Nokia Lumia 930 review

Does the Nokia Lumia 930 shows that Windows Phone 8 is worth switching to?

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Distinctive design

  • +

    Decent camera

  • +

    Snappy performance

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Battery life could be better

  • -

    Windows Phone still lacks apps

  • -

    A bit chunky

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With a 1080p 5-inch screen and high-grade design, this phone is out to challenge the big Android handsets. Read our Nokia Lumia 930 review

The Nokia Lumia 930 is an important phone, for both Nokia and Microsoft. It's the highest profile, fanciest Windows phone we've seen in ages, and a phone that's meant to lure us away from the iPhone 5S and top Androids like the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

Does it have a hope? We think so, especially as it costs about £100 less than some of the competition.

Nokia Lumia 930: Size and build

Nokia phones are usually very well-made, good-looking devices. It's this company that really brought colour back to the world of often serious-looking top-end phones. The Lumia 930 is no different.

The back of the phone uses Nokia's trademark brightly-coloured high-grade plastic, and you can get the phone in orange, green, white and black colours. Our orange version of the Lumia 930 is bright enough to sear retinas.

Its sides are quite different, though. They're textured metal. The combo of smooth plastic, cool metal and a curvature to the top glass layer makes the Lumia 930 a great-feeling, great-looking mobile.

It is not obsessed with weight or thickness like some others, though. The Nokia Lumia 930 is 9.8mm thick and 167g, a fair bit chunkier than even much bigger phones like the LG G3.

Nokia Lumia 930: Features

The most important thing to note about the Lumia 930 is that it runs Windows Phone. It's a quick, good-looking OS, but doesn't have the same kind of apps and games selection as you get with a top Android mobile.

If you want to play a top new game every day, consider an Android or iPhone 5C instead.

This is the main compromise, though. The Lumia 930 still has 4G, NFC and the other little extras you get with top-end phones. It even has an FM radio, now oddly rare in expensive phones. You don't get a memory card slot, but the 32GB of storage gives you enough for a decent amount of music and a bunch of apps.

Nokia Lumia 930: Display

The display is good too. Previous Windows phones have often lost out in resolution a bit, but the Lumia 930 has a nice big and sharp 5-inch 1080p display, offering the same sort of sharpness you get with a Galaxy S5 - it's a 441ppi screen.

Fresh out of the box, colours are a little over-saturated, but you get a dead easy-to-use screen-fiddling toolbox that lets you tweak the temperature and saturation.

As it uses an AMOLED screen, the Lumia 930's black level and contrast are fantastic. Even the best LCDs would struggle to compete.

While the Lumia 930 may not be the biggest, most pixel-packed phone around (look at the LG G3 for that), its screen looks great with a quick tweak and offers good outdoors visibility to boot.

Nokia Lumia 930: Camera

The Nokia Lumia 930's camera is another strong point. It has a 20-megapixel 1/2.5-inch sensor, putting in in competition with some of the best mobile phone cameras.

In good lighting you can produce some fantastic shots, packed with detail. As there's no stabilisation or a crazy-effective low-light mode, night shots that don't use the flash are pretty grainy, but that is to be expected. It's good, but it's no Nokia Lumia 1020.

The app is a slightly mixed bag. The Nokia camera app gives you loads of manual control over things like shutter speed and focusing. You can really learn about photography with this phone. But the basic Windows app doesn't have the great HDR mode you get with many Androids. There is a backlight mode, but it's not as effective.

Nokia Lumia 930: Performance

Just look at the specs and the engine powering the Lumia 930 doesn't seem quite as good as the best. It has a Snapdragon 800 CPU with 2GB of RAM while the top Androids of today use the newer Snapdragon 801 chipset, and up to 3GB of RAM.

However, as this phone uses a completely different OS, it's not really a fair comparison. The Lumia 930 is fast, very fast.

The interface flies by, we just wish there were a few more high-end games available on Windows Phone to make all that power really worthwhile. If you're going to feel bad seeing your iPhone-owning friends raving about the new exciting game they're playing every week, think twice before buying the Lumia 930.

Nokia Lumia 930: Battery

Battery life is a little weak compared with the best out there too. We found that while the Lumia 930's 2420mAh battery does last for a solid day, you won't stretch that to two days without some seriously drastic measures.

The last 20 per cent of charge seems to get zapped away in no time too, so the phone does give you a slightly false sense of security at times.

It does give you more options than some for charging, though. You can't get to the battery unless you take a hacksaw to the thing, but it does have inbuilt wireless charging.

Early adopters get one for free (only in the first two weeks, though) or you can buy a charging mat online for as little as £25. Keep a few of these in your home and at work and you should have no problems with battery stamina.

Nokia Lumia 930: Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 930 is probably the best mainstream Windows phone we've seen yet. While a bit chunky, its size and shape are easier to get on with than the Lumia 1020, and the sharp 5-inch screen offers the same sort of pop you get with the Samsung Galaxy S5.

If you're looking at the Lumia 930 at the same price as a top Android, you do need to bear in mind that games and apps are much less plentiful with one of these Windows phones.The RRP of the Lumia 930 is a bit lower than most of the real flagship Androids, though.

If apps aren't a top concern, this is a great phone, though. The funky design, decent camera and slick performance all add up to a phone that's a joy to use.

Nokia Lumia 930 release date: July 2014

Nokia Lumia 930 price: £449