This is a review of the Lumia 1020.  I am not a professional reviewer or a professional photographer so please take this with a grain of salt.  I am also a big Nokia and Windows Phone fan.  This does not mean that I am a ‘fan boy’ and in fact probably have higher expectations than the average person.  I will do my best to convey the qualities of the device to you until other sites release their reviews.  I’ll update this blog with answers to any questions that are posted in the comments section. 

Due to difficulty with the website all photos (of the device and from the device) are located on the flickr link on the bottom.  Photos will continually be added to that link.

Build

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the phone was how beautiful it is.  The build is immaculate and it feels strong enough to withstand a big fall, but gorgeous enough to never let it get to that point.  The curved glass and curved sides allows it to feel natural, like a smooth stone.  The front almost reminds me of the HTC 8X which is not a bad thing.  The buttons on the side are made of a nice material but do give a little bit when your finger is on them.  The camera hump is a lot less protrusive than I thought it would be.  It actually adds character to the device and serves as a nice little stand when you’re holding it with one hand.  I am reviewing the black unit (although I’m purchasing the yellow one) and the whole device looks extremely professional and solid.  You can tell the amazingness of Nokia’s design team and their engineering team.   The lanyard on the bottom left is an absolutely amazing feature, I can’t believe more phones don’t have it.  It not only is helpful when taking pictures as to not drop the camera, it makes taking it out of my pocket so much easier.  I put the phone in my pocket and leave a bit of the lanyard out of my pocket and voila!  It is interesting how such a small feature has made the phone feel that much more like a complete device.

Screen

I have read about the differences between AMOLED screens and IPS screens and I have to be honest, I can’t notice a huge difference between my 920 and the 1020.  The 1020 seems more ‘natural’ and is a bit easier to read outside.  Other than that the screen is gorgeous-photos and videos look good and text is easy to read.

Camera

I feel as if I should duck for cover because anything I type here is going to be criticized heavily.  Let me start with the Software, the Nokia Pro Camera App.  The program is packed with features that take advantage of the gorgeous 41MP camera.  The software does take a little longer to load up than the traditional camera and a little longer to snap a photo.  It is for this reason that I changed it as my default and changed it back to the regular camera.  If you’re taking your phone out and taking advantage of the press to unlock and shoot feature of the camera button you want a quick photo.  At least 2-3 times before I changed the default I missed the photo I wanted to take due to the load time (again, not absurdly long) and the photo time.  I keep the software on my home screen for taking real pictures.

The software makes it extremely easy to adjust settings such as WB, ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperature Control, and +/-.  I have never found myself adjusting these settings before (admission-I have a DSLR and shoot mainly in auto: SACRELIGIOUS I KNOW!) so I was a little intimidated at first.  After talking with a few friends and getting a better idea about what each control did I began playing around.  This resulted in some terrible photos, but actually seeing the photos made it easier for me to see the effects of each feature and adjustment.  At that point I began shooting photos on manual and having a lot more fun.

The hardware is amazing.  The Xenon flash means there is no situation that is too dark to shoot in, and that focus is a guarantee.  The physical noises the camera makes gives you the impression that you are actually capturing art, not simply a photo from a camera.  The metal shell is also a nice touch and gives the device a feeling of class.

People will debate all day about how good the full res photos are, how good the 5MP photos are, and whether they are worth an upgrade, worth the money, or simply marketing.  The only thing I can definitevely say from my limited knowledge and experience is this: The Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Pro Cam make me want to become a better photographer.  I can sense the potential and I can see myself using this phone to take amazing photos everyday, and that is what I will do!

 

Performance

The phone hasn’t stuttered or lagged once as can be expected from Windows Phone.  The battery did take a huge hit today as I was taking a lot of photos.  I am unsure if the default camera app would make less of a dent in the battery department.  I took the phone off the charger at 10am, did some light browsing/texting/phone calls until about 3 and then took 80 photos and videos (comes out as 150 on the camera roll as it duplicates every photo for a 5MP shot and a 34MP shot) and the phone hit battery saver mode at 6pm and after being used for heavy browsing at that point died at 8pm.

It is clear that Nokia includes a battery in the camera grip for that reason-if you’re using the Lumia in place of a camera while sight seeing, at a celebration, etc. the battery will run out quickly.  I do not see this as a negative but it is definitely something to be aware of.  I will update this part of the review after I’ve been able to use it for a few days in more normal conditions.

 

Worth the Upgrade?

Obviously this is a question only you can answer for yourself.  Depending on how you plan on using your phone it might be, it might not be.  I will say that I am gladly using my upgrade for it BUT I am also OCD about having the newest phone.  The look and feel of the 1020 is better than the 920 in my opinion.  That coupled with the rich recording and photo capabilities make it worth the upgrade for me.  If you’re on the fence I recommend trying it for the 14 days AT&T gives you and deciding for yourself.

 

Photos

I took a good amount of dark light comparision shots between the 1020, 920 and iPhone 5.  Unfortunately the WordPress software for my Windows RT is not recognizing the photos for me to be able to embed on this post.  I moved over to an iMac but it is running 10.5.8 which doesn’t let me access my SkyDrive.  Below is a link to photos I took with the Lumia at a family party today.  Sometime tomorrow or Tuesday I will update this blog with the photos of the device and the comparrison shots.

 

If there are specific questions you have please let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to try and answer them!  You might also want to join the conversation on the forums at http://www.wpcentral.com.

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22353402@N03/

The NFL Playoffs.  An exciting time for fans of the few teams still competing and for fans that finally get to see what real football looks like.  It’s also the time when coaches and GMs are getting hired and stating the ‘new direction’ they will be taking their team in.  Unfortunately for my Jets, we don’t have a GM yet because running this team is a Mark Sanchez size black mark on their resume`.

Seriously.  It has been reported that between the current roster, our cap situation, and our coaching situation potential GMs are turning down promotions and saying ‘thanks, but no thanks.’  David Caldwell even went so far as to turn down the Jets offer which included a reported $1 million housing allowance.  Let that sink in for a moment…This man chose to go to a team that has drafted worse than the Jets, finished 2-14 last season, and has agreed to play home games in London because their attendance is so bad OVER the big market Jets AND a housing allowance in addition to a great salary.  If that doesn’t give you an indication of how desperate this team is nothing will.

Whoever the Jets coerce persuade to become GM will have a big decision to make regarding this team’s realistic chance of competing.  Will he upgrade the roster as best as possible, get lucky in the draft, and improve the Jets to 8-8 for the next few seasons in hope of signing an extension?  Probably.  That is the safe bet, and that is the bet that makes Woody Johnson more money by keeping butts in the seats.  It would, however, be the wrong choice.

For lack of better words this team needs to be blown up.  This should include (as much as I hate to say it) trading Revis, Cromartie, and anyone else that can bring back draft picks.  Before you call me crazy answer this question: Will the Jets win a Super Bowl in the next 3-4 years?  The answer, undoubtedly is no.  By the time the Jets have enough talent on this team their current ‘super stars’ will be past their prime.  This team had their chance of players in their prime ready to win 4 years ago, but decided to trust that team with a rookie quarterback.  Now it is too late.  They need to let their young guys develop (although they don’t have many) and stockpile enough draft picks over the next 2-3 years to mold as a solid team one or two pieces away from being a contender.  Only then will they be able to do what they’ve done up in New England-compete every year.

It would be a mistake to think that this team is a quarterback away from being a contender.  With all due respect to Payton Manning and Tom Brady I don’t think even they would make this team a contender.

It might force Woody to look at more empty seats and declining profits but it is the only way to properly re-build.

Anger, disappointment, rage and bitterness.  All of these are decent adjectives to describe how I have felt since September reading about the Lockout.  I don’t need to share my thoughts on how unnecessary this lockout was; many have shared these thoughts for months.  I’m also not here to point fingers or assign blame because that has been done as well.

The reason I am writing is maybe more for me than for anyone else.  I don’t know why I feel the need to justify my decision to welcome back hockey even after they have shut the doors three times in Gary Bettman’s reign of terror, but I do.  Ultimately it is true, that fans like me allow the owners to continue these lockouts knowing their bottom lines will suffer a little in the immediate term, but will continue to soar as they did after the 04 lockout.  Yes, it is also true that if fans spoke with their wallets we wouldn’t be abused so frequently.

It is also true, however, that this is a game and for those of us not directly involved it is simply entertainment.  I look forward to rushing home from work to catch the Rangers game in the 2nd period, crack open a cold beer and grade some papers while enjoying the best athletes in the world put it all on the line.  I enjoy wearing my Red, White, and Blue and screaming at the TV while others mockingly ask me what sport I am watching.  I grew up watching and playing this game and it brings me great joy.

I have simply chosen that I have enough to worry about in my own life-bills, work, home responsibilities, etc. that I do not want to feel responsible for proving a point.  Sure, if there were an organized boycott that would send a loud message I would consider, but what would actually need to happen to send a message would be the destruction of a game I enjoy.  How would anyone ‘win’ if that were to happen?

There will always be bitterness and mistrust between myself (and many other fans) and the NHL but at the end of the day it is still the greatest game on earth and I don’t see the benefit in depriving myself of enjoying a cold beer, the New York Rangers, and a stack of quizzes and tests.

Oh Copenhagen, it is too bad that our time together was so short.  I think that we were on tot he start of a promising relationship…

While my flight into Copenhagen was delayed the rest of the trip operated at full speed.  After arriving at the Central Train Station I easily found my hotel which was only 2 blocks away situated between about 12 7-11s.  Seriously, I have never seen so many 7-11′s before.  It was as if we were in the corporate capital of the company.  After checking in I met up with Chris and Jackie and we went straight to the harbor.  Along the way we saw some magnificent buildings.  Some of these were extremely old, others were more modern, but all fit into the city culture beautifully. Combined with the canals and the waterfront the city had a glow to it without any sunlight needed.

After seeing some of the tourist attractions we found a wonderful cafe and watched the events in the town square; some incredible jump roping, a guitar/drum playing musician with a great voice, and many locals strolling about for the evening.  We stopped into a few shops and decided to head back for a little rest before exploring the night-life.

Our goal was to go to a local jazz club but the exchange rate was a little more than we were prepared to handle.  We bounced around from a few squares and stayed out long enough for me to make my St. Mary’s conference call.  We then enjoyed a nice park and called it a night just before A.J. Burnett saved the Yankees season.

This morning we met nice and early and explored the other half of the city, culminating with the Carlsberg brewery.  Carlsberg is the 5th largest brewery in the world which was a surprising fact.  The history and the tour were incredible, as were the complimentary beers.  We then had some Carlsberg that is only sold in Denmark, and we are quite mad it is not available in the states.  After having some lunch we enjoyed a few of the main parks and a beautiful labyrinth where we waited out the rain.  From there I headed back to the hotel to take the train back to the airport, which is where I sit.

Unfortunately I decided to treat myself to a nice scarf since Stockholm will be pretty cold.  A beautiful sales person told me I would look great in a particular scarf, and even showed me how to properly put it on.  I was surprised to see the pricetag of only 82 Krone (about $16) but was ecstatic at the great find.  At checkout I had a wonderful conversation about life in California and about where I should go in Stockholm.  I was so enamored that I just signed blindly, knowing I had made a great purchase.  It wasn’t until I saw the receipt and the tag in my bag that I noticed it was actually 82 Euro (about $100).  This was quite upsetting, but well worth the scarf and the time we had together!!

I sit here waiting for flight 4170 on Norwegian Air and can’t wait to get into Stockholm.  My cousin Catrina and her friend Emily are already waiting, and Chris and Jackie will get in in the morning.

Clearly the 5 of us will have a good time!

LETS GO RANGERS!!!

Wow!  If I get back to Amsterdam next week it will have been too long.  I know what everyone thinks of when they think of Amsterdam and yes, that is one side of the city, but the richness of the culture and the beauty of the city cannot be easily put into words.  

Amsterdam is one of the few cities where you can walk from a crowded town square with bars and restaurants to a quiet waterfront cafe in 2 minutes.  It is also the only city where you can walk for an entire day without seeing one stop sign or traffic light.  Somehow the bikes, mopeds, cars and pedestrians find a way to coexist without the need for regulation and laws.  

Here is a brief rundown of what we did in Amsterdam (the PG version of course!)

Saturday Night Arrival:

After arriving at about 6pm after about 14 hours of travel the only thing I wanted to do was go out.  I met up with Chris and Jackie and we went to New Market which is a beautiful square.  We enjoyed several beers before walking around and visiting a few cafes.  We then decided that our goal was to find the Yankee game (2:30 local start).  We stopped into several bars which looked promising but after several beers realized Jackie was the only female in the entire bar.  Finally at our 6th choice we found a place with the game and an incredible burger spot next door.  5 minutes before gametime we realized we were exhausted and headed back!

Sunday:

Sunday was a promising day from the very beginning.  We met around 10am and went to a cafe and an incredible pancake spot.  The Nutella pancake was probably the greatest breakfast in the entire world.  We then went on a 2 hour walking tour (self guided) of the city featuring many canals and points of interest.  As we approached the van Gogh museum we spotted a quiet park where I took about a 30 minute nap since there is nothing quite as good as park sleeping.  From there we went to a cafe for some lunch and some beers.  Our waitress, while friendly was probably the only person in the world (in the food business at least) that has never heard of Jameson…

We then strolled to the van Gogh museum only to find a 2 hour line.  Clearly not in the mood for waiting we decided to come back to the museum tomorrow and to go to the Heineken brewery instead…  The brewery tour was awesome.  It combined old world artifacts with new world technology to bring the brewery alive.  At the end of the tour is the Heineken experience bar where you get two complimentary drinks.  Following the tips from FourSquare we stood near the exit and everyone that was leaving that didn’t drink gave us their free drink vouchers.  Needless to say this greatly enhanced the experience.

Upon our walk back we encountered a beautiful corner cafe and decided to sit outside at sunset for a couple of beers.  I set up my camera on the tripod to take time lapse photos which I plan on turning into a video.  The amount of people we got to talk to simply due to a camera flash was incredible.  We had the time of our lives simply watching peoples reactions as they walked by.  The ones that came over for conversation were even more interesting!  Unfortunately for me that is where my nose bleeds picked up.  Either from blowing my nose too much (dam cold) or the weather, I was getting uncontrollable nose bleeds.  After returning to the hotel it was obvious I would be unable to go out that night as I lay in bed bleeding every 20-30 minutes.

Monday

Monday was perfect.  We went for a canal ride around the city which not only taught us a lot but allowed us to just relax in the beauty that is Amsterdam.  We arrived at the van Gogh museum and was blown away by the paintings.  I’ll admit I’m not a huge art fan, but this guy was pretty dam good.  The highlight, however, was my astute observation at one photo.  Setting: In the middle of the museum there is one of 3 known photographs of van Gogh.  It is him and a friend sitting at a table along the water, and a man standing in the street.  Everyone is admiring van Gogh when I comment (much louder than I thought…) about the ridiculously huge pile of horse shit in the middle of the street that a man is just staring at.  Everyone turns around and tries to identify the source of such observation only to be shocked (I’m sure) when they find it was me…

After the museum we went to an ‘Irish pub’ right on the waterway.  The weather was uncharacteristically gorgeous we were told.  We walked around the square a little bit and then jumped on another canal cruise back to the hotel.  Since this cold is still bogging me down I took some medicine and went to sleep while Chris and Jackie went out.

Tuesday

We woke up early to head to Central Station for the train to the airport.  Upon our arrival it was pointed out to me that my flight is delayed 45 minutes.  Security was a breeze and we went to a cafe/bar in the airport.  After having a few drinks we went our separate ways to our planes.  My flight is delayed 45 minutes but still hasn’t arrived so we will see how long the delay really is.

I will update again from Copenhagen.  Thanks for reading!!

We’ve got a pretty empty flight to Amsterdam which is only 45 minutes once in the air.  The announcements were in Dutch which reminded me that it has been a long time since I’ve been in a country with a different official language.  I think as long as I learn how to say bier I will be ok!

It’s incredible how quick the time goes when you have free movies, drinks, and food.  It is also incredible how annoying certain people are on planes, like the French guy behind me that wouldn’t turn off his computer and sneezed/coughed on me the entire time.  Of course now that I am awaiting my connection in London all I can do is sneeze and cough, wonderful!

I hope to shake this cold by tomorrow morning, keep your fingers crossed!

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