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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.