Nokia Lumia 830 Review: The Affordable PureView Flagship

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The Lumia 830 is the latest affordable flagship from Microsoft. It sports a Lumia 930-esque design with a camera hump ala Lumia 1020. The refreshing design is such an eye-candy and we are pleased by the looks of it. The Lumia 830 was announced during the IFA 2014, alongside with the Lumia 730.

Microsoft targets this device to reach the affordable market segment while delivering their innovation, in both imaging and display technology.

The Lumia 830 is really an exciting device. It’s youthful, slim and powerful. We’ve had our first impression and we really like this Lumia. It has an ample size that fits in your hand, perfect for one hand operation. It also comes in great colors including bright orange, bright green, white and black.

There’s so much more than this, but before we get into deeper discussion, let me walk you through the unboxing of the Lumia 830.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

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The Lumia 830’s retail package contains all the things you need to begin with. The sales package contains:

  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia AC-50 MicroUSB Charger
  • Nokia Battery BV-L4A 2200 mAh
  • Nokia Stereo Headset WH-108
  • Product user guide

Here’s our full unboxing video and hands-on:

DESIGN

The Lumia 830 still carries the sleekness and elegance in its design, a truly Nokia trademark. It is a phone that will let you stand out from the crowd, with its loud colored back covers in bright orange or green. You can even swap backplates to take on a new look, be it on black or white.

The combination of the metal rim and polycarbonate gives a great mixture of elegance, durability and comfort.  At just 8.5mm thin, it’s the thinnest and lightest Lumia ever.

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The Lumia 830 sports a 5-inch IPS LCD screen (1280 x 720), ClearBlack and super sensitive touch technology. With ClearBlack, colors and contrast are very much alive and it acts as a polarizer against bright sunlight. The screen is well protected by curved Gorilla Glass 3, which what we like most here, the 2.55 curved glass made this gave this phone a sexier look.

For people who loves the Lumia 930’s design but doesn’t have much money to spend, this device is the best alternative. It sports the same design construction with a twist.

CAMERA

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The Lumia 830 comes with a rear-facing 10MP PureView camera with ZEISS optics and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). It lets you capture razor-sharp images day or night. Its also the first Lumia to use such unusual amount of megapixels. With PureView expect nothing but great pictures, you may even have to forget carrying a bulky digital camera.

Aside from taking great pictures, the 830 can also be used as a great camcorder. It captures 1080p videos and with 3 mic Rich Recording it’s easier than ever to shoot in high quality videos with excellent sound. So this means that you can bring the Lumia 830 to record concerts or even on a noisy rock band performance with crystal clear sound in Dolby Digital sound Plus.

Come with the Lumia Denim update, the new Lumia Camera will bring several features to PureView-enabled Lumia’s running on Snapdragon 800 chipset to take 4k videos called Moment Capture and Rich Capture, an auto HDR and Dynamic Flash feature that allows you to shoot first and adjust the camera settings later, whatever suit your taste. The Lumia 830 takes advantage of these new features however, for Moment Capture, it will only take videos in Full HD and with reduced 2-megapixel per frame quality due to lack of Snapdragon 800. But it’s all good, after all, it’s a mid-range device.

Here’s some shots taken by the Nokia Lumia 830’s 10MP PureView camera:

 As you can see, the Lumia 830 takes photo on a bright sunny day with an ease. (Camera settings: Auto Mode)

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The Lumia 830 can also take decent lowlight shots – thanks to its OIS and PureView camera. (Camera settings: Auto Mode)

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We tried to test how far its 10MP PureView camera can go. We took this shot with fast moving cars. Amazingly, the Lumia 830 manages to get substantial amount of details and contrast. Though we did some editing on this shot via Lumia Creative, you won’t be able  to achieve this if the original file isn’t good. FYI, this is a cropped version yet the photo remains crisp and clear.  (Camera settings: -2.0 shutter speed)

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If you are a Lumia  920 user, this phone is way much better. The camera’s optical image stabilization allows me to take solid photos in low-light environments, both indoor and outdoor. Taking shots with your slightly jittery hands still produced decent and relatively clean photos. Low-light photography has always been a challenge to any point-and-shoot cameras – the Lumia 830 is not an exception. However, the PureView and OIS handles it very well, especially at this price point.

For the most part, the Lumia 830 deservers the PureView brand on its suit. See more photos below:

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SOFTWARE

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The Lumia 830 runs on Lumia Denim out of the box. This new software runs on Windows Phone 8.1 platform packed with new features designed for Lumia smartphones which focuses on camera improvements, more options for the Glance Screen and voice activation on certain Lumia models (the Icon, the 930 and the 1520) by  saying, “Hey, Cortana” to fire up the voice assistant while the phone is locked or idle.

  • Cortana – The most personal digital assistant on the market will now be available in the UK and China as a Beta. India, Canada and Australia will have access to Cortana as a public Alpha. For US residents, Cortana now includes an improved natural language, car kit integration via Bluetooth for contacts, snooze reminders and calendar improvements.
  • Live folders – If you prefer to keep your apps or games organised, you can now put them into folders. Simply press, hold and drag an app over another to create a new folder on the Start screen. Each folder can be renamed by tapping on the text field above the open folder.
  • Apps Corner – Create a customised Start screen, where only specific apps or games are accessible. This could be particularly useful in the workplace if you’re issuing Windows Phones to employees.
  • SMS merge and forwarding – Select individual text messages to either delete them out of a messaging thread, or to copy and past them into a new message in order to forward them.
  • Snooze Times – It’s now possible to customise the snooze time within the Alarm app.
  • Consumer VPN – Maintain privacy and security when using data while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots or even with your home Wi-Fi.
  • Mobile Web Site improvements in IE – Connect and browse even faster with improved downloading speeds on mobile websites.
  • Store Live Tile (US only) – The Store Live Tile displays featured apps and games that are the most popular in the Store, or most relevant for you.

Aside from these cool new features, the Denim update brings new changes to your camera experience. However, this is limited only for the Lumia 830 as well as for the Lumia 930, Lumia Icon and Lumia 1520 due to hardware dependency.

  • Lumia Camera – Replacing Nokia Camera, Lumia Camera is faster and more intuitive than before to make the best camera experience, even better. Speed – Pocket to capture speeds are superfast, and it only takes milliseconds going from shot to shot.
  • Moment Capture – A long press of the camera button starts 4K-quality* video recording at 24 FPS. With each frame at 8.3 megapixels, you can save individual frames as high quality still images. Due to hardware differences, Lumia 830 shoots Moment Capture in Full HD, not 4K, and with reduced 2-megapixel per frame quality.
  • Rich Capture – Auto HDR and Dynamic Flash are now welcomed into the already-impressive feature set. Shoot first and adjust the camera settings later for that perfect photo. Improved image processing algorithms – Updated to give you clearer photos, even in lowlight.
  • “Hey Cortana” Voice Activation – Gone are the days of pressing the microphone button to wake-up Cortana. Simply say “Hey Cortana” while the phone is idle and Cortana will activate. This is possible thanks to the SensorCore technology.
  • Glance Screen – Compatible Lumia devices can now show more at a glance with Bing Weather, or Bing Health & Fitness data, in addition to time and date, notifications and application data.

Recent improvements to Windows Phone OS have more or less put it on an even footing against competing OS with the likes of Android and iOS. The Denim update include support for live folders on the home screen which is the most unique way of managing your apps, more options and languages for the Cortana voice assistant and faster browsing through the latest Internet Explorer for mobile.

The Windows Phone store has more than 340,000 apps to enjoy as of September 2014. Its always been quantity over quality when it comes to Windows Phone apps. But we can assure you that the most important apps are available in the store such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

BATTERY LIFE AND PERFORMANCE

lumia-830-performanceThe quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM powering the Lumia 830 provides a very decent performance. Apps opens and close without any lags, and overall navigation stays fluid and fast.
Browsing the internet is also smooth as expected on both mobile and desktop view. The experience is satisfactory for a mid-range device.

In gaming, 3D games like Asphalt 8 and Halo: Spartan Assault, the Lumia 830 performs adequately good. But if you compare it with the 1520, then that’s a different story. Still, a mid-range device like the 830, we can assure you that gaming experience is soid and passable.

On the battery life, the Lumia 830 offers an impressive removable 2,200mAh battery. In our offline tests the Lumia 830 managed a decent 10 hours of internet browsing, played some HD videos, emails, few games with social apps running on the background, before the battery dies. And that’s at par to what Microsoft has estimated.

As expected, the Lumia 830 produced a crystal clear voice calls even on a noisy environment.

The Nokia Lumia 830 supports LTE networks translated into 150Mbps downlink and up to 50Mbps of uplink, depending on your carrier. There is also stereo Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS receiver with GLONASS support.

NFC connectivity lets you share content with other NFC-enabled devices, or you can use NFC and the Wallet app to pay for purchases at participating retailers. You can download a NFC management app from the Windows Store if you’d like to manage NFC tags as well. There’s also the ability to cast content wirelessly to a capable TV via Miracast or DLNA.

The Nokia Lumia 830 is wireless charging-enabled, just tap it with a compatible Qi- wireless charging plate and you’re good to go.

Overall, the Lumia 830 pulls out a great mobile experience for a mid-range device and its price range. It is also notable that this smartphone will also be upgraded to Windows 10 once it kicks off this year. With the Lumia 830, you got a well-rounded smartphone, awesome PureView camera, stunning, sleek design, great battery life, fluid operating system, wide range of connectivity options and competitive price.

FINAL WORDS

The Nokia Lumia 830 is one of the last Nokia-branded smartphones today and it doesn’t fail to impress on both features and performance. For a mid-range device, its very rare that you can see a classy looking phone with very a capable camera and glorious display. The Lumia 830 is truly a bang for the buck, for only 18,600 PhP or 499 USD sim-free, you’ll get a fast smartphone experience, expandable storage, DSLR-like quality camera, integrated wireless charging and great color selections including white, black, bright green and bright orange. Aside from that, there’s a Microsoft Office app built-in, offline maps and navigation via HERE, Cortana  and access to 340,000 apps in the store. With the recent announcement made by Microsoft, you can expect that the Lumia 830 will be upgradeable to Windows 10 that should arrive sometime this summer.

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There are other PureView capable Lumias such as the Lumia 930, however, you’ll be tied up to its 32GB limited storage plus it will cost you more. The Lumia 1520 is also an alternative but if you are not a fan of big phones then you better not opt for it. The Lumia 830 is one of our favorite Lumia device as it sports a unique design, efficient quad-core processor, perfect screen size and PureView camera. If you are looking for a solid smartphone and a good camera in one, you better try out this phone, you can never go wrong with the Lumia 830.

First Impressions

Unboxing and Hands-On

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Editor-in-Chief Loves Photography, Music, Symbian, Windows Phone and Sushi Follow him on Twitter , Google+ and Instagram For comments and feedback, send your email to rvcuarto@nokiarevolution.com