The Nokia Lumia 930 is a really great device that's hampered by a few too many elements, preventing me from lauding it as a truly standout handset.

The main reason is still the same one I've been yammering about for a couple of years, and I'll say it again: Windows Phone is still not up the level of the rest of the competition, and that hampers any big gains made in hardware.

Before anyone jumps straight to the comments to decry me as a fanboi of whichever other system, let me say this: I really like Windows Phone. In theory.

I love updating Live Tiles being my homescreen. I like the powerful yet simple interface, and I think a lot of the changes made in Windows Phone 8.1 are really clever, and in some cases better than what else is out there.

Nokia Lumia 930 review

But in so many other areas it's an OS that's lacking, and surely Microsoft knows that. Instead of running through the list of apps that the competitors have and trying to match it, why not start making the top 20 apps better than they are on Android?

There are some which genuinely impress me, and I want to see more of that. But until that happens, it's hard to recommend the OS as something to check out.

But anyway - onto the Lumia 930:

We liked

The design of the Lumia 930 is really impressive, and will enamour a few people trying it out in the shop for the first time. The colours are bold and really help it stand out from the identikit nature of the competition.

The camera is also one of the better ones out there, although not as good as the Lumia 1020. I was hoping the Lumia 930 would be the new phone that would take the camera phone mantle, and I wouldn't have to pack the 1020 when I knew I needed a good snap.

It's still brilliant for day to day shots though, and if you spend even a small amount of learning the power that's contained within you can really get some great picture to share.

We disliked

I still think there's a large amount of work that needs to be done on Windows Phone to take it to anything like a strong market share.

The apps problem is well documented, and one that I feel sorry for Microsoft in trying to solve – and it is making some headway. But anyone that moved from Android or iOS now would find it a disappointment when there's no YouTube, Gmail or favourite news app there.

The interface is still too slow in places as well, despite the extra power. This is due to the animations Microsoft has thrown in, rather than anything else, but still irks. The same clunkiness exists in the web browser too – Apple's finally realised it should open up certain elements of the OS, so Microsoft should too.

That's the issue: Windows Phone is becoming dated despite the refresh, and the new elements are a bit confusing. And with the Nokia transition to Microsoft things are still crossing over: for instance, there are two mapping apps on there (Bing Maps and Here Maps) and neither is a patch on Google Maps, offline capability aside.

If I can't navigate effectively across a major city, it doesn't work in my opinion.

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 930 is the best Windows Phone yet – you'll probably read that across the web. But that's like saying it's the best seaplane: you'll really need some elements of it from time to time, and you'll be able to use it, but really you want something that's able to flourish in more scenarios.

Nokia Lumia 930 review

The build quality is excellent and iconic, and the camera is powerful and results in mostly great snaps. I like that 32GB is on offer as the base model, and wireless charging built in is perfect.

The price is pretty good too, and if you're a fan of Windows Phone there is nothing better right now. But Microsoft needs to boost the UI and usability of its OS as soon as possible to make sure it keeps up with pack – and that's the main thing that's troubling the Nokia Lumia 930 right now.

First reviewed: July 2014