With Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices division, the biggest supplier of Windows Phones was finally brought under the care of the company it bet the house on. The question for the future will now be whether or not they can continue to innovate in the mobile space but in the very least we can say the last phones under the Nokia brand show they still have the talent for making cracking gear.
As an owner of the previous “hero” phone, the Lumia 920, I was totally impressed with the hardware and their ability to extract more life from the product through firmware updates and revisions to the Windows OS. Two years after its release, I would still recommend it as a good smartphone choice.
Already on the market for a few months, the 930 is a natural upgrade for Windows Phone users. Dimensions of the phone are very similar to the 920 but the curved edges have been replaced with something more akin to the iPhone 4. The effect of it makes the volume and power buttons more recessed; obviously mindful of that, the phone shutter button is raised a fraction higher to make it more accessible.
The first thing you notice though is the screen. It is a sight to behold with a bright, clear display that almost floats within the curved glass display. In operation and display it is a winner with videos and Internet Explorer looking better than ever.
But the downside of the upgrade is that the low power “glance screen” feature of the 920, offering a monochrome display, is no longer supported. A shame; I actually used that feature so much that my 920 replaced a bedside clock.
Performance is impressive. You don’t really notice it at first as the Windows Phone UI is a snappy experience across a whole range of devices but it becomes more apparent when using features requiring more immediate grunt. The camera not only takes better pictures than ever thanks to its 20 megapixel sensor but is far more responsive. It makes the Nokia camera software a much better experience.
Here in Australia, the phone comes bundled with the Lumia Cyan update which is the latest for the platform however it is missing some features such as the Cortana voice assistant. There is a way around that though via the preview app for developers which will give you updates as they arrive. It is worth the effort as once you start using Cortana you won’t go back.
Though still in Alpha for this region, it makes voice commands a far easier task to complete than it was with the previous software. I’m regularly using it now for sending text messages while in the car. There are still some translation issues requiring you to be mindful of how you speak but its a positive start.
The Windows Phone OS continues to mark its own territory in the mobile space and its slow march towards a common platform with its PC cousin. It may not convert entrenched Android or iOS users but you can’t deny its a solid product.
If you are looking for a phone not branded by fruit or a robot, this is a great product that will provide a satisfying experience and will even elicit a few “oohs” and “ahs” when you first switch it on.
Fingers crossed we continue to see more of this as Microsoft becomes a phone manufacturer in their own right.