Nokia Lumia Icon & Lumia 930 Review: Windows Phone, Premium

Will The Icon Convert You From Android Or iOS?

Once in a while, a smartphone comes along that is so impressive, so technologically advanced, and so sublime, that it can draw you away from your previous operating environment of choice. Nokia's Lumia Icon/930 is not going to be the phone that gets you to switch from Android or iOS, though.

Don't get me wrong. It's great to look at, plenty fast by virtue of its hardware platform, and a pleasure to use in the real world. Even Android and iOS loyalists have to admit this package is tightly-built. If Windows Phone 8 already is your favorite, you can't do better than the Icon, which gets Microsoft on equal footing, hardware-wise, with some of the most advanced devices introduced thus far in 2014. Whether you're talking about its 5" 1080p AMOLED display, quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, Adreno 330 graphics engine, or 20 MP camera, the Lumia Icon is a strong, well-rounded showing.

For a device to be truly...iconic, though, it needs to best the competition in a number of meaningful ways. As we look for fields where the newest Lumia excels, it only stands above the crowd with the ability to capture directional surround audio. That's a cool advantage, to be sure. But it's not a must-have feature. There might be a handful of folks willing to try Windows Phone 8 for the Icon's quad-microphone array, but Nokia isn't going to convert technophiles en masse like this.

It's certainly possible that the Lumia 1020 won over photography enthusiasts to Windows Phone. But those same folks won't find themselves now compelled to try the Icon. The 1020's camera is superior to the Icon/930 in every way, even though Nokia's new flagship is otherwise technically superior to its Snapdragon S4-powered predecessor.

No, the Lumia Icon and Lumia 930 are for folks who already own a Lumia 900/600/500-series phone, an HTC 8x, a Samsung ATIV, or perhaps a Windows Phone 7 device. It's for brand loyalists who already appreciate Microsoft's niche mobile operating system and want to step up to more cutting-edge hardware. For these users, Nokia's new Lumia represents a big jump forward in screen size, performance, and capability. It's a Windows Phone that you can be proud to pull out of your pocket; it's not one that you have to make excuses for as your more smug acquaintances flash their iPhones and Galaxies.

  • Amdlova
    only problem on this phone is (verizon)... if you wanna spend 150us and a 1000 years contract. =) is right that numbers on benchies ? direct 3d working?
  • silverblue
    Sorry for the possible double post, but this comments section is bugged to hell, so...

    I'm surprised by the bloat. My 1020 (with Windows Phone 8.1) has 32GB, of which 29 is available, after O2's (slight) footprint.
  • vaughn2k
    I have a Lumia 925. I will wait for the Windows Phone 8.1 update, that it seems promising... So the question if I will switch from IOS/Android to WP, then I guess I did, the 925 seems also a great phone, and the 'Store' has already a quite considerable amount of programs (or Apps)....
  • aldaia
    Wait, a "flagship Windows phone" powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Intel push into the smartphone market is certainly doomed.
  • tomfreak
    We just need Lumia 1020 sucessor = Lumia 1030 with snapdragon 800 to handle the 40MP picture. A 40MP Lumia 1030 with snapdragon 800 CPU + 2GB RAM + 32GB storage + SD card expansion + a 3000mah battery will be the killer phone that no one is able beat it. Photography takes a lot of battery drain, since thats how Lumia 1020 good at, I just hope Nokia/Microsoft put a much bigger battery inside for successor.
  • megamanxtreme
    All is well, I still got my Lumia 1520, and it still reigns the king. 920/930 with bigger screen, for the win.
  • Aoyagi
    Yeah, nice toys. About what the reviewer wanted, by the looks of it. But using these things as tools rather than toys for consuming media and maybe reading mail? No way.

    (I had been using Lumia 920 before I returned to 808 PureView. I still have it for testing purposes)

    13186987 said:
    I'm surprised by the bloat. My 1020 (with Windows Phone 8.1) has 32GB, of which 29 is available, after O2's (slight) footprint.

    Most of that is the OS itself.
  • satish12321
    Dude, how could you forget LIVE TILES. This single handedly put Lumia ahead of its competitors. Especially the new updates that will make it more informative.
    Android and iOs are like a graveyard of dead icons. If they font adapt, their fingerprint sensor, eye recognition and waterproofing wont be able to protect it.
  • Au_equus
    Don, the specs listed in the table (first page) do not match the description given in the article.
  • jasonelmore
    why the hell does Verizon think they must put their logo on the phone? my god i would never buy a phone that had carrier branding on the front or back of the phone. Plus Verizon's logo is Fugly