The Lumia 930 is set to be Nokia’s next true flagship with a premium build, impressive specs and slick performance.
The iPhone 5S ticks those same boxes though and with the might of Apple behind it the Lumia 930 might struggle to compete.
Still, with each new handset and each new software release Windows Phone seems to get better, and with the Nokia Lumia 930 it might have reached the point where it can go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 5S in specs and features, if not in sales.
Headline features: There’s no one stand out feature on the Nokia Lumia 930 but it’s aiming to deliver the complete package of high end specs (a quad core processor and Full HD screen), beautiful design and a high performance camera (20MP Pureview).
The iPhone 5S could be said to have all of the above but it also includes a fingerprint scanner, which makes unlocking the phone and authorising purchases a lot faster and easier, without sacrificing security.
Then there’s its M7 motion co-processor which, as the name suggests, is a secondary processor used to track your motion. It’s always on but as that’s its only job it uses minimal battery, while most phones would have to engage their main processors to track steps and other movements. So it’s a real boon in combination with fitness apps.
On paper then the iPhone 5S has a lot more to shout about, but only if a fingerprint scanner and motion processor are of any use to you. Some people are bound to get a lot of use out of them, but we’d wager many users will barely use either after the honeymoon period.
Screen: The Nokia Lumia 930 has a 5 inch 1080 x 1920 AMOLED display with a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch and ClearBlack technology for enhanced contrast.
The iPhone 5S has a 4 inch 640 x 1136 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. So the Lumia 930 is both bigger and sharper with an improved contrast ratio. Apple’s colour reproduction is impressive, but there’s no doubt the iPhone 6 needs to pack in a bigger screen.
Design: While most Lumias go in for a thoroughly plastic aesthetic the Lumia 930 follows the lead of the Nokia Lumia 925, with an aluminium frame giving it a much more premium look.
There’s still a whole lot of plastic around though as the back is polycarbonate and at 137 x 71 x 9.8mm and 167g it’s on the chunky and heavy side. But there’s no denying that it’s a good looking phone, with a design worthy of its flagship position.
The iPhone 5S has it beat though. Its two-tone aluminium and glass design is as iconic as it is premium and at 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and 112g it’s both slim and light.
Both phones are eye catching and the popularity of the iPhone 5S perhaps even works against it here. While Apple’s flagship is well put together, it also looks like everyone else’s phone – it’s certainly the better looking of the two but Nokia has always liked playing the ‘different kid’ since it’s gone down the Windows Phone route.
UI: The Nokia Lumia 930 is rolling up with Windows Phone 8.1 and despite the minor number increase it’s actually a substantial improvement over Windows Phone 8.
This is largely thanks to the debut of the impressively personable Cortana voice assistant and a much needed Action Centre, which is a pull-down menu listing notifications and giving you quick toggles for various settings.
The iPhone 5S runs iOS 7.1, which should be familiar to anyone who’s used a recent iDevice, but it gives iOS a much needed visual overhaul, makes it slicker than ever and adds a Control Centre, giving you fast access to settings toggles, from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to brightness, a flashlight and a whole lot more besides.
We’re still getting to grips with Windows Phone 8.1 so stay tuned for our full review, but it’s certainly made a positive first impression, while iOS 7 is easily the best version of iOS yet.
CPU and RAM: The Nokia Lumia 930 certainly doesn’t skimp on specs. It has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, all of which means it should be a high performance device – although not quite in the league of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8.
The Apple iPhone 5S has a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A7 processor and 1GB of RAM, which doesn’t sound nearly so impressive. Apple would argue it’s packing a 64-bit chip while the Lumia 930 is only 32-bit – however, with not much RAM behind it this is largely a spec for the future.
In any case the 5S is a more than capable device. It remains to be seen how well the Lumia 930 will stand up in practice but the iPhone 5S can cope with any task you can throw at it.
Camera: With a 20 megapixel snapper the Nokia Lumia 930 is clearly aimed at camera fans. The fact that it has optical image stabilisation, a Carl Zeiss lens, dual-LED flash and a bunch of shooting modes doesn’t hurt either.
That’s all backed up by a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and 1080p video recording at 30fps, complete with the ability to record in surround sound.
The iPhone 5S can’t compete in megapixels as it only has 8, but each individual pixel is a little bigger, so they let in more light.
Plus it has a dual-LED True Tone flash which ensures colours are more accurately replicated than with a conventional LED flash and it has a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and can shoot slow motion 720p video at 120fps (alongside the expected 1080p at 30fps).
Battery: The Lumia 930 has a fairly large 2420 mAh battery, with a quoted 3G talk time of 15.5 hours, which is pretty good, but not class-leading.
If anything the iPhone 5S is likely to be slightly worse for battery life. It has a 1560 mAh unit which Apple reckons can provide 10 hours of talk time on 3G, but in our time spent reviewing it we weren’t convinced it could even manage that.
Of course whether Nokia’s battery claim turns out to be any more accurate remains to be seen.
Price: The Nokia Lumia 930 is set to retail for roughly £360 / 434 Euros / $599 / AU$648 SIM free before taxes and subsidies when it launches in June, but with VAT added we’d be surprised if it comes out at much less than £400 in the UK.
The iPhone 5S starts at around £485 / $649 / 590 Euros / AU$829 SIM free if you shop around, while it’s £549 / $649 / 699 Euros / AU$869 if you buy it direct from Apple, so either way it’s quite a bit pricier.
Early verdict: The choice between the iPhone 5S and the Nokia Lumia 930 really comes down to a choice between iOS 7 and Windows Phone 8.1, because in all other ways these are both similarly top flight devices.
There are other differences of course, the Nokia Lumia 930 might tempt those looking to take a lot of pictures for example, while the iPhone 5S has a fingerprint scanner and motion co-processor in its favour.
The important thing is that Nokia and Microsoft might finally have the all-singing all-dancing flagship they need and as an entry point to Windows Phone the Lumia 930 looks pretty hard to beat, while it almost goes without saying that for iOS fans the iPhone 5S won’t disappoint.