Does the Lumia 830 live up to its name and is it a worthy upgrade? The answer may surprise you.
Last week I showed you in detail the Nokia Lumia 735 'selfie' phone, including my initial thoughts. While I begin wrapping up a full review for that phone later this week, the Lumia 830 arrived on my doorstep.
Dubbed 'the affordable flagship' by Microsoft, the Lumia 830 has a lot going for it, including a much sleeker design than its more powerful Lumia 930 sibling.
So how good is the Lumia 830? Check out my unboxing video, hardware tour, and first impressions of the latest Lumia phone to hit the market.
Lumia 830 Specifications
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update (build 14157) with Lumia Denim
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 16 GB internal user memory; 15 GB OneDrive cloud storage, micro SD expandable up to 128 GB
- Display: 5.0-inch ClearBlack IPS HD (1280 x 720) display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Curved Glass (2.25D), Lumia color profile, wide viewing angle. Features double-tap to wake, Glance, Super Sensitive Touch, Sunlight readability mode.
- Processor: 1.2 GHz quad-core processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- Main camera: F/2.2 10 MP PureView with ZEISS optics and optical image stabilization (OIS), Video recording at 1080p 30 fps (Full HD), Rich recording
- Secondary camera: 0.9 MP, F/2.4 720p video Nokia Camera, Nokia Storyteller, Nokia Creative Studio
- Size: 139.4 x 70.7 x 8.5 (volumetric) mm, Weight: 150 g
- Battery: Removable 2220 mAh battery, exchangeable shell, Qi wireless charging
- Audio: 3 high-performance microphones (HAAC), Nokia Rich Recording with surround sound capture (Dolby 5.1), Uplink noise cancellation for calls, 3.5 mm AV connector
Those are some solid specs for a mid-range Windows Phone in 2014.
After unboxing the Lumia 830, I fiddled with the phone for about 90-minutes, taking some calls, shooting some photos, updating apps, and giving it a run down. I have to admit I am impressed with it. The 1.2 GHz processor, while certainly not the fastest, feels buttery smooth when navigating the OS. I have had the same experience with the Lumia 735, which I made my daily driver last week because it is so fun to use.
The display being IPS LCD is not as saturated as the Lumia 730's AMOLED, but this all comes down to user preference as each as its benefits and negatives. The display on the Lumia 830 is muted for colors, but it improves when set to Vivid under the display settings. It very much reminds me of the Lumia 920's screen.
Coming in at 150 grams, the Lumia 830 is significantly lighter than the Lumia 930/Lumia Icon (167 grams), and the venerable Lumia 920, which is a staggering 185 grams. The Lumia 830 is also thinner at just 8.5 mm versus the 9.7 mm width of the Lumia 930. Although the difference on paper seems nominal, you do feel the difference when holding the Lumia 830, and I prefer it.
The only thing the Lumia 830 is lacking comes down to 'Hey Cortana', the forthcoming passive-voice feature for Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant which lets you use the service hands-free. Other than this, you are giving up a beefier processor. Does this matter? Well, I have a powerful and massive Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon readily available for my carriers, and I had no complaints in using the Lumia 735 all week. This experience tells me for the average user, nope; this is not a problem.
My only gripe so far is the front capacitive buttons, which have weak haptic feedback and only light up under the darkest situations.
Optical image stabilization? Check. 10 MP camera with decent F/2.2 aperture? Roger. Six lens elements for sharpness? Verified. Dedicated camera button? Here as well.
The Lumia 830's camera is exactly where you would expect it to fall on the Lumia spectrum. It is certainly below the Lumia 930's ability, which has 20 MP, but it is also significantly better than the rear camera on the Lumia 735.
Photos are sharp as a tack, and the colors are on the muted side. For the pro camera people, this result is probably a good thing (it is easier to go vivid in post).
The one downside, at least for now, is the 10 MP camera only shoots in JPEG. Therefore, even though this is PureView, it cannot shoot in DNG/RAW. However, the forthcoming update for Lumia Camera may still resurrect that feature, along with adding a few new abilities as well. That app update is due later in Q4, and it is certainly one to watch.
Speed is surprisingly quick for a Lumia camera. This comment is not to say there is no delay as you do have just under 2 seconds between taking a photo and saving, and it feels very comparable to the Lumia 1520's speed. Once again, this may improve with the Lumia Camera update, so we will have to wait and see.
The front-facing camera is an economical 0.9 MP fixed focus job, which is not on the high end at all. Two caveats though: it is sharp and alternatively, you can use the Lumia Selfie app in Auto mode and use the 10 MP rear camera, which works brilliantly. So long as you are not cropping the self-pic, the front-facing camera is what it is, but not as bad as some people had feared.
When used for Skype, the front-facing camera continued to look sharp, and the other person noted that the video image look great being clear and bright. Once again, this camera was better than expected.
Wrapping it up
I am using the Lumia 830 (RM-984 variant) on AT&T for the next week. Like the Lumia 735 I have (RM-1038), both devices perform well under HSPA and HSPA+ data speeds, with reliable reception.
So far, though, I am highly fascinated with the Lumia 830, and it is likely to be my go-to phone when the AT&T version hits the market early next month ( November 7). Let us just hope that AT&T does not completely hobble the Qi wireless charging.
Finally, does the Lumia 830 serve as a nice upgrade to the Lumia 920? My initial thought is yes, it does, but I shall follow up on that in a separate article after comparing the two.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.