Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Flagship showdown
The Nokia Lumia 930 takes on the Lumia 1020 camera phone ─ can the old flagship Windows Phone hold its own against the latest and greatest from Nokia?
The world was definitely impressed when Nokia unveiled the Lumia 1020 and its 41-megapixel PureView camera. Fans of the Nokia PureView 808 had been asking for the same brilliant camera technology in a more up-do-date package, which is virtually what they got.
But then the Nokia Lumia 1020 lost its flagship status to the metal bodied Lumia 925 and now the Lumia 930, the latest Windows Phone from the Finnish firm, has taken the crown.
Is there any point in taking a step back two generations, or is the Lumia 930 all the only smartphone you need? I decided to pit the two devices against one another to find out.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: The specs
Let’s get the numbers out of the way first. The Lumia 1020 has a 4.5-inch (1,280×768-pixel) display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 41-megapixel camera with Xenon sensor, 32GB of memory plus 7GB of free OneDrive cloud storage and a unibody design that means you are unable to access the battery or take the back off.
Nokia’s Lumia 930 has a much newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad core processor, 5-inch full HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) display, 2GB of RAM, 20-megapixel camera and 32GB of storage and no expandable memory slot. You also get 7GB of free cloud storage, which is handy when there is no option to expand the memory using a microSD slot.
Minus the aging processor, the Lumia 1020 is still flagship territory, but tech moves fast and the Lumia 930 benefits from the sort of internals you get in a top-spec Android device.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Design and ergonomics
One area where Nokia excels is build quality. I have dropped my Lumia 1020 about twenty times and it has lived to tell the tale every. Single. Time. Only a set of keys were able to scratch the otherwise immaculate display two years on. I reckon the Lumia 930 would survive a knock, too, but I am slightly less confident of this fact because of the softer back surface.
The Lumia 930 is very different in style to the Lumia 1020. Where the latter has curves and a protruding camera, the former has squared edges and no protrusion whatsoever. The bright colours really do separate these devices from their competitors and the searing orange or searing green of the Lumia 930 especially funky.
I do like the Lumia 930’s thinner profile and squared off edges, although the curved edges of the Lumia 1020 make longer phone calls more comfortable.
Apart from the Lumia 930’s lighter body and longer height, the ergonomic design is virtually identical. You have a centrally-located 3.5mm jack input for headphones and speakers at the top and the micro-USB connection at the bottom. On the right is the volume rocker, power/lock/unlock button and a dedicated camera button with two-stage depression (half to focus, full to shoot).
The layout is easy to use one-handed for both devices, even if you are a lefty. There’s no unnecessary stretching to the top of the phone to reach the lock button as with some Android devices.
Overall I would say the Lumia 1020 is still impressively styled and gets a mention whenever people notice it. It is almost certain the Lumia 930 will command similar attention, especially if you went for anything but the black or white paintjob.
It is worth noting the Lumia 1020 uses a microSIM, while the Lumia 930 uses a Nano-Sim like you get in an iPhone. Those coming from a microSIM should be able to ring up their network or go into a phone shop to swap for the smaller SIM card and then use an adapter if you ever need to use your old phone.
A real bugbear of the Nokia Lumia 1320 (the ‘phablet’ Windows Phone of the range) was this weird bug where a single touchscreen press would register as a double press. The screen sensitivy issue was widely reported and extremely annoying. Luckily neither the Lumia 1020 or Lumia 930 are affected and I believe the Lumia 1320’s issue was ironed out in an update.
Both devices are pretty chunky compared with your average Android top-end devices, but as I said the durability means you can get away without a case and not risk a broken display. Oddly, the Lumia 1020 feels heavier but weighs 158g versus 167g for the Lumia 930.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Camera
Even though both smartphones have PureView technology inside, there are some noticeable differences. The most obvious difference is the megapixel count, with the Lumia 930 maxing out at 20megapixels versus the Lumia 1020’s
Using the manual focus setting, the Lumia 1020’s PureView Zeiss is noticeably different in how it acts. In the test shot between Mushroom and Mario, the Lumia 1020 can blur the background (bokeh) to a greater degree, making the subject stand out more.
The Lumia 1020’s focus is also more bokeh prone when focus is set to automatic. In addition, the Lumia 930 was unable to blur the foreground up close, unlike the Lumia 1020. There’s definitely greater potential depth of field from the older Lumia.
It is a shame, then, the Lumia 1020 display looks so dated, with images appearing to have a yellowish hue to them and a slight blur, which in reality is non-existent. This is in stark contrast to the crisp whites of the Lumia 930. Sometimes a good shot can be discounted because of what you see on screen. It was difficult to go back to the Lumia 1020 after getting acquainted with the new screen.
Besides playback, the Lumia 930’s display makes it easier to manually focus a shot. The extra clarity (441 vs 334 pixels-per-inch) makes it easier to see where perfect focus is, as opposed to lots of swiping in and out of focus with the Lumia 1020 to check you were right the first time.
Low-light photography is where the Lumia 1020 should shine. I’m still testing this particular area of both cameras so please check back soon. In the meantime, I will say it helps it the old-timer has a Xenon flash for lighting up a subject within a few metres.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Performance
If the difference in displays was light and day, you should see the performance. Neither device is sluggish, but the Lumia 930 is a far snappier device. Loading the official Facebook app, for instance, arrives on screen far quicker for the Lumia 930 than it does for the Lumia 1020.
I noticed some tasks take the same time to start (Microsoft Office being one example), but the Lumia is predominantly faster and therefore more pleasing to use. Getting the camera started up from a locked device using the dedicated camera button takes about three second for the Lumia 930, compared with six or seven seconds for the 1020.
Considering the Lumia 1020’s biggest trick is photography, it was interesting to see how much more easily you could miss a shot because of the dated internals.
Both devices I tested are running Windows Phone 8.1 so there’s little to compare here. I’ve always said Microsoft’s operating system glides along and is easy to get used to, which is why I recommend it to smartphone newbies or technophobes before Android or iOS.
Windows Phone 8.1 adds some really useful functionality. The Cortana (live in the US, soon-to-be-live in the UK) voice assistant will answer a request question on whether you should wear shorts by showing you the weather. It can even guess the outcome of a football game, and did so correctly throughout the World Cup.
One useful aspect of Cortana is the ability to have messages read out to you as you drive, with your phone asking you to dictate a reply (if you want) and then send it ─ all completely hands-free.
Another useful addition is the Action Centre. Run your finger down from the top of the screen and you can see all notifications in one place including any missed calls, new text messages, new emails and so on. Here you can also quickly jump into settings or toggle various settings such as Bluetooth on or off. The four shortcuts can be tailored to suit if the default isn’t to your liking.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Value for money
A quick Google search reveals the Nokia Lumia 1020 can be had for around £250 SIM-free, which is pretty cheap given it is still a fast device with a very capable camera. Is a Samsung Galaxy S5 twice as good at twice the price? No, although it does have a capable snapper as well.
The Nokia Lumia 930 can be had SIM-free for £350 so the latest device on the market is between £100 and £200 more, depending on the network. EE was significantly cheaper than O2 at the time of writing.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: Battery life
In the Lumia 930 corner we have a 2,420mAh battery ─ 420mAh more than the Lumia 1020. Since updating my Lumia 1020 it has been awful with regard to battery life. A quick phone call and email check can drain ten per cent. It is, however, better when WiFi is switched off.
I’ve heard rumblings you can cure the problem with a factory reset. Whether true or not, it’s inconvenient so I will be waiting to see if the official Cyan update will cure the problem. If not, it’s back to enabling Battery Saver the moment I stop charging as before.
The battery life of the Lumia 930 is pretty decent. A day and a half is possible if you manage the Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity and set brightness to low (automatic can range from very dark to very bright). Compared with a ‘normal’ 1020 and I can see the Lumia 930 lasting longer every time, even if it has a larger, more detailed display.
Nokia Lumia 930 vs Lumia 1020: A champion emerges
Strip away the argument and you are left with one question: Would I personally spend the extra £100 to get myself the Lumia 930? The simple answer is that I would, definitely. I still love my Lumia 1020 because it feels fantastic, it has unrivalled durability and the camera is extremely capable.
But alongside the more powerful Lumia 930 and you can see time has been unkind. What the Lumia 930 lacks in sheer camera ability it makes up for with a far superior display, greatly improved performance and an unforgettable design in its own right.
Both devices are a tribute to what Windows Phone can do and how far along it has come. Both devices would see any budding photographer proud of the results. But there can be only one winner and so my vote goes to the Lumia 930.