For a Windows phone, the Nokia Lumia 830 is a great device at a semi-affordable price, but it's lacking in too many areas to be considered a true flagship.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
For those who love Windows Phone 8.1, the Nokia Lumia 830 is a beautiful smartphone. Likely the last major device to be released under the Nokia Lumia moniker – Microsoft is about to rebrand the line – the 830 has all the hallmarks of great Lumia handsets. The screen's glass is gently curved into its bezels for a fluid swiping experience. Carl Zeiss optics are hemmed by a silky-smooth, polycarbonate shell that's almost soft to the touch. You can even switch out the back plate with different colors.
Unfortunately, the Lumia 830 is hamstrung by the same problem all Lumia devices face: It's a Windows phone. Windows has the best home screen of any mobile platform, and WP 8.1 is easily the best version Microsoft has released to smartphones. However, its app selection is atrocious, and simple tasks often take far more taps and swipes than they would on Android or iOS. Once Windows 10 is released across desktop and mobile, the state of Windows phones could completely transform. The Lumia 830 will be able to ride that bandwagon, but until then, its user experience is substandard.
There's more cause for concern here than software alone. At just 0.9 megapixel, the Lumia 830's front-facing camera is terrible. Its 2200 mAh battery is simply too small by modern standards, and while the phone's dark user interface helps maintain battery life, you should still expect to plug in every night out of necessity, rather than convenience.
Perhaps most disappointing, the 830's processor is a pedestrian 1.2 GHz chip. It was decimated by our benchmark tests, offering up scores between one-third and one-quarter the results of other top smartphones. Our own experience confirms these results; swiping between menus is painless, but loading up audio or video often takes several seconds longer than we're used to on Android and iOS phones.
With a weak processor, a mediocre battery and an operating system that still can't compete, the Nokia Lumia 830 isn't about to win over fresh converts. It is, however, a perfectly capable device that stands above most other Windows smartphones we've reviewed. If you're a die-hard Windows fan and are looking to upgrade, this is the best Lumia option right now.