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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  • CaedenV - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Totally agree, with SD800 I would not hesitate to pick this device up. The issue is that this was supposed to be launched along side new flagship and phablet devices that had the SD800 (or 801/805?) which had all of these features, better specs, plus 'hey cortana' and 3D Touch support. Sadly the 3D touch was not ready, so both devices were scrapped and we get the 830 by itself which is an OK device... but would make more sense in a larger product lineup. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    The 830 could not easily be recommended with a price adjustment. Canada has it right, the Blue Deathstar does not. American carriers don't do WP any favors by mispricing or poorly supporting available models. Verizon did a bad job with Icon, though it doesn't seem like it's that great of a phone. The 1520 is the best thing you can get, IMO, provided you can deal with the size. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Edit:
    "The 830 could easily be recommended with a price adjustment."

    Price is too high. Mark it down and it would be a good phone.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Verizon is the worst offender. Not so much with pricing (well, on-contract pricing anyway), but with sales and support. If you walk into a Verizon Wireless store and ask about a Windows Phone chances are very high they are going to fight you tooth and nail, even if you just want to look at and play with a particular model. If you already know you want a certain model of WP, just order it online and save yourself the headache.

    Then there's situation with Verizon and WP updates. When every other major carrier worldwide has pushed 8.1 and Cyan to their Lumia devices (the ones they planned on updating in the first place anyway) and VZW still has zero ETA? Not cool.
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Just got word that the Lumia 735 will be shipped soon, so keep an eye out for that. Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - link

    Awesome, waiting for your Lumia 735 review. Reply
  • djds20 - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Comparing this to the Moto G (2014) should be $250. Reply
  • BMNify - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Moto G should not be compared with Lumia 830 as there are a lot of other factors in a phone apart from the SOC, you can compare Moto G with Lumia 630 or Lumia 730.

    Infact Moto G ($250) can be compared with another Android giant Xiaomi Redmi 1S ($89), Xiaomi is selling 100k Redmi phones every week in India apart from few thousand sales in Indonesia and Millions in China and HongKong.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Yes, this actually sounds a lot like a competitor to the Moto G as basically the only two mid-range phones worth buying. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Not to mention they should be selling them like the Moto G... From their own website (Microsoft Store) unlocked with GSM/LTE bands for the major carriers. Reply

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