Nokia's new Lumia 830 is enjoying mostly positive reviews as it cements itself securely into the category of an "affordable flagship" smartphone. But what makes it worth or not worth the $449 off-contract price?
Nokia was once the biggest name in the mobile phone market, but its stock has dwindled as Apple and the Android manufacturers swept the scene. The Finnish company was sold to Microsoft in April of this year, and features exclusively Windows OS phones.
The Lumia 830 features a 5-inch screen, 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 16 GB storage space, and 1 GB of RAM. It promises to reduce the notorious shutter lag in previous Lumia phone cameras and comes standard with Windows 8.1 mobile OS.
CNet calls the Lumia 830 a "swansong" for Nokia, adding, "A good combination of solid design, a well-rounded feature set, the 10-megapixel PureView camera and a mid-range price tag all make this phone a welcome addition to the Windows Phone family."
But it's the phone's design that caught the eye of GottaBeMobile's own review. "Lumia Windows Phones have always been pretty easy to spot from afar. Past Lumia were always dominated by color and the Lumia 830 is no different. What is different is how Nokia is giving users an option this year. The Lumia 830 has a giant black circle around its 10-megapixel rear-facing camera. What surrounds that camera is a sea of polycarbonate plastic."
The review goes on to explain the design choices made for the 830. "It's nice to see such a decent mix of designs from past Lumia devices come together in the Lumia 830. Its nicer still that they add up to a device that feels pretty great in the hand and is comfortable to use. The edges are tapered a bit, but they're still sharp and you feel them in the palm of your hand. That's okay though, because those same metal edges give the Lumia 830 a premium feel that other Lumia Windows Phones in its price range completely lack."
TrustedReviews agrees. "All told, it sounds like an impressive package and it's a good-looking one, too. It shares the same orange, green, white and black options as its brethren, and the build quality can't be faulted. Putting the plastic cover back on is a bit fiddly, as is removing a microSD card (we needed a paperclip to prise it out), but these aren't things you'll do often."As for performance, that's a different story. "I wasn't impressed by the quad-core processor and RAM," GottaBeMobile's Travis Pope mentioned. "In fact, I'm willing to go on record now that they - and it's a problem that's specific to the AT&T Lumia 830 - potentially ruin an otherwise pleasant experience."
PCPro agreed, adding that "the components of the Lumia 830 aren't quite as bleeding-edge as you might find in other smartphones, and our test results weren't particularly flattering." Even PC Magazine added insult to injury by commenting in its own review that "app performance is really where the 830 falls down on the job." But the Lumia 830 isn't meant to be the best of the best, and affordability is its main strong point. Or is it?
The Lumia 830 starts out at the uncontracted price of $449, but drops down to $99 with a two-year AT&T contract. This isn't as impressive when you consider than much more robust phones, like the iPhone 6 and Samsung's Galaxy S5, both have special deals this month for that same contracted price. Still, the uncontracted price is right on target for a device of this type of medium-range performance.
All in all, most reviewers had nothing but good things to say about the Lumia 830, especially when you take into consideration its design, price, compact size, and improvements over previous Nokia Lumia smartphones.