Nokia Lumia 930 vs Microsoft Lumia 950 Comparison

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Microsoft Lumia 950 Comparison

Earlier this week (possibly yesterday. Honestly, I’m writing this one right after that one. I’m not sure when I’m going to publish this one. In fact, it might be last week, but I digress…), I published a camera comparison between the brand spanking new Lumia 950 and the brand spanking old, but still relevant camera Lumia 1020.

Now that we’ve seen that the Microsoft Lumia 950 can hold its ground against the best Lumia camera in history, let’s see how the phone itself holds up against the last flagship Lumia we saw a year and a half ago, the Nokia Lumia 930.

NOTE: the Nokia Lumia 930 I will be comparing the Lumia 950 to, for all purposes here, is running Lumia Denim, or Windows Phone 8.1.1. There will be another comparison between the Nokia Lumia Icon and the Microsoft Lumia 950 where the Lumia Icon is running Windows 10 Mobile. The Nokia Lumia Icon is the same hardware as the Lumia 930 with the exception of double tap to wake and the LTE bands.

Nokia Lumia 930 Microsoft Lumia 950
CPU 2.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 800 Snapdragon 808, 1.82 GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex-A57, 1.44 GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 418
Display 5″, 1080p, 441 ppi, AMOLED 5.2″, 1440p, 564 ppi, AMOLED
Body 137x71x9.8 mm, 167 g 145×73.2×8.2 mm, 150 g
Camera 20 MP, 4992х3744, 1.2 MP Front 20 MP, 4992х3744, 5 MP Front
Video 4K – 30 fps, Front 720p – 30 fps 4K – 30 fps, 1080p – 60 fps, Front 1242p – 30 fps
Aperture f/2.4 f/1.9
Sensor Size 1/2.5″ 1/2.4″
Focal Length 26 mm 26 mm
Storage 32 GB 32 GB, Expandable to 2 TB
Battery 2420 mAh 3000 mAh

The Lumia 950 is the expected bump in specs from the Nokia Lumia 930; however, due to the higher resolution display, performance is about the same. We’ll talk more about that in benchmarks.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Microsoft Lumia 950: Rear Camera

This is the topic that everyone wants to know about. When the specs for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL were leaked, people were upset because the Lumia 950 has the same resolution as the Lumia 930, 20 MP.

This is more of a problem with the people than a problem with the phones. Most people don’t quite understand how little the resolution of a camera actually matters when it comes to photo quality. Many will say that more megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean a better camera, but the truth is that it doesn’t matter at all.

As long as the resolution of the camera is above 8.3 MP at 16:9 or about 6 MP at 4:3, the images have to be scaled down to fit a 4K display anyway. If you’re viewing them on 1080p, it’s about 2 MP.

The only benefit to a higher resolution photo is the ability to crop without losing quality. The more megapixels, the more you can crop the image without losing quality.

That being said, the camera sensors in the Microsoft Lumia 950 is all new technology. The aperture is now f/1.9, which is much larger than the f/2.4 aperture in the Lumia 930. The sensor is larger as well.

The camera in the Microsoft Lumia 950 also focuses faster. I believe that the camera uses phase detection autofocus (PDAF), which is what Apple and Samsung use in their flagships to make their camera focus super fast.

NOTE: For the sake of this comparison, all photos taken with the Nokia Lumia 930 were taken with Lumia Camera 5 on Windows Phone 8.1 and all photos taken with the Microsoft Lumia 950 were taken with Windows Camera on Windows 10 Mobile. There will be another comparison between the Lumia 950 and the Lumia Icon that will compare them both on Windows Camera on Windows 10.

Nokia Lumia 930 Microsoft Lumia 950

I think it’s pretty clear that the Microsoft Lumia 950 wins in all aspects. That last picture is a great example, as the Lumia 950 has much less of a glare from the setting sun.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Microsoft Lumia 950: Front Camera

This is a case where the resolution actually does matter. Windows Phone users have been waiting for a Lumia flagship since June 2014, a time when it was completely acceptable to use a 1.2 MP front camera. That doesn’t fly these days, however.

In fact, given the concept that a flagship phone should have all of the features of the company’s mid-range and low end phones and more, the fact that Nokia/Microsoft released various mid-range and low end phones with a 5 MP front camera while their flagship was still at 1.2 MP.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has finally released a flagship phone that catches up with the low to mid range phones. Have a look.

As you can see, not only is the image higher resolution on the Microsoft Lumia 950 but it also has a wider angled lens, making it better for group photos. Of course, it’s 5 MP so you have more room to crop the image if it’s not a group photo.

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Microsoft Lumia 950: Benchmarks

It’s tough to do benchmarks on Windows Phones. The problem is that there aren’t any decent apps. Well, they’re bad enough that whatever I show you here, people will still argue with it. For example, you’re going to see that the Nokia Lumia 930 gets a better AnTuTu score than the Microsoft Lumia 950. I showed this in a video and people have already begun saying that AnTuTu on Windows Phone is an abandoned beta from 2012.

The state of the AnTuTu app would be relevant if I was comparing it to an AnTuTu score on an Android phone, but I’m not. Both of these devices are using the same software to run benchmarks.

First up is a battery test done in WP Bench.

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 Battery

The results here aren’t entirely surprising. Neither of the two devices have particularly great battery life. Keep in mind that the Lumia 640 XL has the same size battery as the Lumia 950 and it gets much better battery life; however, the screen resolution is a quarter of what the Lumia 950 is and the CPU is much more power conservative.

Next up is those AnTuTu scores I was telling you about.

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 AnTuTu

Again, the results here aren’t entirely surprising. Note that the CPU and memory win on the Lumia 950 but it’s the graphics that really drag it down. This is no surprise as a 1440p display has 3.7 million pixels while a 1080p display has about 2 million. That’s a lot more work for the GPU.

Next up is WP Bench which shows a slightly different result.

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 WP Score

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 WP Details

WP Bench gives the Lumia 950 the better overall score but mainly because it’s weighted differently. It still shows that it’s the GPU that drags down the Lumia 950.

Next up is GPU tests from GFXBench.

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 GFX 3 1

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 GFX 3 2

Lumia 930 Lumia 950 GFX 3 3

Note that GFXBench doesn’t show all of the tests on the Lumia 930. The GPU tests seem to be a mixed result, but they’re really not. The Lumia 950 does have a more powerful GPU, the Adreno 418, which is why is performs better on the 1080p tests, but on regular tests that take screen resolution into account, the Lumia 930 wins.


About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • hotrod2391

    I did not see any changes or difference to your selfie… you still don’t look good : p I don’t think any phone can fix that lol!

  • Vertigo X

    Lumia 950 is a solid phone, to be sure, though I’ll stick with my Lumia 830 to see if Microsoft releases a Snapdragon 820-based phone next year. Who knows, maybe something else will come out that earns my money. (:

    • Well, by then, won’t you just be waiting to see if they’re going to make a Snapdragon 830 phone?

      • Vertigo X

        Well, there’s something to be said for this essentially being a first generation device: First Windows 10 mobile devices, first Windows Hello, first 1440p, etc. Just waiting for the inevitable polish. (:

        • I keep hearing about the inevitable polish. It’s just that my Lumia 930 is still waiting for that inevitable polish and it’s a year and a half old. That was the first Windows Phone 8.1 device.

          • Vertigo X

            While you do have a point, I’d argue that the 930’s new features didn’t need polishing; the 20 MP camera was fantastic for its time, the screen still is beautiful and performs well, etc. It only really lacked apps, which of course never got better. The Lumia 950 is overall good, though because of the Windows 10 software, mediocre Windows Hello, and the Snapdragon 808, it can definitely be improved.

            I’m particularly looking to see if Windows Hello range can be improved to be over a foot. The SD820 should be able to handle 1440p more easily. By then, Windows 10 will (presumably) be improved, too.

          • That’s kind of the point. On the one hand, it shipped with Cortana in beta. Here we are and Cortana is still in beta after a year and a half and counting. These are devices with a two year lifespan. My point is that this happens with every single Windows Phone release. Mark my words. Feel free to wait for the next flagship. They will have worked out the now year old features of Continuum and Windows Hello, but there’s going to be new features. After all, it’s new flagship hardware. It can’t just be refining existing features. So there will be new features and guess what! Everyone is going to say the exact same thing they’re saying now, said a year and a half ago, and said a year and a half before that. My guess is that it’s going to be an x86 phone so it will run desktop apps, it will suck, and everyone will once again be making excuses for it.