While South Africa eagerly shops for the iPhone 6, there is a competitor waiting in stores – this is the Nokia Lumia 930. It has all the credentials to go head-to-head with its rival – a 5-inch screen, 20 megapixel camera, 32GB internal storage, quad-core processor, wireless charging and a rather fine battery life, all powering a fine Windows Phone 8.1 OS.
So why haven’t you heard of it? Well, this is because Nokia’s hardware division now belongs to Microsoft and it is most likely that the Lumia 930 is the final hurrah for the
Finnish company. But does this mean its worth overlooking?
I am not a fan of Android. It is messy, confusing and its interface is akin to Windows 95. So this leaves iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. iOS is all dandy, and there is a reason the iPhone sells so well. Quite frankly, it’s brilliant. However, get the iPhone 6 now and be prepared to be pestered for at least six months by people with dirty hands going “ooooooh! Is that the new iPhone!?”, then you have to hand it to them and risk them smashing it against the cold, hard earth.
Personally, I cannot handle that level of anxiety surrounding my smartphone. So, for the time being I would go for a Windows Phone or a BlackBerry. And what I have in my hands this week is the former.
Now, Nokia sent me the bright green Lumia 930 which is hideous. Luckily, it is available in black. Call me conservative – because that’s what I am. Women can get it in white, and it is available in orange for professional clowns and construction workers.
The colour is all on the back, on the polycarbonate rear casing. This rear casing is fixed, so the battery is not replaceable. However, this makes the rear case feel very solid. Added to this it is curved and has a matt finish. This makes the Lumia 930 sit very comfortably in the hand.
The aluminium bezel feels fantastic – manly is the best way I can describe it. The bezel is not a delicate trickling of metal to give a premium feel. It is quite the opposite, it is unashamedly imposing, clearly showing that it literally holds the Lumia 930 together. The only critique is that because it is such a prominent feature of the Lumia 930’s design it is somewhat angular.
On the front of the Lumia 930 is a beautiful 5-inch screen made from Gorilla Glass 3, curving downward gently to meet the aluminium bezel. The Nokia logo is discreetly placed on the top left – very ‘Minority Report’. Overall, the screen feels premium, smooth and strong. It also avoids fingerprints very well.
All this comes together to make for one well built device. It has a quality heft, the natural feel of cold metal against the hands and matt back to prevent it slipping out the hand. I am a big fan of the design of the Lumia 930, it is minimalist, premium and quite beautiful – in a Finnish sort of way.
The Lumia 930 is a very powerful smartphone. The processing technology inside it is the currently top-tier for a Windows Phone. This makes it run extremely smoothly, handling all tasks, games, images and videos in an easy flow. Additionally, it has some rather nifty features lacking in most of its competitors, like wireless charging and tap-to-turn-on screen.
The screen is quite simply brilliant. It is a full HD AMOLED display with a resolution of 1980 x 1080. AMOLED has serious advantages, the contrast is fantastic, it is pretty decent in direct sunlight and consumes far less power than conventional LED. This aids the Lumia 930 to have a battery life of around 16 hours of mixed use – if you have a smartphone currently, you will know that 16 hours is rather impressive.
Nokia make quite a big deal of the camera on the Lumia 930. It weighs in with a hefty 20 megapixels, has optical image stabilisation, an f/2.4 aperture lens and some smart enhancement with Nokia’s PureView technology. I did come across some issues with it choosing the incorrect exposure but other than that, it performed admirably. The front-facing camera is 1.2 megapixels and allows for HD video calls via Skype.
The Lumia 930 runs the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1. There are some additions from Nokia, such as their HERE navigation and mapping services, MixRadio and roughly a million image editing apps.
Windows Phone is a very different mobile OS, it takes some getting used to but it does give the user many customisation options. Beyond that, it multitasks smoothly and did not give me any serious issues (like apps crashing) for the entire two week review period.
In terms of apps, there were a couple apps I use on iOS that are not available on Windows Phone but the vast majority are. Some are in their first iteration so are not very slick, but they do the job.