.

Round-up

On any metric, the Lumia 930 is the best Windows Phone ever. It also more than holds it own against devices of other stripes, particularly some of the flagship Android devices currently on the market.

However any praise for a device running on Windows Phone has to go with the caveat that apps are lacking, and prospective buyers should do their homework before they make the switch.

If Microsoft managed to solve that problem tomorrow, however, there would be very little to say against this fine offering from its mobile division.

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