Nokia Lumia 930 Review: The Best Windows Phone available


Windows Phone is going to be 4 years old now; and it could never take a stand and showcase a device running a platform which can compete with the best Android or an iOS device. This has definitely affected their market share; and of-course, impacted the Brand Nokia. The Nokia Lumia 1020 had a fantastic camera and the Lumia 910 introduced a good design. However, there was something really missing. I was even dreaming of running Android on the Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 930 seems to be a fantastic phone that stands up in competition with other flag-ships in the league. With a high hardware specifications, great still camera and a brilliant design, this is definitely worth looking at.

Hardware, Battery and Design

The Lumia 930 has a 2.2 Quadcore processor with a 2GB RAM under the hood. This really helps to make Windows Phone really fast. With a snapdragon 800 series, loading apps and switching between them is pretty smooth. The front of the phone is a one-glass surface; the metal frame is stunning and the polycarbonate rear shell adds a soft touch and feel to the device. The polycarbonate material (variants) is available in Neon Green, Orange, Black and White colours.

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The buttons on the right hand side are easy to reach and its good to see a shutter button on the phone. Having a button always gives you a good control; and of course, the quick access to clicking pictures even when the phone is locked.

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The metal chassis and the slightly rounded corner edges gives a nice premium feel to the phone.

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I would’ve just wished an easy way to take the sim tray out. The phone is quite chunky; but Yes. I love my phones to take some space. I do not really like those thin fabric phones which you often use it with a fear of breaking them. The base model of this phone also comes with a 32GB of disk storage and that’s impressive.

battery-usage-248x300The Lumia 930 has a 2420 mAh battery. Windows Phones are always light on the battery; most of the phones stay a good day long. But with a quad-core CPU and a full HD screen on board, the Lumia 930 is a more power hungry device. That doesn’t mean its going to last just for 4 hours. It would pretty much take you through your day with just one full charge. If you are having any battery issues, charge your phone in cycles (100 to 0 and then 0 to 100). Do that for few days and your battery will slowly start to bed and give you much better battery performance. Also, try to use the charger which came along with your phone. That would help.

I now charge my phone once in two days with a normal usage (Here is a sample of my battery utilisation; check the screenshot towards your right). The phone also has a wireless charging built in; and thats fantastic.

Basically, this is one of the best constructed phones in the market today; In this department, I rate this phone a good 9 out of 10.

Display and Screen:

The Lumia 930 has a brilliant screen. It’s a 5 inch, full HD 1080 x 1920 AMOLED Screen. The pixel density is 441 ppi. It’s the brightest screen, which Nokia has ever produced. It’s sharp and renders the images smoothly. It produces some vibrant colours as well.

The Nokia Clear Black technology is a boon. I haven’t come across a phone that handles blacks and contrasts so well. This really helps text reading to be so crisp. The AMOLED screen helps with great colour reproduction and images look fantastic and colourful. Some may find it a little over-saturated; however, the Lumia 930 offers a great viewing angles as well. The key benefit of the OLED technology is when the portion of the screen is black, the LEDs are basically turned off giving you rich viewing experience and of course saves your battery as well.

I have always been a fan of display screens on the Nokia devices. This definitely makes it the best looking Windows Phone ever made. On the Display, I rate this phone a good 8 out of 10.

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Camera and Pictures:

The camera is the best feature of this phone. It produces some fantastic sharp images. The sensor and the technology is a winner when you compare it with any of the other players in this range. The Lumia 930 has a 20 MP Pureview Camera built in, with optical image stabilizer and 4 directional microphones, which supports a 5.1 Dolby surround sound. It’s the first device in the market to do that.

The gradients and colors are pretty good as well. Shooting in low light doesn’t result in too much noise. You can of course, record a 1080p video as well. The sensor on the Lumia 930 is same as the one on the 1520. It may not be in the same league as the 41MP Lumia 1020, but it does take some great pictures. The camera is quick and gives you some manual controls to customise the shutter speeds and focus.

If you are looking at a handy phone, which takes best pictures, you should read no further. This is the best phone you can buy (The only other option would be the Lumia 1020, if you like the design and the rear bulkiness). In this department, I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

Here are some of the sample pictures and videos clicked with the Lumia 930.

Software, User Experience:

The Nokia Lumia 930 is powered with the Windows Phone 8.1. The OS has become even more personal and now allows customization on the start screen and the tiles. You can now change the background of these tiles and also resize them.

You have a new action center built in which gives you all the notifications and also access to toggle some settings. Its not as great as the Android notifications; but yes, these are something to do with the software and can get better on time. There is a battery saver app, Data Sense and Storage Sense to help you see what is exactly going on under the hood.

The Microsoft applications works the best. The built in IE browser is neat. Most of the websites load faster without missing any elements. I personally love how my office emails works with this platform. The Outlook integration is fantastic and even the LDAP search of directories work a charm. The Office, SharePoint and Lync applications work really smooth and gives a great user experience. I like the Bing Health and Fitness App as well.

shape-keyboard-168x300Windows Phone also introduces Word Flow with shape writing; similar to the Swipe keyboards on Android which works really slick. The prediction of words are top-notch and its really fast. This holds the Guiness Record for the speed typing on a keyboard. Looks like this record is broken now.

Nokia MixRadio is another fantastic app which I love. Its a big relief for some of us here in India, where Pandora, Spotify or even Google Music doesn’t work officially. The Nokia Here Apps and Drive works great; especially with offline capabilities.

With the Nokia Cyan upgrade, you can now get an interesting camera experience with options like living images in the Gallery that is something like a motion image or GIFs. The Creative Studio also gives some great options for editing pictures or post process them. The Story teller is cool as well. It basically weaves a video of all the media, which you have. For example, Think of it as a good summary video made from your pictures and videos which you took at a recent vacation. Pretty cool indeed.

One of the top features would be Cortana as well. It surprisingly works great with contextual reminders, responds to questions and helps you with most of the commonly used tasks. I am still a fan of Google Now and its cards, maps integration and most importantly the support for English (Indian diction). Let’s be kind, this would definitely grow over time and get better. Cortana currently works only in the US> If you are outside US and want to enable the same on your phone, follow these steps to activate the same.

Sadly, these are the most cool features of this platform. The OS needs to evolve; and the apps need to take a huge leap. If you are a user, who accesses emails on phone, with some occasional Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, this phone would work great. Things have to really evolve w.r.t games and other 3rd party applications. In this department, I would rate it a 6 out of 10.

 

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

There are very few phones which you fall instantly in love with. Lumia 930 is definitely one of them. Its undoubtedly, one of the best designed windows phone ever made with a beautiful display and a fantastic camera.

There were few reports of this phone getting over-heated. I faced this issue as well. However, on regular charges and discharge, this issue seems to have disappeared.  The inclusion of wireless charging is a fantastic option. If you have used a Windows Phone before, you will find the OS more familiar. On one hands its great, because it provides a consistent User Experience; but on the other hand, nothing has changed in 4 years in the platform and it isn’t as intuitive as the competition. By competition, I mean the Android. The transition it took from Cupcake to KitKat is phenomenal. iOS has been the same for years as well; that’s a different story, lets talk about it sometime later.

When you edit or post proces the image from the phone, you work on the JPG version and not the RAW DNG file. There could’ve been some better options to edit the higher resolution pictures in the phone itself.

OneNote and office integration with OneDrive is a great productivity feature. You can pretty much start writing a document at office with your laptop and  continue to edit the same on the go with your phone. OneNote can also help you to take some quick notes (Text and Voice) and reminder items. The design and build quality are top notch. However, it still needs refinements on the software side. As mentioned earlier, the built in apps and office are fantastic, but rest need a huge leap of improvements. Microsoft really needs to rectify this quickly. There is still a lot more work which needs to be done, if the Lumia range of phones want to give some serious run to other flag-ship phones.

If you are in the market looking to buy a Windows Phone or any smartphone which provides you with great camera options,  this is the best one for you.!

Update: Nokia Lumia 930 is priced at Rs. 38,649 in India and will go on sale starting October 15th.