Nokia Lumia 830 Review: Upgrading to Windows Phone? Here's a Great Alternative

To be perfectly honest, the Lumia 830 is a kind of phone that can fit your pocket in terms of style and looks if an iPhone seems like a distant proposition. And the smartphone, itself, is neatly tucked away somewhere in the midst of the budget Lumia 735 and the flagship Lumia 930.

While the Lumia 830 will always be remembered as the last Lumia ever to carry the Nokia tag along with it, before Microsoft parted ways with the Finnish smartphone maker, the phone itself will also be known for its impressive looks and more-than-average finishing.

Microsoft first showcased the Lumia 830 during the IFA trade show this year. The handset was marketed as an affordable flagship and looked similar to its more expensive sibling. And the price factor could be easily understood with the 830 coming with a low-end processor, a camera with a smaller sensor and lower rez display.

Nonetheless, while we wish that a phone with such impressive looks could run Android, it is still on Windows Phone. But that doesn't take away from it the fact that it's one of the most decent looking handsets in the market. And you can imagine the kind of impact it would have had, had it entered the market running Android.

We have had the oppotunity to play around with a review unit of the Lumia 830 that we had received. And like always, we conducted extensive and rigorous tests on the handset to find out about its real capabilities. Hence, here's a full review of the Nokia Lumia 830.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review: Form Factor and Operating System

The Nokia Lumia 830 is basically formed of a rectangular slab-like design, accompanied by aluminium rim that's running along the sides. The handset offers a removable back so you can access the removable battery, SIM and the microSD card.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

The back cover of the handset is made of plastic and could be a little difficult to remove and put back on. The 5-inch display of the handset comes layered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, meaning it's kept a bit above the phone's bezel offering.

To be perfectly honest, the Lumia 830 gets its 'affordable flagship' tag due to its camera and the design. Like the Lumia 930 before it, the Lumia 830 comes with a 5-inch screen, while sharing the same basic design, but a bit better. It has the same metal trim, colorful plastic back cover and a black glass front. However, it's thinner, lighter and much easier to hold.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

The Lumia 830 comes in four colors: a silver frame with white, orange or green back, and a black frame with black back. You should also find all the buttons, including the volume rocker, power and camera button, placed on the right edge of the handset. However, if you aren't careful enough, you might hit the shutter button accidentally.

The phone is some three inches wide, making it somewhat difficult to use one-handed if you have small hands. It's also 8.5mm thick and weighs 150 grams, and could be too weighty for some. And it is strictly recommended that even if you do decide to go for the handset, experience it in your hands first.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

At the back, you'll see Nokia's trademark PureView camera that fills up most of the space on the rear, with the Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers placed at the bottom. All the built-in ports, that includes the 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB slot, have been positioned at the top.

It is also important to note that the on-screen buttons come with a back, home and search button that are extra sensitive at touch. And although it might not seem like a big deal to many, but this makes it easier to use the phone even if you are wearing gloves.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

In terms of software, the Lumia 830 runs the new Windows Phone 8.1 platform. And even if you aren't that big a fan of the Windows Phone platform, the latest changes made to the entire look and feel is worth your time. Sure it has a few nibbling issues compared to the likes of Android and iOS, but it still is a modern day operating system.

There are Live Folders now that lets you group similar apps together while the option for smaller, icon sized tiles allows you to free up more space and make better use of it. Most importantly, the core app remain strong although Cortana, Microsoft's voice-supported assistant, still need a bit of work to be done on it.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

Nokia Lumia 830 Review: Processor and Benchmark

The Lumia 830 runs on a Snapdragon 400 SoC with a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor that has been clocked at 1.2 GHz, coupled with an Adreno 305 graphics processor. The processor, itself, is backed by 1GB of RAM. Quite similar to that of the Lumia 735.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

The handset comes with 16GB of storage space, out of which some 11GB is available for use. The phone also comes with a number of pre-installed apps. However, unlike iOS and Android, you can delete them or transfer all of them on to an external SD card. And for the record, the Lumia 830 supports external cards up to 128GB.

Although the specs look decent enough to run most of the big apps while also taking care of the in-device multitasking, it isn't as easy as you may think. The problems lies in the fact that it's more expensive than most phones that use this processor.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

In fact, at a similar price (and we can name quite a few), phones come using considerably faster and more modern chips. Moreover, a Windows Phone-backed handset doesn't really appear to run as smoothly on this chip as its other Android rivals.

In terms of running games and apps, while the phone will support whatever little there is in support in the marketplace, it might not be able to offer you the same kind of clarity and crispness that you might expect from other Android phones in the same class. You will know the difference even more if you are making a shift from Android to Windows Phone.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

However, if only the processing system of the smartphone was to be considered above everything else, it could be more than evident that you will get far better options, and that too at lower price tags, if you are on Android.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review: Camera

Keeping its tradition up with the kind of cameras we have come to see from Nokia Lumia phones over the past, the Lumia 830 isn't any different either. In fact, the key feature of the Lumia 830 is indeed its camera. It's a 10-megapixel, 1/3.4-inch sensor with an f/2.2 lens with a wide 26mm focal length.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

Moreover, it's a backside illuminated sensor, and shoots natively in 16:9 so as to match the aspect of the screen. However, the real deal lies in the fact that it has optical image stabilization support.

But for the best part, the handset comes with a decent sized sensor, with support from the PureView technology that are found on higher end Lumia handsets, as well as Nokia maintaining its standard with the Carl Zeiss lens. There is even a dedicated shutter button to help you out this time around.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

Microsoft has already included a few rich features for the handset's 10 MP camera. The main camera app offers useful manual controls for changing the aspect ratio, ISO levels, shutter speed, exposure and white balance in shots. Apart from that, there are photo apps like the Nokia Cinemagraph that allow you to animate parts and sections of a photo.

There's also the presence of Nokia Refocus that allows you to re-frame photos and adjust the focus after a photo has been taken, apart from Creative Studio for adding filters and perform fine tuning on a photo. Hence, the camera offers you more set of options that you would actually expect, making it the perfect companion straight out of your pocket.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

As far as end products are concerned, in terms of perfect light conditions such as in bright daylight, be sure that you'll get top-notch photos with impressive clarity, although it may seem a bit over-saturated. Also, while the camera isn't the fastest ever, it isn't sluggish either. Thanks to its optical image stabilization support, the camera excels at producing blur-free photos most of the times.

The Lumia 830's camera also captures a good amount of detail in low light, and that expands even in darker conditions. And if this is the situation, you can also make use of the manual controls such as the ISO and shutter speed for the best possible photos in low light conditions.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

Nokia Lumia 830 Review: Battery Life and Verdict

The Lumia 830 comes with a 2,200 mAh battery, which takes almost two and half hours to charge fully. And, comparatively, that's much better than what we see from most smartphones in that class. However, that's a downgrade from the 2,420mAh battery unit of the Lumia 930.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

After a week opf rigorous testing, we've found that you will get somewhere between 11 to 14 hours of use from the Lumia 830 depending on how heavily you make use of the handset. If mainly web browsing, music listening and light gaming is your kind of thing, expect the handset to still last at least 12 hours. And that's more than enough when compared to others in the same class.

But while the battery on the handset is not that dreadful, make sure that you charge your handset every night. Sure the battery will last you more than you think, but that doesn't mean you won't be reminded of your good old charger almost everyday.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

The way we see it, if you have been a Windows Phone users all your life, you cannot go that wrong if you wish to upgrade to the Lumia 830. The Lumia 830 surely, is a worthy upgrade from the previous Lumia 820 and the 720. But then again, the deal is entirely different if you are a first time Lumia user.

If you are non-Windows Phone user, there are better smartphones to consider in this respect. The Lumia 830 draws direct rivalry from the likes of Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G3 Beat. And while it does lack in a few features compared to the one mentioned here, it also arrives with its own perks.

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

But that doesn't take away from it the fact that it is a special handset and will definitely have a few takers in the market.

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