Nokia Lumia 930 review - the last great Nokia smartphone?

Battery life could be better, but this is still one of the best Windows phones ever made

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Page 1 of 3Nokia Lumia 930 review - the last great Nokia smartphone?

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Screen size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 20-megapixel, Storage: 32GB, Wireless data: 4G, 3G, Size: 137x71x9.8mm, Weight: 167g, Operating system: Windows Phone 8.1

The Lumia 930 was arguably the last great Windows Phone 8.1 handset before Microsoft took over Nokia. It's since been replaced by the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, both of which come with Windows 10 straight out of the box, but neither of them really do their operating system justice, as their slow, stuttering performance pales in comparison to the super slick speeds of the now defunct Lumia 930.

However, you can still pick up a Lumia 930 if you hunt around, as you can still get one from Amazon for £319. That's a lot more palatable than the £420 you'd have to fork out for the Lumia 950, and you get to choose from a wide variety of eye-searingly bright colours, too, something that the all-black Lumia 950s are entirely lacking.

The Lumia 930 is also eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile as well, but it's worth noting that it won't be able to take advantage of certain new Windows 10 features. Chief among them is Continuum, as this requires a USB-C port. The Lumia 930, on the other hand, only has a standard micro USB port for charging and data transfer, so you won't be able to connect it to a monitor and turn it into a miniature PC by attaching it to Microsoft's Display Dock

However, despite being almost two years old, there's still plenty to like about the Lumia 930. Available in the same highlighter green and orange cases as the rest of the 2014 Lumia range, including the excellent Lumia 735 and Lumia 630, it certainly stands out from the crowd. It also has a 5in OLED display with a 1,920x,1080 resolution, a 20-megapixel PureView camera, 32GB of storage and its internal hardware is among the fastest we've seen for a Windows handset. It's a huge improvement over Nokia's previous flagship model, the Lumia 925, so much so that the Lumia 930 even has the potential to go head to head with Nokia's two phablets, the 1320 and 1520.

Nokia Lumia 930 face on

One thing that hasn't changed is Nokia's excellent build quality. The Lumia 930 may measure a chunky 9.8mm thick and weigh a hefty 167g, but its solid metal rim and sealed matt rear make it feel incredibly sturdy and well-made. It's more angular than the Lumia 925, but the design is way more desirable.

Display

That sense of allure is only heightened by the Lumia 930's 5in Full HD OLED display. OLED panels typically have much better colour accuracy, contrast and black levels than IPS displays as each individual pixel has its own backlight, and the Lumia 930 is no exception.

Our colour calibrator showed it was displaying a perfect 100 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut and black levels were a near perfect 0.05cd/m2. This meant colours looked incredibly rich and vivid and text was pitch black. Whites were perhaps a little pinkish compared to other OLED displays such as the Motorola Moto X, but we'd rather the screen looked warm than overly cool.

Nokia Lumia 930 side on

Contrast was a little low at 4,854:1 (other OLED displays such the Lumia 1020's have measured a massive 37,507:1), but we were still able to see a high level of detail in our darker test images. Likewise, the phone's wide viewing angles meant we could see the screen clearly regardless of whether we were looking at it face on or had it lying down on the table beside us. Peak brightness was also a modest 271.10cd/m2, but we found this was still more than enough to use the Lumia 930 outside without forcing us to strain our eyes to see the screen clearly.

Performance & Benchmarks

Performance was superb for a Windows Phone handset. With its quad-core, 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, browsing the web has never felt smoother on Windows Phone. Pages loaded in an instant and the Lumia 930 even took image-heavy desktop sites such as The Guardian home page in its stride. There was no stutter whatsoever when we were zoomed in and panning round quickly, and scrolling up and down pages was very responsive. The operating system was equally silky, with apps opening quickly and showing no signs of lag or stutter as we swiped between screens.

This was reflected by the Lumia 930's lightning fast score of 512ms in our SunSpider Javascript benchmarks, which is the quickest time we've seen for a Windows phone and almost twice as fast as the Lumia 925. This score even beats the Lumia 1520, which until now was our reigning Windows performance champion, meaning the Lumia 930 has all the power of a high-end phablet tucked into a normal-sized handset. To compare it with the current crop of flagship Android phones, the only other handset we've tested with a faster score is the Samsung Galaxy S5, putting it ahead of both the HTC One (m8) and LG G3.

Nokia Lumia 930 rear

Although our go-to graphics tests, 3DMark Ice Storm and Epic Citadel, still aren't available on Windows Phone, we were still able to put the Lumia 930 through its paces with GFXBench. It scored 20fps, dropping behind a Snapdragon 800-equipped Samsung Galaxy S4 which scored 26fps. Realistically, however, the limited number of games available on Windows Phone will all play smoothly on the 930, even with the Full HD resolution, and the only one that might cause frame rates to fall slightly is the demanding Halo: Spartan Assault.

Battery life

Fortunately, this amount of power doesn't take its toll on the Lumia 930's battery life, as its 2,240mAh battery lasted 10 hours and 24 minutes in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness. It's not quite as spectacular as the Lumia 1020's twelve hour battery life, but you should still be able to get a whole day's use out of the Lumia 930 without having to return it to the mains mid-afternoon. The Lumia 930 includes wireless charging, too, so with a compatible charging plate you can top up without having to reach for a cable first.

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