Nokia Lumia 930 – Just in time to be late

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image0036If the Nokia Lumia 930 is an indication of what we can expect in future from the smartphone brand now that Microsoft has acquired the company then we’re in for a pretty good time. Not quite ‘super high end flagship’ good time but it gets pretty darned close.

As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, the Nokia Lumia 930 would have been a much better proposition if it had landed in SA last year when the rest of the Snapdragon 800 gang were running around the country, since it would have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with 2013’s greats.

Still, it doesn’t put on a bad performance right now, even through it’s a bit late to the party. Better late than never, right?

Solidly Built

We’ve seen a fair number of smartphones that look and feel as though they can take a bit of punishment and the Lumia 930 seems set to join their nicked, pitted, and scarred ranks. As smartphones go, the Lumia 930 is a bit thicker than we’d normally like but that’s part of why we like it. The heft and weight suit this particular handset, though not everyone is going to agree with that.

The front side of the phone is dominated by the slightly convex 5-inch display, which has a fairly thick bezel around the viewable screen area. That bit still feels fragile, as glass tends to be. Even toughened Gorilla Glass 3. The rear is a polycarbonate plastic (we had the eye-searingly lumo-green handset to test) which also curves into the metal edging that surround the handset. The result is a comfortable fit in a single hand and some piece of mind that dropping the Lumia 930 won’t do too much damage. Of course, screens do break so we wouldn’t recommend throwing it around.

Nokia-Lumia-930

Display: 5-inch AMOLED (1,080 x 1,920), 441ppi
Chipset/CPU: Snapdragon 800/2.2GHz Krait 400 (2GB RAM)
Storage: 32GB
Camera: 20MP (4,992 x 3,744), OIS, autofocus, dual-LED flash/1.2MP (front)
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Battery: 2,420mAh Li-Ion
Operating System: Windows Phone 8.1
SIM Card: Nano-SIM
Features: –
Dimensions: 137mm x 71 x 9.8

Hardware Upgrade

We’re quite impressed with the Lumia 930’s screen. The Windows Phone UI makes the most out of the deep blacks and bright colours that the AMOLED display is capable of and the 1080p resolution helps it on its way. Bright enough to view in direct sunlight (as well as blind you in the middle of the night), the screen also looks quite fetching with colour-matching theme selected.

We’ve seen the internal specs before, in just about every high-end phone released last year. So we know what to expect from the 930 and it’s about as speedy as the LG G2 was. The Snapdragon 800 is a known quantity, after all, and the Lumia 930 zooms along with nary a hitch in its performance.

One thing that we did notice that the smaller-than-3,000mAh battery will give you about a day’s up-time. Why Nokia opted for the battery they have is a mystery but you’re not going to get several days use out of the 930 if you’re even slightly obsessive about your device.

We’d be remiss if we neglected to mention the camera though. The 20MP rear shooter comes with optical image stabilisation and is well suited for everyday use, provided you’re okay with messing with the Camera app’s settings a bit. You’ll get the images you want just using the 930 as a point-and-shoot but some fiddling can bump the quality up to something that would make your compact camera sweat.

A Look Inside

The major apps are present and accounted for, mostly made up of Microsoft and Nokia options. It’s almost refreshing to see something that isn’t in some way related to Google or Android. Skype, Facebook, and WeChat are all preinstalled while Internet Explorer is your out-of-the-box browser. There’s a collection of Nokia apps, like Storyteller, MixRadio, Creative Studio and HERE Drive + and HERE Maps to fiddle around with.

Unfortunately the Lumia still can’t boast as many downloadable apps as Apple or Android but the number is climbing. And there’s plenty of space to store them when you do locate them, the 32GB of provided space leaves you with a bit over 25GB to play with.

One thing that we are missing is Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, which has yet to be released anywhere outside of the United States. One day we’ll get to do our Halo experience convincingly but that day is not today. The settings option is present but it’s inactive for South Africa.

Verdict

Is the Lumia 930 going to sell you on a Windows Phone phone? Probably not, especially if you’re wedded to something from the iOS or Android stables already. The available hardware and software are just not remarkable enough to make anyone jump ship from their existing phone, provided said phone is from the major manufacturers. But if you’re already a Windows Phone fan, you should be looking at this for your next upgrade. It’s the best specced device in that line we’ve seen to date and the Lumia brand is edging closer to the likes of LG, Samsung and Sony all the time.

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