It’s the smartphone the Windows Phone range has been crying out for bringing the Lumia brand closer to the competition
Chances are that if you ever owned a mobile phone before the smartphone era you would at some point have had a Nokia. The Finnish company simply dominated Europe like few brands have ever managed in any field of electronics. There was simply something special about Nokia.
If time makes fools of us all then Nokia, once the king, has surely become the court jester. It struggled to make the leap from “dumb-phone” to smartphone, and struggled badly. Rather than jump on the Android bandwagon it opted to create its own operating system, the ill-fated Symbian. Much like everything else it tried between 2007 to 2011, it was met with a lukewarm reception and died an unmourned death.
Things finally began to show signs of improvement with the adoption of Windows Phone – a smartphone mobile operating system created by Microsoft. Since then, Nokia has become the standard bearer for the Windows Phone platform, with its Lumia range more often than not being the prime example of how to utilise it.
Just nine months ago we saw the first true Windows Phone flagship, the Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumia 930 is undeniably a flagship device. If you were to take it on its specs sheet alone you would have a hard time distinguishing it from any leading Android handset, and that’s a very good thing.
A true, quad-core, Qualcomm-made processor pumping out 2.2GHz of power is a first for the Windows Phone platform. It’s such a key figure, one that smartphone tech-junkies will immediately search for, that its importance can’t be understated.
There’s also a full-HD 1,080p OLED display, five inches in size. Again, this is now something of a bare minimum for any device hoping to compete at the highest level, but to have it present is obviously a very large checkmark in the Lumia 930’s favour.
It also utilises what Nokia calls ClearBlack technology to provide deeper blacks than on LCD displays – something rather important when black is the base colour of your operating system’s user interface. You can even tweak colour balance and warmth to counteract any distortion which may occur over time as the display ages – a nice touch.
Nokia was one of the earliest adopters of wireless charging in its mobile devices, and it’s inherently present within the Lumia 930. Not only that, but every Lumia 930 comes packaged with a wireless charging pad. It’s a wonderful convenience, charges your device just as quickly as a USB charger would, and does something to really distinguish the Lumia 930 from other handsets.
The other technological novelty is NFC, or ‘near “field communication”. This allows the Lumia 930 to interact with other NFC-enabled devices, such as contactless payment machines, and sync with other devices.
Both NFC and wireless charging can be granted to other leading handsets by virtue of a case or add-on, but for them both to be built in to the Lumia 930 is a real perk.
The Lumia 930, whilst pleasingly blocky in its large, rectangular form, is noticeably weighty – and thick, too. At 9.8mm it’s the thickest high-end handset on the market bar none, and weighs in at 167g – that’s 15 per cent heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S5 and four per cent heavier than the all-metal HTC One (M8).
The Lumia 930 is made, for the most part, of plastic. It has the same brightly coloured, monochrome plastic back as we’ve come to expect from a Lumia device, with a rather sleek, subtle silver band running around the edge connecting the screen and rear case. The inclusion of at least one visible metal component gives the device a premium feel, something which we really criticised the Samsung Galaxy S5 for lacking.
Unfortunately, despite opting for that plastic case, the Lumia 930’s rear is non-removable. That means no swapping of batteries, and, perhaps more pertinently, no expandable storage.
The handset only comes in one capacity – 32GB. That’s a good amount, and should be enough for most, but to not offer a 64GB variant when there’s no microSD capability seems unusual. You do get 7GB of OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage program) free, though.
Whilst the Lumia 1020 had its flaws, what was completely without fault was its astonishing camera. With 41-megapixels and a host of intelligent software the Lumia 1020’s camera was undeniably, the best available on any mobile handset ever.
Unfortunately (for those interested in the Lumia 930) that’s still the case. In order to preserve form, the camera on the Lumia 930 has been scaled back a little. At 20-megapixels it’s still one of the best on the market, quite possibly better than any Android or iPhone snapper out there, but it falls noticeably short of the obscene standards set by its predecessor.
The plus side for those looking for something different is that Windows Phone has come along enough now that its mere presence on a handset isn’t enough to relegate it completely. The Lumia 930 is the flagship that the range has been crying out for – for far too long, and if you don’t mind having a relatively restricted ecosystem then you should have very few issues with it.
It’s great that Nokia has developed a very distinct visual style for its devices, some of its more unique technical features are a terrific touch, and the camera is once again the Lumia’s crown jewel. It may not be ready to reclaim its throne just yet, but the Lumia is certainly now closer to prince than pauper.