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Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Which is best?

Nokia’s new flagship, the Lumia 930 is here, but it can’t simply take the throne, it needs to earn it from the mighty Nokia Lumia 1020.

Smartphones try to do everything to simplify our day-to-day lives, but no one device can be all things to all people. That’s why we’re torn between the new Nokia Lumia 930 and the long respected Lumia 1020. So what do you think it’ll be – business or pleasure?

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Design

You can see that they share the same blood. The 930 takes a stronger appearance with its harder corners and a precision milled aluminium frame banding the edge, as a result it takes on a more sophisticated overall look, particularly in black (the aluminium banding is anodised to match), although Nokia’s 2014 fluorescent colour pallet means, bright green and orange options are out there too.


The 1020 meanwhile might not have the same premium factor, but its polycarbonate unibody is better suited to everyday life as scratches and scrapes are less apparent and as it’s colour injected, even deep gouges still keep the overall look and colour consistent. The rounded bodywork is also nice to hold with its curved edges and softer lines.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Screen

In 2014 you can’t be considered a serious flagship without boasting a Full HD (or higher in the case of the LG G3) resolution display. The ClearBlack OLED on the Lumia 930 is a shining example of what a good phone screen needs to offer. The 5-inch panel makes it great for multimedia, it’s colourful, bright, sports great viewing angles and the curved glass feels exceptionally nice under finger when swiping around.


The older Lumia 1020 meanwhile loses out in the resolution department offering up a competent 4.5-inch WXGA (1280×768) OLED panel instead. It doesn’t have the same clarity as the 930, but colours are richer and the marginally smaller size makes one-handed use that little bit easier.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: OS

At the halfway mark, the 930 has the edge with a sharper display and a sharper design, but when it comes to operating system, it’s, for the most part, level pegging. Windows Phone 8.1 has just hit older Nokia’s like the 1020 bringing the same feature set as the 930 has out-the-box.

930 ss 1 930 ss 2 1020 ss 1 1020 ss 2

You’ve got Action Centre for access to quick settings and notifications, similarly to Android, Bing Apps for everything from news and sports to health and fitness, Microsoft Office in the form of Word, Excel and OneNote which are all tied together with OneDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. Nokia’s unique Windows Phone apps also add deeper variety with free music streaming from Mix Radio and creative photo apps like Nokia Storyteller.

The skill set between both devices appears almost identical with the exception of speed and that comes as a result of the performance gap.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Performance

As Barney from How I Met Your Mother used to say “new is always better” and the hardware of the 930 echoes this sentiment. Similarly to the Windows Phone phablet – the Lumia 1520, the 930 runs on a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It’s a little older than the silicone used by most Android flagships, but when it’s teamed up with the more efficient Windows Phone experience, everything just flies.

On the flipside certain actions seem to cause the chipset to heat up to a noticeable level, typically induced by extended use of the camera or when the phone is syncing a lot of data.


There’s a more dated 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus running the show in the Lumia 1020 and in general UI swiping it proves ample when accommodating a smooth user experience, however, high impact tasks such as processing shots on the phone’s mammoth camera and multitasking take noticeably longer than they do on the newer Lumia.

The heat issue is non-existent on the 1020 and what’s more, the battery keeps you up and running for just under a half day more than the fresh-faced Lumia 930 which bottles it at the end of a busy work day.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Camera

On the software side, both phones are capable of rich, creative experiences. The Nokia Camera app gives you manual control over settings like white balance and focus, not to mention the ability to reframe your shots after the fact and apply filters or tweak various settings such as contrast or saturation.

Lenses - Windows Phone

Nokia’s created even more applications which you can add as Windows Phone lenses to achieve an automated beauty mode from Nokia Glam Me to a focus-shifting effect akin to the HTC One (M8) with Nokia Refocus.

Lumia 930 - High contrast ​Lumia 930 - Macro

It’s the hardware where the differentiation truly is. The Lumia 930 is in fact a competent all-round performer. The internal hardware means that it captures photos significantly faster than the 1020, but picture quality isn’t quite as on-point, at least when you’re taking composed shots, for spur of the moment shooting, it’s the obvious choice.

Lumia 1020 - high contrast Lumia 1020 - Macro

The 41-megapixel sensor onboard the Lumia 1020 offers up cleaner shots with more detail and better responses in varied lighting conditions. The integrated Xenon flash also outperforms the dual LED unit on the 930 in low light. Either way you’ll be getting a great OIS-laden camera experience, but understand that the 1020 takes the upper hand in this race overall. So much so in fact that Nokia’s dedicated camera case is purpose-built for the older Lumia.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Nokia Lumia 1020: Verdict


So, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is undoubtedly still the king of cameraphones, but on the whole, the newer package wins out. The Nokia Lumia 930 is distinctive, powerful and comes with the most complete Windows Phone experience to date. If you want a Windows Phone with a killer camera, stick with the 1020, but for everything else, the 930 is the clear choice.


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