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Nokia Lumia 930: Software, Apps and Performance

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Nokia Lumia 930: Software

The Lumia 930 joins the Nokia Lumia 625 and Lumia 630 in running on Windows Phone 8.1, the latest update to Microsoft’s mobile operating system that it hopes will help them gain lost ground on iOS and Android. It brings some features already available on rival platforms and a few other promising software tweaks, though it feels as if Microsoft is still lagging behind in a few important areas.

It doesn’t take long to see how things have changed. Microsoft has added more tile sizes, including much smaller square icons, which lets you squeeze on more of your frequently used apps, and there's a third column to fit them into. It’s not a dramatic design overhaul but it does mean you have quick access to more of your apps, and you can still swipe left to see the alphabetized list that you can search through.

Where it does take some inspiration from Google’s operating system is the inclusion of a drop-down notification bar or 'Action Center' that can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. For anyone who has tried to move from Android to Windows Phone this was one of the most frustrating differences, so it’s great that Microsoft has responded. Additionally, there’s also a set of toggles to turn on and off internet connections, flight mode, rotation lock and the ability to jump into all settings — all small, but very welcome, additions.

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The Lumia 930 (left), running Windows Phone 8.1, and the Lumia 1020 (right) running Windows Phone 8

Among the other notable changes is the new keyboard, which now supports Word Flow. This is essentially gesture typing, so you can swipe letters to type out words and hopefully get your messages and searches out quicker. It’s something we’ve already seen on Android phones and it’s not for everybody, but it can definitely help speed-up typing for most people and is another barrier lifted for those thinking of switching from Android to Windows Phone.

Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Voice Search, is also included, although it’s currently not showing up on UK models until later this year. It can be accessed if you change your location to the US, though as we found in our Siri vs Google Now vs Cortana trial, it’s not quite ready for us over in the UK.

All these changes are good ones, and Windows Phone remains a very pleasant operating system on a day-to-day basis, but the one challenge remains: apps.

Nokia Lumia 930: Apps

Like all Windows Phone phones, there are a series of core apps that are ever-present, such as the Xbox-influenced Games, OneDrive, Skype and the Bing-powered News, Weather and Sports apps.There’s 32GB of storage to store them along with the rest of your content, but a lack of expandable storage or a larger 64GB option is an issue worth considering.

Nokia offers its own collection of software to broaden the Windows Phone experience with some new additions landing for the Lumia 930.

There’s the Nokia Storyteller app, which works in the similar way to HTC’s Zoe feature by collating photos and presenting them in a timeline. You can also see the most common places pictures have been taken, view favourite locations, add captions and manually include locations. It’s nothing particularly revolutionary, but it’s a nice way to organize photos and videos on your phone.

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Nokia Beamer, which builds on the previous Photo Beamer app, is a way of sharing whatever is on your screen or mirroring to another web browser like a laptop or a tablet. This is done either by sending a link by email, SMS and social networks or by going to the Nokia Beamer website and scanning a QR code with your Lumia 930 to mirror the screen. It only works with static content, so videos obviously will not run and you can simply double tap on the phone screen to send something new. It’s a fun app and very easy to use, though we’d love to see video mirroring explored in the future.

Elsewhere, there’s Nokia HERE Drive, HERE Maps and the free Nokia MixRadio music app where you can listen to automatically created radio playlists, take them offline and get suggested radio stations. Nokia HERE Drive is the most notable among these as it allows you download maps for use offline — useful when abroad or in low signal areas.

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But the problem that has really plagued Windows Phone as an operating system has been what lurks in the Windows Store, or rather what doesn't. There’s no concrete figure on how many apps exist in the Windows Store, but clearly it’s not as fully stocked as the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Things are improving — a check of the top apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store show most of the top line apps are now accounted for — but when you delve into categories like gaming you'll find popular and games like Candy Crush Saga, Simpsons Tapped Out and Monument Valley are nowhere to be seen. This might not bother you, but their absence is symptomatic of wider problems.

One of those is simply how hard it is to find the best apps in the Windows Store. The new pre-installed App Social app preinstalled tries to make app discovery easier experience, and in a way it’s a more refined experience than the Windows Store, but it can't solve the problem when an app you want isn't actually there.

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Nokia Lumia 930: Performance

One thing you don’t really have to worry about is the Lumia 930 feeling at all sluggish. Whether that’s swiping around the UI or launching applications, the 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU powering the 930 means it’s well equipped. It’s not bang up-to-date with the latest Snapdragon 801 CPUs currently found inside the Xperia Z2 and the HTC One M8, but you'll struggle to notice the difference in use.

The Windows Store is not exactly brimming with demanding games and our test game Real Racing 3 is currently not available, but we did manage to try out Asphalt 8: Airborne, Score! World Goals and Halo: Spartan Assault without any hitches with games launching nice and briskly. One issue we did notice is that running those more demanding games causes the lower half of the back to get a little warm and takes some time to cool down after a gaming session, but it's nothing to get alarmed about.

We don't have access to the same benchmark tests we use on Android smartphones to make comparisons, so we ran the WP Bench benchmark and the Lumia 930 scores a 505.48 compared to the Lumia 1020’s 225.12, showing that the 930 is a serious step-up from the arguably the best-known (if not best-selling) Windows Phone handset to date.

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pixelmike .

July 16, 2014, 6:41 am

Someone should be brave and make a thicker smaller phone with a decent battery..........

MattMe

July 16, 2014, 11:01 am

The Xperia Z1 Compact is on my list for this reason. Why can't we get good spec phones without silly screens? And I'm talking silly as in size and resolution.

MattMe

July 16, 2014, 11:03 am

Why do "Good noise cancellation" and "pleasantly surprised" equate to 6/10 for call quality? That suggest to me that the quality of phones calls on a phone is not good, and would put me off purchasing. But perhaps I'm old skool in wanting to use my phone to make calls...

dpanch_89

July 16, 2014, 11:20 am

Why is the wireless charging and the bundled wireless charger not count as one of the "Pros"?

Martin Scoff

July 16, 2014, 11:43 am

Good points there dpanch. Also the Zperia Z2 is a square design and didn't get marked down for it. And we all know there aren't as many useless apps available for Win 8.1 - that's a decision we would be knowingly making if we opted to buy this phone.

Ignition1

July 16, 2014, 12:51 pm

This was the 4th or 5th review of the Lumia 930 I've read. It's completely subjective of course - the design is liked by some and not others, the battery is considered normal by some but poor by others. The recurring theme is the poor app store.

My phone life - 4 years with an iPhone 3G and 4, 2 years with a Samsung Galaxy S3 and now I'm moving to the Lumia 930. I've checked all the apps I use daily and they're all in the WP Store.

The dedicated camera button is a brilliant feature - so simple yet so rare to find. Also Windows Phone 8.1 is slick and simple like iOS...which is a good thing (for me).

Ignition1

July 16, 2014, 12:54 pm

I was looking at the LG G3...but a 5.5" screen was too much. The limit for me is 5" for a phone...after that I have to think about keeping it in my bag or leaving it at home and calling it a tablet.

andyvan

July 16, 2014, 1:19 pm

I believe the Z2 is also thinner, though, which makes a difference when holding it.

dpanch_89

July 16, 2014, 2:35 pm

similar here. I've been using the old HTC HD7 (when wp was first launched!) for 4 years now, and am desperate to upgrade. I don't bother with loads of apps tbh, and have an android tablet for most apps that I'm desperate to have, if at all. I like the simplicity, and the style of the UI.

Tim Sutton

July 16, 2014, 11:43 pm

None of the other reviews I've seen have had bad things to say about the call quality.

Anecdotally, my old Lumia 800 was great for the person I was calling while slightly too quiet in my ear for my liking, while my current Lumia 1520 is ridiculously good, like having the other person sitting on your shoulder.

Trusted Reviews does like to look for the negatives when it comes to Windows Phone, I tend to automatically add a mark to their score of any Windows Phone handset as compensation. That usually gives a more accurate picture!

Russell hawker

July 17, 2014, 10:10 am

Definitely worth checking the WP Store. I switched to Windows Phone earlier this year after checking the store and finding eveything i needed was there. Yes it is missing the 10,000 rubbish apps that Android and Apple have but if you can live without those, WP Store is fine.
Windows Phone is a slicker OS, less demanding and has less hardware requirements than Android or Apple. So 2.2ghz and 2Gb is over kill really.
Lack of HDR is not a major blow. It maybe something Nokia can implement with a firmware upgrade. At the end of the day its only a case of taking 3 images 1 stop apart and stacking them. No extra hardware required, just a software thing.

Joycey

July 17, 2014, 10:52 am

Obviously the reporter has a fetish for Candy Crush and Kim Kardashians latest time waster! Mine arrived this morning and think its sublime!

Russell hawker

July 17, 2014, 12:39 pm

Quite envious but the 920 is still a great phone. Will have to wait a bit before i get the 930. Enjoy the 930.

andyUK

July 23, 2014, 12:59 pm

This reviewer is obviously an Android fanatic.
Nokia were doing Swype gestured text messaging and 'drop down action centres' years ago, and probably pioneered these things but reviewer has to compare everything to Android OS as if they were doing it first.
I'd suggest to anyone to try out this phone and OS. It just feels so much more polished than any Android phone I've used and has the great build quality Nokia are reknowned for.

GaryMG

July 28, 2014, 8:54 am

Have had my 930 for over a week for now. The phone is amazing, light years ahead of the iPhone (yes I know trustedreviews love everything apple). The screen alone is a thing of beauty. The sound quality is so good I use it without headphones. Very comfortable in the hand, Nokia/Microsoft put a lot of effort into the ergonomics of this phone and it shows. As for the apps? There are fewer rubbish apps in the windows store, you do not need to wade through so much junk as you do on the iPhone and android phones. Most of the big name apps are there. But the best thing is that the big boys were slow to get apps out onto the windows phone, meaning independent developers got there first and produced a much better app. Pinterest for example, is ok on iPhone and windows phone but the app pin.it created before the official app came out is so much better and a joy to use. I wont even start on Cortana, which has leapfrogged siri by miles. I will say this, Cortana understands my London accent and understands language and does not need learned phrases. Cant wait for the UK Cortana which should be out this week.
In conclusion: ignore talk of missing apps, add two points to any review of windows phone.

Maurício Avellar

August 17, 2014, 9:39 pm

Let me see if I get it. Trusted reviews gave iPhone camera a 9/10 and the camera on the Lumia 930 an 8/10 and, as stated by 99% of the camera reviewers, the camera on the Lumia is way better than the one on the iPhone, let alone it allows you manual controls kind of like on a DSLR. So, I think just by having a bitten apple drawn on the back improves the score. Not to mention the design are so close, but the iPhone still got a higher score. Screen quality on the iPhone isn't excellent, I have one, it's good at best, one can easily see pixelated fonts, edges, corners, etc. throughout the whole ecosystem. Software and apps are better, call quality is excellent, performance is good with occasional hiccups, especially when trying to open many websites simultaneously, like I do all the time. When scoring about price, iPhone should get 1/10, because outside the US it costs more than a brand new motorcycle. Instead of buying an iPhone here, one could buy a Lumia 930 + Galaxy S5 or Sony Xperia Z2 or even the Lumia 1520. When comparing apps like Facebook, for instance, the one for Android is way ahead of the other 2 competitors (WIndows/iOS).

ghese

August 26, 2014, 11:11 am

The poor app store for WP phones is now a negative I simply just ignore. I've got all the apps I need on WP8.1. But however, to say that the battery is average?! I bet that's soley based on the battery size itself, and not the actual batterylife on the phone. I could get 2 days out of my 1020. The 930s I bought for my family has about 1/3 extra battery capasity. My sister (Who uses the phone alot for stuff like youtube and snapchat) told me she would have about 50% left by the end of the day.

I know for certain that S3 runs completely out of battery by 6-8 hours.

"Trusted Reviews" seems like yet another generic tech page that can't accept changes and innovation. This will therefore be the last time I visit this website. (Unless someone replies to this comment)

andyvan

August 26, 2014, 3:32 pm

It might not matter to you but it's still a legitimate concern for anyone switching from Android or iOS, which most likely would be. Just because the apps you use are there, that isn't to say the apps that other people use will be.

ghese

August 26, 2014, 6:19 pm

it would in that case be an even greater concern for anyone who would be talked into buying an iOS or Android phone once they're used with the Windows Phone ecosystem.
There are plenty of that are truly unique to the WP store as well. And these apps wouldn't have a substitute of same quality on Android.
It's a pitty really, that many fanboys talk about specific games that aren't available on WP phones, as their concern for not switching to WP platform. It's like if they already know there's no other good excuse. It's not like if I couldn't do the same. I could easily list good games that aren't available on android (emphasis on "good").

andyvan

August 27, 2014, 8:59 am

Given the relative market shares, it's far more likely someone would be moving from iOS/Android to Windows than the other way.

ghese

August 27, 2014, 9:13 am

Exactly! In the end, it's not about the app selection. But rather the current marketshare. And the market share doesn't reflect who makes the better phone, but rather, who is better at convincing people to buy their phone.
Because if it had actually been about who makes the better phone, Samsung wouldn't be the dominant android phone maker. HTC for instance makes phones that are way better than Samsung.
Android fanboys don't realize that they're ruining it for everyone by talking people into buying Samsung.

andyvan

August 27, 2014, 11:45 am

I think you've missed my point a little.

Given most people won't be switching from WP to Android/iOS, whether WP apps are on either isn't all that important. Moreover, the respective app selections are so large and varied that you could probably find an equivalent and equally good apps on either of those platforms.

The same is not true when switching from Android/iOS to Windows Phone, which is why the relative lack of apps is legitimate criticism of the platform.

We're not saying Windows Phone is bad, but believing the app situation is a 'non issue' isn't credible and it's perfectly reasonable for us to make that point.

EDIT: I'd add this is less problematic when buying a cheaper phone where there is less demand for apps, which is probably why WP has been quite successful in the cheaper end of the market.

ghese

August 27, 2014, 7:25 pm

Let's emphasize on "We". A very huge majority on people who owns or buys a smartphones would have no issue. I was myself a hardcore android user and app developer. I invested alot in the Android ecosystem. And sure, I lost all everything I spent money on. But I had no issue finding alternatives on WP phone. For me, there was no issue with adapting to a new OS. But I surely can understand that some people may find it a bit hard.

I just really hate the fact that most of the dislike towards WP is due to Android fanboys spreading rumours. Like the dude at the store did almost everythign he could do discourage me from buying my 1020. He even went as far as saying the camera on 1020 was bad. Like, what the heck. I told him he just lost a customer, went to a rival store and bought my 1020.

When running tech websites, people aren't here to read your personal opinion and what you need. But rather what they may need, the majority. The truth is, most people don't care for installing dozens of launchers and try out a gazillion themes for their new launcher and keyboard. They don't need 500+ tic tac toe games, just 1.

Most people prefers having an extremely responsive and sleek looking UI. Check social media and News. Take good pictures and have a nice and simply way of editing their photos and/or just share the pic easily on social media. They would rather appreciate built-in cloud access. Have access to their word, excel and ppt documents through built-in solutions, and not try out and waste money on a dozen apps that render documents differently.

Heck, Android doesn't even have a disqus app. Wouldn't that be a relevant app for someone who browses through these websites?

Android phones are capable of doing tap-to-share. However, I've never seen a single Android user do it other than to show that they could do it. They still plug their phone to a computer or email it. I see WP phone users do tap-to-share frequently, because that's the OS itself being more user-friendly and intuitive.

And gosh, the clutter you end up accumulating on Android phones. Just how much of a relief it would be to many people if they had less clutter to deal with. My Dad may not be the most tech-savy person, but he likes to stay updated on such. And guess what, he loves WP phone. And this would be the great majority of smartphone users. They want to do stuff, without having to deal with clutter.

Prem Desai

August 30, 2014, 10:55 pm

I think the apps issue is real.

I still believe that Microsoft is 'the' software company and that Nokia is the 'phone' company and between the 2 of them, can knock out some pretty decent kit.

I really want to get a windows phone, but the lack of apps is stopping me - there are some pretty specific apps that I want, none of which are in windows store.

So hopefully things will change - in the meantime, I'm slumming it with my Android and iOS devices ......

ghese

August 31, 2014, 2:10 am

which apps? Before you name any bank apps, if they don't have an app for windows phone, is because they don't have much users and are less developed than the rest. Of that's the case, you should be considering to switch the bank and not hold it against WP.
I'll never understand people who would pick android so that they can do banking on it. The least secure platform of them all, not to mention how it's a device that's handled by many people. (Not saying you're one of them).
Which app are you missing? Are you sure you didn't find a substitute?

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