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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  • cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    Moto G can barely fight with 630. Definetly not with 735 and 830. Reply
  • CaedenV - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    like others here I have a 2 year old Lumia 920 and am looking for an upgrade, but there are limited options available. When I was essentially running a business out of my cell phone I was looking to upgrade to the 1520 (or better yet the long rumored 1525 what seems to have gone up in smoke), but now that I am a student and have a laptop a normal sized phone sounds much more appealing.
    I was looking really hard at the Icon/930, but the lack of Glance and SD card support are in fact deal-breakers. I use glance all of the time on my 920 (especially now that weather shows up on Glance... best simple feature ever!), and if I had SD support then I could fit my whole music collection, as well as more pics and vids of the kiddos to show off to friends and family. Plus the fact that it is only available on VZW, and I am not going there and will stick with ATT/T-Mo for service.
    So then that leaves the 830. Playing with it in person, it is a great little device, and if you sell off the useless bundled fitbit for ~$80+ then the price is more than reasonable. It is a step down from the Lumia 920... but only a minor step down, and some things (like SD support, much lighter weight and slimmer design, significantly better camera, bigger display/less bezel, etc.).
    But at the end of the day it is not a flagship. The processor is slower than the 920 for most of my uses (may be different if you play more games), the screen quality/resolution is lower, the build quality is not as good... it is exactly as advertised: an "affordable flagship" with all of the features, but at lower spec. The other issue is that it is not going to get the 'next gen' features like "Hey Cortana", or the 3D touch tech that MS is working on.

    For myself at least, the only issue that my 920 has is that the GPS has lost it's mind and it refuses to narrow my position down closer than a 2 mile radius which makes navigation useless... but everything else on the device works fine and is in great shape. Unless there is some sort of crazy Black Friday deal, I think I am going to stick with the 920 until next summer when the next gen devices hit with Windows 10. It would be nice to have GPS again from time to time, but I would rather muddle through with GPS-less maps which still work and buy one high-end device later rather than a midrange device now and a high-end device in 6 months.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Since Windows Phone like most Android devices normally gets updates from the carriers...which is to say, they don't get updates- I'm wondering if we should all be running Windows Phone in developer mode is it gets timely updates. I have my 928 set like that and it's gotten probably 4 updates since 8.1, BUT it hasn't gotten any updates to the Nokia specific software yet.

    Still...I assume that means I'm getting security issues fixed.

    (For that matter, I have no idea why my Nexus 7 tablet always takes months to get OS updates...)
    Reply
  • synaesthetic - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    The reason your N7 takes so long to get updates is because that much time actually passes between Android version updates. Google has placed most of their functionality into Google Apps and the "Google Play Services" app, a move both intended to strengthen their ecosystem and fight device fragmentation.

    The OS itself only gets updated for major changes to low-level OS components, or when a new mainline version of Android is released.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - link

    No, what I mean is that after an Android update is supposedly released, and other Nexus devices are getting updates, my Nexus 7 takes MONTHS to get them. It was supposedly updated in November, for example, and STILL hasn't been updated. Reply
  • Busterjonez - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I believe that your 2G/3G web browsing battery life is missing the iPhone 6. Since many people don't live in an area where LTE is constantly available, it is suspect to omit this information.

    My guess is that the battery life for an iPhone 6 2G / 3G browsing session is bad to very bad, and you have left them off the charts to obfuscate this.
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I didn't compare the iPhone 6 in any chart since it's not in the same price range. As for 2G/3G for the iPhone 6 in particular, I did not review that device but my suspicious is that it was due to the time crunch for that phone, since battery life testing takes the longest for any of our benchmarks. Reply
  • Busterjonez - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Fair point about the 6, I hadn't noticed it's absence on the other tests.

    Why include an iPhone 5s / 5c in the WiFi battery test, but not in the 2G / 3G battery test?
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    The iPhones are not in bench for the 2G/3G battery life is the only reason they were not included. They were only tested as LTE:
    http://anandtech.com/bench/PhoneTablet14/989

    The iPhone 5 was the last one tested for 2G/3G and it isn't sold anymore so I did not include it in my charts.
    Reply
  • TheFlyingSquirrel - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    Looks like a good phone that is priced way above its price range. You can buy a HTC Desire 820 of expansys or Newegg now for around $360-380 about the same price you can find a Lumia 830.

    I would bet that the Nokia would have a better camera but if you're just looking at numbers the HTC has the 13mp rear camera vs the 10mp Nokia. Has a 8mp front camera vs the .9mp Nokia.

    Snapdragon 615 vs the Snapdragon 400. 2GB LPDDR3 vs the 1GB LPDDR2 Nokia. Depending on what floats your boat 5.5" display vs 5" Nokia. Both are 1280x720 16GB storage and microSD support. I think it would be hard on salesmen to pitch coupled with the poorly supported Windows Phone app store.
    Reply

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