Nokia Lumia 830 Reviewby Brett Howse on November 25, 2014 8:00 AM EST
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The Lumia 830 was launched by Microsoft at the IFA trade show in September. As seems to be the norm for most Nokia phones, it has taken a short while for announced phones to be generally available, but the Lumia 830 can now be found in many markets. When it was announced in September, it was marketed as an “affordable flagship” and we will take a look and see how it lives up to that kind of marketing. But marketing phrases aside, what we are left with is one of the best Nokia phones launched this year.
Unfortunately for fans of Nokia phones, there has not been a real flagship phone announced since the Lumia Icon/930 which came back in February. We did review that phone, and while it was quick and had a nice 20 MP camera, the battery life was subpar and it felt very thick and dense to carry around. It lacked Nokia’s Glance display, which is a big downside when coming from previous Nokia phones that support it.
The Lumia 830 is not going to fill a gap here as far as performance, which is a shame. The Lumia 830 shares the same SoC – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 – as the Lumia 630, 635, 730, and 735. There is no substitute for performance, and the quad-core Cortex A7 at 1.2 Ghz is not the quickest chip around. In the Lumia 630 review, I found the quad-core A7 design slightly slower than the dual-core Krait of last year’s Snapdragon S4 Pro in pretty much all benchmarks. It is a shame due to the marketing and price of the Lumia 830 that it did not jump up to at least the Snapdragon 600. With that SoC, perhaps the moniker of “affordable flagship” could have held up.
Let us take a look at what makes up the Lumia 830.
|Nokia Lumia 830|
|SoC||MSM8926 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400|
|RAM/NAND||1 GB LPDDR2, 16 GB NAND + microSD 128 GB|
|Display||5.0” 1280x720 IPS ClearBlack LCD Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Network||GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSPA/LTE up to 150 Mbps|
|Dimensions||139.4 x 70.7 x 8.5 (mm)|
|Rear Camera||10MP, 1.1 µm pixels, 1/3.4" 16x9 CMOS, f/2.2, 26 mm focal length, LED Flash|
|Front Camera||0.9MP wide angle, f/2.4, 1280x720 video resolution|
|Battery||BV-L4A 2200 mAh, 3.8 V, 7.04 Wh|
|OS||Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim Firmware|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, DLNA, FM Radio|
|Location Technologies||Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS, BeiDou|
|SIM Size||Nano SIM|
As you can see, we have pretty standard fare for a Lumia phone launched this year. The previously mentioned Snapdragon 400 is paired with 1 GB of memory, and 16 GB of internal NAND. The Lumia 830 supports microSD card expansion up to an additional 128 GB. With the Windows Phone Storage Sense app, storage should not be an issue - Windows Phone has moved from having practically zero support for microSD to now having the best support of all of the mobile operating systems.
A big part of any smartphone experience is the design of the phone, and Nokia (now Microsoft of course) has crafted one of their best experiences yet.
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kspirit - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - linkIn addition: I am aware that the design of the 830 probably hadn't started at the time of the acquisition. But I can't believe the same Nokia who put glance and camera buttons on even the 620 two years ago wouldn't do it in the x30 refreshes. Especially considering that those were unique, signature capabilities that competing manufacturers don't offer. MS must have had some input in this phone. I'm sure they would have cared about cost cutting on the company they were just on the brink of acquiring. No?
cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - linkGlance and camera button obviously presented on L830 :)
You should be really high on something to blame it for having features that 730 and 630 are missing.
retrospooty - Monday, December 1, 2014 - linkYeah, I dont think he is grasping the Tiered model#'s and the concept of price points. He seems to be assuming newer is always higher end, even on a lower end model.
Now if the 925 replacement came out and was lesser than the 925 he would have a great point. But the 830 is NOT the 925 replacement model.
Sabresiberian - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - linkKeep in mind that Microsoft/Nokia hasn't released anything intended to be more than a midrange or low-end phone since the Icon/930. It may look like they are cutting back to those of us interested in flagship devices - but it isn't really the case. :)
close - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - linkWell... they are using the same low-end SoC on 4 of their product lines which is disappointing (5xx, 6xx, 7xx, 8xx). And for a smart phone some CPU performance is a must otherwise the experience is really frustrating. More so than not having some niche features like glance. I'm not talking about intensive 3D games, but it should allow the user to comfortably run applications without feeling the performance hit. I was expecting the 830, maybe even the 730, to have the 600 series SoC. MS/Nokia have skipped the mid-range and went from low-end to high-end. Although the premium build and other features don't really compensate for the distinct lack of snappiness in applications.
It's like building a premium sedan with a 1l engine.
melgross - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - linkI imagine they're trying to save money. Considering g how small sales are, they need to buy fewer parts in larger quantity to have any hope of a profit, which, from looking at Microsoft's financials shows isn't likely happening.
They are also concentrating on lower priced models in order to attempt to get sales in China, where they've fallen to 0.6%, and India, where sales are down as well. Samsung seems to be working on the same strategy, from their last announcement.
PubFiction - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - linkThey need to stop thinking about making money and start thinking about releasing an attractive product and actually getting people to buy their stuff. Nickel and diming right now is not going to work.
cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - linkTheir sales are two-three times larger then HTC and larger then Moto for many quarters (if you think moto g's and e's are selling in BIG quantities you a wrong)
Alexvrb - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - linkDoesn't sound like you've really used one. :/ Don't get me wrong, I do game and I wouldn't buy one as a result. But you specifically said "I'm not talking about intensive 3D games". So, taking those out of the equation... even with the "slow" CPU, it does everything you're talking about just fine. They really run great, and the OS has superb SD card support - which negates the only major drawback I could hurl at this phone, the lack of storage.
But again, since I do game occasionally on my phone, I would want a flagship. The Icon and M8 are both very nice models. However even those are going to need replacement in the not-so-distant future, and I hope Verizon stops being a Big Red Baby and works hand in hand with MS on future phone releases and updates alike.
close - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - linkActually I did get the chance to test drive one of these (I do some hardware compliance so I get to test drive most relevant devices on the market, at least to get a rough idea about them). The OS itself is more than snappy on this CPU. But try to use it as any normal person would use a smartphone and it starts to choke. Loading applications or switching between application takes a long time. It's just not the experience I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, the device doesn't become unusable. It's just that at this price point at given the 8xx series position in MS's product lineup I have some higher expectations when using the phone.
MS was careful to create an OS that runs great on low-end hardware but this isn't the case for software makers. And your smartphone is defined by the applications it runs and how it runs them.
Bottom line, it's a nice phone but given the competition it's too expensive for its worth.