Nokia Lumia 830: Software
You can read our Windows Phone 8.1 review for a more in-depth look at the latest version of Windows Phone, but the short version is if you haven’t tried it recently then it’s worth trying again. While there are still areas where it lags Android and iOS, it’s a thoroughly modern operating system.
Live Folders, a twist on the Live Tiles, lets you group similar apps together and the option for smaller, icon sized tiles lets you make better use of screen space. We’ve always liked the Live Tile interface, but these improvements are noteworthy. Most of the core apps are strong, too. Cortana, Microsoft’s voice activated digital assistant, still needs some work, but it does the basics well.
As for app support, it’s a much better picture than it once was. The Windows Phone Store lacks the depth of the Android and iOS, but it has a strong core of popular apps and services. Is it still weakness? Yes, there’s no doubting app support still holds Windows Phone back somewhat, but it’s not as extreme as it once was.
Nokia Lumia 830: Performance
So far the Lumia 830 has made a good impression, but its raw performance presents some problems. Like the Lumia 735, it uses a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB RAM, which is the same basic setup as most mainstream cheap and mid-range phones. But it’s hard not to feel the Lumia 830 is underpowered given its price and the competition its up against.
The problem is three-fold: it’s more expensive than most phones that use this processor; similar price phones use considerably faster, more modern chips; and Windows Phone doesn’t appear to run as smoothly on this chip as Android rivals.
As we discovered when we reviewed the Lumia 735, games don’t look as good or run as well on Windows Phone as they do on Android phones with the same hardware. The most serious example is FIFA 15, which is basically unplayable on this hardware. Loading times are tediously long, the graphics are a blurry messy and the frame rate glacial.
The Lumia 830 on the left, the Moto G 2 on the right
This is the most extreme example, but it’s not the only issue we saw. Asphalt: Overdrive, a new arcade racer from Gameloft, runs with only minor framerate issues, but the loading times are long and it’s graphically inferior to the Android version on the Moto G 2 — see the screenshot for a comparison.
It’s much easier to forgive these kinds of problems in a phone like the Lumia 735 — it’s cheaper for a reason. But it’s trickier for the Lumia 830 when you consider that its immediate rivals, phones like the Nexus 5 and LG G3, come with much faster processors.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.