Nokia Lumia 930 review: first look

3 Apr 2014

An attractive set of new phones from Nokia, but with units not arriving in the UK until May at the earliest, consumers have a wait on their hands

Following Microsoft's announcement of Windows Phone 8.1 last night, Nokia has announced three new smartphones – the Nokia Lumia 630 and 635, and the Nokia Lumia 930 – all of which will come with the new version of the mobile operating system preloaded. See also: the 11 best smartphones of 2014.

You can read all about the new features of Windows Phone 8.1 here, and you can see it in action in our hands-on Windows 8.1 video here. The new hardware, however, is just as interesting; we've just had a chance to get our hands on all three units, and it's the Nokia Lumia 930 that really catches the eye.

Design

In terms of looks it's clear that the Lumia 930 draws heavily on the influence of the Lumia 925. Its chassis is hewn from a single block of aluminium, and it's backed with a coloured plastic panel. The engineering is cleaner on the 930, though: the exposed aluminium edges are squared off rather than rounded, and there's a much tighter fit between the plastic panel and the surrounding frame.

It's all topped with a 5in Gorilla Glass front, which is 0.5in larger than the 925, and a 1,080 x 1,920 resolution OLED panel. As has become customary with high-end Nokia smartphones, the glass is gently curved at the edges, allowing your thumb to slip on and off the screen smoothly. Along the edges, all the buttons and ports are in familiar locations, with volume, power and camera on the right edge, the headphone jack on the top, and the micro-USB port on the bottom.

Nokia Lumia 930

First impressions of the 930 are positive. It can't quite match the luxury feel of the HTC One M8, but it isn't far off, and it's a distinct improvement over the Lumia 925.

Specifications and camera

The changes don't stop at the physical design. Significant improvements have also been made to the core specification and camera.

Powering the phone is a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC; it isn't the very latest chip from Qualcomm, but it's plenty quick enough. This is the chip that provides the processing power behind the Nokia Lumia 1520, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, all of which are very quick and highly capable smartphones.

Nokia Lumia 930

There's 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage to back this up, but no microSD card slot for expansion, which may disappoint those who like to store large music collections locally. Rounding off the internal specifications is a 2,430mAh battery. This is sealed into the body of the phone, so there's no easy way to replace it.

If the camera in the Lumia 1520 is anything to go by, the Nokia Lumia 930's 20-megapixel PureView camera could well be a highlight. It has optical image stabilisation for sharper shots in low light, and smoother handheld 1080p video recording, as well as a dual-LED flash.

The Lumia 930 also has wireless charging as standard and, in a wild gesture of generosity, Nokia is giving away a wireless charging base with every handset sold. Those pre-ordering the phone will receive even more goodies: a £20 app voucher and a wireless speaker.

Nokia Lumia 630 and 635

The mid-range Nokia Lumia 630 and 635 are less exciting than the Lumia 930, but could be just as important for Nokia's bottom line.

Nokia Lumia 930

The two are all but identical. The Lumia 630 is the 3G version and has a matte plastic finish; the 635 sports 4G and has a gloss finish.

In terms of design, there's a range of bright colours available, and just like the budget Lumia 520 from last year, the rear case can be snapped off and replaced. As with all the budget Lumias we've reviewed, the new models look great, and they're reasonably light, too, weighing 134g.

Nokia Lumia 930

The screen is a sizeable 4.5in and it's topped with Gorilla Glass for scratch-resistance. Core specifications, however, aren't tremendously exciting. The resolution of that display is 480 x 854, which gives a slightly grainy look.

Under the hood is a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S400 chip with only 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, with a microSD slot for expansion.

Finally, the camera specs aren't much to get excited about. The Lumia 630 and 635 snap photos at 5 megapixels, capture video at 720p and have no flash or image stabilisation.

Nokia Lumia 930

Release date

If you like the look of Nokia's new smartphones, unfortunately you're going to have a wait on your hands. The Lumia 630 will be the first to arrive in the UK, but it won't appear in the shops until the end of May.

The Lumia 930 and the 4G-capable 635 won't appear until even later, at the end of June or the beginning of July. There's also no word yet on prices, either, although we think it's a pretty safe bet that the 930 will come in at £400 or more, while the other two will be priced at £200 or less.