Review: Nokia Lumia 930

Nokia has done the budget phone and the mid-range phone, and it’s even made the phablet near perfect on its first try, so what can it do if it plugs that big phone formula into a regular 5 inch phone? Let’s find out.

Features

Reading the spec sheet on the Lumia 930 is like reading the one for the Lumia 1520, though, because while the screen- and handset sizes are different by a good inch or so, the technology sitting underneath both are practically the same.

This starts with the main system set, which on the Lumia 930 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor set to 2.2GHz and running alongside the Adreno 330 graphics chip, with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage inside. One difference is key, however, as unlike the 6 inch Lumia 1520, there is no microSD slot here to expand on the 32GB.

Connections are exactly the same, though, with 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11ac WiFi, also supporting Bluetooth 4.0, Near-Field Communication (NFC), GPS, and Category 4 4G LTE connectivity, catering to as high as 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up, depending on your telco, of course.

Cameras are equally important these days, and on the Lumia 930, there’s a 20 megapixel PureView auto-focus camera with two LEDs to work as a flash for the back, with a 1.2 megapixel camera up front.

If you’ve heard the “PureView” name before, it’s because it has popped up before in the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520, and it essentially allows the camera to shoot at a high amount of megapixels and crop the sensor down as the user zooms in, essentially making digital zoom more like an issue of cropping. PureView cameras can also save that zoomed image alongside the original image, in case you want to reframe the crop later on.

Windows Phone 8.1 sits on this phone, a new version of Microsoft’s operating system that extends on the work of Windows Phone 8.

All of this sits under a 5 inch AMOLED display, running the Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 and showing a pixel count of roughly 440 pixels per inch, over 100 higher than the Retina-grade screen of the 4.7 inch iPhone 6.

The screen is also protected by the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3 from Corning.

As is the way with most smartphones these days, few buttons can be found here, with three typical Nokia buttons on the right side — volume rocker, power, and camera — while three soft buttons sit on the front just below the screen, supporting back, home, and search.

Ports are equally limited, with a 3.5mm headset jack up top, a nanoSIM slot up top, and a microUSB charge and data port at the very bottom.

The battery is rated for 2420mAh and is not removable.

Performance

It might not seem obvious, but Nokia has more phones out there than a lot of the manufacturers we see.

Harking back to the days when Nokia made phones with lots of physical buttons, and not just two or three littered around the sides, Nokia is still releasing lots of devices for lots of different price points. In fact, if you look on the market right now, you can find numerous devices split up with $30-50 price points between each of them, often making it difficult to figure out precisely which phone you’re wanting to buy.

But if you want to spend top dollar and you know the rough size, it’s not hard.

In the 6 inch spot, there’s the one top dog, the Lumia 1520, and now in the 5 inch spot, there’s the one top dog, this phone: the Lumia 930.

From a hardware point of view, the two are pretty similar, and that makes sense since the formula for the Lumia 1520 was nearly perfect, so why break it?

As such, we’re expecting some solid performance from the internals, but the design has changed considerably.

While Nokia still leans hard on its bright plastic bodies made from a thick polycarbonate used in hockey puck construction, the edges are now set in a solid aluminium frame, shaped like a cross between what the fourth-generation iPhone series had going for it and Microsoft’s current crop of Surface tablets.

It’s certainly pleasing to look at, and brings with it a reasonable amount of sturdiness and heft, though it doesn’t feel anywhere near has heavy as Nokia’s 920, which is definitely a positive thing.

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