Nokia have had a torrid time of it over the last few years. As recently as 2013, the company was second only to Samsung in terms of units sold globally, out-selling Apple by nearly 2:1. Within a year, the brand was on its knees, and not even in the top 10. A large part of the downfall was that they simply hadn’t kept up with smartphone trends. Nokia insisted on persevering with its Symbian OS, when everybody else who wasn’t Apple had switched wholesale to Android.
Consequently, Nokia ended up so far behind the pack, that the market value of the business dropped from $110 billion to $6 billion in just 5 years. At the lowest point for the company, Microsoft stepped in and bought the mobile phone arm of Nokia. This included the Lumia range of Windows Mobile devices.
Remarkably, throughout the turmoil, Nokia continued to produce outstanding smartphones. Microsoft eventually sold the brand back to HMD Global, a company run by former execs of Nokia Mobile, and a full range of Nokia smartphones, this time running Android, is on the market. Nokia themselves are development partners with HMD global.
The Lumia range of smartphones includes the 830. The 800 series is a step down from the flagship 900 series, but the higher numbers, like the 830, tend to outperform the low 900 numbers. This makes the 830 either sort of a mid-range flagship device. But does it still cut it? Let’s see what our team think.
In truth, Microsoft Mobile has never really got going. Despite the backing and the deep pockets of Microsoft, they just couldn’t break the stranglehold of Google and Apple in the mobile operating system marketplace. It’s actually something of a shame, because any long time user of Windows Mobile, particularly Windows 8 and Windows 10 will tell you it’s the best mobile OS available.
Indeed, one of our team is so convinced at the quality of all Lumia phones that he just wanted to give the 830 a 5/5 for everything and go and get lunch. He uses an Android phone now, but guess what? He uses it on the new Nokia 8 from HMD Global.
As for the Lumia 830 itself, it has a good processor, a good rear camera, lots of storage options and runs Windows 10 Mobile. This makes the crossover between desktop and smartphone seamless. Although Windows Mobile can’t really compete with Android and iOS, it is a terrific system, and still has the full support of Microsoft.
The overall score our experts gave the Nokia Lumia 830 is 4/5. This is broken down as below:
If we leave out the perceived lack of apps (and we’ll get to that later), the software behind the Lumia 830 is excellent. The legendary Nokia optical tricks also play their part. The Lumia 830 isn’t perfect, but it stands its corner very well, and is a match for any Android or iPhone device at the same price.
|5.49 x 2.78 x 0.33 in|
1280 x 720 px
|10MP / 0.9MP|
MicroSD Card Slot
|Yes – Up to 256GB|
|15 hrs Talk / 528 hrs Standby|
|Windows 10 Mobile|
One slightly odd aspect of the Nokia Lumia range is the lack of design consistency. Some, such as the 920 have a metal, curved back cover. Others, like the 830, are flat and smooth. The 830 also allows for interchangeable back covers, so you can have a stylish grey or a bold bright green. for Nokia, and Microsoft, the Lumia range has always been about personality, and the colors reflect that. Colorful rear ends aside, the Lumia 830 looks sleek and smart, and is refreshingly angled in these times of curves and rounded corners.
The build quality, as with all Nokia phones is outstanding. The metal frame brings a real feeling of stability and strength. We’d probably have liked a little more feeling from the buttons, but this is an issue with all smartphones nowadays. As bodies get thinner, so there is less room for buttons that are particularly substantial.
Nokia use an awful lot of their own designs and innovations in their smartphones. When most manufacturers have turned to Samsung for their Super AMOLED displays, Nokia chose an IPS LCD screen with their patented ClearBlack technology. This makes any device far better than the resolution might indicate. On the 830, the entire picture, edge to edge is sharp and massively impressive. The 5″ 1280 x 720 px HD resolution may not have numbers people shouting from the rooftops, but Nokia manage more with this display than many do with much higher resolutions.
Not once did we feel that we weren’t watching at least a Full HD display.
If you know anything about Nokia cameras, you know that they have always led the way on both pixel count and, crucially, quality. As far back as 2010, Nokia were using 12 MP cameras in some models. By 2012, we had the Nokia 808 Pureview, with a mind boggling 41 MP. You didn’t get a 41 MP image. Instead, what the camera did is take the 41 MP image and then scale it down to 8 MP. This meant incredible clarity and unbelievable sharpness. Indeed, when compared side by side, some pro snappers couldn’t tell the 808 images from a high end Nikon dSLR image.
We don’t have all those pixels in the 830, however. What Nokia did in the meantime was use the technology differently and instead scaled down the MP counts of the cameras. The Lumia 830 only packs 10 MP, but its output is every bit as good as the 808. Nobody does smartphone cameras better than Nokia.
So why do the cameras only score 3.5/5? it’s because of a very disappointing 0.9 MP camera in front. We haven’t seen 0.9 MP cameras anywhere since about 2005, and yet here it is. It’s better than most at twice the MP, due to the technology employed, but it’s still a curious decision by Nokia.
The plus point for the front camera is that it shoots amazing quality 720p HD video. This is to go with the equally impressive 1080p Full HD video from the rear camera.
On the comms side we have 802.11n dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4, GPS, NFC and an FM radio built in. The processor pushing all this along is a neat quad core 1.2 Ghz. You also get wireless charging.
Battery life is excellent. Nokia’s published figure of 12 hours of talk time doesn’t sound much in comparison with some devices, but who uses their smartphone primarily for talking these days. When you consider that you will get well over 20 days of standby, you see how efficient the Lumia 830 is.
Now, the 64 thousand dollar question. What about the apps?
You will hear everywhere that Windows Mobile is dead because it doesn’t have any apps. If you have a Windows PC, fire up the Microsoft app store. All those apps there, you can use on the Lumia 830. All the major players, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all have official apps. There are also many 3rd party apps to do the same job. You may not have 2 million apps to choose from, but you will always find what you need.
Windows 10 Mobile is just awesome, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You can move seamlessly from smartphone to desktop and back, including picking up where you left off in documents and reading material.Windows 10 mobile is fast and smooth, and far less fiddly that either iOS or Android.
It really is a shame that the OS can’t make a real impact on the smartphone world. It really is that good.
You might, depending on your current viewpoint, have to suspend some of the beliefs you have about any smartphone running Windows. Once you get used to the obvious differences, you will find it a delight to use.
The Nokia Lumia 830 is an excellent reason to make a switch to Windows, and that you can do it for just $179 at Mr Aberthon is fantastic. Try it, you just might like it.