Nokia has once again refreshed its Windows Phone lineup with the release of the Lumia 930, which is the spiritual successor to the Lumia 920 which first launched with Windows Phone 8.0 way back in November 2012. But like the Lumia 630, it takes cues from more than just the Lumia with the closest model number. The Lumia 930 is an interesting combination of many of the other Nokia Windows Phone designs from over the years all wrapped up into a striking package that certainly gives it a new take on the polycarbonate bodies of all of the higher end Lumia devices over the years.

The Lumia 930 was first launched in the USA in February as the Lumia Icon. The Icon is practically identical, with only a few key differences. Being a Verizon exclusive, the Icon of course must support the Verizon CDMA network and has the correct LTE bands for that provider. The Lumia 930 has support for different frequencies due to it being designated for a more international audience. The other key difference is the Lumia 930 ships with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Nokia Cyan firmware, while the Icon first shipped with 8.0 and Nokia Black firmware and the update to the latest OS and firmware version is currently “under testing”. Those two differences aside, the Icon and the 930 can be mentioned practically interchangeably.

The Lumia 930 is the highest end offering currently available from Nokia, with a 5” 1080p AMOLED display driven by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, which in this case is the 2.2 GHz quad-core Krait 400 version with the model number MSM8974VV. The Snapdragon 800 platform also includes the Adreno 330 GPU at 450 MHz, support for up to a 21 MP camera, and the cellular baseband built in. The Snapdragon 800 platform is certainly something we are used to seeing, with it powering most of the flagship smartphones from last year.

  Nokia Lumia 930
SoC Qualcomm MSM8974VV 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Krait 400
Display 5" 1920x1080 Pentile ClearBlack AMOLED
Network Cat 4 LTE 150 Mbps DL 50 Mbps Upload
LTE network bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20
WCDMA network 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 2100 MHz
WCDMA DC-HSPA 42.2 Mbps DL, 5.76 Mbps UL
GSM network 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz
Dimensions 137 x 71 x 9.8 (mm)
Weight 167 grams
Camera 20 MP rear camera, 1.1 µm pixels, 1/2.5" CMOS size, F/2.4, 26 mm focal length, Dual-LED Flash, OIS
1.2 MP front camera, wide angle, f/2.4, 1280x960
Battery 2420 mAh 3.8 V (9.196 Whr)
OS Windows Phone 8.1 with Cyan Firmware
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0 LE, USB2.0, MPT, DLNA, NFC FM Radio
Location Technologies Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning, A-GPS, A-GLONASS, BeiDou
SIM Size nano SIM

Hardware wise, the Lumia 930 actually shares a platform with more than just the Lumia Icon. The Lumia 1520 which was launched in late 2013 is a 6” Windows Phone with identical hardware specifications. Practically everything except the display, battery and form factor are shared between the 1520 and the 930 with the exception of microSD card support which is present in the 6” 1520, but not available in the 5” 930. Other than microSD, the Lumia 930 ticks most of the other boxes for a high end smartphone, with built in 32 GB of NAND, a 20 MP camera with Zeiss optics, Qi wireless charging, NFC, Wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and something that is unique to the Lumia line at the moment – four High Amplitude Audio Capture (HAAC) microphones which allows not just stereo audio recording, but Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 as well. The HAAC microphones have been a staple of the higher end Lumia series for a while, and they enable a higher dynamic range of audio to be recorded without distortion. We’ll see how it works later in the review.

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  • Reflex - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    I am honestly not certain why they are getting these results. I use my Icon all day every day and it has the longest battery life I've had on any phone since I had a flip phone. Better than my previous HTC 8X, better than the HTC Trophy before that. I get at least a solid day out of it, and I've gone two days before while out of town (although I was much more careful in my usage).

    I think there is something wrong for this test to be getting the results they are, whether with their hardware or with the test itself.
  • AlexOwliver - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    Made an account just to comment on this review - I'm really happy that you guys are reviewing more WP handsets, even with the frustrating hardware stumbles that seem to accompany each generation.

    While the base WP isn't skinned by manufacturers, the Nokia firmware and software tweaks - glance, double tap to wake, sunlight readability, etc - are awesome and have been, up until the M8/Moto X, have been unique to WP.

    The 801 is an up-binned 800. The 805 is an up-binned 801 with a (significantly) better GPU and Qualcomm themselves has said that clients are expected to pick one or the other rather than use both as an upgrade path. This doesn't excuse the 930 shipping with an 800, but it's a bit of an overstatement to say it's shipping 2 or 3 generations of chip behind.

    What I would have liked to see was the 930 come in at a Nexus price. Position it like the Moto X (features, not specs) and introduce more people to the platform. Unfortunately, they pulled a typical Nokia, used cheaper components, focused on features, and then charged a premium price. Hopefully a US-centric version of the 830 will come out with an 800 at around $350. That would be a phone worth reviewing.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    The 805 also has vastly more bandwidth.
  • tuxRoller - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    What's going on with the web battery life? The N5 has the same size screen and a smaller battery but far better battery life. Also, when did you start including basemark battery tests (I don't recall seeing that test on other reviews)? What do they measure, exactly? The basemark site isn't very forthcoming.
    Slightly surprised about winos generally poor performance compared to like silicon on Android. I thought it was supposed to be a more efficient platform?
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    "Also, when did you start including basemark battery tests"

    We've had the data for some time now.
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    Thanks! I hadn't seen that part of the site before.
  • Brett Howse - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    I contacted the authors of Basemark just the other day to get a better feel for how their score is calculated, but have not heard back yet.

    As far as the web battery life, the AMOLED panel in the Lumia 930 appears to be the same generation as the Galaxy S4, which also had terrible battery life

    The Galaxy S4 has a slightly larger battery, and gets slightly longer battery life. Without pulling the phone apart, that is the best conclusion I can make based on my time with the device. Battery life on dark scenes is much better than our worst case scenario with the web test of white web pages.
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the comments.
    Might I suggest a more transparent (is, open source) test platform? They exist, even for mobile, and you can see exactly what they do.
    For instance, linaro has released the benchmarks they use for internal testing of commits.
  • randomshinichi - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    How did you measure the shot latency with such precision? In my experience, the iPhone 5S has the best shot latency, even more than the HTC One M8.
  • notposting - Monday, September 8, 2014 - link

    I set a Favorite in IE labeled "-jump to top", the target is: javascript:scroll(0,0) -- it works great.

    Also I get the same mobile NY Times site in IE10 on WP8...I believe a better example is supposed to be Twitter.

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