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Nokia Lumia 930 hands-on review

We fondle the Finnish phone maker's Windows Phone 8.1 flagship
Thu Apr 03 2014, 13:48

THE LAUNCH of the Nokia Lumia 930 came just moments after Microsoft detailed its Windows Phone 8.1 update, making it one of the first smartphones to arrive running the operating system. 

The Lumia 930 is the spiritual successor to last year's Nokia Lumia 925, and it hasn't seen just software upgrades. There's also a larger 5in HD 1080 screen, an upgraded quad-core processor and a 20MP rear-facing camera, complete with Carl Zeiss optics and optical image stabilisation.

We got our hands-on the Nokia Lumia 930, to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Design
The Nokia Lumia 930 is not a compact device. The handset measures 137x71x9.8mm and tips the scales at 167g, which means that the Lumia 930 won't slip easily into a skinny jeans pocket. However, we found that we liked the handset's design and feel, with the aluminium edging adding to its overall robust impression.

Nokia Lumia 930 design

Of course it wouldn't be a Lumia phone without a splash of colour, and the Lumia 930 will be available in vibrant orange and green models, which will certainly turn heads in the street. Nokia has opted for matte polycarbonate for the colourful casing rather than the shiny plastic often found on its Windows Phone devices, which means that it sits comfortably in the hand and likely won't be too prone to picking up fingerprints.

For the more conservative, the Nokia Lumia 930 will also be available in black and white models.

Screen
The Nokia Lumia 930 has a 5in 1920x1080 full HD 1080p display that we found crisp and bright during our hands-on time with the smartphone, and better than the full HD screen on the 6in Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 930 2

Thanks to its Clearblack display technology, Nokia boasts that the Lumia 930 offers 180 degree viewing angles, and the phone lived up to this during our time with it on Thursday at the launch event. However, we found the display quite reflective, and it struggled under bright fluorescent lighting. 

Performance and software
Under the bonnet, the Nokia Lumia 930 has a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. While it's not Qualcomm's latest chip, the Snapdragon 801 found in the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2, we noticed no performance issues with the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. Scrolling through menus and opening apps was especially smooth, and the new Internet Explorer 11 browser appeared responsive. 

Perhaps the Nokia Lumia 930's biggest talking point is the fact that it arrives running Windows Phone 8.1, making it - along with the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 handsets - among the first to arrive running Microsoft's latest mobile operating system.

Nokia Lumia 930 has a 5in 1080p HD screen

The first change we noticed is personalised backgrounds, with Microsoft allowing users to set custom wallpapers that appear behind translucent Live Tiles. While we found this a little "busy" at first, it does make Windows Phone 8.1 look much more personal than before, when users only had different colours or black to choose from. Another big addition is Action Center, a pull-down menu that clearly takes tips from the notifications menus found on iOS and Android.

We have yet to test all of the features of Windows Phone 8.1, but it also delivers Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant, WiFi Sense, Word Flow and enterprise additions.

Of course, all of Nokia's usual additions are also in place, including Here Maps, Nokia Music and the Finnish phone firm's custom camera applications. 

Camera
The Nokia Lumia 930 features a 20MP rear-facing camera, a huge improvement compared to the Lumia 925's 8MP snapper, but not quite as impressive as the Nokia Lumia 1020's 41MP rear-facing camera.  

We're yet to put this camera fully through its paces, but early impressions suggest that it will produce images of similar quality to those taken on the Nokia Lumia 1520, a camera that impressed us due to its crisp and natural image-taking abilities. 

First impressions
While the Nokia Lumia 930 didn't immediately strike us as an exciting smartphone, our hands-on has convinced us otherwise, and we think that this could be the Finnish phone maker's most popular Windows Phone yet.

Not only is the screen the most impressive we've seen on a Nokia Lumia device, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 mobile operating system adds features that people have been calling for, which means that people might be more open to switching from iOS, Android or even Blackberry.

Check back soon for our full Nokia Lumia 930 review. µ

 

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