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Nokia Lumia 830 review: Affable, affordable Lumia 830 does the 'Nokia' name proud

While there's not a huge amount in the way of localised apps, the Nokia Here mapping service is, of course, ready for Australia (where I reviewed the phone), as is the Here Transit app for public transport. A partnership with video streaming service Quickflix also sees that app come preloaded.

Camera

Josh Miller/CNET

The Lumia 830's 10-megapixel camera comes with optical image stabilisation and Zeiss optics, meaning it qualifies under Nokia's PureView banner. It's the first time that PureView has made it on to a phone in this price range and it's a highly welcome addition.

The dedicated camera button opens up the software with a press even when the phone is locked, although it did take a few seconds until it was ready to start snapping in our tests.

There's the standard auto mode, along with several modes for night, night portrait, close-up, sports and backlight. The smart sequence burst mode is there and it's as useful as ever, helping you pick the best shots from a sequence, adjust for motion focus and more.

Playing around on a hot spring day in the country town of Wagga Wagga, I was impressed with how the colours popped, giving the images a really warm feeling. See for yourself in the photos below.

Nic Healey/CNET

Smart sequence was tested using the obligatory red cattle dog, and helped us to locate the exact moment the dog in question managed to completely miss catching a ball.

Nic Healey/CNET
Nic Healey/CNET
Nic Healey/CNET

Testing in the less exciting locale of the CNET office in Sydney, images captured under indoor lighting with a window behind the subject (an 8-foot-tall Space Marine) still look sharp, although the flash definitely creates a bit of a washed out effect.

Nic Healey/CNET
Nic Healey/CNET

In an underground railway station, the 830 definitely managed to make the most of the available artificial light with no flash required.

lumia-830-underground.jpg
Nic Healey/CNET

We've checked in with Microsoft on when the Lumia Camera update might be available and we'll adjust this review for the final version of the software.

Performance

The Lumia 830 packs a quad-core Snapdragon 400 running at 1.2GHz -- quite low-end by today's standards. You wouldn't know it, though, as the phone ticks along quite nicely. Web pages and apps loaded quickly and, as always with Windows Phone, the phone interface felt responsive and swift.

Videos looked fine on the 720p screen, and even gaming apps performed solidly. In fact, as we said before, it was the camera that seemed to take the longest to load -- something also noted by my colleague Andrew in his review of the Lumia 930.

Josh Miller/CNET

Battery life

The Lumia 930 has a 2,420 mAh battery, while the 830 makes do with 2,200mAh. However, the reduced processor speed and lower screen res means there is a lot less to drain the power. The result is amazing battery life. With 48 percent charge remaining and all battery-saving functions turned off, the 830 told me it had 35 hours of life left.

In the course of testing, I'd regularly grab the phone from a bag where I'd realise I'd left it turned on overnight after a full day of use, only to discover plenty of battery life left. Maybe it's just in comparison the Galaxy Note 4 that I was using before, but the battery life alone on the 830 made me wonder if it was time to swap.

Josh Miller/CNET

Conclusion

Holding the unenviable position of being the one of the last scions of Nokia, the Lumia 830 does its dynasty proud. It's a well-made phone, smartly designed and with solid mid-range performance. At the price, you'll be hard pressed to find a better Windows Phone option, no matter where you live. It's one of the best Windows phone I've ever used and better value for money than the 930.

As always, Windows as a mobile operating system remains an acquired taste that's far more on the 'umami' side of the spectrum than the gentle sweetness of, say, iOS. Unless you've been desperate to get your hands on a PureView camera with its excellent low-light shots, there's still not enough in the Windows ecosystem to see many people make the jump from a rival operating system.

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