Is the 930 Iconic?

What is the 930? Why does it have to be iconic? Well, I’m referring here to the Nokia Lumia 930, also sold as Nokia Lumia Icon in the USA. As a user of this new phone, I would like to pen my thoughts as to whether it does live up to its name in the States.

First things first, for some strange reason, this phone is not (yet) available in India. Even though it was listed on Nokia’s India website, it isn’t now. Flipkart and Infibeam have a “Coming Soon” tag from a few months. So if you live in India and want to lay your hands on this phone, head over online to www.clove.co.uk or any other website who ship internationally. I had a good experience with clove, hence the mention here.

After being a staunch Symbian & Nokia user for more than 7 years, I decided it was time to move on to a phone with better hardware and what the world now calls as “modern OS”. Being a Symbian user, I had gotten used to a few things, and few more were taken for granted. As we all know, Symbian OS based phones are no longer sold nor are supported. When they did however, they did rule the smartphone world introducing many firsts. Also having owned five Nokia phones in the past 7 years, you kind of get used to the legendary build quality, the amazing camera and the works. But my last phone, Nokia 701 started showing signs of aging. Being a 2010 product, it wasn’t snappy or quick anymore, the web browsing sucked, no support in terms of os or app updates and the camera doesn’t hold a chance in today’s gadget world.

Having considered the HTC One (M8) – too expensive, Sony Xperia Z2 – too expensive, I kept debating between the Nokia Lumia 930 – first choice or HTC One (E8) – in case I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on 930. I did want to steer clear of Android or iOS for my own personal reasons (which is not up for debate here, just my choice!). Eventually I ordered the 930 from Clove and received the handset in exactly a week. There was no trouble at all from the ordering to shipping and the delivery process.

Coming to the phone, the first thing that strikes you is the build quality and the solid feel. The aluminium band on the side gives a premium feel and the phone feels good to hold in the hand. The screen is a gorgeous 5″ full HD AMOLED display (what ever AMOLED means!), it just looks gorgeous, videos and images are vivid and clear and sunlight legibility is excellent. There are volume, power and camera buttons on the right side and they feel solid and built to last. The screen surface feels buttery smooth and I resisted a lot to put on a scratch guard! The phone has built in wireless charging and the package I received had a wireless charger. I was skeptical whether it would work as well as a normal charger, but it does work very well. Make sure the bottom half of the phone is in contact with the charging pad, the pad will emit a small white light when it is charging the phone.

The phone runs Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box, with customizable backgrounds and themes and different sized live tiles. There is a pull down notification bar for your one touch toggles and notifications, though I feel it needs improvement. There is no toggle for Mobile Data, the Bluetooth button toggles between on/off but the Wi-Fi button takes you to the Wi-fi menu. Why Microsoft?

The Volume buttons allow you to adjust the Call/Notifications and Media/Apps volume and a there is a toggle on the screen for vibrate. When playing music, the volume buttons provide an option to pause and switch to next/previous song. Coming form the Symbian world, you are used to profiles, but that feature here is alien. An App called “Volume” did fill in this functionality but doesn’t work on version 8.1. Microsoft, please help them make it work!

The call quality is excellent. Even in noisy conditions, I can hear clearly and I’m told I’m heard clearly as well! Something which had started to fade in my old 701. But the dallier doesn’t have smart dialing! Why?

The contacts/people menu is good and phone book is very well integrated into LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Outlook. You can check the latest social happenings from your contacts just by navigating to their name in People and you can assign a custom ringtone per contact. You can also organize your contacts in groups, but that’s about it. You have no way to set a group ringtone, or SMS tone or make any other customization’s. MS, are you listening?

Messaging is decent, the word flow keyboard is excellent. You can type anything in a jiffy. But no folders in Messaging! Another “taken for granted” feature from Symbian phones of the past. You can’t select each message in a thread too, though a fix for this is coming. Please bring back the folders…..

Internet Explorer 11 is a pleasure to use. It just is. And I prefer it to Chrome from Android. Don’t believe me? Do check it out. Windows Store works well too. Though the quality of apps have improved drastically, it is still quite a catch up to Android.

The Call & SMS filter is decent. Though you can expect some non-spam numbers to be blocked. I couldn’t find any third party application for blocking phone numbers. Bad! Quiet Hours is a much awaited feature to come in the Denim update, so that I’m not woken up in the middle of the night to incoming mail, but can allow emergency calls. Bravo! This feature should be made mandatory on all phones!

The home screen is a disappointment for me personally. The 930 doesn’t support Glance, hence you will have to press the power button to know if you have missed any notifications. A pulsating windows logo would be very nice! Also the home screen can support only six notifications. Why? Why? Why?

But you do have an option to allow the background to change every now and then automatically. The Kid’s corner is a good concept. Now I do not have to worry about my phone or any apps when I hand it over to my little niece to play games. Though support for password protection of apps would be a big welcome. Are you listening MS?

The transparent Live tiles work very well. The tiles refresh automatically if the app supports it. Weather, Calendar, People, Photos and few others are excellent apps. All of them behave as expected. E-mail setup is a breeze and managing your e-mails is an absolute pleasure. Whats-app works very well too. I haven’t tried any other chat applications.

The live tiles can be grouped in a folder, with live folders expected to come in the Denim update. Alarms and Calculator does its job. Though I would prefer to use the app “ZDClock” to manage my reminders and alarms. MS, please allow customizable snooze times for the alarms! Files is a decent file manager, though you can do more with “Pocket File manager”. The Bing apps – Weather, Fitness, News, Travel, et al work very well. There is no default sound or call recorder, though fully functional third party apps are available. You can use “Transfer My Data” to transfer data from your old phone if it was a Nokia.

Shazam and Skype are pre-installed. Many popular apps are available on the Windows store. Squirrel is a good Pocket client, TOI , ET and NDTV take care of the news, Tripadvisor, MoneyControl, BookmyShow, Flipkart, Amazon, et al work very well.

OneDrive is amazing, many third party apps like myFinance (Expense manager) use it to sync files to the cloud. So you can access your files anywhere as long as you can access your Microsoft Account.

Video and Music playback is bliss. No faults here whatsoever. The speaker is loud and clear. Headphone output is amazing. Though surprisingly the package didn’t include a headset. Microsoft, come on, How much did you save here?

Nokia’s HERE maps and navigation is an absolute beast. It is extremely fast with places and City lens tightly integrated into it. Search works very well and auto saves the places. You can organize your favorites the way you want. Navigation works very well and Transit left me surprised. It does know the bus routes between ITPL and Koramangala and the transit points in between. I least expected this 🙂

Coming to the Camera, It’s a 20MP PureView CarlZeiss Camera which will snap a high resolution and an over-sampled picture every time you click. The camera button provides good feel for auto focus. The Camera app is great and allows you to set exposure, flash, ISO, white balance and the works. You even have a burst mode to click pictures in succession or a Panorama app to stitch a good panorama picture. The Storyteller app allows you to add captions to your photos and make a slide show kind of presentation while the Cinemagraph allows you to create an animated Photo. The photos I have snapped, in my experience, were in one word, AMAZING. It just nullifies the other negatives and niggles this phone has. Flash or no flash. The Camera just clicks great pictures very fast.

And that kind of seals the deal for me. The last “Nokia only made” phone, has served me well for the past few weeks and I haven’t gone back to my trusty old Symbian phone. It just works. No hanging, no sluggishness. Smooth quick transitions. I’m sure I will stick around to this phone for a long time to come. So is it Iconic? MS, fix the SMS folders, notifications, password protected apps and third party Volume control profiles, it truly will be iconic. Right now, Well It Almost Is!

 

Disclaimer: The above article is true to the best knowledge of the author and based on his first hand experience, opinion and preferences.