Microsoft showcased the Lumia 830 during the IFA trade show this year. Marketed as an affordable flagship, it's a euphemism to the fact that the Microsoft has cut a few corners to make it cheaper than the front runner of the series: the Lumia 930.
While the phone looks similar to its more expensive sibling, it features a rather low-end processor, a camera with a smaller sensor and a 720p display instead of a 1080p full HD one.
On the plus side, you get access to the battery and can expand the storage - features that are missing in the Lumia 930. You also get all the important features, including Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, the 10MP PureView camera and it shares the same build quality as the pricier Lumia 930.
We take a closer look at the mid-range Lumia 830 to find out if Microsoft has cut important corners to keep a low price-tag.
Design and build: 7/10
The Lumia 830 sports a rectangular slab design, with an aluminium rim running along the sides. It has a removable back so you can access the removable battery, SIM and the microSD card. The plastic back cover is made of cheap plastic and is a little difficult to remove and put back. The 5-inch display has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which keeps it slightly raised above the bezel.
You'll find all the buttons, including the volume rocker, power and camera button, positioned on the right edge. This can be quite fiddly as it's easy to press the shutter button accidentally, which then takes you to the camera app. Similarly, we would have liked the power button to be placed above the volume button.
The phone is nearly three inches wide, which makes quite difficult to use one-handed if you have small hands. It's also 8.5mm thick and weighs 150 grams, which might be too weighty for some - we suggest getting your hands on the phone before you choose to part with your cash.
You'll see Nokia's signature PureView camera take a good portion of the rear and Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers at the bottom. All the ports, including the 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB slot, are positioned at the top. The on-screen buttons include a back, home and search button that are super sensitive to touch. This lets you use the phone even with gloves on.
Despite the large size of the device, we were happy to see it fit into most pockets, though sitting down with the phone in your trouser pocket might not be the most comfortable feeling.
Overall, it feels like a sturdy device and can easily take a few bumps and knocks in its stride.
The Lumia 830 runs on a Snapdragon 400 SoC with a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and an Adreno 305 graphics processor. The processor is backed by 1GB of RAM.
It comes with 16GB of storage space, of which nearly 11GB is available for use. The phone comes with several pre-installed apps, but unlike iOS and Android, you can delete them or transfer all of them on to an external SD card. The Lumia 830 supports cards up to 128GB. So lack of storage certainly won’t be one of your worries with this phone. On the camera front, you have a 10MP rear camera and a 0.9MP front facing camera.
Coming from Microsoft, the phone packs a great bunch of useful apps that are easy to get used to. For example, Nokia Xpress provides a light version of webpages to cut down on data costs and helps you open web pages quickly with slow internet speeds. It does this by reducing the quality of text, images and graphics.
Then of course, you get the mobile version of Microsoft Office, which can be a real lifesaver when you need to get work done on the move. In addition, there are some great camera features which we’ll be explaining in detail further in the review.
As the Lumia 830 runs Windows Phone 8.1, it comes with the updated on-screen keyboard called WordFlow. The predictive-text keyboard is fantastic to use and you can swipe to quickly send emails and text messages. The predictions get more and more accurate as you use it and, sometimes, it also displays relevant emoji.
While Windows Phone 8.1 has improved by leaps and bounds, the lack of new apps in its app store still exists. That said, Windows Phone 8.1 has a modern, intuitive UI and is extremely slick in operation.
The phone's display uses Nokia's characteristic ClearBlack Display, which helps improve readability in bright light and makes text and images stand out against the black background.
The homescreen features a vertical list of apps that appear in the form of tiles. You can pin your favourite apps to the homescreen, rearrange them to bring commonly-used apps to the top, group them into folders and adjust the size of each tile.
The list gets longer as you add new apps to the homescreen and you’ll need to scroll up or down to access them. This is different from Android and iOS, where apps appear in a horizontal grid. Android users will find that there’s no app drawer, instead, you’ll need to swipe left to see the complete list of apps.
You get the usual dropdown notification area or the Action Center, Word Flow keyboard for faster typing and Wi-Fi sense that helps you share Wi-Fi access to your home Wi-Fi to your friends, without giving them your password.
It also comes with a voice-assistant called Cortana, but it’s not available for India yet. Other changes include the ability to switch between apps by long pressing the back button and the ability to see the battery status.
The Windows Phone 8.1 interface itself is very smooth and so are most app transitions. It runs perfectly when running everyday apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp. However, when put through its paces, we found the phone struggle with high-end games and Full HD video playback. Also, the phone gets quite warm on continuous web browsing and when playing games.
Sound quality on calls is average in incoming calls. We used the phone in different locations: inside high-rise buildings, elevators and outdoors and found that the audio and call sound quality is not always up to mark. Call quality is better when you are making calls, though it struggles in noisy surroundings.
The Lumia 830’s music player has a clean interface, neatly categorising music into artists, albums, songs, genres and playlists. You can also pause, play or toggle between songs right from the lock screen. The supplied in-ear headphones produce good quality audio and they come with a microphone and useful inline controls for adjusting the volume and to pause the playback. You also get three pairs of earbuds to suit different ear sizes
Audio from the speakers can go really loud, which makes it great for watching movies and videos with a group of people. However, the audio tends to distort at higher volumes.
The Lumia 830 comes with a 5-inch IPS LCD display that renders text and images with superb detail, though viewing angles could be better. Despite a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels the display is still impressive. It’s only mildly reflective and it manages to keep text readable in bright light. There’s a setting which allows better readability in bright sunlight, though it doesn’t improve things by much.
Microsoft has included some rich features around the 10 MP camera. The main camera app includes useful manual controls for changing the aspect ratio, ISO levels, shutter speed, exposure and white balance in shots. In addition, there are photo apps such as Nokia Cinemagraph that lets you animate certain sections of your photo, Nokia Refocus lets you reframe photos and adjust the focus after a photo has been taken, and Creative Studio for adding filters and fine tuning. Phew. If you like playing around with the camera, then the Lumia 830 has you covered. The camera has a wide angle, so you can get more into your shots without standing too far back.
The Lumia 830 shines in the camera department. In perfect light conditions such as in bright daylight, you get top-notch photos with good clarity, if slightly over-saturated. The camera is not the fastest to start up and snap photos, but not sluggish either. Thanks to the optical image stabilisation, it manages to produce blur-free photos in most conditions.
Low light photos are some of the best you’ll get in a mid-range camera. The Lumia 830’s camera captures good detail in low light and even in darker conditions. Here’s where you can also make use of the manual controls such as the ISO and shutter speed to the best possible photos in low light.
The 0.9MP front camera might be low on megapixels, but it comes with some solid image processing to help you get good self-shots. As you'd expect, the level of detail is quite low, but you get a host of fun features to play with to help you get creative with your self portraits. Apart from adding filters, you can set a timer and adjust your expressions. For example, if you can brighten skin tones, make your eyes look wider or add a bigger smile when you think you are not smiling enough.
Battery life: 7/10
The Lumia 830 packs in a 2,200 mAh battery, which takes nearly two and half hours to charge completely. This is slightly faster than most phones these days.
After our eight-hour loop battery test, which includes two hours of calling, two hours of video, two hours of audio and two hours of YouTube streaming via Wi-Fi, the Lumia 830 was left with 42% of juice to spare. This is decent for a phone in this price range and a full charge can easily last a full day on average use.
Verdict and Price
If you are a Windows Phone user and wish to switch to a modern, affordable flagship smartphone that does it all, you can't go too wrong with the Nokia Lumia 830. It has a great display, decent battery life and fantastic camera. The 10MP PureView camera comes with a great set of manual controls and editing features, which makes it a perfect choice for photo enthusiasts looking for a mid-range smartphone. It's definitely not the fastest phone in its league, but it works well for moderate uses.
The Lumia 830 is a worthy upgrade from the Lumia 820 and the 720, though Lumia 920 users might prefer the Lumia 930 to get a huge bump in specs.
However, if you are non-Windows Phone user, there are better smartphones to consider. Priced at Rs 28,799, the Lumia 830 competes directly with the Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G3 Beat. Add a few thousands more and you can also count the Moto X (second generation) in as one of your options. The Nexus 5 comes with a faster processor, full HD display and will also receive the latest update to the Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. Similarly, the new Moto X packs a powerful processor and a Full HD display, not to mention the choicest apps available on the Google Play Store. On the other hand, the Lumia 830 has a better camera and the ability to expand the storage with an external microSD card, which are lacking in the Nexus 5 and the Moto X.
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