Mobile Computing, Reviews

Lumia 830: The Affordable Flagship Windows Phone

When it comes to smartphones, one often relates the term “flagship” to mean bleeding edge specifications, crisp and adequately-sized screen, and of course the price tag to match. Thus, a company offering an “affordable” flagship device might be met with skepticism at first. Nokia — and now Microsoft — has such a device in the Lumia 830, which is marketed as an affordable flagship smartphone for people who want the capabilities of a top performer, but who are price sensitive enough to be discouraged by the Lumia 930’s price tag.

Earlier, VR World reviewed the Lumia 930, which is among the last of the Nokia-branded flagships. It seems that after Microsoft dropped the Nokia brand, the company is focusing on the lower-end with the upcoming Lumia 535. The Lumia 830 is somewhat of a holdout in between. It still carries the Nokia branding. The specs are decidedly midrange, but the device is being marketed as a flagship of sorts.

Being that the Lumia 830 is meant to be a toned-down version of the Lumia 930, we will focus on doing a comparison rather than a full review, especially in terms of how the user experience and performance differ between the devices. Windows Phone users would already be familiar with the user interface and how the platform generally works, and so we will leave such details to the Lumia 930 review.

In a way, the Lumia 830 may, indeed, be considered the poor man’s 930, but don’t be too dismissive of the 830 just yet. It does have certain advantages over its more expensive sibling, and what it lacks in pure performance it makes up for in other ways.


While the Lumia 930’s processor is already an unimpressive (by today’s standards) quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800, the Lumia 830 scales back even further with its use of Snapdragon 400 — a quad-core SoC clocked at 1.2 GHz. This means the device will take a bit longer in performing processor-intensive tasks, compared with the Lumia 930. Given that the Windows Phone platform is usually optimized for performance even on low-end specs, you can expect that Lumia 830 to perform decently in everyday tasks, however.

Notable in comparison with the 930 is the use of a lower-resolution screen, at 720p. With the same 5 inch display, this means a lower pixel density. The 830 also uses an IPS LCD screen instead of the 930’s OLED. The advantage, of course, is that the LCD screen can support the Windows Phone “Glance” feature, which is a handy way of checking notifications like messages or missed calls without actually waking up the device.

Here are some key specs differences with the 930:

Specification Lumia 830 Lumia 930
Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Memory 1GB RAM 2GB RAM
Storage 16GB internal + microSD expansion 32GB internal, no microSD expansion
Display 5-inch 1,280 x 720 pixel IPS LCD 5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel OLED
Battery 2,220 mAh removable 2,420 mAh fixed
Dimensions, Weight 139.4 x 70.7 x 8.5mm, 150g 137 x 71 x 9.8mm, 167g

Hardware Design and Build Quality

This device being a Nokia, you can expect good industrial design and durable build quality. The Lumia 830 follows the same design principles as that of the 930, with aluminum plus polycarbonate construction. A marked difference is that the 830’s back plate is designed to be user-removable, with the nano SIM slot accessible by removing the battery. The microSD slot is also accessible by removing the back plate, which comes in various bright colors like orange, green and white. In contrast, the 930’s back plate is removable, but only for purposes of replacing the cover. The 930’s battery is not user-replaceable, and the nano SIM is housed on a slide-in tray at the top of the device.

The backplate design is also one big giveaway when it comes to distinguishing between Lumias. The 830 has the camera and LED flash combo encased in black reflective plastic, while the 930’s camera and flash sit flush with the backplate. The 830’s aluminum frame is a bit thinner than the 930’s, with the back plate taking a more sloped approach than the  rounded rear design on the 930. The 830 is actually a bit taller, but thinner and shallower than the 930. The aluminum frame is also thicker at the sides and the corners are less rounded than that of the 930.

Placement of the hardware buttons is similar — all at the right side — but with slightly different positioning. One main difference is that the 830’s microUSB charging/data port is located at the top part of the device instead of the bottom part, which might entail some adjustment when using the phone whilst plugged.

Our review unit seems to have come with some design or production defect, however, with the upper right corner of the screen having detached a bit from the frame. Perhaps it’s a production issue, or maybe the phone had been dropped from some height by a previous reviewer. It’s probably a design limitation when working with glass plus aluminum constructions, compared to the usual full polycarbonate shells.

Software and User Interface

The Lumia 830 ships with Windows Phone 8.1 Denim, which means users need not install an update to get the latest features and functionalities from Microsoft. In contrast, the 930 ships with Windows Phone 8.1, but requires an OTA update to get the Cyan update. Denim is right around the corner, however, for the 930. Having basically the same screen size as the 930, you can expect a similar user experience, save for some feature differences. As earlier mentioned, the 830’s screen enables the device to have the famed “Glance” feature that enables users to have a quick look at notifications on-screen through a low-power monochromatic display (with the backlighting at zero). This is simply unavailable on the 930 due to the limitations of its screen.

Likewise, with storage expansion through microSD, users have a choice to store apps and data on the external card through Storage Sense. Beyond local storage, you have options to automatically synchronize photos with OneDrive. And as with other Windows Phone 8.1 devices, your email accounts, preferences, applications and even SMS messages can be automatically backed up on a regular basis, so you can switch to a new Window Phone device without having to redo everything.

One big software difference between the 830 and 930 is 4K support. Once the Lumia 930 gets the Denim update, it will come with support for 4K photo and video recording, which means future-proofing once the ultra high-definition standard becomes more popular as a means of recording and consuming content.