Review

Windows 10 Mobile on Lumia 830 – Is It Worth the Upgrade?

Lumia 830—an affordable flagship from Microsoft and last of the Nokia-branded phone—has been a wonderful digital companion to me for about a year now. I have used both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile on this device. Windows Phone 8.1 worked like a charm (most of the Windows Phone users vouch for it) on Lumia 830. How does it fare in the Windows 10 Mobile world? Read further…

Windows Phone

I have been using Windows Phone for 3.5 years now. Started with Windows 8 on the cute Lumia 520, which only had 512MB of RAM even when other Android devices were touting 1GB of RAM. 512MB was sufficient for 520, for Windows 8 was working wonderfully utilizing the RAM to the optimum. When I wanted a better camera phone, I didn’t go for 1020 because I didn’t need 41 megapixels. Lumi 930, though was a premium device, didn’t have the glance screen, so Lumia 830 was the best choice for me.

Lumia 830 and Windows Phone 8.1

With its metal frame and sleek body, Carl Zeiss optics, and the more-than-sufficient 10mp camera, it was (and is) a beauty. Windows 8.1 which came as stock OS was working beautifully. The OS was always slick, fluid, and fast for me. Though there were not many apps (I don’t want to get on the app war), whatever apps I needed were already there. And boy, what a camera it has. I can’t remember the countless shots that I have taken just for the sake of using the PureView camera.

Lumia 830 and Windows 10 Mobile

When Microsoft announced the Developer Preview program (later became Windows Insider), I created an account but waited for a perfect opportunity to jump the ship. Had been reading the articles all around the web (including my favorite Windows Central) for the build that was ready as a daily driver. When reviews were mostly positive for 10536, I simply opted for it and moved up through the build chain through the release build 10586.

The experience was a mixed bag. The minimalistic design on Windows 10 in general was refreshing (my views only). But there were a lot of design gaps. Some of the older features such as the display screen under SettingsàExtrasàdisplay was (and is till this day) still baked in the Windows 8.1 design language. The screen flickered sometimes for no reason. The Health & Fitness app was broken. Yet, for the freshness of Windows 10, I remained in 10586.

When Microsoft announced a new branch Redstone for the Insiders, I installed the build 14295. It was by far the regrettable build for me to say the least. Battery lasted just for a few hours; videos in the landscape mode flickered when you touched the screen or adjusted the volume rockers; the People app took eons to open. I had had enough and decided to return to the production build in the Threshold branch aka 10586.107.

Now, when you want to return to 10586 there is no direct way. You will need to downgrade to Windows 8.1 using the Windows Recovery Tool and then get the OTA update to the production build 10586.107.

I took the plunge and downgraded to Windows 8.1. It was kind of funny to use Windows Phone 8.1 after a gap of six months. Things were back to normal again. The interface was fluid, the Phone, People, and Messaging apps opened in a jiffy, and most importantly the Health & Fitness app worked right from the word go. I could feel that the OS was very light though there were less features than Windows 10 Mobile.

But my enthusiasm lasted for just one day. I already started feeling that I was living in a mobile world which was so 2012. For some reason, I craved for the Windows 10 Mobile’s experience. Maybe the Saavn Music app, maybe the revamped Twitter universal app, or just the modern Windows 10 Mobile interface–for whatever reason, I wanted to get back to Windows 10 Mobile.

The OTA upgrade to 10586 was time consuming. The MTS wifi network was painfully slow and at least three times the upgrade aborted. Spent almost a day to get back to 10586.107. Then immediately noticed that there was a production update available to 10586.218. So I lumbered my way through the upgrade path again. It’s been two days since I started rocking the latest production build and as they say it was a happy ending for me. No more development builds until Redstone is ready as a daily driver.

So what is the take away for you, dear reader, if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile? Here are some random jottings.

  1. Remember that Windows 10 Mobile is still not as refined as Windows 8.1 was. It has a modern look, added features, but has come with a caveat that is performance. Some apps load faster, while some take their sweet time to show up.
  2. It is always better to reset your phone just after the upgrade and install your apps manually instead of restoring a backup. If you have stored your apps in the sd card, chances are that Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t restore them as it happened to me.
  3. Give your mobile a day or two to “settle down.”

I will update this post after a week with my experience of .218 on my Lumia 830. Stay tuned…

Update: It’s been four days since I started using .218. The performance is very good now. Native apps such as Phone, People, and Messaging load faster. Apps didn’t crash. There is one big disappointment though: battery drains pretty fast–just 6 to 7 hours of juice available even if I use the Internet only intermittently. I have restricted the apps that run on the background to the barest minimum; I have set a black & white photo for the Glance screen as well as set a timing of 15 minutes to show the lock screen contents instead of the regular setting “Always on”.

Update 2: Since the phone is kind of settled now, things are slowly returning to normalcy, I would say. Battery lasts for around 12 hours now with moderate use of the ‘Net. Just for comparison, I pitted my 830 against my colleagues beautiful Lumia 650 for it is the only phone that comes close to 830’s elegance and has almost similar specs (sans the camera, of course). Maybe, I am biased towards my 830, but it did load core apps faster than the 650 except the Store app, which still takes a bit of time to load than in the 650.

Overall, .218 seems to be a great build. There is another Redstone build 14322 up for grabs, which was published to the Insiders a few days ago, but I will resist the temptation and wait for its production release. No way I am going to jump ship and join the RS build. Or so I think 🙂

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