A metal-edged, affordable Windows Phone with a PureView camera

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Nokia's flagship Lumia 930 phone packs a 5-inch, high-definition display, a powerful quad-core processor and an attractive, metal-framed design. As a top-end device, however, it comes with a steep price tag. If your budget is a little more limited but you still want a decent Nokia Windows Phone, the Lumia 830 might be more up your street.

It has a similar design to the top-end 930, with a 5-inch display and a metal band running around the edge. Its screen resolution is lower, however, and its processor and camera have both been cut down. The camera bears the "PureView" name, due to the fact that it has optical image stabilisation -- Nokia says it's the most affordable of its phones to have this technology built in.

The Lumia 830 will hit the shelves later this year across Europe for around €330, which converts to roughly £240, $400 or AU$420. Nokia is yet to release final prices or give more information on exactly where the phone will be going on sale.

Design and display

If you've taken a look at Nokia's Lumia 930, then the 830's design won't be much of a surprise to you. Like the 930, the 830 is a rectangle with squared-off corners, a metal band running around the edge and a colourful, plastic back panel. It's a little slimmer than the 930, however, although its footprint is much the same -- both phones have a 5-inch display.

The colourful back panel is removable on the Lumia 830, giving access to the SIM card and microSD card slots. It also means you can change its colour whenever you fancy -- you can get it in white, green, orange and black, although the black model also has a darker metal edge.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 5-inch display has a 720p resolution, rather than the full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels) of the flagship 930. Given the cheaper price, that's understandable. It's the same resolution offered on the Lumia 735 which, given the cheaper model's smaller screen size, means it has a higher pixel density, for a slightly sharper display.

Features

The 830 boasts the latest Windows Phone 8.1 software. I rather like Windows Phone 8.1, with its scrolling list of colourful tiles, each showing live information. It's easy to use and has recently seen new features added, such as a pull-down notifications bar.

The latest update, codenamed Denim, will launch on the Lumia 830. Denim adds various tweaks, such as the ability to put live tiles in folders on your home screen, but most importantly, it will bring Microsoft's Siri-rival Cortana to the UK and China.

Although Windows Phone 8.1 makes a refreshing change from iOS or Android, it's far from perfect. Its main problem is still the lack of love it receives from app developers. Although you'll find plenty of big names on its digital shelves, the Windows Phone store is almost always the last to receive new apps, if it gets them at all. If you love trying out the latest services and games as soon as they arrive, challenging your friends' high scores, Windows Phone 8.1 almost certainly won't fit the bill.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On the back of the phone is a 10-megapixel camera. Its optical image stabilisation and high quality Zeiss lenses means it qualifies as a PureView. I've previously been impressed at Nokia's PureView cameras -- particularly with their low-light skills -- so I'm keen to see what it can do on a budget.

The 830 will also launch with the latest camera software, Lumia Camera 5.0, which brings a bunch of neat new features. For a start, it lets you record video in 4K resolution. When you press and hold the camera shutter, it will automatically start recording video -- meaning you won't miss a quick moment.

It also brings HDR shooting to Lumias. You're able to alter the level of the HDR effect that's applied to your image after it's been shot. Brilliantly, the same can be done for the flash. The phone can quickly take a series of images of a scene (your friend's face, for example) with the flash on and off. Using sliders, you can alter the balance between the image with and without flash, so ideally you create an image that's well lit but without that harsh glare of a direct flash. In the demos I saw of these features, they worked well and I'm certainly looking forward to trying them for myself.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Lumia Camera 5.0 update will be coming to the Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 in the coming weeks too, although it's not yet confirmed whether older devices -- in particular, the photography-focused Lumia 1020 -- will receive this new camera software.

The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which is pretty low-end, but it should keep the fairly undemanding Windows Phone software ticking over nicely.

Outlook

The Nokia Lumia 830 doesn't have the most blistering processor ever found inside a Windows Phone, nor does it have the highest resolution display. It looks good though, its camera should perform well, and the new updates to both Windows Phone 8.1 and to the camera software should be welcome additions fans of the system.

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Where to Buy

Nokia Lumia 830

Part Number: LUMIA830
Pricing is currently unavailable.