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Microsoft Take On Competition With 'Affordable' Flagship Handset

    Microsoft took IFA as an opportunity to talk more about Windows Phone and it's newly acquired Lumia devices, and show off a couple of handsets. So what did they have to say?

Sometimes it's hard to remember, that not only Microsoft make Windows Phone devices. HTC make one too, so they quickly talked about some universal Windows Phone 8.1 updates. These include UK now having Cortana, creation of folders, and interestingly the creation of a private VPN connection when connecting to wifi, for additional security when connecting to public wifi.

They then focused purely on Lumia devices. Firstly, there's a new Denim update which will be rolled out through the range this year which mostly revolved around small improvements to the camera photos and also activating the camera. It also include voice activation for Cortana, so it becomes similar to Google's 'OK Google'.

Microsoft want to create 'flagship' devices at a lower price point. With that in mind, they created the Lumia 830 (€330). It has a Snapdragon 400 quadcore processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable to 128GB), 5" 1280x720 display, 10MP Pureview rear camera, 0.9MP front camera. To be blunt, it's not flagship specs, and is firmly planted in the lower end of mid-range of Android handsets. It has to be noted that the audience needed to be prompted to give any applause.

They then went on to talk about the Lumia 730 / 735. Whilst the 735 will be available for €219 and come with LTE, the 730 will be a dual sim version without LTE. Otherwise they are the same. Of key interest is the 5MP front camera with a 24mm lens. It gives a wider angle shot, as demonstrated in a rather bizarre attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very fair comparison, and was a bit tedious...

Spec wise, it comes with a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable), Snapdragon 400 processor and a 2200mAh battery. That's not too bad for the price.

Microsoft will also include 3 months unlimited Skype subscription and 15GB One Drive for the new Lumias. Not exactly generous.


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The BBC had a video of a Microsoft Lumia doing what appears to be real-time user-configurable HDR. BBC. Looks interesting, though nothing that can't be copied and knowing Microsoft, it will only be available on one or a very limited number of devices, and not the entire range.

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There is indeed quite an interesting new feature called Rich Capture which takes one photo with flash, and one without. It then combines them and you can use a slide scale to decide how much light you want. It is quite impressive to look at.

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I've got a Nokia Lumia 520 runing 8.1 and I quite like it. I've been using it quite a bit and it had become my backup phone. I recently sold my Sony Xperia Z Ultra I've ordered a Asus Zenfone 5 LTW version.

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Thought it was worth a mention that the Lumia 830 has gone on sale today. 

 

 

Lumia 830 Goes on Sale Today in the UK

An affordable smartphone which mixes style, great design and superior picture performance with popular integrated Microsoft applications

 

3rd October 2014, London, UK

Microsoft today announced the availability of its affordable flagship Lumia 830 in the UK, priced from only £24.99 pm.

Features include premium design, PureView imaging for superior picture quality and integrated Microsoft services that work straight out of the box. The affordable Lumia 830 makes high-end innovation available to more people than ever before.

With the ease of use and elegant interface of Windows Phone 8.1, and packing the very best Lumia innovations including Cortana, Wireless Charging, Optical Image Stabilisation and SensorCore into an ultra-sleek package, the Lumia 830 delivers:

· Cortana - your very own personal assistant. She is there to make things easier for you and to make sure that you are always up to date on the things that matter most.

· Incredible image and video quality, day or night - the Lumia 830 captures sharp images with its 10-megapixel PureView camera with ZEISS optics, multi-mic Rich Recording, and Lumia’s thinnest optical image stabilisation system to date.

· The chance to capture expressions and emotions with Living Images that make your photos come alive. These are easy to share on social networks using the integrated Storyteller app.

· The latest software - Windows Phone 8.1 including the new Lumia Denim software enhancements. It means faster and easier connections to everything and everybody that matters most to you.

· Great software like Cortana, Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Office with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for leading productivity on the go, ready installed, straight out of the box!

· A massive 15GB of free OneDrive storage - sync and instantly share pictures and content with friends, family, and colleagues on the go across all your devices. .

· A world of apps including Instagram, Adidas miCoach, Vimeo, and Flipboard – plus apps that sync across devices so you can be always ready to pick up where you left off.

· Great hardware design backed by a powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400 processor, featuring quad-core CPUs at 1.2 GHz, for super-fast, smooth web browsing and gaming, all delivered on a beautiful, sharp 5-inch ClearBlack display.

· Inbuilt SensorCore low-power motion sensing which tracks motion and location even while the phone is 'asleep' in your pocket - perfect for exercise and exploration – and with apps like Bing Health and Fitness, and Adidas miCoach you can make every step count!

· A large 2200 mAh battery so you can keep going longer and built-in wireless charging adding convenience (wireless charging pads, car kits and audio docks are sold separately).

 

Conor Pierce, VP of Microsoft Devices for the UK and Ireland said: “With PureView imaging, wireless charging and a wealth of other great features, the Lumia 830 delivers the best innovations and experiences from our flagship smartphones at a more affordable price, underscoring Microsoft’s commitment to offer a competitive Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone for everyone.”

Finally, today London plays host to Destination Star Trek – the largest convention of its kind. As Klingons, Vulcans and Romulans descended on the city to attend the event, Microsoft’s first truly ‘personal’ digital assistant, Cortana, has boldly gone where she has never gone before, and revealed a series of fun phrases. Dave Coplin, Microsoft’s Chief Envisioning Officer said: “For a bit of Trekker fun, download 8.1 on your Windows Phone device and try asking Cortana some famous Star Trek phrases such as: ‘Set Phasers to Stun’, ‘Engage’ or ‘Beam Me Up’, - you can even ask her to ‘Speak Klingon’. There are many more so we hope everyone has fun trying to ‘Trek’ them all down!”

The Lumia 830 is expected to be available in the UK from Vodafone, EE, Dixons Carphone Group, Tesco and Amazon from today, in a range of colours including bright orange, bright green, white and black.

 

– Ends –

 

Tech specs summary:

 

Lumia 830

Operating System

Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim

Display

5” ClearBlack IPS-LCD 1280*720p screen

Sunlight Readability

Curved (“2.25D”) Gorilla 3.0 glass,

Super Sensitive Touch for glove and nail usage

Battery

Removable 2200 mAh battery

Integrated Qi wireless charging

Connectivity

Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 (Micro-USB-B), Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n), LTE 150/50 Mbps, WCDMA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, GSM 296.0/236.8 kbps

Processor

1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor

Main Camera

PureView 10 MP with Optical Image Stabilisation

Improved Nokia Camera. LED flash, ZEISS optics

Front Facing Camera

1 MP, 720p video

Memory

16GB + 15GB free OneDrive, micro SD up to 128GB

 

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Interesting option for under £300 with that spec. Battery life would be my only concern apart from the range of apps available in comparison to Apple and Android.

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