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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.


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:

User questions

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Nokia Lumia 930 user reviews

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Average rating from 6 reviews:

Reviewed by derponson from derpland on 19th Feb 2015
This phone is a beast. Besides all the specs and such it upholds the Nokia reputation of being rugged. This thing can endure alot of punishment, I never got a case for it and have dropped it on the gravel 7 times and other hard surfaces numerous amounts of time never had one crack in the screen or internal damage just a couple of small tiny dints on the corner of the aluminium.

The downside is that its a power guzzler and only charges properly if using certified pure organic Nokia charger.

4 1/2 stars.

Reviewed by jaosn from uk on 29th Nov 2014
all I can say is I got this phone and wow with 8.1 its awesome, if I use it the same way I used my ihpines the battery lasts I would say a little longer. first couple of days was awful but after that its been awesome, I play 1-2 hours game a day go internet maybe 30min-1hour, phone calls and texts normal style and I have even been going out for 1 hour taking shots with camera, and still I don't have to charge the battery till 12pom or even leave it till morning. If I was going out all day spending a few hours with battery intensive tasks at least nokia gives me a free wireless portable battery patch , which is awesome compared to apple where 1 day using gps task is impossible so you spend 60 pounds on a battery case LOL, IT REALLY IS APPLES AND ORANGES. the 930 DOES EVERYTHING THE IPHONE DOES EXEPT WIRELESS BACKUP, THERE ARE A FEW GAMING APPS MISSING BUT THATS IT, AND FOR THE NEW EXPERIENCE IM HAVING WITH TILES I SO WOULDNT GO Back to iPhone any time soon, and I loved my iPhone. ops caps soz
I give 930 4 stars cause there's Is some things id like to see. For me 64g space or a sd slot. Ability to permanently change default alarm sound. And some sort of airplay and software that links flawlessly to my pc for back up and organizational purposes. But they are small things.

After seeing a lot of reviews I was expecting a brick, and wow when it arrived I was presently surprised. Yes if you take a ruler and measure the thickness it'll be one of the thickest out there but really it wasn't any where as thick and my mind was telling me. Weight wise it is heavier than the iPhone buy a lot but again in real terms it was a nice weight. I personally don't like how light the iPhone feels, sometimes I have to look in my hands to make sure I still have hold of it, but im guessing its a personal preference thing. the size helps it feel a lot easier to use when taking photos and stuff. Though the edges could have been slightly more curved, but I do have the smallest hands.

Reviewed by Mark from Uk on 23rd Nov 2014
Got my 930 a couple weeks ago, not a huge upgrade from the 920 but a good phone none the less. Good performance, wireless charging out of the box with the included wireless charger. Still figuring out how to use Cortana properly. Handles multitasking with ease. Good Solid feel to the phone and performance. Happy Days :)

Reviewed by Tris from UK on 17th Aug 2014
I don't actually own a 930 but I was loaned one while my BB Q10 was being repaired. I've had many Nokia windows phones in the past and this one was no exception in terms of great solid build. It performs really well. Its has that Nokia type bullet proof build. Not the most svelt from Nokia but in terms of industrial design its very nice indeed. Great to see wireless charging and the camera is superb. Nice crisp oled screen with nice deep blacks. All in all it runs great. My problem with the 930 is this. Apart from wireless charging and build quality Nokia low cost phones offer nearly all what the 930 does. In every day use its not really that much faster or better then a 630. Mostly the problem is wp8.1. Notification centre was needed but its still so basic with its quick settings. Apps apps apps still. Intergrated inbox is now gone. Glance is missing from the 930. 8.1 still is not on par with others when it comes to lock screen notifications. Wp8.1 seems to be dragging its heels now and isn't making the best of the hardware its on. I used to love windows phone but I can see how its not getting anywhere now when ios and android can offer so much more. Even bb10 has more on the horizon with android runtime.... Plus I'm hopelessly addicted to my Q10 for everything other then apps. At best I'd say its ok but lets face facts..... Its no iphone 6 killer is it!

Reply by Mark from UK on 4th Sep 2014
You obviously havent looked at Windows 8.1 properly, firstly Glance is there still and notifications can be seen on the peek screen as well. All the major apps are there as well. Iphone 6 isnt here yet.. Wireless charging was available on the now 2 year old 920, and you contradict yourself firstly by saying "It runs great" then towards the end you say " Its dragging its heels now" I have a 920 with win 8.1 now running, and have no problems with performance, runs nice and sweet... I shall be sawpping for the 930 when contract expires 2 months time...

Reply by Tris from UK on 8th Sep 2014
Oled screens don't allow Glance. Yes it does have notification icons on the lock screen but it's not like it is on Apple or BB10. Its fine for everyday use but as a flagship it's not exceptional compared to many others. Its not a massive leap over the 920 is it. I praise the style and build quality but windows does feel lacking to me....... and many others too, or else it would be doing much better wouldn't it. It would be fair to write a review without pointing out the strengths as well as the weaknesses would it. If that's contradiction then all reviews must e either good or bad!

Reply by Tris from UK on 8th Sep 2014
And it's also worth mentioning that 8.1 has allowed on screen navigation buttons so more manufacturers can port 8.1 to Android flagships..... such as HTC M8. This can only be to address the fact that windows needs more flagships made by different brands. In all fairness I thing it's a great idea if the M8 for windows is anything to go by.

Reviewed by Brad from UK on 9th Aug 2014
A quick review, I have an Samsung S5, got the 930- OS is very smooth, but lacks functionality for quick settings. Lots of nice animations, can slow the phone down.
Lack of Apps,not such a huge problem, as the main stream are their.
No external storage,shame. Now for me the biggest test, the camera, compared to the S5 the nokia 930 can't compete.
Pictures on the S5 and video are so much better, the only way I could get close is to use the 930 in manual mode, by that time the S5 had taken the picture and back in my pocket, and still in auto mode. The lumia did produce better pictures at night and low light, but all I had to do with the S5, is enable picture stabilization, and job done still in auto mode,again faster.

If I did not have an S5, then I might have kept it.

Reply by jason hendry from uk on 29th Nov 2014
interesting when I read your article. Maybe you had a dodgy 930 mate cause im absolutely stunned by my photos on auto, its pretty dame amazing and im a Cameraman. The only issue I have is occasionally when the suns behind you and high up a small change in position can change the warmth of the shot, so yeh turn of the white balance(occasionally), but sorry my mates s5 my other mates iPhone 6 in terms of photographs simply are miles apart that's why I think you had a dodgy one. Video on the 930 is no slouch either its relatively smooth and some say better than the iPhone 6 , Having used both I cant rate the video like the photographs, cause again the photographs were so far ahead and the video wasn't. ps this is based on 9 days of 30min to 1 hour shoots.

Reviewed by meisam from iran on 7th Aug 2014
perfect phone

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