Hands on with the Nokia Lumia 830 and Lumia 730

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Nokia Lumia 830The company formerly known as Nokia has prepared two mid-range smartphones for IFA, the Lumia 830 and Lumia 730, which could more or less be described as weakened versions of its current Lumia 930 flagship. Microsoft representatives pointed out several times in Berlin that the new Lumia 830 was the “first affordable flagship,” contending that there are no significant differences between it and the Lumia 930 in practice.

The news regarding the two new devices is that they come with a custom Windows Phone 8.1 software upgrade called “Lumia Denim,” which will roll out with these two phones but eventually make its way to all future Nokia devices.

It mostly affects the camera apps. Two new apps called Lumia Camera and Lumia Selfie are apps which are getting introduced as part of the update, as are 4K video recording and improved photo editing abilities. With the latter, for example, you’ll be able to save a photo taken with the flash turned on or the same one with it turned off, as the Lumia Camera app takes both in rapid succession.

Nokia Lumia 830I tried out both the Lumia 830 and Lumia 730 at IFA, so here are some quick impressions. First, the Nokia Lumia 830 stood out with a striking, elegant design that’s only 8.5 millimeters thick, making it one of the slimmer devices Nokia has produced in recent years. It lies solidly in the hand, though it weighs 150 grams, which is heavy for a 5-inch device and can tire out the wrist pretty quickly.

Its display is as large as the Lumia 930’s, but its offers a resolution of 720p, resulting in a still sharp pixel density of 294 ppi. The IPS screen offers above average sharpness, exceptional brightness, and vividly saturated colors, though its viewing angles are still relatively narrow. Still, Nokia’s ClearBlack display tech technology gives it mostly great contrast, despite its lack of sustainability, especially when it comes to its very dark black tones.

Nokia Lumia 730The camera is an important part of the Lumia 830, as it is with every Lumia phone. Apart from the exceptionally slim optical stabilization module, the 1/3.4-inch sensor (with an f/2.2 aperture) already seems like promising hardware for composing its 10-megapixel shots. The images I took in Berlin, even with my demo area’s catastrophic lighting, looked good at first blush and were comparable with those taken on the Sony Xperia Z3. That said, we’ll still need to spend much more time with the shooter to properly judge it.

Both new Lumias run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 SoC, which should be a capable chipset for this kind of upper middle-class phone. Besides that processor’s usually solid performance, the 830’s 2,200mAh battery should also offer decent battery life too. Microsoft says that Lumia 830 will cost 330 euros in Europe when it launches later this month. No official U.S. launch details have been revealed as of yet.

Nokia Lumia 730The Nokia Lumia 730, meanwhile, will be available alongside a twin device called the Lumia 735. The only difference is that the Lumia 730 is a dual-SIM device with 3G support, while the Lumia 735 is a single-SIM phone with 4G LTE support. For both models, Nokia put most of its eggs in the selfie basket, equipping the devices with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with a wide-angle 24 mm lens that should be suitable for group portraits. The back camera sports an odd resolution of 6.7 megapixels with an f/1.9 aperture.

The Lumia 730’s display has some better characteristics than the Lumia 830. The 4.7-inch AMOLED screen has a resolution of 720p, meaning it’s slightly more pixel dense than the larger model, and its viewing angles appear to be a little more acceptable. The phone is a bit thicker than Lumia 830, but it should perform just as well since it comes with the same chipset and battery. It’ll cost 200 euros for the dual-SIM model and €220 for the LTE model when it launches worldwide this month.

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