Nokia Lumia 920 Review

Nokia has done a big deal with the Nokia Lumia 920. A lot of advertising and campaigning has been done to promote the device and they certainly have got a lot of attention. I personally saw no advertisements for the Lumia 900 that I had reviewed earlier (You can take a look of the two part review here for hardware and here for software)

I have been excited to be honest, because the Lumia 900 I had was a good device and both the device and software had a lot of potential to grow and develop into something amazing. The Lumia 920 though, does take all of that into consideration and has improved upon everything!

Nokia Lumia 920 Box
Quick spec-sheet

A 185 grams device with 4.5 inch PureMotion HD+ screen with 1280×768 resolution pumping 332 pixels per inch (Anyone remember Pre-iPhone when this was never mentioned?) Corning Gorilla Glass with a ton of features, sensors and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. On the back is where the megapixel count explodes with 8.7 megapixels, dedicated camera button, 4x digital zoom, and a host of features with dual LED Flash capable of full 1080p videos at 30fps. Inside the beast sits a dual-core 1.5 ghz Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of ram, LTE chip, 32 GB of internal memory, a 2000 mAh battery, NFC, wireless charging and every single wireless connectivity option available on mobile devices!

Box Content

Nokia Lumia 920 Box OpenThe box is the typical Nokia Lumia box design that is going around these days that is more of a tray. Opening up the box reveals the phone and right under neath it is the SIM Removal tool. Nokia has sent me this device for review, but it isn’t the first opening so it wasn’t a fresh open.

Nokia Lumia 920 Box Content

Again, everything is very ordinary in here. The device sent was white, and thankfully the accessories were white as well. The box had:
– Manuals
– SIM Removal tool
– In-ear headphones with earpiece replacements
– USB cable
– Power adapter with USB port

Design, Body and Display

Nokia stuck to their design, which was really good to begin with but I personally felt the bold edges did make it look a bit bigger than it is. I had a friend who thought the device was huge, but when he put his Samsung S3 against it, he was shocked it was almost the same height and width.

Nokia Lumia 920 in White

The device is beautiful, especially in white. I never liked white phones, but I liked this one. The white was glossy, which does a good job sucking in tiny scratches, but broadcasts them in bright light. The front is pure black all around the 4.5 inch display. The build quality is superb just as my experience with the Nokia Lumia 900. No creaks, No moving parts, just solid Nokia Phone.
Nokia Lumia 920 Top and BottomThe top of the phone has the SIM card slot, and 3.5 mm headphone port right in the middle. On the bottom there is the microphone/speaker holes and the Micro-USB port.

Nokia Lumia 920 Side Buttons

All the buttons on the device, as with earlier models, are on the right side of the device. From the top, volume control buttons, lock/unlock/on/off button, and a two-stage camera button

Nokia Lumia 920 Back

And finally the back, where the design is extremely simplistic with just the camera module is placed. People have complained that the chrome camera surrounding on the Lumia 900 scratched very easily so Nokia has implemented a darker chrome, which essentially has worked, looks nice too. The only downfall I experienced was when really working with the device on a daily basis, I found that the glossy white body was slippery when hands were sweaty or greasy.

The device has improved in components such as the speaker and microphone as well, the sounds are clearer and a bit louder than before, and the microphone handles pretty well. I am not sure if it does any noise cancelling but handled well in a crowd.

Nokia Lumia 920 Screen ShotThe display is a beautiful improvement on this device for sure. The only downfall I personally see is that the black colors aren’t as black as on the Lumia 900. Other than that, everything is absolute beauty. No pixels visible due to the high resolution. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, 60 Hz refresh rate, Color boosting and is an IPS display.

The screenshot on the left is of the full resolution output by the device. The colors are really clear, bright and vivid. Active tiles help the look for sure.

 

 

Memory and Data

The device comes with 32 GB internal storage without possibility of expansion. To some people that might have been a limiting factor but on the positive side of things, Windows Phone 8 has implemented it’s Skydrive quite well within the system, and gives access to cloud storage. Initially you get 7 GB of storage, but some people like me already have 25 GB Skydrive storage. Even if you do not have over 7 GB and need more space, they could be purchased at a low sum, paid yearly. I personally use Skydrive to store files as well so the phone gives you access to those files on the go.

Internet speed has increased on this device, I experience faster load times of pages while on 3G. Unfortunately I do not have 4G currently working although the device does support LTE. It has a whole load of wireless communication, WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, and NFC.

The device runs on 1 GB of ram which I think is really plenty because of a downfall I am going to point out (and have pointed out in the past) in the OS section, and it is the Lumia 920’s current ability of multitasking.

Camera

Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Lense
The device has the Nokia PureView Camera with a 8.7 Megapixel Sensor with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. Aside from the essential technical features of the camera, it is amazing! I had the Lumia 900 for a while and the camera was a disappointment, this camera might as well be one of the best mobile phone cameras in the market right now! Amazing jump!

First of all, pictures are of very high quality. The software itself does give a bit of flexibility with ability to adjust Scenes, ISO, Exposure, White Balance, Aspect Ration and ability to turn the focus on or off under settings. On the screen itself

Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Screen Shot

there is the usual set of options which allow the user to switch to the front facing camera, turn the Flash on or off and turn on the Video Mode but there is also a Lens option, where now you can get external Apps that could load up extra features, such as Bing Vision (Scan Barcodes and QR codes), Panorama (Panorama mode app by Nokia), Smart Shoot (which takes several pictures and allows you to switch faces from different pictures into one) and more.

There is a physical button (Two stage) but an image can also be taken by touching to focus and then touching to take the image. Here are some Sample Images I have taken (untouched):
WP_20130117_001
WP_20130122_003
WP_20130117_006

The camera’s performance is very good. It is not fast enough for multiple images to be taken after each other because the device focuses, captures and slides it across the screen. Sliding the image back opens the Camera Roll as well.

Before I sum up the camera, I had been reading quite a lot about the performance of the Lumia 920 especially in dark situations and how it manages to capture images utilizing the flash better than almost any phone out there, so I took a small real world test. The first image is of a pile of tissues taken by a Samsung S3. The scene is dark, flash was on:
Camera Test - Dark - Samsung S3
Same object, same situation and in the same darkness, I took one with the Nokia Lumia 920 with flash on:
Camera Test - Dark - Nokia Lumia 920
The S3’s image might have been a little bit crisper, but overall, the Lumia 920 blew things away, as if the image was taken at a different time altogether.

Operating System

This is the part I really wanted to get to in the review. Yes the device has an awesome camera and amazing build quality but if the usage, the experience isn’t up to par, the whole thing diminishes.

Fortunately, Windows Phone wasn’t bad to begin with. I really liked it on the Lumia 900, and when improvements are made they ought to make it even better. They did, but I believe there is a lot more that is coming. I am going to make small observations about some key aspects of the Windows Phone 8 OS.

Nokia Lumia 920 App Store

Here I am saying this again, Apps. I am sure everyone has heard enough about this already but the simple fact remains, Windows Phone 8 is lacking behind in the commonly used, famous, and useful applications.

The thing I think that bugs me the most is, I feel Microsoft might be lacking in supporting developers and motivating them into getting applications created for the OS. Sure, there are many applications that are available, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube, Tripadvisor, and many locally used applications but when I searched for Subway surfers, Temple Run, Asphalt 7, Bejeweled, Instagram, Shazam, Dropbox, or any Google developed software I could not find them, they didn’t exist on the OS.

Here is an example of the Apps which are best Rated on the left. Sure there are tons of applications and games, but not the applications we usually use on other platforms and devices. I strongly believe that Microsoft should make developers extremely welcome beyond other platforms because if Windows Phone 8 has all the apps we use and love, it would really be awesome!

Nokia Lumia 920 Map

Maps on the Lumia 920 is really nice, very fluid, quick and from my tests fairly accurate. What I did like the most is the fact they are really updating features to adopt the UAE’s geography and networks.

For example, take the image on the left, that shows the public transport line in Dubai. Yes, it only shows the metro’s red line but it is certainly an improvement to not having anything at all. It shows the stations and the route the metro takes, to easily find one and know where you are going. I would love for the public transport section to continue getting updates and show all sorts of routes, its getting there. The map on the other hand is quite good, No 3D objects and views but essentially a very good mapping software that works. That is what really matters.

 

Nokia Lumia 920 Kids Corner

Someone at Nokia got a great idea and I agree. Kid’s Corner! I dislike giving my device to someone because you can never know what might happen. Pictures might get deleted, Applications might get deleted or simply have things that I do not want them to see. The same thing applies to children, you wouldn’t want them to make calls by mistake, or send random messages either.

This is where Kid’s Corner is perfect. The way this works is, it provides two lock screens which can be slid between. The Kid’s Corner screen is where you can define all the Applications, Music, Videos and games that you allow the child to access. You set a password, but the password doesn’t apply to Kid’s Corner confusing a child or infant, but applies to getting through the normal lock screen. I really liked that, at first I thought having to give a child a password to remember to access the phone didn’t sound right, and its true. Lovely feature for all parents.

If only they can create an application to prevent kids dropping phones..

Being a Nokia on Windows Phone 8, they have a whole bunch of individual applications created specifically for Lumia devices. These range from additions to the camera to drive applications that help manage a route in co-relation with maps. My favorite though is Nokia City lens. A very interesting application that utilizes your location, position, camera and virtually spots places of interest around you into your camera viewfinder!
Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia City Lense
This is the interface to select what you would like to search for near by. I for instance selected hotels.
Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia City Lense in Action
And there you go! It spots all the hotels in the direction I was facing with my camera. There is a map on the top right that indicates by white dots, all the places around me as well. If I simply tap on the hotel I am interested in, Nokia Maps will open and I can get a guided route to the place.
I think this kind of functionality is really cool, especially if one is to walk around a new city.

Overall, I think the system has improved upon the previous version, finally they implemented screen shots! but there are a few things that I personally still feel needs improvement:

1) Multitasking. Yes, the device does multitask but not in the way I think is best. Continuous pressing of the back button after opening several applications goes through each of them till they are closed and you reach the home screen. Using the Windows Key to go back, leaving the applications open is nice, but if you press and hold the back button to open the multitask view, you can only jump between applications and not close them.
I feel it is a process they are working on, it just needs a little bit of an improvement.

2) Sluggishness/Slowness. No, the OS is not sluggish or slow but there are “factors” in the OS that are. Take for instance a notification for an SMS. if you get a notification, it might still be there on the top while you are reading the text. It hasn’t got the ability to identify that you have already opened what it is notifying you about.
Another instance this has happened in is with chatting on Whatsapp, naturally you type, enter, type, enter, type enter. When I get a notification I open the chat and see all that has been said, but the notifications are still notifying me of every message the sender has sent, one after the other and there is no way to just click it off.

3) Top icons. I have spoken about this even on the Lumia 900. The top bar on the device shows radio signal, alarms, battery, WiFi and the clock, but after a few seconds they all disappear and only the clock remains. The only explanation I have is they wanted it to look clutter free. I disagree though, I want to always have the WiFi, radio signal and battery visible! Putting it as an option as they have for almost everything else would be the best solution I think.

Battery

This is another area where there is improvement! The Battery has 2000 mAh Capacity but even with the increased hardware the battery life is very good. Nokia claims up to 18.6 hours talk time on 2G and 10.8 hours talk time on 3G with up to 74 hours of music playback. Now I found that really good and in my tests I got two quite significant results.

Nokia Lumia 920 Battery lifeI used the device as a main device, where I made short calls, texted a bit, chat on whatsapp a bit, checked email a lot, played a bit of music and a few games (nothing graphical), had WiFi on the whole time, 3G activated and I got about 12 hours battery life with about 10% remaining.

When I used the device on a day I was too busy to play around with it, I pulled it off the charger at 12 with 100% and 22 hours later I had 11%. WiFi was on all the time, I used about half an hour of chats, email sync set at 30 minutes, and light tweeting.

The device can handle a good full day of heavy use.

Performance

The device performs quite well. Everything is smooth, fluid and beautiful. There are tiny things here or there but the overall functionality is quite good. Now I haven’t had the opportunity to try 3D games but I did get on Microsoft’s Fish Tank test, where the Lumia 920 did quite well. Here are some of the performance details:

With 100 fish, it held 30-35 FPS
With 250 fish, it held 22-24 FPS
With 500 fish, it held 13-15 FPS

To try it out for yourself, you can visit this link, and I think I shall be using this with future device reviews too.

Device Pros and Cons:

Pros:

– Great Build Quality
– Great Camera
– Very good screen, Resolution, Pixel Density, and very smooth to the touch
– Good Skydrive integration for Cloud Storage throughout the device
– Basic device Applications (and Nokia Apps) are improved and work really well
– NFC
– Very good battery life
– Wireless Charging

Cons:

– Glossy models (like the white one reviewed) are very slippery especially with greasy/sweaty hands
– Device might be big and heavy for some people, hard to use one-handed
– Windows Phone 8 still does lack a lot of common apps and functionality
– Limited Physical storage with no expansion slot

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