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Nokia Lumia 930 review

 Review: July 2014  
 

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Nokia Lumia 930 is an almost perfect WP8.1 smartphone. It's a beautiful, premium device with a curved edge to the screen - and it's a stunning 5 inch Full HD OLED screen at that. With a quadcore processor, 20MP camera and 4G it's a powerful device, but we've deducted one star for battery life and excessive weight.



 

Curved glass design

The Nokia Lumia 930 is the latest premium handset from Nokia and it has distinctive looks. It's quite a chunky phone, with a big 5 inch screen and not exactly thin, measuring a whisker under 10mm thick. The phone is essentially flat, with an unusual curving of the screen towards the edges. As well as being distinctive, this makes the phone comfortable to hold. The glass is Gorilla Glass 3, so it's very tough.

The styling is solid and premium, with a lovely silver band running around the edge, but it's a very heavy phone, weighing in at 167g, which is more than we'd like ideally. But if you like your phones to feel bulletproof, then this one certainly does, although previous experience suggests that a seriously hard knock could cause some damage. 

The screen measures 5 inches, putting it on a par with the latest flagship phones from Samsung, Sony and HTC. It's a Full HD screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, making it ultra sharp with a pixel density of 441 ppi. In fact it's a screen that can match the best of the best, as it's a bright, colourful ClearBlack OLED display that can easily be seen in sunlight.

Windows 8.1

The Lumia 930 is one of the first phones to be released with the new Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. Regular readers of S21 will know that we've been championing WP8 for some time, and it's good to see the new update hitting the shops.

WP8.1 extends the number of live tiles you can view on the home screen to three columns - useful to take advantage of the Lumia 930's big screen. We still find the WP user interface more intuitive than Android and iOS and none of that ease of use has been lost.

The standard criticism of WP8 is that it lacks third party apps. That's a fair criticism, and you may find this to be a problem. However, to put it in perspective, there's a real wealth of apps bundled with the phone to cover all the standard tasks.

Available apps include Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Adobe Reader, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram. You also get powerful apps for email and instant messaging and a wide range of call management features.

Internet Explorer 11 is the web browser, and navigation & maps are provided by HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit. These cover mapping and directions whether you're on foot, car or using public transport.

It's also worth remarking just how clean and functional WP8.1 is, with no fluff or bloatware. Plus you can of course download more apps from the Windows Store.

Snapdragon quad-core power

Like the top Android phones, the 930 uses a Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2GHz. That makes it a very fast and capable phone. WP8.1 runs very fast indeed on this phone.

There's plenty of memory here, with 32GB of onboard storage and 2GB of RAM. There's no expandable memory, however, which is an oversight, but you do get 7GB of free OneDrive cloud storage.

20MP Pureview camera

As usual for a Nokia phone, the camera is one of the highlights. In this case it's a 20 megapixel PureView camera, using over-sampling to create a detailed image with excellent low-light performance. Video recording is at Full HD 1080p resolution.

The 1 megapixel front camera records video at HD 720p resolution and can be used for selfies or for making Skype calls.

Connectivity

This is a 4G LTE phone with all the connectivity options you'd want, including Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB, NFC and a headphone jack.

Battery life

With such a large and heavy phone, we were expecting a larger battery than the 2420 mAh provided. We feel this is too small for a phone of this potential, and it's one of the reasons why the Lumia 930 doesn't quite make a 5* rating. Continuous use will drain the battery in 9 hours or less.

A wireless charger is available.

Conclusion - almost perfect

We can tell Nokia tried really hard with the Lumia 930 and in so many ways it's a beautiful phone. We love the solid build, the stunning screen, the powerful processor, the amazing camera and of course Windows Phone 8.1. And yet it's a bit bulky for our tastes and definitely too heavy. There's no microSD card slot. And then there's that battery, which just isn't quite big enough for comfort.

If you're a light to moderate user, then the battery life of the Lumia 930 will probably be good enough, so if you like the looks then go for it. If you're a really heavy user, we'd steer you towards the Lumia 1520 instead.


Nokia Lumia 930 features include:

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