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There are Phones, There are good Phones and there is Nokia Lumia 930

Senior Commentator

Like many of us mere mortals who wait for the yearly CES, MWC, BUILD Conferences to know how our lives will be made better, I was waiting this year, crossing my fingers and hoping that for once the rumors would be true about the Nokia Lumia 930. I had to wait until BUILD for that to be true. Thanks to @KaiBoon and his friends at Starhub, I got to review the phone I was waiting for.


I used to be more inclined towards validating a phone purely on the basis of how technically appropriate the phone is, but there is really no point evaluating the technical specifications in the current scenario, as all the phones have more or less the same spec. Hence my approach this time was to review the phone based on its suitability to suffice user needs.


They say, the first impression is the best impression. I would say the Lumia 930 has left a very best first impression.  I chose the elegant black one. It’s G..O..R..G..E..O..U..S!! The cool metal sides give the feel of a premium phone to the hands holding them. The screen which is subtly curved on the edges clearly complements the contoured polycarbonate rear. Thanks to Nokia, they chose an elegant matt finish for the rear instead of the shiny plastic look. This also ensures that the phone is not a fingerprint magnet. When I came to know from the spec that the phone is 167 grams, I expected it to make its presence felt in my hands because of its weight. But surprisingly, Lumia 930 has its weight smartly spread over its mass which leaves the user pleasantly wondering how.  The aluminum edging adds to its overall robust impression.  The metal unicast body gives the phone quite strong and rigid feel. One not so important but very useful feature is the SIM tray that is always fixed securely but still can be opened with your finger nail without any external aid. So no more looking for SIM ejectors or paper clips when you want to change your SIM card. Ladies out there, be assured, this doesn’t harm your nails or your nail paint.Smiley Wink


The display is the face of the phone. And for sure this phone has a very pretty face. A smile is sure to cross your face when you turn on this phone for the first time. The razor sharp 1080P AMOLED display with its rich colors and hues makes it an instant sweetheart. For advanced users who like the display to be more sober or more vibrant, they always have the option of changing the color profile on to either side of the spectrum. The clear black technology gives the user freedom of viewing angles and there are no irksome reflections.  I always thought big screen phones are not ergonomic, mostly because of the phone size. This phone pushes the theory that big screen size is not finger friendly to the realms of myth, with its impressive 71% screen to body ratio. I personally felt this is the sweet spot for a screen size, nothing more nothing less, after using it for a couple of weeks.


Lumia 930 is amongst the first devices that arrived with Windows phone 8.1. For those of you who are new to Windows Phone OS, trust me, Windows Phone OS is a refreshing change. The OS is beautiful and feels so modern. It’s very fluid too.  I’m personally bored of a grid of icons. Aren’t we seeing them since those Symbian days? For me Live tiles is really a welcome change. I can get snippets of information without actually opening up the app. Imagine just looking at the start screen and getting all the information you need. These Live tiles can be configured to bring personalized information right to the Start screen. I pinned my friends and family to see their posts, updates in real time. I also pinned apps, websites, music albums, and anything/everything I want.

 

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For people who easily gets bored with the same look of their phone there are endless options to customise the start screen.  Your creativity is the limit. With just a small change of the accent color or just adding a background, it looks a lot different. It just took a second or two for me to change between these looks.

 

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If I have to single out the best experience with this Windows Phone, it would be the People Hub. It’s the phone’s built-in address book or your one-stop social networking center, depending on how you look at it. When I first started using this phone, I was considering different ways to transfer my contacts from my old phone. Though I have my contacts synced to the cloud, I thought of trying the built-in app Transfer my Data to sync contacts from my old phone. When the copying started, I had realized that this would create a lot of duplicate contacts, which earlier happened in my old iPhone. I regretted doing it this way, until I opened the People Hub. The People Hub magically merged all the duplicate contacts as if it read my mind. The People hub also automatically merged the contact’s Facebook/Linkedin or any other social networking account, where possible. As shown in the picture below, for this particular contact, it had merged Outlook, Google, Facebook and Linkedin acccounts.


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Never with my old phones before I had such a clean contact list. This Hub consolidated all my contacts associated with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other email accounts I added to my phone. But again, I have a choice to selectively hide the accounts I don’t want to be displayed in this Hub. The What’s New feed of this hub pulls in status updates and pictures from other social networking sites of the contact and gives an overview of what that particular contact is up to. When I’m in a hurry I don’t even have to open separate social networking apps to see what’s happening.

 

Another well integrated and well implemented app is the Calendar. It nicely pulls my facebook friends birthdays, events into the calendar. When I click on the event, it directly takes me to the facebook app so that I can wish on my friend’s time line. 


One good thing about having a Windows phone is its built-in full office suite, with Onedrive synchronisation. Once you start using the office suite with OneDrive synchronisation it dawns upon you, what Microsoft means when they keep telling “Mobile First Cloud First”. It had been consistent experience using office in different form factors across the Windows phone, WIndows tablet and Windows laptop. You can start working using Office suite using any of the devices, save it to Onedrive then start again from any other device. The experience is amazing.


Lumias have always had great cameras. Lumia 930 with it 20MP PureView  camera with OIS, will surely not let you down. This is capable of capturing 1080p videos @ 30 fps. I felt the effect of OIS while taking the videos. This phone gradually replaced my handycam for taking quick videos at home. For amateur photographers like me, who doesn’t want to rely on the Camera’s Auto mode and want to tweak all the possible settings before taking a picture, Nokia’s very own software “Nokia Camera” can quench the thirst. It gives an easy interface to change all the advanced settings like, shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc. I should say I’m impressed with the results, though I would have liked if it was a little faster.

 

Finally, coming to the most discussed point about Windows Phone. Apps. I felt the Windows Phone Store is a mixed bag. It might not have similar number of apps as Apple's App Store or Google's Play but it does have a decent number of quality apps, either from the official developers or third-party ones or alternatives for what you are looking for.


For example, HERE maps is a very good alternative for Google Maps, and in many ways better too. One of the features that makes HERE maps better if the floor maps that are available for most of the shopping malls, which also lists the directory and facilities available for each floor. It might be necessary for those urgent trips to the loo. Smiley Wink

 

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Another example is HERE Transit which is good alternative for streetdirectory app which I was using earlier because I take public transport a lot. This phone also comes pre-installed with Nokia’s Mix Radio. After I started using this app, I didn’t find a need to transfer my music onto the phone. I just had to tell this app my favourite bands/musicians and it’ll do the rest. No signing-up, no ad interruptions. Just free music to listen. Bing suite of apps is also worth a mention here, especially the Bing news app. Bing news has become my one-stop app for the news. You can select the source of the news from anywhere in the world and the news from all the sources can be seen from within the app. I found most of the apps I wanted. But this may not be the case with everybody. Keep in mind that Windows Phone Store has steadily improved over the past year, and is still improving every day and is likely to continue to improve.

 

Windows phone also gives you one experience across your devices. When I change the settings on my home laptop like the accent colour, it’s synchronized across my windows tab and my windows phone. You can choose not to sync the devices, but I liked it personally.

 

I’m happy that I have made a conscious choice to use this phone and I’m sure that I’ll stick to this phone. Finally the Windows flagship Lumia 930 is closer than ever to its competition. Be it the hardware or the software, now its easier for people to jump ships to Windows phone from iOS or Android. And I’m sure they’ll be happy too. Smiley Happy

1 Comment
Hub Associate

Great write-up, focusing on few features that are critical to your use.