Windows Phone is going on four years old now – and it's still never had the standout phone that shows it's a platform that can compete with the iPhone and the best Android has to offer.
The Nokia Lumia 930 looks to be just that phone, with a next-generation screen, a much-improved processor and a new version of the OS to give users more customisation than ever before.
This is still a Nokia phone, despite the buyout by Microsoft, and the heritage is plain to see with the choice of coloured plastic backs combined with the metallic trim.
But here's the key question: does the Nokia Lumia 930 have the ability to mix it with the big boys? It's got a higher spec sheet than ever before, the still-great camera and all of the Finnish / American toys it can pack on board, and it's coming out of the gate for cheaper than the competition too.
On top of that you've got a decent accessory ecosystem around it, a strong identity and an ever-growing user base for Windows Phone.
But there's also the other side of it: the Lumia 930 is using last year's components and still has to battle against the fact Windows Phone is still running behind iOS and Android in both the popularity and app stakes.
It's a tricky one – read on to see if the new Lumia could possibly be your next phone.
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The first thing that you'll notice about the Windows Phone 8.1-powered device is the fact it's got a much improved screen over its predecessors.
Yes, the Lumia 1520 had a large 1080p screen, but it was much bigger than the 5-inch version on show here and as such the sharpness suffered as a result.
But the AMOLED ClearBlack display used on the Lumia 930 is just brilliant. I've had too many tedious arguments with others about the benefits of LCD over OLED technology (yes, such is the effervescent life of a technology journalist) but you can't argue that OLED just looks better.
Whether it's the deep blacks, rich contrast or generally decent colour reproduction (which Nokia has nailed with its ClearBlack technology) the screen quality on the Lumia 930 is a really lovely experience.
It makes the live tiles really stand out on the home screen, and combined with Nokia's love of colour, the whole effect is really rather nice.
One of the key benefits of OLED technology is the fact that when a portion of the screen is black, it's completely switched off. This means that the disparity between bright white sections and the darker portions is more apparent, and from the moment you switch on the Lumia 930 you get the sense that this is a good quality phone.
There's also the battery saving element (if a pixel is off, it's drawing a lot less power... actually, pretty much none) so that's a benefit too.
I'm going to come onto the design of the Lumia 930 in the next section of this review, but it's worth talking about here as it's something Nokia is using as a real selling point for its new handset.
The combination of a metallic rim and polycarbonate back is nothing new, but Nokia's bolstered the strength of the phone with this year's design, and it works pretty well.
The lighter grey exterior has a very Scandinavian feel to it, and combines well with the brighter colours - although you can get black and white versions if you prefer your smartphone a bit more low key.
It feels solid in the hand, but the weight and thickness is pretty hefty for a 2014 flagship smartphone... it's hard to work out why Nokia has increased things here, but it's definitely a design that stands out from the crowd and offers a very well-built phone.
Windows Phone 8.1
Again, I feel like I'm ruining a later section, but the update to Windows Phone is a key selling point of the Lumia 930, at least in the early days of sale.
There aren't a huge amount of phones packing the update at this point, and users will benefit from new elements like a notification area (Action Center), more options with the background wallpaper and more live tile options than ever before.
Sadly, in the UK there's no look at Cortana yet, but that will be coming pretty soon we're told, and that will offer some decent access to one of the best voice assistants on a smartphone.
Windows Phone 8.1 pushes the OS forward by a huge amount - it was sorely needed, and doesn't quite get it up with the best, but just a little bit closer. Nokia's Lumia 930 is a good poster boy for this, and the combination of power and design gives a good experience under the finger.
Pureview 20MP camera
Nokia's camera heritage has been a mainstay of the mobile phone for nearly a decade now, since the decision to stick a snapper on the back of a handset.
With Pureview Nokia's really owning this space, with the Lumia 1020 still arguably the best camera-on-a-phone out there (not the best cameraphone, as what's running underneath is sub par).
The Pureview sensor on the Lumia 930 is similar to that seen on the Lumia 1520, which is a shame, as I was really hoping for something really advanced and could allow me to stop carrying the 1020 around with me.
It's not in the same league as the 41MP sensor on that device, but it's still very much one of the best on the market, as you'll see with the later camera samples.
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Here and there
Another of Nokia's big strengths is the Here suite of products that it bundles with the Nokia Lumia range - and will probably be completely available on all Windows Phone devices in the future if Microsoft has anything to say about it.
The big hitters are Here Maps and Mix Radio in my opinion - the former being a big win because of the ability to take maps offline as well as relevant information being spread throughout the app.
It's a much better app than it used to be too - while you still need to download plugins to make it fully functional, at least those extra bits are now available. It allows for easy mapping and is arguably a more coherent sat nav option than those from Apple or Google, which you should note if you're one to use your phone to navigate around in the car.
However, it's still not up to the standard of Google Maps, either in interface or general functionality. What you gain in offline capability and relevant information you lose in general interface - the slower way of flicking through the map (even with the extra grunt of the quadcore Snapdragon 800 chip running under the hood) shows that this is still something that needs more work to be a real competitor.
Mix Radio is an interesting proposition though. The idea is that it forces new music onto you (and for free, which is brilliant) and even lets you sync offline without paying any more.
The range of genres and pre-mixed playlists is really something, and despite downloading Spotify as well (which needs a lot more work on Windows Phone) I found myself initially drawn to this app to see what was on offer music-wise.
However, it didn't take long to start to fall out of love, as it relies heavily on a connection most of the time, and if you go underground or on a train with low signal it can really upset the functionality of the app. This means that the playback won't work over and over again despite being able to connect, and if you've part-downloaded a playlist it will confuse the life out of the app.
You can pay £3.99/$3.99 per month and get better access to the features of the app, such as improved audio quality and unlimited skips through songs, but it's not really that much better than the free version.
Plus you need to sign up through a Nokia account (you can do it through a Microsoft login, but that's not quite integrated yet, which leads to an email asking you to sort out a Nokia account still) which seems a bit last century nowadays.
There are plenty of decent apps from Nokia and Microsoft to download (or are pre-installed on the phone) that really add to the functionality though - everything from Video Tuner (which allows you to easily make more shareable videos) to Nokia Beamer (an awesome app that lets you mirror your phone screen on any internet-connected device in the world) so at least the Windows Phone experience is working hard at its own apps to make the experience more enticing.
Nokia needs to work out what it really wants when it comes to wireless charging. Enabled in the Lumia 920, it's been stripped out of subsequent light-named smartphones.
It's back in the Lumia 930, and as such adds a huge amount of heft to the design, apparently. I get that Nokia decided to let it be an option extra in recent models, in the shape of a snap-on case, as that gave consumers choice.
Sadly, it seemed that they chose to not use it, so Nokia has made it mandatory once again. It's great to see, and even better that there's a wireless charging pad in the box - THAT'S what consumers need to make wireless charging happen.
However, I don't get why it's added so much depth to the phone (assuming that's the reason), as other models, such as the LG G3, can manage it in a very slim profile.
But overall wireless charging being part of the set up is a big, big win. Not needing to plug your phone in for the first time as you put your head on the pillow is really awesome - this is the kind of futuristic stuff I was expecting years ago.
The design of the Nokia Lumia 930 is an odd combination of great build quality and confusing extra weight and depth.
The first time you clap eyes on the 930, you should be pretty impressed. The metal rim is an attractive light grey, and it complements the black front (with minimal bezel) and the coloured plastic rear very nicely.
You'll get a real sense that this is a premium phone, and picking it up does nothing to dispel that sensation.
But then you'll hold the phone in your hand for a little while, and you'll realise something's a little amiss: this thing's pretty heavy.
There's a reason for that: this is a phone that's got dimensions of 137 x 71 x 9.8mm, which is pretty chunky by today's smartphone standards. It's also weighing in at 167g, which is heavier than even the power-camera Lumia 1020 and all the other flagship handsets on the market.
It's an odd choice, and as I mentioned before partly explained by the onboard wireless connectivity baked right in.
That said, with a smaller batter pack attached (only 2420mAh, compared to over 3000mAh from other top handsets) and you can understand my confusion – I'd have thought there was a massive battery pack in there to make up for the extra heft.
The rest of the Lumia 930 is a pretty standard affair from the ex-Finnish brand, with the polycarbonate back well fitted into the chassis, making it feel a lot less cheap than it might do otherwise.
It's a tricky one to call, this: on the one hand, the metal rim really helps add to the overall feeling. On the other, brushing the back doesn't make it feel like I'm using an 'adult' phone, especially in the more lurid of the green or orange choices.
But this is very much Nokia's identity, one that asks its buyers to stand out from the crowd (and even a sensation that would continue with the black or white versions, as they're still quite striking held against the ear).
The metal outer is also quite sharp, as well as being deep. This makes it less ergonomic than it might be otherwise, if the band wasn't so industrially designed.
Given Nokia's been all about the curved, refined unibody chassis type in the past, this is an odd choice. It adds design flair, but reduces comfort.
The outer rim of the phone goes against a lot of design staples nowadays… but that's a good thing. The headphone jack is at the top, the right hand side of the phone holds the volume key and power button, as well as a camera shutter.
I'm a fan of this layout as it has all the things I like: a well-placed headphone jack (no, putting it at the bottom doesn't help me at all), a dedicated camera button and a power key that's at just the right height for both left- and right-handed users to hit simply.
Add to that the fact the buttons are well-raised and easy to hit (plus made of the same attractive metallic material) and it feels like Nokia really worked on finding the best place for each of these.
At the top of the phone you've also got a SIM tray that pulls out without the need for a dedicated tool. I assume this is one of the few good things about having a thicker phone, but it does take some prising to get open.
Inside you'll find nano-SIM technology, which means most of you will be on the phone to your network to get a new SIM shipped over. It's a trend that's going to get more regular in the next year, so you might as well make the jump as soon as you need to.
The only other big hitters to use this size are Apple, Motorola (in the Moto X) and HTC (in the One M8) but I'm pretty sure we'll see the same thing from Samsung, Sony et al pretty soon as the smaller size affords more design flexibility.
It's a nightmare to get into the tray though, with a small amount of bending needed to get it in snugly. Best you don't take it in and out too much.
There's no removable back cover here, nor a microSD slot to speak of – this will irk a few users, but the solid packaging makes up for it mostly. 32GB of onboard storage is a fair amount too – it's not going to satisfy those with loads of media, but will be acceptable for many.
While it might sound like there are a few elements of the Lumia 930 that I'm not enamoured with, it's still one of the most striking and well-designed phones on the market.
It binds heritage with high-end materials, and does it all with a phenomenal screen too. It might be too thick for some (and I think Nokia's overdone it a little with that) but for others that thickness is a hallmark of solid build quality.
It's too heavy though – that extra weight doesn't make the Lumia 930 feel any better in the hand. At least the battery doesn't shake around like it did in the 920… small mercies.
Interface and performance
If you've ever used any kind of Windows Phone handset in the past, you won't find a huge amount of difference on the Lumia 930.
On the one hand, that's great, as it provides consistency across the platform, but at the same time it's not changed dramatically in nearly four years.
But, that said, the update to Windows Phone 8.1 is probably one of the biggest jumps for years for the platform, and it brought with it a few elements that allow you to really feel like Microsoft is trying to compete with Android and iOS.
For instance, the notifications area (Action Center) is in the same place it's found on Android as well, with a swipe from the top bringing the chance to toggle key items like Wi-Fi etc (and this can be customised to some other, limited, choices) as well as information on emails, messages and missed calls.
If you think that sounds a bit Android-like, well, it's mostly because it is. It's not as feature rich as you'll find on Google's OS, nor does it have the live widgets of Apple's forthcoming iOS 8.
It even has swipe-away as an action, which seems a little too like Android for my liking, but then again if you're coming to the Lumia 930 from a Samsung or HTC Google-powered phone, you'll like the synergy.
It's a bit erratic in function too. For instance, hold Wi-Fi and you're taken to the menu to interact with connections, but do the same with Bluetooth and nothing happens. Why the inconsistency?
The rest of the OS is largely the same as before, with the live tiles spinning all over the home screen to give information about what's going on with each app.
This is a nice touch, and always has been one of the things I've loved about Windows Phone. And with newer versions of the platforms, you can resize the tiles to be smaller (so you can have four in the size of one live square) or double size, to give more information.
The latter is the nicest part, as it means things like Facebook, running apps or photos become so much richer, giving information when you actually need it (like what a notification on a social network means, or prompting you to strap on your trainers and run, unobtrusively).
On top of that there's the new function that allows you to choose a picture to sit behind the tiles, which become transparent to show it as you scroll up and down the homescreen. It's a nice touch and solves the issue of Windows Phone looking very similar on every person's phone.
However, it's very messy when you've got a few apps on there, as those that do provide live information aren't transparent, which ruins the effect somewhat.
Given these tiles flip, it would make more sense to have the info side only blocking the picture out, and the logo letting the picture shine through. While I'm on my soapbox here, why can't we have it so these tiles don't flip? When listening to music or looking for my next run, I know where the app is – I want to see the information it's spewing, not look at the logo.
It's picky, but these are the things that would make the experience more fluid.
And then there's the long-standing apps issue, and one that I'd like to say I'm partly impressed by. It's a horrible task trying to jump into the apps race years after it's started, but Microsoft is making inroads.
Where a couple of years ago it had barely any top-level apps, at least now Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram and friends are all present and correct, leading to a less irritating first trip into the Windows Phone Store.
However (and you knew this was coming) there's still a problem: the apps that are there are largely much poorer cousins compared to their Android or iOS counterparts. BBC iPlayer doesn't allow downloads. Spotify is a pared-down version compared to the super sleek Android iteration. Many news outlets still haven't bother with Windows Phone.
And then there's the gaming side: it's still miles away from the top level apps we're used to seeing. Real Racing 3 isn't there – it's Real Racing 2. Asphalt 8? Try Asphalt 5, with graphics like those seen on a PlayStation One.
I don't want to harangue Microsoft with the same tired apps argument – it is making some good traction, and things will only get better – but if you're looking to switch from Android or iOS, be prepared for a number of annoying app experiences that you'll have to work around.
There are some apps which are superior, of course – the likes of Adidas MiCoach is much better than on the other platforms, and that's because it's a nicer UI to code for, the brand tells me. So there is hope, but the reality right now is this OS still needs work.
If you're a new smartphone user, looking to break into the big leagues, then Windows Phone is an easy entry point. For those that are a little more au fait with how a smartphone works, then there's a lot to get used to with this newer interface, and not all of it is as intuitive as the competition.
As we all know, battery life is pretty important for any user… in fact, I'd consider it one of the top reasons to recommend a handset to a prospective user.
Windows Phone is traditionally one of the better operating systems when it comes to battery life, thanks to the way it's constructed to not allow too many things to interfere with one another, which can cause battery drain.
As such most Lumia phones have been stuck with a single or dual core CPU, which is really all that's needed to run Microsoft's efficient OS.
However, keen to compete on the spec sheet as well, Nokia's Lumia 930 is up to a quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. This isn't completely redundant, as it allows the phone to do things like record more efficiently in surround sound as well as process video and pictures at a higher speed.
Given Nokia's love of all things camera, this makes sense – and it also has the added bonus of improving efficiency.
This is going to be needed, as despite having a market-matching 5-inch Full HD screen, the Lumia 930 is somewhat lacking in the power stakes with a 2420mAh, from a purely spec point of view.
Nokia would argue that the increased efficiency of having one OS and hardware package all together (it is now officially run by Microsoft now, after all) allows for a smaller battery while still maintaining the same output.
To a degree, that's true. It's just a shame that Nokia's using last year's hardware for the engine – most phones today are running the Snapdragon 801 processor, which is a massive step forward in battery life and has even managed to make phones like the HTC One M8 last for well over a day.
The good news here is that the Lumia 930 will generally do the same, lasting a good 24 hours before needing to be charged. The phone needed a few days to bed in (the first tests were marred by awful battery life) but after that I regularly went to bed with 40% charge left.
However, there may be a slightly disappointing reason for this: with the limited app selection, combined with a more clunky and less useable browser, I found my level of 'smartphone fiddle' was somewhat diminished.
Things like Mix Radio not working as it should meant I streamed or listened to music less on this device, and there's no doubt that streaming using that service munches down on the battery.
Video playback is only OK on the phone too: in the test, the Lumia 930 managed to lose 24% over a 90 minute looped HD video on high brightness. Compare that to the iPhone 5S (16%) or the Sony Xperia Z2 (20%) and it's not favourable.
It's also worse than the Lumia 1520, which had the same sized screen to power, which managed to only wear down 16% of its charge – albeit drawing juice from a much bigger battery.
So it's a mixed bag when it comes to battery life for the Lumia 930, and it's one that makes me question whether it's down to the screen not being as optimised for the phone (which feels unlikely with the ClearBlack technology working) or if the OS itself, combined with a few apps, just isn't as power-efficient as it should be.
Either way, this problem could have been solved with a bigger battery, and given the chunkier proportions of the Lumia 930 it should probably have had a larger power unit stuffed in there anyway.
Let's not forget a couple of awesome bits here though: the fact wireless charging is built in, and the Battery Saver mode.
The former is a little odd, insofar that Nokia has dabbled with this on previous models before making it an optional extra. I'm overjoyed it's built in here, as it's the sort of thing that means wireless charging will start to proliferate.
On top of that there's actually a wireless charger in the box too, and while it takes a little longer to charge compared to plugging it into the wall, there's no greater joy in the bedroom than turning off the light and plopping the phone down and have it charge up, without cursing and scrabbling for a charger.
Battery saver is a decent mode for a couple of reasons: one, it will let you know how long is left based on current usage, and when you turn the service on it genuinely slows power drain down a decent amount.
It's being a little left behind by the rest of the competition coming up with ultrahyperextreme power saving modes, but if you're someone who hammers the phone some days more than others, this is a welcome tool.
Nokia's heritage is easy to define (well, if you forget about the cables, wellies and tellies it used to make): the call and the text message.
Who didn't love the Nokia 3310 as an easy way to get hold of your mates or excitedly get a text from that special someone (albeit in my case, once to be told that things weren't working out and it was over)?
But in the days of the modern smartphone, imbued with all manner of data and information flying through, the critical parts of owning a phone are starting to become less of a priority.
What's interesting though is that Nokia's not got the best calling or messaging experience by a long way any more – although you can lay most of that blame at Microsoft's door really.
Actually, the actual act of calling is fine on the Lumia 930, with clear and easy to hear voices going both ways.
It helps that there are multiple microphones dotted around the handset, as this improves the voice clarity no end for those listening on the other end.
The speaker and earpiece are both loud, and the overall app is easy to use and understand – I'm not a fan of having to slide up and then press answer, but it's hardly the biggest problem out there.
The issues really come with the contacts. With most phones there's a strong connection between the contacts book and the phone dialling app, but that's never been the case with Windows Phone.
For me, the phone app and the contacts are one. So smart dialling (where you tap numbers corresponding to the person's name) should be a given. Easy access to the contacts list to do more than just dial the number would be great.
You can see the thinking here, but the competition has worked out that there's a lot of mileage in making smartphones interconnected, and Nokia / Microsoft hasn't really picked up that game yet. It's cool that you can make Skype calls from within the app, and if you're a strong user of that app it saves money and improves the performance, but in reality most of us just want a good phone experience.
This is another area where Microsoft desperately needs to step up. A large part of this review is really focused on what Windows Phone offers, which you can argue is not Nokia's fault (and not really its problem anymore thanks to the buyout) but still has a large effect on the usability of the phone.
The problems aren't terrible, they're just many. For instance, while I like the fact that emoji support is baked into the keyboard, I want to be able to turn it off. The amount of times I hit that darned picture key instead of the more oft-used comma was dizzying, and such things show that keyboard customisation is important.
The keyboard needs to be more accurate too. Three years ago it was one of the best around, but multiple third party choices have proven to be a better and faster way of doing things. I like the way it can work out what my fudge-fingered missives are trying to say, but it takes a few seconds to work it out, which is too long.
Slide to text is there, and for the most part OK, but again, it's not market leading. Microsoft needs to improve this keyboard or open up to other third party choices that will be more accurate if Windows Phone is going to be brilliant in this space - and given the company's enterprise heritage, it should be.
The messaging app itself is aging too - it once experimented with other applications in the same space, but thankfully that's been pulled back inside. But the user interface hasn't really changed, and the look of it needs something of a refresh now.
Overall, the messaging experience needs a refresh. Whatsapp integration - not as a separate screen, but properly baked in - would be great, and given the Microsoft / Facebook synergy, could happen. Apple's making great strides with iMessage, and there's space for others to do so too.
Like messaging, the email client on the Nokia Lumia 930 feels like it's stuck in the dark ages. The fact that you still need to download internet pictures, or wait for the rest of the message (even when you tell the phone that you don't mind everything downloading at once) feels like I'm using a Windows Mobile circa 2002.
I know that this is designed to protect data, and that's a very important thing to be considering. But if I choose to have it all appearing then it should do just that. Microsoft needs to stop thinking of its OS as enterprise first and remember that consumers want simplicity and to be amazed by the way things look, not have to tap the screen to see a picture only to find it's an email signature.
And given the proliferation of Gmail users these days, it's crazy there's a) no proper Gmail app out there, and b) that doing so through the main email app doesn't offer the same rich functionality of archiving and searching as efficiently.
It's these small things that Microsoft needs to be more inclusive. If it can launch an Android phone (such as the Nokia X) then it can integrate Gmail better into its OS.
I feel like this 'The Essentials' section has turned into a place to moan at Microsoft for its core parts, but in truth these are the areas that are starting to creak for Windows Phone and the Lumia 930 suffers as a result.
Internet Explorer, like the other points mentioned here, is equally guilty of not moving with the times correctly. The same tired interface as before looks too industrial, too enterprise, and the overall speed and functionality of the web browser is poorer than the competition.
It's irritating that I can't have other browsers on here, as many users are starting to get integrated into a certain browser ecosystem, be it Chrome or Safari as the popular ones.
But here I just can't find as much pleasure idly browsing the web with the mobile version of Internet Explorer. Perhaps if you were wedded to the main browser, this would be an awesome way of using it, because you can pick up tabs you had open on another computer easily.
When I think of IE, I think of the same industrial font with large black surrounds, and a slower browser that doesn't look as visually appealing as the rest - and doesn't allow you to default into the desktop mode of sites, which makes more sense with the larger screen on offer.
As such, my smartphone use goes down - but then again, perhaps some people will see that as a good thing.
The camera sensor on the Nokia Lumia 930 is a very good one indeed, with the 20MP PureView sensor combined with the familiar Carl Zeiss optics.
The snapper is powerful, reasonably quick and allows you to doe some good post-shot editing too; when you add in the shutter button on top of that you can see why this is one of the better cameras on a phone.
The only thing I'd really take umbrage at is the over long time for the shutter to focus and take a snap when using the shutter button. Most users' reflex is to hold and wait for the focus, which can make you think that the long time you'll need to wait here (which is due to the autofocus doing its thing with the LED flash) is the only way to do it.
However, the Lumia 930 is up with many other phones in shutter speed (the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 and HTC One M8) and has pretty clear focus when you full-press the button or tap the screen. In essence, Nokia's actually created a hurdle by making the camera more efficient to use, but that's a good thing, as it leads to users thinking about better pictures.
We rarely need to stop and capture a moving dog, but we often want to grab a quick snap of friends somewhere, and we can wait an extra second to make that picture better.
The other issue is the confused camera app itself, although really I should say 'apps'. There are a number on here (not including lenses, which allows you to add other apps into the main app... stick with me here) that do the same thing, and yet aren't all obvious to the new user.
The normal camera app, the one started by pressing the shutter button, is OK. It's got some information on the side, and the aforementioned lenses, but you have to manually add in a flash on/off button to the mix, and to me this is one of the most crucial part of the interface.
Then if you want to use Nokia Camera, which adds in other pro elements and an HTC-Zoe-Like living image, as well as the chance to really get to grips with using more advanced photography skills (the tutorials really help here too, by the way).
Plus you've got the neat ability to drag the shutter and open up all kinds of exposure, colour balance, aperture settings etc, which is a really smooth gesture. By default, this was locked away in a simple app, but the good news is if you head into settings, tap applications, choose 'photos+camera' you'll be able to choose the default app.
It's good that the option is there, but I still don't know why these apps aren't combined. Imagine if that 'shutter slide' function activated Nokia Camera, instantly turning your snapping ability into something a lot more robust.
Both apps are great, and will yield good snaps – plus I love lenses, the ability to open the camera and then decide what I want to use it for – but there's still a step that Nokia / Microsoft can take to integrate the functionality here a little better. At least you can choose the way you want the camera to fire up when you start, plus the chance to add more in from the Windows Store in the future too.
There's also the ability to film in surround sound thanks to the Dolby support onboard, and the multiple microphones spread around. In truth, I found that the video recording levels were strong, and didn't distort terribly, but who really wants surround sound on a home movie?
Don't get me wrong, it's a nice touch and Nokia should rightly laud the feature, especially as with headphones it sounds much better, but that's not something you do a lot - just accept that it makes the sound that comes into your phone during videos that much better.
The Nokia Lumia 930 is a brilliant or complex phone for consuming movies, music and more - it just depends on how you look at it.
The positives are many: the 930 comes with Dolby sound enhancement integrated, and this really does improve the performance of tunes on show.
Couple that with the sharpest screen on a Lumia yet, and movies become a strong proposition too. And you've got multiple ways of getting them on there, be it sideloading or through something like Netflix.
However, this is where it gets a little confusing (if you let it). Nokia's Mix Radio is a good service, albeit one that pales in comparison to Spotify, but it competes a little with the inbuilt music app.
The music app itself is good, with a simple and clear interface, but that can get confusing if you sign up to Xbox Music and want to stream tracks - it feels a lot like the Sony Xperia range in that respect, where you can sign up and stream / download loads of music, but let it lapse and everything gets a bit confusing over what's 'yours' and what isn't.
But if you're just one to connect up to a PC, sync over some MP3s and a couple of movies, then you'll find the generous 32GB storage capacity more than enough for most tasks, even if you've downloaded a boatload of apps.
The sound performance is excellent too, with the ability to customise nearly every element of the sound really paying dividends for those that like to have a little tweak.
There's even an FM radio on board for those moments when you want to remember how your grandfather used to get his connection to the hit parade. It's basic, but with a decent pair of headphones it's not too bad at all.
Gaming on the Nokia Lumia 930 is a mixed bag as well. It's fine when you get the right title, and Microsoft has done well to create some really impressive casual games.
They're a little more expensive than those found on Android or iOS, but that's presumably as they allow you to garner Xbox points - well, I hope that's the reason, otherwise it's just mean.
The larger and higher-res screen is really welcome here, and whether it's the latest tennis-strategy game or hardcore racing title, you've definitely got the display estate to cope.
But if you are one of those that likes the more powerful title on their device, then you're a little out of luck with the Lumia 930. Like the apps situation in general for Windows Phone, there's very little that tests the out-and-out graphical power of the 930 like it would on other phones.
When Apple and Google are promoting their console-level graphics on a phone or tablet, Microsoft is being inexplicably left behind in this space. I say it's hard to explain because there's so much heritage here, with the Xbox platform surely having some influence along the way.
But you're forced to use older versions of games that have been long updated on other platforms, which grates when you're buying a phone that's capable of so much more.
There are some titles in there which are fun to play and seem to tax the polygons a little more, but it's nowhere near the benchmark I'm used to on Android and iOS devices.
The Nokia Lumia 930 is a tough phone to place in the market, as it has two skews to it. It's a Windows Phone first and foremost, and is designed to get people who already love the OS to think about sticking around.
It's less of a draw than the Android and iPhone competition, apart from on price, as it still lacks in certain areas (although wins in others) – but if you're considering it, here's how it stacks up against the best:
HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 is a phone that prides itself on a few central tenets: a strong audio experience, decent build quality, a high-res screen and an alternative camera proposition.
The Nokia Lumia 930 competes on a number of these areas admirably, with its own iconic (if too fat) design, a decent audio experience, the same level of screen sharpness and a superior camera.
If it wasn't for the fact the app experience wasn't as up to snuff, and the design language wasn't so industrial, these would be two very similar phones indeed – although Nokia is still hampered by some of the limitations of Windows Phone.
HTC's also got a finger in the WP pie, and it shows the disparity between the platforms that the company is pushing so much harder with its Android platform.
Why is the iPhone 5S a competitor to the Lumia 930? Well, it's got the same popularity of camera, for a start, and while it doesn't have the same colour palette as the Lumia (that's reserved for the iPhone 5C) it still shares a similar design in terms of sharper edges.
The Lumia 930 is a lot less well-endowed in the app space, but does have the advantage of being a lot cheaper with wireless charging built in, plus that larger screen to ape the best of the competition.
If you're choosing between these two phones, at least wait until September for the iPhone 6 – that's the one that will probably be more of a competitor.
Samsung's challenger is in a different class to the Lumia 930 – not because it's better, but just because the South Korean brand is following its own path here.
Where Nokia's gone for iconic design, Samsung refuses to add any premium-feeling materials into its chassis, so while it also uses polycarbonate on the rear like the Lumia 930, the Galaxy S5 goes with a faux-metal band around the side, which many users aren't enamoured with.
It does pack more 'innovation' with the heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner built in, but both phones have strong health apps on board.
Samsung's larger Super AMOLED screen is arguably the superior too, but there's not a lot in it – in short, this is a close contest once you take out the apps argument.
LG's G3 is a powerful phone, that's for sure, and the one with the sharpest screen around. Its all-new interface is clean and tidy, giving a similar vibe to Windows Phone but with the added bonus of a greater degree of customisation.
The G3 has a much larger screen – at 5.5-inches, it's bordering on phablet – but also comes with a laser focus to supercharge the speed of the camera. However, I prefer Nokia's snapper for overall image quality.
LG has also packed in a much larger battery, although with the high res screen the power consumption is about the same. It also allows you to remove that battery and add in a microSD card, which the Lumia doesn't offer.
It was tough to choose the 'other Lumia' you might consider, as there are so many out there. The Lumia 1520 is the closest in spec, but the larger screen means that's really for another market.
You might also want to save a lot of money and go for the Lumia 630, which has a lot of the same features shown here but at a fraction of the cost.
But the Lumia 1020 is a good other choice, as it's got a much more powerful camera but doesn't have the same design aesthetic. It's cheaper, and has the same Windows Phone 8.1 OS on board, which means functionally it's very similar.
The rounded unibody design is nice, but I prefer what Nokia's done with the Lumia 930. It's also got a better battery life and a quad-core processor, and if photography is your primary focus (and especially if you're thinking image manipulation) then the 930 is a much faster and more accomplished phone.
The Nokia Lumia 930 is a really great device that's hampered by a few too many elements, preventing me from lauding it as a truly standout handset.
The main reason is still the same one I've been yammering about for a couple of years, and I'll say it again: Windows Phone is still not up the level of the rest of the competition, and that hampers any big gains made in hardware.
Before anyone jumps straight to the comments to decry me as a fanboi of whichever other system, let me say this: I really like Windows Phone. In theory.
I love updating Live Tiles being my homescreen. I like the powerful yet simple interface, and I think a lot of the changes made in Windows Phone 8.1 are really clever, and in some cases better than what else is out there.
But in so many other areas it's an OS that's lacking, and surely Microsoft knows that. Instead of running through the list of apps that the competitors have and trying to match it, why not start making the top 20 apps better than they are on Android?
There are some which genuinely impress me, and I want to see more of that. But until that happens, it's hard to recommend the OS as something to check out.
But anyway - onto the Lumia 930:
The design of the Lumia 930 is really impressive, and will enamour a few people trying it out in the shop for the first time. The colours are bold and really help it stand out from the identikit nature of the competition.
The camera is also one of the better ones out there, although not as good as the Lumia 1020. I was hoping the Lumia 930 would be the new phone that would take the camera phone mantle, and I wouldn't have to pack the 1020 when I knew I needed a good snap.
It's still brilliant for day to day shots though, and if you spend even a small amount of learning the power that's contained within you can really get some great picture to share.
I still think there's a large amount of work that needs to be done on Windows Phone to take it to anything like a strong market share.
The apps problem is well documented, and one that I feel sorry for Microsoft in trying to solve – and it is making some headway. But anyone that moved from Android or iOS now would find it a disappointment when there's no YouTube, Gmail or favourite news app there.
The interface is still too slow in places as well, despite the extra power. This is due to the animations Microsoft has thrown in, rather than anything else, but still irks. The same clunkiness exists in the web browser too – Apple's finally realised it should open up certain elements of the OS, so Microsoft should too.
That's the issue: Windows Phone is becoming dated despite the refresh, and the new elements are a bit confusing. And with the Nokia transition to Microsoft things are still crossing over: for instance, there are two mapping apps on there (Bing Maps and Here Maps) and neither is a patch on Google Maps, offline capability aside.
If I can't navigate effectively across a major city, it doesn't work in my opinion.
The Nokia Lumia 930 is the best Windows Phone yet – you'll probably read that across the web. But that's like saying it's the best seaplane: you'll really need some elements of it from time to time, and you'll be able to use it, but really you want something that's able to flourish in more scenarios.
The build quality is excellent and iconic, and the camera is powerful and results in mostly great snaps. I like that 32GB is on offer as the base model, and wireless charging built in is perfect.
The price is pretty good too, and if you're a fan of Windows Phone there is nothing better right now. But Microsoft needs to boost the UI and usability of its OS as soon as possible to make sure it keeps up with pack – and that's the main thing that's troubling the Nokia Lumia 930 right now.