My first encounter with the Nokia Lumia 920 was one full of envy. The phone felt great in my hand and overall it just felt more refined. Although there was a little more heft to the phone, it was much welcomed. Somehow it added to the premium feel. Something else that stood out right away was the screen. It was noticeably larger, and the glass display was now curved. The accents of the phone were no longer the cheap materials that plagued the Lumia 900. When I held this phone in my hand, it was apparent it had come a long way. In the store, the camera did little to impress me, but I’ve since come to the conclusion that to truly test a phone camera, you need to spend some personal time with it. You need to get to know its ins and outs. Only then can you start using the camera to its full potential. Taking photos of the fingerprint-laden abused display model of the 920 wasn’t exactly the best test subject for the camera.
My only gripe with the phone is the fact that all the colors except cyan and black come in a gloss finish. While that may look stunning from afar, up close you will see that every single fingerprint is clearly visible all over the phone. What I will say though is that a clean, glossy finished Lumia looks remarkably better than the matte versions. Honestly, there were a few times where my phone was charging, and in just the right light the design and sheer beauty of the phone was unmistakable.
Internals & Display:
Inside the Lumia 920 there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which is a dual-core CPU clocked in at 1.5GHz: a huge jump from the Lumia 900′s single-core 1.4 GHz CPU. This is mostly due to the fact that Windows Phone 8 was built and optimized for multiple core CPU’s. The phone comes with internal 32GB of storage, which is not much of a change from the previous phone (although I would have loved to see a 64GB option at a higher price). The RAM in the 920 is 1GB, which is plenty enough for multitasking on the very light Windows Phone 8 OS.
My personal favorite specification on the phone is the display. No longer do we have a flat glass display Nokia has added the Lumia 800′s trademark curved glass and I must say this is one of the largest contributing factors to the beauty of this phone. The Display resolution has been upped considerably from the Lumia 900′s pathetic 800×480 to a gorgeous 4.5-inch 1280×768 IPS screen (which makes it above HD). Not only that but the pixels density is equally impressive at 332 ppi. That makes it the third highest phone in ppi behind only the HTC 8X’s 341 pixels-per-inch, and Sony’s Xperia S which boasts 342ppi, barely beating out the 8X.
Not only does Nokia hold the title for highest resolution phone display, but they have also added fine tweaks like PureMotion HD+, which adds enhanced sunlight visibility, and super sensitive touch, which can be taken advantage of with cloth and particularly gloves. Lastly, PureMotion features super fast pixel response. Your average handset’s response rate is 23ms. The problem with that is the pixels don’t have time to go with the motion of the picture or video it is displaying, resulting in blur and artifacts with fast moving objects on the screen. The Lumia 920′s response time clocks in under 9ms at 60 FPS, offering a much smoother experience than any other phone on the market.
Quite frankly this is the best display you can find on any phone. Nokia really took the time and r&d to make this screen the best they possibly could. The phone automatically adjusts its brightness in correlation with the light that is hitting the phone. The curved glass on the phone is an absolute pleasure to use and results in a much more fluid experience. Built into the phone is Near Field Communication, bringing it up to date with rival phones. Lastly, the Lumia 920 is the first integrated wireless charging smartphone available worldwide, with the technology built right into the handset. This is a majority of the reason why the phone is a bit on the heavy side.
There has been much controversy over the camera in the Nokia Lumia 920. When the phone was announced, there were some very impressive shots as well as video that were on display, only later to be debunked by The Verge as being shot on a DSLR camera rig. I will admit the camera on the Lumia 900 was lackluster and did not compete with the top phone cameras of its time. That has all changed with the Lumia 900. Built into the phone is yet another Carl Zeiss optics lens, this one at 8.7 megapixels with a dual-LED flash. This camera is stamped with Nokia’s PureView technology, which boasts a built in spring in the lens which attributes to the camera’s impressive image stabilization.
It truly is refreshing to have a formidable camera packed into my smartphone once again. I have found that I take a lot more photos than I did with my Lumia 900. Macro shots are great and the tap-to-focus built into the OS and camera are a lot more intelligent than previous versions. Daylight photos look great, and even with the sun blaring into the lens I still managed to get some great shots with relative ease. The edit feature after the picture is taken is particularly handy, as it lets you crop, rotate, or apply the “fix” feature which usually brings out more of the detail in photos and fixes the exposure if the photo when needed.
The Windows Phone 8 OS is particularly noteworthy for having many features that revolve around the camera. After a picture is taken you have a slew of options that include sending the photo directly to any Social Media site you can think of, as well as sending it out through any of your linked emails. And best of all, you can choose to open the photo up in any app you have on the phone. All of this is done within the actual camera UI, and leaving to your home screen to open an application is not necessary. Image stabilization is on board, and I would like to note that at first its quite strange watching it in effect, Our natural acceptance of shaky video from handheld cameras tells us that the video should be more unstable but it isn’t. Now don’t expect to get some off-road video footage that’s completely stable, but the image stabilization does its job on a more practical level and in turn is a nice addition to an already superb camera.
Now, the shining star of this camera is most definitely the low-light capability. The low-light photos this camera produced were astonishing! No matter where you are or what the lighting, the 920 will capture it. It’s quite amazing how much detail the camera has produced in lighting that even I myself had trouble seeing in. The photos come out sharp, and with little to no noise. I remember the days when I wouldn’t even bother pulling out my camera phone in certain lighting conditions because the photos it would produce were laughable. This camera opens me up to a whole new world of low-light photography that I didn’t know was possible on a phone. This camera is on a whole other level than any of the top camera phones available today. If you demand the very best in camera technology on a phone then this is the one for you.
Battery life on the phone was not a problem for me. The First 920s that went out were riddled with many battery issues. When I opted to get the phone a few months after its launch I avoided all of those problems completely. I was able to get 16.5 hrs out of the phone. My usage consisted of navigation, texting, a few phone calls, photos, video, streaming music, and some light internet browsing. If I were to describe my day of usage, it would rate as medium usage. My best guess for a high-usage day would probably be somewhere around 10-12hrs. I also got the chance to use the wireless charging station, which works as advertised. You simply rest your phone on the charging plate and the phone proceeds to charge. Pretty simple.
The phone seemed to charge a little slower on the plate, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about. I found it very convenient to leave the charging plate on my desk, so that I could keep the phone close to me while it charged. I will admit that I found myself picking up the phone a lot, interrupting its charging session. Your best bet is to place the pad in a place where it will be easy to glance at, so that you may easily check for missed calls or messages. I have enjoyed my wireless charging so much that I am contemplating buying an extra for the office. I have my eye set on one of those LazyBoy charging pillows, but they’re a bit overpriced at the moment.
OS / Apps:
Windows Phone 8 has come a long way from Windows Phone 7.5, now nearing a total of 200,000 apps. There is plenty there to satisfy even the most particular of users. The apps available through the store are not all name brand ones you’re accustomed to from other OS’s, but that in no way reflects their quality. The majority of the apps I use daily are all much better looking and more useful than anything I’ve used on other platforms. The best part is that mostly all of the apps have options to display data from them in tile form. With the new OS comes more customization of the actual “live tiles.” You can now freely change the size of each tile, and the developers behind them make each size a unique and different experience.
The tiles now also fill the home screen, fully leaving more to be seen at a glance. Although these aesthetic changes are small, I’ve found it to be much better for organization of pinned apps. Windows Phone 7.5 did not have the best selection of themes for the live tiles. This time around we have up to 20 different colors to choose from and much better shades of those colors as well. Some of the choices of the previous version of the OS were just flat out ugly. Now you have the freedom to choose a tasteful color that suits you. The settings for the OS have also improved now with many more options that range from customizing applications to configuring how sensitive you want your touch screen to be.
A few handy features have been integrated into the OS in proper WP8 fashion. From your texts you can now send a voice note as well as a map of your location so that others may easily locate you. When receiving a call you now have the option to send a number of pre-made responses via text message. These messages are customizable and you can add new ones if you so choose. So many times I have been busy sending a long winded email and im interuppted by a phone call. This feature allowed me to quickly send a message saying ” I will call you back, Im in the middle of something” thus closing out the incoming phone call so I can finish what I was doing. The most handy pre-set message for me has been when im driving I respond with ” Im driving I will call you back later”.
Navigation on the previous OS WP7 was handled via a built in Bing maps, which was often times innacurate and just a nuisance to use. I opted for the Nokia Drive app instead which was much better but still not on par with Google Maps which is offered on both Android & iOS. With Windows Phone 8 there is no longer built in Bing maps, you can now choose which map application you would like the OS to default to. I once again went with Nokia Drive. Nokia Drive is currently in beta for WP8 but I found it to be much improved upon. The turn by turn navigation is spot on and warns you in a timely fashion of your next instruction. The App itself is beautiful and is on the level of a stand alone nav unit. You can download maps for different regions and best of all they are available even when not connected to the internet.
The Drive app also features options for route optimization ie: faster route, shorter route, economical route as well as buttons for enabling and disabling things like highways, toll roads, ferries, tunnels, unpaved roads and even monorail trains! The nav always got me to where I was going and often I let it run in the background while I played music. I had a few instances where it tried to nav me to some streets that were clearly misnamed, but simply ending navigation and restarting my route fixed the issue. I will chalk up the few bugs to the fact that the app is still in beta but by no means was it happening on a frequent basis.
Nokia has done a great job with the app and I honestly can say that Nokia Drive can hold its own even against Google Maps. I would even go as far to say that Nokia Drive is better in some ways, overall they are both in my eyes the best nav apps available for cell phones today!
Just like the previous WP OS there is built in voice commands but this time around I found them to work a lot better. Doing things like texting, calling or searching the web were a breeze and never took repeating. Now the voice implementation is nowhere near as advance Siri, It wont tell you what it thinks about the war in Iraq, and it wont tell you how its feeling today but it will get the job done. As far as questions go it will usually refer you to Bing and do a web search of your question. One of my favorite features that me and im sure many WP users yearned for is… Screenshots! finally yes we can take screenshots oh its so glorious and beautiful, simply press the power button and windows button simultaneously to take a screenshot and pow! its done saved to your screenshots folder.
In my last review of the Lumia 900 I posed the question ” Is this a phone I would recommend?” and the answer was no Windows phone 7 had its shortcomings and the Lumia 900 was underwhelming yet a step in the right direction. Now if posed with the same question I would say “YES!” a profound YES! The Lumia 920 is exactly what the 900 should have been. This is a phone everyone can enjoy, Windows Phone 8 really has come a long ways from being that OS had so much promise yet poor execution. The OS is no longer a unstable platform that may or may not stick around Windows Phone is here to stay and its better than ever! The 920 is a beautiful device made of top quality materials meticulously groomed to be one of the most innovative handhelds ever made.its right up there below the original iPhone that blew everyone away .
I say this in complete confidence THIS IS THE BEST PHONE ON THE MARKET!. The phone paired with the OS is a powerhouse and you’d be hard pressed to prove otherwise. No one even comes close to having better screen, It out shoots all of the top camera phones by leaps and bounds, its only one of two handhelds now that have built in wireless charging, truly this is a phone at the top of the food chain. It is an absolute pleasure using this device day to day and Ive never been more happy with a phone as I am with my 920. To be blunt I didn’t expect to enjoy the 920 so much, I didn’t expect Nokia to pull out all the stops and push the boundaries of technology. This is territory only touched by Apple in my mind. But long behold Nokia has done it they made a spectacular product through and through.
My definition of a good product is one with few to no downsides. I look the product from every angle and judge it accordingly. Not only is the Lumia 920 the best bang for your buck, but put next to the most expensive phones available today it still remains the better choice. Now is the time to switch over, now is the time to try out Windows Phone 8. The platform is flourishing and the hardware available for it is the best in class. The Lumia 920 is the 3rd best selling phone on the market. Don’t just take my word for it, people are starting to see what i’ve been raving about for years. Lumia’s and HTC 8X’s are starting to pop up everywhere. The Platform is growing and with Windows 8 being such a widespread success its becoming easier for people to transition to Windows Phone.Windows 8 has taken tablets by storm! and people are loving it, it’s simply a modified version of the OS that started on the mobile phone.
The Lumia 920 is by far the best phone I have ever owned. Enthusiasts of other platforms are starting to take heed and are running out of excuses of why they wont give the OS or devices a chance. The gap is closing rapidly and due to mass adoption excuses like “there is no Instagram” will soon fade out. I cant even count the amount of people who have noticed my phone and or WP8 OS and said ” You know I was thinking about switching over to one of those”. This phone is a hit outta the ball park, way out! If your looking for a new phone this is it! The device has the best assortment of color choices out today. Which I would like to add has been mimicked by other companies (cough cough HTC!) The Phone is set at a reasonable price with 2year contract only $100 bucks!
Im reminded of another great phone of its time the iPhone, the very first was mimicked to epic proportions and why you may ask? Because they had made something truly amazing… Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the Lumia 920 is a phone that deserves flattery in every way possible.