Nokia Lumia 930 Hands-On: An Icon by Any Other Name

By Gerald Lynch on at

If you've had your eye on Nokia's Icon and were miffed to find that its Verizon network exclusivity would forever keep it from UK shores, breathe easy -- Nokia's new Lumia flagship, the Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone, is essentially the same phone.

And that's in almost every respect -- considering Verizon is pretty skilled at locking down unique handset designs for its US exclusives, the only difference between the Icon and the Lumia 930 is the presence of GSM bands alongside WCDMA ones. With pentaband LTE connectivity, quad-band HSPA+ and EDGE, the Lumia 930 will be good to go whatever corner of the planet you find yourself in. Oh, and there will be some fresh colours too, with a choice of green, orange, black or white back plates.

Other than that, it'll be very familiar to those that have seen the Icon. With a 5-inch Full HD OLED screen, the Lumia 930 is machined from a solid block of aluminium, finished off with a fixed polycarbonate rear panel for a splash of colour. Measuring 137 x 71 x 9.8mm, and weighing 167g, it's got a bit of girth to it, but is neither uncomfortable to hold, nor unattractive to look at it. Its stark, uncoloured, straight metal edges (with just a slight curve to the corners), looked rather lovely, in fact. The screen too is sharp and vibrant, with strong viewing angles even under harsh showroom lighting.

Under the hood, Nokia has equipped the Lumia 930 with a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, clocked at 2.2GHz. Despite being supplanted at the top of Qualcomm's chip line by the Snapdragon 801, it's still a speedy component, and the Lumia 930 never broke a sweat when caressed by my demanding fingers.

The Lumia 930 uses the Nokia Cyan OS build, which is basically Windows Phone 8.1 with a few Nokia-specific tweaks. It's mostly the camera functions that have seen a few additions. There's a 20MP PureView camera on the rear of the Lumia 930, while the UI seems to have taken a few ideas from HTC and its Zoe camera. Snapping away with the Lumia 930 will see the handset line up a number of shots before and after you hit the shutter button in the standard picture mode, which are then turned into "Living Images". These Living Images play back like short videos in the camera roll and Storyteller app (which itself now has a slideshow feature that apes HTC's Video Highlights montages).

Elsewhere there's a revised calendar view to more clearly show you a day's weather and appointment details without having to dive into an individual date, while a customisable Action Centre notifications bar lets you swap out quick connectivity options as you see fit (being the likes of Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Auto Rotate, etc). Alongside Windows Phone 8.1's optional three-column Start screen view, popping in a wallpaper will see it transparently scroll behind the default, pre-installed app tiles. Cortana, Microsoft's new voice activated personal assistant, will be coming to the phone later in the year, but wasn't available to test today.

Nokia will be offering a number of accessories to pre-order customers to sweeten the deal too. Firstly, there will be a second wireless charging mat thrown in (one comes free with every Lumia 930 anyway, so you'll end up with one for the spare room if you pre-order).

Nokia will also offer up the new MD-12 bluetooth speaker free of charge for pre-order customers. Fitting in the palm of your hand, the circular speaker should be good for 15 hours worth of playback at reasonable volume levels, a figure that compares favourably to other Bluetooth speakers of this size. Available in the same shades as the 930, it's a noisy little number, making use of whatever surface it's placed on to enhance the bass levels. There's no standalone UK pricing for the speaker yet, but in the US it'll sell for $55 (£33).

As for the Nokia Lumia 930, there's no UK pricing or pre-order details to share there yet either, but we're expecting to see the Lumia 930 in stores by the end of June -- A $599 dollar price has been suggested, which would convert directly to £361. The Icon is an attractive phone, and it's good to see we haven't missed out on its charms thanks to the Lumia 930's introduction.