The Nokia Lumia 930 will be one of the first phones to run Windows Phone 8.1, which brings a notification center, an improved calendar and a virtual assistant to the platform.
Nokia phones can be a little extreme. The Lumia 1020 has a camera with a ridiculous amount of resolution. The Lumia 1520 is crazy large. Even the company’s feature phones have some wild colors and price points.
That’s why it was refreshing to check out the Nokia Lumia 930. It’s a phone that has a good screen and specs, but isn’t dominated by any one feature. Very similar to the Nokia Icon, the Lumia 930 is a solid, modern Windows Phone that feels good to use.
When you pick up the Lumia 930, you can tell it’s a Nokia phone from the feeling of the colored matte backside, the combination of soft curves and harder front edges, and the girth, which is slightly thicker than most smartphones these days.
Once you turn on the screen, however, you can tell this phone has something a little more special than your average Lumia. The 5-inch display has full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, and it really pops.
This is about as small as a 1080p Windows Phone can comfortably be. The live tiles would just be too tiny at smaller sizes.
Apps, photos and media-rich websites look excellent on the screen. Those sites load fast, too. Calling up the New York Times website — the desktop version, complete with photos, ads and the stock ticker — took just a second or two, thanks in large part to the phone’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip.
The camera is a 20-megapixel imager, just like the Lumia 1520’s. It has the same option to use the standard camera app or the Nokia Camera, which includes onscreen controls for changing your ISO, white balance and other professional settings.
Photos look very sharp on the screen. If your lighting is good enough and your hands are steady, you’ll be able to see lots of detail even when you zoom in. The results are not as good as the 1020’s 41-megapixel photos — but in a photo of a crowded room, I was able to see that a speck on a laptop in the background was actually an Apple logo.
I also got a chance to check out a little of the new features in Windows Phone 8.1. The calendar app, for one, is much improved. I really liked the fact that tapping on a day in the week view would “maximize” that day’s events without overpowering the other days. And the Action Center provides something the OS was sorely lacking: a central hub for notifications.
Overall, the look, feel and capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 930 are very much the same as the Lumia Icon — but that was an impressive phone to begin with. Enhanced by Windows Phone 8.1, it’s now ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.
If this is the future of Windows Phone, things are looking pretty bright.