Hands-on: Nokia Lumia 930 review

The Nokia Lumia 930 is a new flagship Windows Phone handset. Announced at Microsoft's Build 2014 conference, and available on 17 July in the UK, the Lumia 930 is a global variation of the Lumia Icon, which launched on Verizon in the US recently.

There's a difference, however, with the Lumia 930 flying the flag for Windows Phone and launching with the new Windows Phone 8.1 software. That brings a range of enhancements, mixed together with Nokia Cyan.

Before we talk about software, however, lets look at the hardware. Moving away from the curved edges of the Lumia 925, the Lumia 930 is altogether chunkier.

It follows the same design lines, with a central metal frame, extending to squared edges, into which the 5-inch display and colourful polycarbonate back fits.

READ: Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 925: What's the difference?

While it might not be as natural in the hand as the 925, we can't say that the size really puts us off: it's a big phone, but we like it. It measures 137 x 71 x 9.8mm and weighs 167g.

The 5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display on the front - offering 441ppi - is lovely. It's AMOLED, which we've always felt showed Windows Phone off rather nicely, especially with that inky black background, contrasting with those punchy colourful live tiles.

It's incredibly detailed and silky smooth to the touch. It is topped with Gorilla Glass 3, and we love the soft curves at the edges.

Some of that silky smoothness no doubt comes from the 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset and 2GB or RAM that sit at the Lumia 930's heart. There's 32GB of internal storage, but sadly no microSD card slot. 

Although Nokia said the software wasn't final, it felt fluid and fast in navigation and we think that will lead to a fantastic Windows Phone experience when the device launches. We loved the Lumia 1520, and the 930 brings that power with it.

Wireless charging is included and you'll find that there's a wireless charging pad in the box when you buy the Lumia 930 in the UK, so you can simply plonk it on to top up the juice.

There are a lot of new elements in the software on the Lumia 930, mashing together Nokia features and Microsoft updates. We didn't have the chance to explore everything that will be coming with the Lumia 930 - the updated Storyteller app, for example, wasn't installed on our sample device.

Cortana - Windows Phone's new personal digital assistant - also wasn't around to be shown off. That aspect of Windows Phone is launching in beta in the US, expected to arrive in the UK later in the year. 

However, some elements of Windows Phone 8.1 immediately appealed to us. The new Action Centre, a swipe down notifications and shortcuts area that brings one of the best features of Android to Windows Phone.

Action Centre will let you look at notifications, punch shortcut buttons and get instant access to the settings. It's really handy and a long-needed update.

Then there is the new keyboard that now offers trace entry. Users of Swype or SwiftKey - or the stock Android keyboard - will be familiar with how it works. Here, in truth, it's very good and will be much welcomed as it makes text entry so much faster than before.

Windows Phone is full of little changes, like Action Centre, that make the mobile OS more compelling and more competitive. You can now add more to the Start screen, however as can be seen that on a device this size, it's starting to step away from the mantra of keeping things simple: you can add so much clutter (if you want), you can't see the woods for the trees.

READ: What's new in Windows Phone 8.1?

Around the back of the Lumia 930 is a 20-megapixel PureView camera. We've not had the chance to test it or see the results, but we were impressed with the Lumia 1520, so we'd expect much the same here.

There are now four mics for capturing immersive audio in videos, as well as a run of updates to the camera app(s) both from Microsoft and Nokia. During our time with the Lumia 930 we didn't really have the chance to gauge how these hang together, so we'll save deeper analysis until we have the chance to fully review the phone.

First impressions of the Nokia Lumia 930 are good. It's not the curvy phone that the 925 was, but it feels like a serious smartphone. We can't wait to really put it through its paces closer to launch on 17 July.



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