nokia-lumia-930-0
In what has been described as Nokia swan song, as it has been conceived before Microsoft gobbled up its entire smartphone business. At first glance it has everything an average user would need, like a large 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, a 20MP main camera, and exclusive Dolby surround audio recording.

In the box

  • Lumia 930
  • Nokia AC-60 wall charger
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-190CD
  • Wireless Charging Plate DT-601
  • Warranty and information leaflets

Design

Nokia Lumia 930 is definitely smaller than say the 1020. However, at 5.39 x 2.80 x 0.39  (137 x 71 x 9.8 mm) and weighing in at 5.89 oz (167 gms), it is still heavy for a 5” smartphone but some people like to know that they have a smartphone in their hand. You might have guessed that I’m not a supporter of these lightweight models on the market but, and here is the best bit. The heavy unibody chassis feel very solid, though, and this feeling is further reinforced by the aluminium rim surrounding the sides, which gives the colourful polycarbonate shell of the Lumia 930 a more premium look.
We also liked how the tapered cover glass slopes towards the sides to merge with the metal rim and the top and bottom of the glass taper slightly for one uninterrupted great look and feel. Nokia say that it takes hundreds of robotic movements to achieve the curved glass edges, this we could believe, and we have to say that the results of all that work leaves us with a very pleasant device to hold or simply dare I say ‘to look at’.

nokia-lumia-930-1 nokia-lumia-930-2

The buttons are all located comfortably on the right hand side, with the most used power/lock key right smack-bang in the middle. The lock key, as well as the volume rocker above it, and the two-stage camera shutter button below are very ergonomic, making them easy to feel and press without looking, and posess a deep tactile feedback. As soon as I switched it on and logged-in the Lumia 930 automatically uploaded my Lumia 625 backup which was another great feature and ensured I didn’t have to load up all the apps I use over again.

Display

Lumia 930 sports a 5” 1080×1920 pixels AMOLED display with the respectable 441ppi pixel density. You have several display modes to choose from, like cool, vivid and advanced, with the latter letting you play around with colour temperature and saturation sliders, until you’ve reached the desired results. Color saturation can be adjusted from “natural”, all the way to the gaudy “vivid” level. Colour temperature goes from warm through neutral to cold, while you can also emphasize separate colours with another slider – from green to purple.

Nokia’s ClearBlack layer on top of the display improves the screen reflectivity and we can certify that the Lumia 930 performs great in terms of outdoor visibility. We took it out together with the Nexus 5, HTC One (M7) and the Lumia 625, the Nokia’s phone performed on par,  and actually had better viewing angles than the rest.
Covered by sculpted Gorilla Glass 3, the Nokia Lumia 930 screen should withstand more than a few bumps and scratches and as usual it also features a super-sensitive touch layer, meaning that you can operate it with your gloves on. This certainly cane in handy as the temperature has started to drop.

nokia-lumia-930-5 nokia-lumia-930-3

Interface and functionality

As one of the few Windows Phone handsets that come with the newest 8.1 version out of the box, the Lumia 930 sports all the bells and whistles that Microsoft’s mobile platform can currently offer. Windows Phone 8.1 introduces a host of new features including a drag-down notification center ‘Action Center’ that is home to all your notifications, but also to four toggles that you can conveniently use to quickly adjust brightness, switch Wi-Fi on or off, etc. You can customize the function of the four toggles from settings.

The brightness toggle is particularly useful, since you can quickly change between low, medium, and high brightness levels without needing to go into settings every time. In the Action Center, you can now also see the actual battery percentage, and the date, which is neat. As for notifications, you can swipe them away one by one to discard them, or you can clear them all in bulk, using the clear all feature. Windows Phone 8.1 also contains a plentiful selection of new customization options including the capability to finally have a wallpaper (Start Background) on your home screen.

How does it work with all those Live Tiles? In fact, the wallpaper occupies space from the tiles, and scrolls live with them. Not all Live Tiles are transparent, and thus not all show the wallpaper, so it looks a bit like a mosaic, but the effect that is achieved is unorthodox. There is lots of other, smaller improvements like the neat Quiet Hours feature. It is a do-not-disturb option in essence, that can automatically activate in certain hours. It also works with the calendar, and when you’re in a meeting, it’d automatically put your phone into silent mode. Another neat option is “Find My Phone” that will help you locate a phone when you loose it, and will allow you to wipe your private data off it. On the other hand, you have Nokia Cyan, a host of improvements to Windows Phone exclusive to Nokia.

Those include apps like the Nokia Camera, Creative Studio and Storyteller for all Nokia phones, and a few features like Dolby Surround Sound recording available on select phones. Nokia also supplies the so-called Sensor Core feature with certain Lumias, which lets low-power sensor info trickle into the Health app in the form of a step counter, for instance. Add to these the excellent HERE Maps suite that lets you download whole geographical regions for offline voice-guided navigation, and as far as basics go we can say that Windows Phone rivals its two main contenders – Android and iOS – in out-of-the-box functionality.

When it comes to third party apps, though, we are still disappointed by the lack of Gmail, Hangouts and Dropbox that are still missing, a big let-down but, at least I have Box and Copy. Basic functionality is well covered. Microsoft bundles in a bunch of useful apps like Travel, Sports, Finance, Food & Drinks and News are here, while Nokia also adds value with a rich Weather app. You have a nice phonebook, but the keyboard experience is not one of the best out there having to flip between alpha and numeric pads, why they couldn’t put the numbers on the top row is a mystery to me. but it does have well-spaced keys and a reassuring clicky sounds when you type.

Processor and memory

You won’t feel underpowered for a second with the quad-core Snapdragon 800 8974-AA processor that is clocked at 2.2 GHz in the Lumia 930. Nokia uses a proprietary processor for its PureView cameras. The Lumia 930 comes with the hearty 2GB of RAM, which means you can line up many apps in the background without running out, and app loading is faster overall. Nokia supplied the handset with the flagship-worthy 32 GB of storage out of the box, so you won’t be feeling out of breath for space, even though the phone doesn’t come with a microSD slot for expansion.

Internet and connectivity

Just like iOS, Windows Phone doesn’t let third party browsers spoil a veritable monopoly. The mobile Internet Explorer 11 browser has been updated in WP 8.1 to be faster and with tons of new features, though. Internet Explorer’s new options include an incognito mode that does not store browser history, reading mode that leaves only the text of a webpage in a nicely formatted document, and support for unlimited tabs.

You also get the option to go back and forward in pages by just swiping left and right like on some other mobile browsers we know, which is neat. Another option that is particularly nice is pinning webpages to the start screen. The pages then appear as live tiles showing you the page in its latest, most up-to-date state, serving as a living and breathing bookmark. The browsing experience itself is very smooth, and you can scroll around and zoom in and out of pages without lag. The Lumia 930 supports both 4G modem, or speedy 42 Mbps HSPA+ download speeds, depending on your network  setup. Weeman1

Camera

Now the camera is becoming a big feature for many users and the Lumia 930 will not disappoint you. With a 20 MP PureView rear camera coming with a Zeiss six-element lens, optical image stabilization, and a dual-LED flash. The PureView pixel-binning technology lets you shoot in lower resolution with higher quality, as it merges the info from several adjacent pixels into one with arguably better photographic virtues. You also get the so-called lossless zoom, which crops the frame to zoom up to 1.8x into part of the picture while preserving quality (but losing the pixel-binning advantage).

The minimum focus range for the camera’s macro shots is pegged by Nokia to be about four inches (10 cm). Luckily, here we don’t have the issues with huge shot-to-shot times that we face with the giant 41 MP sensor of the Lumia 1020. The 930 focuses for less than a second and is ready to snap again in 3-4 seconds if you are recording both 5 MP photos and full-res 19 MP photos at once. If you only shoot in the auto mode at 5 MP, it takes a total of 2-3 to be  ready for the next one.

The camera app is a bit slow to start (especially cold-start), but once it’s loaded, navigating the interface is quick and ergonomic. Nokia Camera has got a very convenient interface, rich in manual controls that don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. There are handy sliders for features like white balance, ISO (100-4000), shutter speed (up to 4 seconds) and so on. In addition, you get Nokia’s mode and effects set like Panorama lens, Nokia Refocus, Bing vision,Cinemagraph lens, and Nokia Glam Me. When it comes to picture quality, we are generally pleased, but not amazed.

Our biggest complaint is that colors are often not very accurate – some images have cold colours (slightly blueish look) while other are lifelessly yellowish. When shooting in broad daylight, pictures can turn out a tad underexposed, making the scene appear slightly darker than it is in reality. In terms of detail, we can’t complain from the Lumia 930, as it records plenty. The 19-megapixel full sized photo has natural-looking (not oversharpened) fine detail that is better than the one you can capture with the Z2 or the S5. Still, if you look up closely at 100% zoom, you will notice defects like noise and rather blurry details.

This is why Nokia suggests saving images in the default 5-megapixel mode, which churns out smaller, but higher-quality images. Indoors the camera exhibits a generally realistic colour presentation. The Lumia 930 won’t fire its flash unless it is pretty dark – like other phones with optical stabilization, it is tuned to take advantage of this, and uses pretty slow shutter speeds (like 1/10 sec) which may result in blurry image if you or the person you are shooting moves. The dual LED flash is operational for up to 10 feet (3m), says Nokia, and in our test scene we found it to do a good job from about 3 feet (1m) distance, without ruining the colour balance.

The Lumia 930 can’t shoot 4K video. It does 1080p footage only with 30fps, but it has an ace up its sleeve – the sound quality, thanks to the record four HAAC microphones spread around its body. You have a few options – a normal stereo, surround sound (Dolby Digital Plus 5.1), or directional stereo, which emphasizes the sound from the objects in front of you, rather than what’s being told behind the scenes. Interestingly enough, when the surround sound option is on, the 930 records a stereo stream as well, so you can pick and choose afterwards, when previewing or editing the video.

The quality of the soundtrack is one of the best among phones and Nokia’s HAAC mics have proved they are capable of recording in noisy environments, like a concert. The footage looks vivid, with pleasant color presentation, correct exposure and no visible artifacts. It also stays very steady while you pan around or shake the phone, thanks to the built-on OIS mechanism. In addition, the four mics record excellent sound to it, and weed out wind or other pitched noises with aplomb. To top it all off, you can take advantage of an even higher lossless zoom count when shooting video – up to 3x enlargement – which should cover most of your holiday photography needs.

Multimedia

With a large and vivid 5” display, the Lumia 930 has got the core asset for enjoying media on the go. It is also pretty conducive to pictures and video editing, and the Microsoft-Nokia duo are supplying free apps with rich functionality for both of those undertakings. For music, Nokia’s MixRadio is traditionally a great option for enjoying tunes on the go. It has Spotify-like on-demand music streaming at a very low price, but you can also use a lot of the functionality for free, with ready-made channels of your favourite artists.

In addition, you have Microsoft’s standard Music application with tight integration for the rich Xbox Music catalogue, where you can purchase tunes, but the equalizer presets are taken out in the general settings menu, rather than built into the music player’s interface. Sound output via the loudspeaker is one of the strongest out there (we measured 79 dB), and sounds pretty decent, too. The stock video player chews through all major video codecs with ease, including DivX/Xvid/MKV files at up to 1080p resolution, which is certainly commendable, as it was not something Windows Phones used to do. The video player now also sports subtitle and captions support.

Battery

The 2420 mAh battery seems a tad smallish in capacity, when we consider that most Android flagships border or cross the 3000 mAh line these days. Nevertheless, Nokia cites very good endurance out of this juicer, clocking in at more than 15 hours of talk time in 3G mode, and close to 20 days on standby. In addition, the screen-on time when browsing or watching videos is pegged at 9 hours, which is a good testament to the phone’s longevity. In our demanding test, however, the phone lasted just four and a half hours of screen-on time, which is certainly unimpressive. There is a wireless charger available for the Lumia 930, and the capability is built into the back panel, so you can start juicing it up sans cables immediately.

Conclusion

We found the Nokia Lumia 930 to be an excellent Windows Phone device. Perhaps the biggest virtue of the 930 is that it finally packs Nokia’s PureView camera goodness into a fairly compact and manageable format, coming with solid premium build but without bulk protruding on the back. The 930 can capture great images with some drawbacks, videos with rich sound, and has stellar voice quality. It also comes with a fine AMOLED display that has decent image quality, and great outdoor visibility.

Windows Phone 8.1 is now a functionally rich mobile OS, too, that makes day-to-day operations with the phone much easier than with previous WP editions. When we add the preloaded HERE maps navigation that gives you offline voice-guidance for free, and the MixRadio streaming, we certainly can’t complain about the out-of-the-box software that comes with the Lumia 930. The ecosystem still lacks in terms of app count, though, so if you are coming from an Android handset, or an iPhone, some applications you know and love might not be here yet. The Lumia 930  pricing is at £399.95. Click on Press Release to see Full Specifications

Show Press Release

Be Sociable, Share!

The following two tabs change content below.

avatar

Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini