Nokia Lumia 930 Review

Interface and functionality

Windows Phone 8.1 is now a mature and functionally rich mobile OS, to which Nokia adds a laundry list of exclusive apps like HERE Maps and MixRadio.

As one of the few Windows Phone handsets that come with the newest 8.1 version out of the box, the Lumia 930 sports all the bells and whistles that Microsoft's mobile platform can currently offer. Windows Phone 8.1 introduces a host of new features including a drag-down notification center (Action Center) that is home to all your notifications, but also to four toggles that you can conveniently use to quickly adjust brightness, switch Wi-Fi on or off, etc (you can customize the function of the four toggles from settings). The brightness toggle is particularly useful, since you can quickly change between low, medium, and high brightness levels without needing to go into settings every time. In the Action Center, you can now also see the actual battery percentage, and the date, which is neat. As for notifications, you can swipe them away one by one to discard them, or you can clear them all in bulk, like the Heads up notifications style that is coming with Android L.

Windows Phone 8.1 has also gotten plentiful new customization options including the capability to finally have a wallpaper (Start Background) on your home screen. How does it work with all those Live Tiles? In fact, the wallpaper occupies space from the tiles, and scrolls live with them. Not all Live Tiles are transparent, and thus not all show the wallpaper, so it looks a bit like a mosaic, but the effect that is achieved is unorthodox.

There is lots of other, smaller improvements like the neat Quiet Hours feature. It is a do-not-disturb option in essence, that can automatically activate in certain hours. It also works with the calendar, and when you’re in a meeting, it’d automatically put your phone into silent mode. Another neat option is “Find My Phone” that will help you locate a phone when you lose it, or wipe your private data off it.

On the other hand, you have Nokia Cyan, a host of improvements to Windows Phone exclusive to Nokia. Those include apps like the Nokia Camera, Creative Studio and Storyteller for all Nokia phones, and a few features like Dolby Surround Sound recording available on select phones. Nokia also supplies the so-called Sensor Core feature with certain Lumias, which lets low-power sensor info trickle into the Health app in the form of a step counter, for instance. Add to these the excellent HERE Maps suite that lets you download whole geographical regions for offline voice-guided navigation, and as far as basics go we can say that Windows Phone rivals its two main contenders – Android and iOS – in out-of-the-box functionality. When it comes to third party apps, though, that's still another beer.

Basic functionality is - needless to say - well covered. Microsoft bundles in a bunch of useful apps - Travel, Sports, Finance, Food & Drinks and News are here, while Nokia also adds value with a rich Weather app. You have a rich phonebook, and the keyboard experience is one of the best out there with well-spaced keys and a reassuring clicky sounds when you type.

Processor and memory

With its 2.2 GHz Snapdragon and 2 GB of RAM, Lumia 930 is one of the most powerful Windows Phones to date.

You won't feel underpowered for a second with the quad-core Snadpragon 800 8974-AA processor that is clocked at 2.2 GHz in the Lumia 930. This processor is a level below the 801 in current Android flagships, but the main difference is in the image processing speed, while Nokia uses a proprietary processor for its PureView cameras anyway, so no biggie. The light and springy Windows Phone OS is not an issue for this processor, as are all other apps in the Windows Store, including 3D games. In addition, the Lumia 930 comes with the hearty 2 GB of RAM, which means you can line up many apps in the background without running out, and app loading is faster overall. Nokia supplied the handset with the flagship-worthy 32 GB of storage out of the box, so you won't be feeling out of breath for space, even though the phone doesn't come with a microSD slot for expansion.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 930 24540.6
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Sony Xperia Z2 34088
Sunspider Lower is better
Nokia Lumia 930 520.3
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
Sony Xperia Z2 925.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 930 1016
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
Sony Xperia Z2 1207

Internet and connectivity

Just like iOS, Windows Phone doesn't let third party browsers spoil a veritable monopoly. The mobile Internet Explorer 11 browser has been updated in WP 8.1 to be faster and with tons of new features, though. Internet Explorer’s new options include an incognito mode that does not store browser history, reading mode that leaves only the text of a webpage in a nicely formatted document, and support for unlimited tabs. You also get the option to go back and forward in pages by just swiping left and right like on some other mobile browsers we know, which is neat. Another option that is particularly nice is pinning webpages to the start screen. The pages then appear as live tiles showing you the page in its latest, most up-to-date state, serving as a living and breathing bookmark. The browsing experience itself is very smooth, and you can scroll around and zoom in and out of pages without lag.

The Lumia 930 supports both 4G LTE modem, or speedy 42 Mbps HSPA+ download speeds, depending on the carrier you are on, and its network setup. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, DLNA and NFC.

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