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.

Loading...

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.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
41 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • cleeve
    We took Nokia's Lumia Icon for a month-long test to really experience life with the company's flagship Windows Phone 8-based platform. Some of the benchmark results from this Snapdragon 800-powered powerhouse may surprise you.

    Nokia Lumia Icon & Lumia 930 Review: Windows Phone, Premium : Read more
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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)....
  • cknobman
    My comment sucks. (Happy to edit out unnecessarily hostile sentiments for you. Keep it a little more pleasant or the comment will disappear entirely. :)

    You did not even mention one of the coolest and most useful features that this phone offers that no other on the market does.

    The icon/930 comes with software that adapts every element on screen to the lighting conditions it is exposed to. Whether picture, text, or video it will analyze every pixel displayed and either lighten/darken/change contrast to make it perfectly view-able in any lighting condition.

    I saw this feature in person against my own GS4 and an iPhone 5s and it absolutely annihilates the other phones. I took a picture with my own GS4, sent it to the other phones (iphone, nokia) and then compared side by side. In shade the picture was visible. In bright light both the GS4 and iPhone 5S the picture was washed out and darker parts not visible. The 930 software detected the light, analyzed the picture, and dynamically adjusted the picture to make it look the exact same in bright light as it did in the shade.

    Hands down the coolest and most useful feature I have seen on a phone in the last couple of years.
  • aldaia
    Wait, a "flagship Windows phone" powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Intel push into the smartphone market is certainly doomed.
  • shaun_shaun
    still Windows Phone has long way to go. windows apps store still needs lots of improvements with official app support from big developers, optimized apps and regular updates.
  • 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.
  • RedJaron
    Anonymous said:
    Wait, a "flagship Windows phone" powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. Intel push into the smartphone market is certainly doomed.

    Um, because Intel and MS are supposed to be attached at the hip? So, just because Intel isn't in the newest WP product, it's doomed? Surely that means nVidia is also screwed since their Tegra didn't make it into the 930.


    Anonymous said:
    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

    Nearly every carrier puts it's logo on all its phones. Verizon is no different here.


    Anonymous said:
    You did not even mention one of the coolest and most useful features that this phone offers that no other on the market does.

    The icon/930 comes with software that adapts every element on screen to the lighting conditions it is exposed to. Whether picture, text, or video it will analyze every pixel displayed and either lighten/darken/change contrast to make it perfectly view-able in any lighting condition.

    This has been in most Lumia phones, and I'm a fan of it. The auto-brightness setting works very well regardless of the lighting situation you're in. My 925 is perfectly legible in just about any conditions.
  • megamanxtreme
    All is well, I still got my Lumia 1520, and it still reigns the king. 920/930 with bigger screen, for the win.
  • silverblue
    Quote:
    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)

    Anonymous 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.


    My original post was wrong; on my 1020, there's 29 of the 32 available to start with, of which 2.82GB is taken up by the system. Assuming a couple of gigs of apps and data, that still seems a bit better than what you get on the Icon. I suppose the lack of O2 bloat on my phone is because I didn't get it directly from them, though had I done so, it would've been the 64GB version... :|
  • cknobman
    Quote:
    This has been in most Lumia phones, and I'm a fan of it. The auto-brightness setting works very well regardless of the lighting situation you're in. My 925 is perfectly legible in just about any conditions.


    You are in for a treat then because they have enhanced it and it is even better for the 930.

    They had a 920 and 925 on display there as well and while they did a decent job of auto adjusting it was 10x better on the 930. The representative said they reworked the software's algorithms to do a better job.
  • 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)

    Anonymous 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.
  • BranFlake5
    What's the appeal of a windows phone over an android counter part?
  • 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.
  • Cryio
    Quote:
    What's the appeal of a windows phone over an android counter part?


    In the case of this device: Perfectly smooth performance no matter what you do. You can forge the phone all the time and with how many apps you want, this thing will not slow down, compared to Android. Plus the scrolling is butter smooth. Flawless 100% of the time.

    It's also easier and in my opinion more fun to use.

    Also, like iOS, you can't screw you device installing/running too many apps.
  • Au_equus
    Don, the specs listed in the table (first page) do not match the description given in the article.
  • shaun_shaun
    too many Windows fanboys talking nonsense about Android. just try a custom ROM like CyanogenMod without bloatware if you think Android is slowing down in mulch-tasking. I'm sure Win Phone 8.1's notification center and other improvements will bring much more improvement in the near future. but as I said before you cant deny the fact that windows phone store still lags far behind compared to the competition. yes there are some good apps but overall its like a deserted island.
  • KungMagnus
    Very sad about this review. Was looking for a reason to replace my 4s which I was never very happy with, not yet I guess.
  • nebun
    this phone has so much junk on it...this is one reason why i love my iphone 5s, clean and junk free