Software

In our past Lumia reviews, we have gone over a lot of the new features brought to the table by the Lumia line. It makes little sense to rehash the same thing again, so I will just make mention of those before looking at a few new things. Refer back to the Lumia 630 and Lumia 930 reviews for a more in-depth look at the base software.

First, like the other new Lumias launched this year, the 830 also supports “SensorCore” to track movement data. The device hub is also available, as are the HERE navigation maps. Since Microsoft took over Nokia, the “Lumia Collection” in the Windows Phone store has shrunk quite a bit – but that is not a bad thing. There are still apps that are available just for Lumia phones but the majority of the apps have been pushed out to all Windows Phones now. Still, there are unique aspects to the software for the Lumia 830.

The 830 is the first device to ship with the “Lumia Denim” firmware update. Unlike previous releases though, Denim does not bring any major new features yet – although some new features are supposed to be coming soon which are enabled by Denim. Cortana should be able to be launched by voice for instance, and an updated Lumia Camera app is going to speed up photos as well as add missing features such as HDR. But for this review anyway, this is not here yet.

One thing that has been improved in the last month or two though is the Glance screen, and as this is the only Lumia device launched this year with Glance, we can finally discuss it.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Glance screen, it allows information to be displayed on the screen when the device is “off” or sleeping. While this started out as just a basic clock and notifications icons and numbers, it has expanded to include detailed notifications from an app you choose (mine is set to calendar so I can see my next appointment) and the latest update allows display on Glance from certain applications. Right now, those are limited to Health and Weather, so for instance you can take a look at the current temperature and forecast without even turning your phone on.

Glance is one of my favorite features and it has made me reluctant to recommend Lumia phones that were recently launched without it.

In order to enable Glance, the display must support panel self refresh, which was what held back the Lumia 930 from having Glance. That is not the case with the 830 though as it is supported and works well. Lumia phones with OLED displays are better for Glance, as the amount of power required for the display is pretty low when just a bit of white text is being displayed on a black background. For the LCD models (like the 830) the Glance screen runs the backlight at its lowest setting which keeps the power draw down but also makes the Glance text a bit more faint than the OLED version.

One of the Windows Phone requirements is that the basic user interface cannot be modified by OEMs, and all OEM and carrier apps must be able to be removed from the device, but Nokia paved the way to show that even with that in mind, there can be a lot of value added to the platform with software. Though there is not a lot of software changes to speak of on this particular device, that is only because all of the Lumia phones have a lot of the same features. Microsoft will hopefully continue this trend going forward.

Wi-Fi, Cellular, GNSS, Speaker Final Words
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  • kspirit - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - link

    In addition: I am aware that the design of the 830 probably hadn't started at the time of the acquisition. But I can't believe the same Nokia who put glance and camera buttons on even the 620 two years ago wouldn't do it in the x30 refreshes. Especially considering that those were unique, signature capabilities that competing manufacturers don't offer. MS must have had some input in this phone. I'm sure they would have cared about cost cutting on the company they were just on the brink of acquiring. No? Reply
  • cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    Glance and camera button obviously presented on L830 :)

    You should be really high on something to blame it for having features that 730 and 630 are missing.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, December 1, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I dont think he is grasping the Tiered model#'s and the concept of price points. He seems to be assuming newer is always higher end, even on a lower end model.

    Now if the 925 replacement came out and was lesser than the 925 he would have a great point. But the 830 is NOT the 925 replacement model.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Keep in mind that Microsoft/Nokia hasn't released anything intended to be more than a midrange or low-end phone since the Icon/930. It may look like they are cutting back to those of us interested in flagship devices - but it isn't really the case. :) Reply
  • close - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Well... they are using the same low-end SoC on 4 of their product lines which is disappointing (5xx, 6xx, 7xx, 8xx). And for a smart phone some CPU performance is a must otherwise the experience is really frustrating. More so than not having some niche features like glance. I'm not talking about intensive 3D games, but it should allow the user to comfortably run applications without feeling the performance hit. I was expecting the 830, maybe even the 730, to have the 600 series SoC. MS/Nokia have skipped the mid-range and went from low-end to high-end. Although the premium build and other features don't really compensate for the distinct lack of snappiness in applications.

    It's like building a premium sedan with a 1l engine.
    Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I imagine they're trying to save money. Considering g how small sales are, they need to buy fewer parts in larger quantity to have any hope of a profit, which, from looking at Microsoft's financials shows isn't likely happening.

    They are also concentrating on lower priced models in order to attempt to get sales in China, where they've fallen to 0.6%, and India, where sales are down as well. Samsung seems to be working on the same strategy, from their last announcement.
    Reply
  • PubFiction - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    They need to stop thinking about making money and start thinking about releasing an attractive product and actually getting people to buy their stuff. Nickel and diming right now is not going to work. Reply
  • cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    Their sales are two-three times larger then HTC and larger then Moto for many quarters (if you think moto g's and e's are selling in BIG quantities you a wrong) Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Doesn't sound like you've really used one. :/ Don't get me wrong, I do game and I wouldn't buy one as a result. But you specifically said "I'm not talking about intensive 3D games". So, taking those out of the equation... even with the "slow" CPU, it does everything you're talking about just fine. They really run great, and the OS has superb SD card support - which negates the only major drawback I could hurl at this phone, the lack of storage.

    But again, since I do game occasionally on my phone, I would want a flagship. The Icon and M8 are both very nice models. However even those are going to need replacement in the not-so-distant future, and I hope Verizon stops being a Big Red Baby and works hand in hand with MS on future phone releases and updates alike.
    Reply
  • close - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - link

    Actually I did get the chance to test drive one of these (I do some hardware compliance so I get to test drive most relevant devices on the market, at least to get a rough idea about them). The OS itself is more than snappy on this CPU. But try to use it as any normal person would use a smartphone and it starts to choke. Loading applications or switching between application takes a long time. It's just not the experience I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, the device doesn't become unusable. It's just that at this price point at given the 8xx series position in MS's product lineup I have some higher expectations when using the phone.

    MS was careful to create an OS that runs great on low-end hardware but this isn't the case for software makers. And your smartphone is defined by the applications it runs and how it runs them.
    Bottom line, it's a nice phone but given the competition it's too expensive for its worth.
    Reply

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