Nokia Lumia 830 – The Affordable Windows Phone 8.1 Flagship
Microsoft has recently launched the Nokia Lumia 830 and they promoted it as the affordable high-end smartphone. In theory, this smartphone should provide very good hardware with solid build quality at a mid-range price. Does this smartphone meet these expectations? Is the new Lumia 830 truly an affordable high-end smartphone? We tested it for a week and now we are ready to share our conclusions in this review:
Hardware Specifications & Packaging
The Lumia 830 uses the same standard packaging Nokia uses nowadays. It comes in a rather small and compact box.
Where To Buy
Inside the box, you'll find the smartphone, the battery, the USB charger and its detachable USB cable (which you can also use to connect the smartphone to a computer), the warranty and a quick user guide. You won't find any headphones inside, which is rather unfortunate, even for an affordable high-end smartphone. In contrast, the Lumia 735 is a cheaper device that includes headphones.
For the complete unboxing experience, don't hesitate to view the short video below:
The Nokia Lumia 830 is powered by an average quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and an Adreno 305 graphics chip. It has 16GB of storage space that is expandable through a microSD card of up to 128 GB. The display is a beautiful 5" IPS LCD with ClearBlack technology and offers a 720p resolution at 294 ppi pixel density. It's worth mentioning that the screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 3, which should be enough to protect this smartphone from gathering scratches too quickly.
In terms of size, the Lumia 830 measures 139.4 mm (5.49 inches) in height, 70.7 mm (2.78 inches) in width and only 8.5 mm (0.33 inches) in width. It weighs only 150 grams (5.29 ounces). All these specs are close to those of the Lumia 930 but the Lumia 830 is slightly bigger, lighter and just a bit thinner.
The Lumia 830 includes a 10 megapixel rear camera and a 0.9 megapixel front camera. The rear camera has good specifications: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash and PureView technology. The camera can also record video at 1080p, with optical stabilization and stereo sound. The secondary camera is very modest and is useful only for video calls.
This smartphone has a Li-ION 2200 mAh battery that should be enough to keep you going for at least a day in a normal usage scenarios. An advantage is that the battery is removable so, if it should become faulty, you can change it yourself. Also, the Lumia 830 offers Qi wireless charging out of the box. There's no need to add an additional case as other smartphones do.
This smartphone, just like the Lumia 930 works using a nano-SIM and the micro-USB connector is placed on the top side of the device and not on the bottom, as it was the case with previous Lumia smartphones. Lumia 830 also includes the FM radio feature which will be appreciated by users that travel a lot.
If you want to get a more detailed look at all its specifications, check the official website: Nokia Lumia 830 - Detailed specifications.
Design & Build Quality
Just like its bigger brother – Lumia 930 – the Lumia 830 comes in four colors: black, white, green and orange. The color variant we've tested is black. This smartphone feels like a premium device: it has aluminum edges and the backplate is made of soft polycarbonate. The thin profile and its light weight also add to that feeling.
Just like on almost every Nokia phone, all the buttons are positioned on the right side of the device. They are easy to press and have a really nice design. However, we found it a bit difficult to reach to the volume rocker when using only one hand. That is probably the direct result of its 5 inch screen. If your hand is not that big, you'll find this a bit annoying. Anyway, if the designers had moved the volume rocker closer to the power button, the phone would have looked somewhat awkward, so we can't complain that much about this. It's just a concession to the screen size. A nice touch, that again adds to the premium feel this phone offers, is the fact that a dedicated camera button is available.
The bottom side of the Lumia 830 includes capacitive buttons, which we prefer to the software alternative. That is because they look better than the software buttons, they don't take space from the screen, the bottom bezel of the phone doesn't feel like unused space and they are easier to use than the software buttons.
The back of the Lumia 830 also looks good, and the fact that you can change the cover is always nice. With a simple swap, you can change the way your phone looks. And because the body of the Lumia 830 is surrounded by an aluminum rim, you won't feel like the phone bends, as we've heard others do. :)
Taking a look at the quality of the display, we do believe you'll be satisfied. It's true it doesn't offer the same resolution and pixel density as the Lumia 930, but it won't disappoint either. The screen has good contrast and color reproduction and text looks very good on it. It is very readable outdoors and looks great even in direct sunlight. Also, like on every Nokia screen with the ClearBlack technology, black really looks like black.
The IPS LCD screen means that the viewing angles are also good. Another consequence of using this type of display is that you can use the white background for your smartphone without sacrificing battery. That is because IPS LCD screens always keep every pixel on, regardless of the color they display.
The Phone Experience On The Nokia Lumia 830
Phone conversations on the Nokia Lumia 830 are of very good quality. The phone calls sound clear and loud in any circumstances, even if the person on the other end of the line is in a noisy environment. The network signal is good and the smartphone can connect to and use 4G networks. We didn't notice any kind of signal drops while using it.
The audio quality offered when using headphones is excellent and the sound enhancements available are really nice. If you'll listen to music or watch videos using a good set of headphones you'll be happy with the quality of the sound.
The internal speaker however, isn't as good as we wished. It is a mono speaker that cannot handle low frequencies (bass) and doesn't sound too great. It is decent enough to use during phone calls, but for media playing it's not. However, you won't notice any distortions and the maximum sound level is high enough to please you. Just not the quality of sound.
Like all the midrange and high-end smartphones from Nokia, the Lumia 830 doesn't disappoint when it comes to the camera experience. The Lumia 830 incorporates a 10 megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization. That means the camera's lenses are mechanically moved in real-time so that they counteract the movement of the phone. Common scenarios in which unwanted movement can happen are the shaking of your hands or trying to take photos in low light. In such cases, the optical image stabilization intervenes and the photos you take are more likely to be sharp and focused, instead of blurry and out-of-focus.
This smartphone's hardware, in spite of not being the most powerful around, is good enough to make the camera feel snappy. The Nokia Camera app launches rather quickly, in about two or three seconds. Also, taking one picture after another is rather fast, as the app quickly processes and saves each image.
Just like the Lumia 930, Lumia 830 also offers Living Images, a feature that turns static pictures into short videos, or dynamic pictures if you want. With this feature enabled, all your pictures are turned into small – less than a second - videos that end with the pictures themselves. It's a new and cool way of viewing your pictures.
When it comes to the video quality, things are pretty much just as good. The rear camera is capable of recording video at 1080p resolution at a max of 30 fps. Here too, the Lumia 830 takes advantage of the optical image stabilization capabilities, making videos look smoother. Also, the phone offers some interesting sound enhancements like recording videos with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and filtering audio bass.
While testing the Lumia 830, we took a lot of photos. Most of them were shot using auto settings, and some can be seen below. The only thing we're sorry about is that the weather conditions weren't great. That's why we couldn't see how the phone's camera behaves in good or optimal light scenarios, like clear skies. However, you can see how good pictures taken in low-light environments are. The photo quality of the Lumia 830 is good and easily outperforms many more expensive smartphones.
Videos recorded with Lumia 830 look good and the sound is clear. Below, you can watch a short video that we took in order to see how well moving objects are recorded.
And further on you can see another video, in which we recorder a static panorama, while moving the phone.
In terms of battery life, you don't need to worry. The Lumia 830 includes a 2200mAh battery, that should be enough to last you a day in average use scenarios. The Lumia 830 uses a smaller capacity battery than the Lumia 930 but the hardware is downsized too. The 1.2 GHz processor and the Adreno 305 GPU require significantly less power to run and that translates in longer battery life.
Overall, we were very pleased by the phone experience offered by the Lumia 830. It's exactly what we expected from a mid-high end device.