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Nokia Lumia 830 review

Andy Vandervell

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Nokia Lumia 830
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  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 830
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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Great photos in low light
  • Slim and stylish design
  • Bright and accurate screen

Cons

  • No HDR mode
  • Poor performance in some games
  • Strong rivals at this price

Key Features

  • 10-megapixel camera with OIS; 5-inch, 1280 x 720 screen; Snapdragon 400
  • Manufacturer: Nokia
  • Review Price: £320.00

What is the Nokia Lumia 830?

The Lumia 830 is the kind of phone you should consider if you want a 'flagship' style phone but can't afford an iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or a Lumia 930. There are compromises to fit its £320 SIM-free price (from £22 a month on contract), but it looks and feels the part.

Key to its appeal is the camera, a 10-megapixel effort with built-in optical image stabilisation (OIS). OIS helps counteract camera shake and should help produce brighter, sharper photos in gloomy light. Many far more expensive phones don't have OIS, and the hugely expensive iPhone 6 Plus is the only one of the two new iPhones to feature it. Is this enough to elevate it above similar price phones like the LG G3 and Nexus 5? Read on to find out.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Smartphones

VIDEO: Watch our hands-on from IFA 2014

Nokia Lumia 830: Design & Features

There are two things that earn the Lumia 830 its ‘affordable flagship’ tag, the camera and the design. Like the Lumia 930, which sits above the 830 in the Windows Phone lineup, the Lumia 830 has a 5-inch screen and it shares the same basic design. Well, it’s the same, only better. It shares the metal trim, colourful plastic rear and black glass front, but it’s thinner, lighter and easier to hold.

The differences sound small, the Lumia 830 is 150g and 8.5mm thick against the 167g and 9.8mm of the 930, but the difference is palpable. The Lumia 930 felt chunky, unwieldy and cumbersome, the Lumia 830 doesn’t. In a blind test you would assume the Lumia 830 was the more expensive of the two.

SEE ALSO: Best Windows Phone Round-up

That’s a good start and the plus points keep coming. That rear cover is removable, so you can access and replace the battery and add a microSD card. The Lumia 930 had neither option. Moreover, the Lumia 830 doesn’t lose many features in return — it still has a dedicated camera shutter button, it still supports wireless charging and it includes NFC as well. It’s a well-featured phone.

So what gives to keep the Lumia cheaper? The main difference is a much slower processor; in fact the Lumia 830 carries the same Snapdragon 400 chip as the sub-£200 Lumia 735. It also has a smaller battery and, unsurprisingly, a lower resolution 720p screen. You don’t get 802.11ac Wi-Fi either, though we doubt many people will miss that.

All told, it sounds like an impressive package and it’s a good-looking one, too. It shares the same orange, green, white and black options as its brethren, and the build quality can’t be faulted. Putting the plastic cover back on is a bit fiddly, as is removing a microSD card (we needed a paperclip to prise it out), but these aren’t things you’ll do often.

Our most serious complaint is that the Lumia 830 is useless as an in-car sat nav. Why? One, because the three buttons on the right edge leave no space to clamp the phone with a holder; two, because the mini USB charging port is at the top and the phone won’t auto rotate to show the display upside down. Switching to landscape view would fix the first problem, but the second is hard to solve. It’s a shame given Nokia’s Here Drive app is so good, but this only matters if you use your phone for navigation often.

One final trivial concern is we found it too easy to jog the volume controls by accident, particularly when putting the phone back in a pocket. The 930 appears to have tougher, harder to press buttons in comparison.

Nokia Lumia 830: Screen

We’ve grown weary of the ‘pixel’ wars of phone screens recently and the Lumia 830 is a good example of why. Yes, its 5-inch 1,280 x 720 screen has ‘only’ 296 pixels per inch (ppi) compared to the 441ppi of the Lumia 930’s Full HD OLED screen, but it’s still a damn good screen.

It’s not OLED like the Lumia 930 or the Lumia 735, so it lacks their ultra deep blacks, but it’s decently sharp and colours are accurate. You’ll notice a little edginess to text if you look very close, but from a normal viewing distance it’s not a problem. It’s certainly sharper than the screen in the Lumia 735, where the PenTile OLED screen gives it a grainy quality.

We didn’t have any serious problems using the Lumia 830 outdoors, either. It’s an impressively bright screen and it’s very good at picking the right brightness level for the conditions.

Overall, it’s a very good screen. You will find better on some similar price or cheaper phones, the Nexus 5, LG G2 and LG G3 spring to mind, but it’s certainly not a reason to rule out the Lumia 830.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

shivani sharma

September 5, 2014, 8:05 pm

nice article

s1aver

September 18, 2014, 2:48 pm

I don't understand how reviews can knock the 830 for it's specs when it trades blows with the iPhone 6, which is considered the flagship to beat. There's a pretty obvious double standard whenever the apple is concerned.

danielfrisbee

October 13, 2014, 3:04 pm

looks like the 1020 is a better buy, you can pick them up for £200 these days. Do wish they'd start an hdr mode or similar though.

Guest

October 13, 2014, 6:55 pm

O M G !
NO review i read in the last days mentioned that we still wait for the LUMIA CAMERA app. Thats an updates for the "Nokia Camera" used in the moment.
It will offer > H D R < !!! , Dynamic Flash, MUCH faster speed and other stuff, PLUS general improvements with the newest algorythms from Nokia / MS.

Please test it again when it´s released! Should be available in about 2-4 weeks!

Journalism at its best...

Guest

October 14, 2014, 7:46 am

I find windows phones to be a lot better as an experience to android ones.
The os is better, so although it doesn't get the millions of apps android phones get i tend to prefer them. Now why these get slaughtered in the reviews is besides my understanding.

Quikmix

October 15, 2014, 12:58 am

Really, my only question is this: Given that the Lumia 1520 is hovering around $499/$529 off contract, is it worth the extra $100 dollars to upgrade to true flagship specs? After all, both devices are going to get the eventual Lumia Camera update

I hope that the Lumia 830 comes in at $349 in the US because it'll make that decision a lot easier. If it ends up being $400 like most seem to be suggesting, I think it's a doomed proposition because you just get sooo much more hardware/performance from the 1520.

mastjaso

October 17, 2014, 8:23 pm

I find this line bothersome: "and Windows Phone doesn’t appear to run as smoothly on this chip as Android rivals."

Games on Windows Phone don't seem to run as well (most likely because they're not optimized for WP properly) the OS and most apps I find to run far better on Windows Phone than Android given comparable hardware. It's a much less resource intensive OS and one that looks significantly better on lower resolution screens.

Gaurav Kumar

October 29, 2014, 3:23 pm

which is good ? should i buy nokia 830 or nexus 5 ? please tell me about it

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