The new Lumia 830 by Microsoft Mobile might still be branded Nokia but for most the Nokia of old is no longer at least when it comes to smartphones. This is the new ‘affordable flagship’ as Microsoft are calling it with a store price of €409 over on the Irish Microsoft Store. I would question the use of the word ‘affordable’ considering that the onboard specs are still below that of the older Lumia 1020 flagship. This being said that price is for a sim free unlocked edition, if you head over to Vodafone Ireland the price is €379 and now it begins to look like a really good deal.
However, one thing that the Lumia 830 feels is premium and while it may not be the true flagship of the Lumia range, a title held by the Lumia 930 it does perform very well. Thanks to the new Windows Phone 8.1 Denim software the days of slow shot to shot times are for the most part gone.
The Lumia 830 features a 10MP Pureview sensor with a 5″ Clear Black Display and 1GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 400 processor and 16GB of storage
The Lumia 830 features a very similar design to the current flagship Lumia 930, its colourful guise is wrapped in some beautiful aluminium giving the 830 a very premium feel and thankfully this look and feel is not let down by the device’s weight. The 830 feels solid in the hand thanks to its 150g weight which some might find heavy but for me it is just right.
The back plate is changeable so you can have a choice of black, white, green and orange, unfortunately in Ireland carriers have not yet realized that people want colour and Vodafone are only offering black and Microsoft Ireland only offering white and black.
The physical buttons on the 830 feel really nice and solid again adding to it’s premium looks, on the left the 830 is clean with no buttons and to the right you have the volume and power buttons and yes thankfully a dedicated camera button. On the rear is a fantastic looking black circle that is the camera lens and it is in contrast to the really vibrant orange of our 830. This makes the device instantly recognisable and actually drew a few comments from people who saw me using it. Built into the back cover is Qi Wireless charging so you will be able to avail of numerous charging solutions such as these official Microsoft ones here.
The Lumia 830 features a 5″ IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1280 X 720 which provides a PPI of 294 and while this is far lower than the 441PPI of the Lumia 930 for the most part you really cant tell. Sure if you look really closely you will begin to see the odd bit of jaggedness to some text but this is not something that is obvious and thanks to the Clear Black Display (CBD) everything pops out of the screen nicely. It is a far nicer and sharper display that the PenTile OLED display found on the Nokia Lumia 735 which does indeed show pixels but that is the nature of that type of display.
Outdoor visibility is something that most Lumia devices are really good at and the Lumia 830 is no different thanks again to the CBD and even in direct sunlight you will still be well able to view and operate the phones.
Performance, OS, Battery and Storage
Windows Phone has changed a lot since it first arrived, and if you have not looked at it or even experienced the latest Windows Phone 8.1 then you owe it to yourself to at least take one for a test drive. The OS is right up there in terms of feature parity with Android and iOS for the most part, featuring a notification centre, a digital assistant that dumps all over Siri from iOS and numerous homescreen treats such as dynamic live folders.
All these little updates make for an enjoyable and memorable experience and one that is rock solid and exactly the same across all Windows Phone devices, something that can not be said of Android for example.
Performance wise the Nokia Lumia 830 is running a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and comes with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage which can be increased by a further 128GB SD Card. Thankfully Windows Phone is a very efficient operating system and even on lower end devices thing run smoothly, true there are still some issues with apps taking a few seconds to open and you are treated to a ‘Loading’ message but for the most part things open quickly. Gaming performance overall is quite bad however with many games not looking as good as their Android counterparts running the same processor which is disappointing but more a development issue rather than a Windows Phone issue.
Battery life on the Nokia Lumia 830 is okay, it features a 2,200mAh battery that will see you to about 13 hours of moderate use, however this is a 10MP Pureview enabled Lumia so you know you are going to be taking lots of pictures. This means that battery will take a bit hit and will probably only get you about 10-12 hours if you are taking lots of snaps. Without a dedicated camera grip like the Lumia 1020 had with a built in battery the little 2,200mAh just simply doesn’t have enough power to see out the day.
Pureview Lumia devices have never had any issue with picture quality, in good conditions or in low light conditions and the Lumia 830 is no different, however where the issues have been has always been in the shot to shot time. This issue often meant seconds of waiting for the image to save before the next shot could be taken, meaning many potential missed moments. The Lumia 830 is thankfully running the new Denim update which means shot to shot times are not much quicker, and when Microsoft release the new camera update in a few weeks it should be even quicker again.
The camera right now does not feature native HDR modes for bringing out details like clouds on sunny days but many devices that have this either over process or under process in HDR anyway so I do not consider this an issue especially with many amazing photo editing tools available on Windows Phone. Night time images while not as good at the images from the massive 41MP Lumia 1020 are still impressively good but the lack of OIS does hurt a little. The image below left is the Lumia 830 on night mode compared against the OnePlus One again on night mode. While the OnePlus image doesn’t look too bad it is only when compared to the 830 do you see how vastly superior the 830 is at night despite it being a little blurry.
Next up is the Wicklow Town lighthouse, one of my favourite places to take pictures from and you can get great shots of the surrounding area and when the clouds are just right it can be dramatic. In the images below left is the Lumia 830 on auto setting and it is pretty nice, the colour reproduction on the lighthouse is a little too warm as the paint is actually white. To the right is the same shot but with some HRD processing applied using Fantasia Painter.
Finally a shot of the dock area which was made difficult as the sun was starting to get low but was still strong enough to fade out the foreground details. Again left is taken on auto and to the right the same image post processed on the device using Fantasia Painter. The difference a little bit of processing cam make is amazing, and while this is probably too extreme for some I find it most pleasing.
The Nokia Lumia 830 is a really nice phone at any price point and while it does contain the best low light camera for its price point there are perhaps better alternatives for your money if you look towards Android. However if you are looking for a Windows Phone device then the Nokia Lumia 830 for the money is the best Windows Phone device you can buy right now.