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Nokia Lumia 830 Review: A flagship-like device without the hefty price

Nokia Lumia 830

There’s something different about the Nokia Lumia 830. It’s a mid-range device, but it feels like a flagship. Admittedly, Nokia is dubbing the Lumia 830 as a “flagship on a budget”, and the idea of it being a flagship definitely rings true. Although the 830 is, on paper, a step down from the Lumia 930, Nokia has worked some magic and made the Lumia 830 one of, if not the best Lumia available today.

The Lumia 830 is an interesting device. It’s a mid-ranger, meaning standard specifications and fairly easy on the wallet, yet it feels so much more than just a mid-range device. It feels premium, just like the Lumia 930. The device looks and feels like a high-end flagship, and in some ways makes me wish I held out a little longer for the Lumia 830 instead of making the plunge with the Lumia 930.

Specifications

Lumia 830 ResultsThe Lumia 830 is a mid-range device, meaning it doesn’t have all the top-notch specs you’d find on an actual flagship. It has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2Ghz and 1GB RAM. It as an Adreno 305 GPU which will get you by with practically all games available on Windows Phone. These specs aren’t too shabby, but they aren’t anything fancy either.

We conducted a few performance tests to see how well the device performed. We used Basemark OS II, which runs a performance test and compares the device against others. The Lumia 830 hit an overall score of 484, which is pretty good. For comparison, the Lumia 930 has an overall score of 1052, but considering how amazingly well Windows Phone 8.1 performs on the Lumia 830, it doesn’t make too much of a difference with daily use.

With the lightness of Windows Phone 8.1, these specifications will get you by just fine. The operating system feels quick and smooth. We did find that the Start Screen (upon exiting an app) would lag slightly for a second. It doesn’t exactly slow down the operating system in any way, it’s just a noticeable animation lag which lasts a second. We assume this is due to software optimization and can be fixed in a future update.

The Lumia 830 comes with 16GB internal storage, upgradable via a MicroSD expansion (up to 128GB). It also has a NanoSIM card slot and a removable 2200mAh battery.

Lumia 830

Screen

With every smartphone comes a screen, rather obviously. The Lumia 830 sports a 5inch, 1280×720 screen. The screen is an IPS LCD display, meaning when the screen is in use, all pixels are powered regardless of if they need to be. This means you can use the white Windows Phone theme if you wish without degrading any battery life. The device has a PPI of 294, which isn’t spectacular but it also isn’t awful. Windows Phone 8.1 looks just as good as ever on the 5 inch display, and with clear-black technology built in, blacks look just like they’re supposed to.

For those who are prone to dropping their device, Nokia has fitted the Lumia 830 with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which should protect against drops from a low height.

Camera

For a mid-range device, the Nokia Lumia 830 comes with an amazing rear-facing camera. Nokia has implemented a 10MP PureView Carl Zeiss shooter, which takes amazing photos in almost all lighting scenarios. I found that there can be a fair bit of noise when taking low light shots without flash, however that’s to be expected. The shooter also includes optical image stabilization, and an LED flash.

Lumia 830

The front facing camera is a 0.9MP, 720p shooter. It’s nothing special, however I found the front-facing camera to have a wider lens than that on the Lumia 930, which is super for taking group selfies with your friends on a night out in Paris.

Camera Photo

Camera Photo

Camera Photo

Camera Photo

Design

The Lumia 830 borrows a number of design elements from its older brother, being the Lumia 930. It features the same, premium aluminum edges and colorful back plastic cover. Difference being on the Lumia 830, the back cover is removable, which allows access to a removable battery as well as the MicroSD card slot and NanoSIM slot.

The profile of the device is somewhat thinner than the Lumia 930, which actually makes this device feel more premium than that of its older brother. At just 8.5mm, the Lumia 830 is beautifully thin and makes the device that much more premium-like.

It’s actually uncanny as to how amazing this device feels compared to other Lumia’s. As a Lumia 930 user, I’m actually pretty damn jealous of the Lumia 830’s design. If Microsoft had of swapped internals around with the Lumia 930 and Lumia 830, I’d have been a happy man.

Lumia 830

Since the Lumia 830 supports changeable back covers, you can swap in a new color when you get bored of your current one, which is really cool. Don’t worry, these changeable covers don’t make the device flimsy, as the device still feels super solid.

Something that is somewhat annoying is the vibrate engine within the device. It’s weak, very weak. I can barely feel it in my pocket and on a table it’s barely audible. Some might say that’s good, but not being able to feel it vibrate in your pocket is somewhat of a problem for some.

Sound

The device doesn’t produce amazing sound, however it’s very loud which is good. The speaker is very tinny and isn’t very bass heavy, so if you’re planning to load up the Lumia 830 with lots of music you’re going to want keep a pair of headphones on standby.

Performance and Battery Life

As said above, thanks to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, the operating system runs fast. While not as fast as the Lumia 930, the Lumia 830 is still an impressively quick device. Considering the device has a 2200mAh battery, the device can easily last all day with average use. The Snapdragon 400 processor doesn’t really do damage to the battery life, which is superb.

Although behind the Lumia 930 when it comes to speed, it isn’t behind by that much. During our (unscientific) tests, the Lumia 830 was a mere second or two behind pretty much all the time. We did find the Lumia 830 boots up a lot faster than the 930 however. We did that test multiple times and the result was always the same, the Lumia 830 is faster at booting than the 930.

Lumia 830

Daily use and general thoughts

The Lumia 830 is nice, it really is. It’s making me jealous. Going back to the Lumia 930 after using the Lumia 830 just makes me wonder what Nokia were thinking when it came to the design of the Lumia 930. I like the 830 a lot, its build and design is amazing.

What’s interesting is that it feels more like a device from the Lumia 9xx line than a device from the 8xx range. The Lumia 830 in no way feels like a Lumia 820, but more a Lumia 930 upgrade from build quality alone. Of course, under the hood the specifications make it an upgrade from the Lumia 820, and below the Lumia 930.

But for the price you pay for this device, you’re getting more than you bargained for. You’re getting pretty nice specifications in a body which is better than the Lumia 930. Considering the specifications are okay, you’re not missing out on anything between the Lumia 930 and 830, unless you need an extra 10MP for photos, you’ll generally be happy with the Lumia 830 as your daily driver… even if you’re looking for a flagship.

Lumia 830

Yep. If you’re in the market for a new flagship, I would actually recommend the Lumia 830. It can be one, it feels and looks like one, and from our tests it acts like one too. It has a super great PureView, Carl Zeiss camera, modern specifications and utilizes Windows Phone 8.1 just fine.

Daily use from the device has seen it fall down at nothing. It just works like a flagship. Battery life is excellent, all apps are compatible thanks to that 1GB of RAM, and apps are mere seconds slower than that on the Lumia 930, which is pretty damn fast for a mid-range device.

Microsoft has done wonders with Lumia Denim to optimize Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 as well as they have done for the Lumia 830. Speaking of Lumia Denim, once apps like Lumia Camera is released, the camera will function even faster than it does already. Things are simply looking up for the Lumia 830.

Pricing and availability

The Lumia 830 alone is available in the UK for £299.99, which for a flagship device is a stellar deal. The device launched earlier this month, and can be purchased from your local carrier store or online from Microsoft directly or Amazon.

The device in the US is a little more pricey, being $424.99 from Expansys USA. Compared to the likes of the Lumia 930, HTC One and other flagships, that’s still a good price for a device that’s just like a flagship too. I recommend those in the US wait a little for the price to drop before they decide on purchasing this device. At that price, you might as well go all out with the extra $100 and get a Lumia 930.

Overall thoughts and should you buy?

I absolutely love the Nokia Lumia 830. Microsoft has done an excellent job in making a sleek, affordable, flagship like device. If you’re in the market for a high-end like Windows Phone device without the hefty price, I will recommend you no more than the Lumia 830.

Hopefully the price of the device in the US will drop soon, as $424 isn’t really “affordable” like Nokia has been touting. Here in the UK however, I cannot recommend the Lumia 830 enough for £299.99, that’s a stellar deal and you’ll be super happy with the Lumia 830.

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