Final Words

When the Lumia 830 launched as an “affordable flagship” at IFA 2014, I thought it would be just another midrange phone. But the Lumia 830 has some great features that make it feel like a flagship. The device has a premium feel in-hand, and is much nicer to carry and hold than the actual 930 flagship due to the thickness of the device. It is reasonably light, and keeps the distinctive Lumia polycarbonate back. A real bonus over the 930 is that the back is removable as well, which also allows the device to more easily gain microSD support, which it has.

But the SoC inside the Lumia 830 can detract from the flagship feel. Windows Phone has always had great support for low end phones, so the Snapdragon 400 has no issues with basic animations. It is when you launch apps and do work inside of apps where you can see it struggling for performance. My biggest complaint with the Lumia 830 is that it is too slow to be marketed where it is. There is a huge chasm in performance between the low end Lumias (530, 630, 730, 830) and the high end Lumias (930, 1520). It would be nice to see a progression in speed at some point in the lineup but it is just not there. The SoC does not cripple this device in any way, but after using the Lumia 930 for a while it sure shows that Cortex A7 at 1.2 GHz is pretty pokey.

But the package as a whole is very good if you can overlook the couple of extra seconds it takes to open Skype. The fit and finish of this device is right up there with the high end Lumia phones despite the removable back. It takes a bit of work to get it snapped on, but once it is there it has no flex or creaking of any kind. The camera on the Lumia 830, although a far cry from the 930 and 1020 as far as pure performance, is quite good and has decent low light performance due to the OIS.

I am a bit surprised how much I do like the 830 overall, despite the SoC. The combination of the metal band, a thin chassis, a light weight, a decent display, and a decent camera make for a phone that is very good for the right price.

And with the price we get to the crux of the issue. The Lumia 830 is a great phone for the right price, but it seems that the pricing for it is too high for most locations. As an on-contract phone, the Lumia 830 needs to be at or around $0 on contract. AT&T has it for $99 on contract, which is simply too much for this device. In Canada, it is a different story though with the 830 being $0 on a 2-year contract from all carriers. For an outright price, we are seeing some pretty powerful phones coming in at or around the $400 mark where the 830 is around. Once again, AT&T is a bit higher, but this device needs to be around $350 or so. It has a premium feel, but clearly there were some corners cut so the price should reflect this more.

If you are looking for a midrange Windows Phone today though, the Lumia 830 is certainly one you want to check out.

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  • kspirit - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I was hoping to get this as an upgrade to my 925, but it offers nothing excellent. The camera and display are underwhelming. This is still an incredibly good-looking phone though, but nothing exceptional besides that. The cutbacks Microsoft is making on Lumias are pretty obvious... They're kind of ruining the solid hardware reputation of Nokia.
  • BMNify - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    what cutbacks? Why were you hoping to upgrade from 925 to an 830?? you should be looking at 930 or 1520 for proper upgrade not downgrade to 8xx series and then complain about cutbacks.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    LOL... It's like saying the 2014 Civic isn't as feature rich as the 2013 Accord. Of course not.
  • PubFiction - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    He has a pretty good point, if this phone wants to be a premium phone alternative it needs to have at least something of the major components that would actually be considered premium. It has nothing. Premium phones are 1920x1080 or better, they have 2GB of ram or more, they have snapdragon 800+ chipsets. This phone doesn't have any of that so the reality is it just isn't a premium phone its an average midrange phone.
  • kspirit - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - link

    THIS! Thank you.
  • cheshirster - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    Average midrange phones do not have what Lumia 830 has.
    OIS and Qi are not widely presented
    Not every flagman has HAAC mics
    Metal body is nowhere to be seen under 400$ mark.
  • Laxaa - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Those are very valid points. HAAC mics are a great feature I wish every phone had. I mean, most of the high-end flagships today(iPhone 6 and Nexus 6 in particular) only captures mono sound. It's kind of funny when companies boast their 4K recording capabilities without any decent sound recording to back it up. Not even stereo(Samsung, Sony and HTC does stereo so it's not all lost)
  • garretelder - Thursday, December 4, 2014 - link

    Not one of the top phones (see instead) in my opinion.
  • retrospooty - Monday, December 1, 2014 - link

    I am not seeing it... It is not a high end model. It's a low end model. Why would the 830 be "premium", it's a low end phone? What he should be looking for is the (assumed) upcoming model replacement for the 925, which is a higher end model - not the 830.

    Let me put it another way since the car thing didn't seem to work... It's like saying the 2014 Moto G isnt as nice as the 2013 Moto X. - different model families... Get it?
  • kspirit - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - link

    I thought it was clear...?
    They eliminated Glance on almost all the current lineup to save on display cost.
    They also removed the camera buttons on all phones below the 830.
    In a day where cheaper phones have 1080p displays, they still offer a badly calibrated 720p panel, and a camera with a sensor size that is almost an insult to the name of PureView. This doesn't even touch the upper range, despite being marketed as an 'affordable flagship'...

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