Nokia Lumia 920 Full Review
Nokia Lumia 920 is Nokia's second-generation flagship under the Windows Phone 8 OS. Since the Nokia Lumia 800, significant improvement in the Windows Phone segment.
With 1280 x 768, 4.5-inch high-contrast IPS display, built-in contact-less charging, solid build quality and more of Nokia's exclusive software additions.
While other brands are pushing the limits of lightweight materials and structures, Lumia 920 is noticeably heavier and feels enormous in comparison, although it has a 4.5-inch screen, the Lumia 920 is 0.42 inch thick. It seems quite challenging to reach the outer reaches of the 'PureMotion HD+' screen. However, the Lumia 920 is considerable flagship model, beautifully crafted by Nokia, the speaker holes, rounded edges, the dark finish on the rear camera unit and ceramic side keys, smoothly curved rear are quite appealing. All this said, the features and performance need to be complimenting, how does it put up a challenge to it's rivals.
Build and Display
The Lumia 920's 4.5" screen is blanketed by a thick bezel that houses the Windows buttons. All of these light up and respond surprisingly quick even through your wirer gloves. Along the top of the screen, apart from the sensors and right aligned NOKIA branding, Nokia has installed Qi contactless charging for the in-built 2,000mAh battery. The non-removable battery powers a dual-core Snapdragon S4, alongside 1GB of RAM and a generous 32GB of storage. With Microsoft also throwing in 7GB of cloud storage for any new SkyDrive accounts, there's no microSD slot, not quite required, for expanding the physical memory. All this is neatly packed into a smooth polycarbonate shell.
As is to be expected, our global model crams in quad-band radios with GSM / GPRS / EDGE (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz), UMTS / HSPA+ (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100MHz) and LTE (800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600MHz) bands, also featuring a DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps), just incase 4G is unavailable.
The exciting new feature of the Lumia 920 is an 8.7-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor paired with an f/2.0 autofocus Carl Zeiss lens, the return of Nokia's PureView branding, the promise of superb low-light performance, 1080p video capture, and optical image stabilisation - the first floating lens and sensor in a phone that will ignore minor trembles while letting in more light.
Launch the camera and you'll be greeted with a familiar camera interface, simple yet a little sparse. From the Windows Phone marketplace, you can install panorama functions, burst shot and even a GIF maker; these apps can be accessed both from the phone's program list and the arrow icon inside the camera UI. Putting the Lumia 920's famed camera and capability to the test, there was often some ISO noise to be seen and the results weren't always spectacular, but the 920's low-light shots were always the best amongst its rivals. Images were blur-free and remarkably clear, a definite improvement. Everything from contrast to colour reproduction in low-light imagery was truly superior in the 920.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for daytime photography. Shots were subtly soft, different situations faced problems, but it was consistent across all shot types, whether macro or focusing on subjects farther away. That doesn't mean the daytime images looked bad, necessarily. In fact they generally looked reasonably good. However, the Lumia 920 failed to deliver consistent results with the images. It's worth mentioning the smartphone's image stabilisation is spectacular, but may require minor tweaks.
Windows Phone 8 OS
The slightly more customisable Live Tiles, on the Windows Phone 8 OS, gives you something to fiddle with and they still feel fresh. Covering some familiar software highlights; Nokia Maps is wonderful, free turn-by-turn navigation, Internet Explorer 10 is swift and looks sharp on the Lumia 920's PureMotion HD+ display. The Live Tiles allows to organise things in a sensible way. Long refresh times for social apps like Twitter and Facebook, lightweight Google integration, and the jarring gap in app selection make it feel very stumbling.
The gaming selection, despite the Xbox Live connection, seems littered with titles of yesteryear and doesn't give mobile gamers enough to challenge the gaming experience on iOS or the Android. Xbox SmartGlass replaces the My Xbox Live app, giving you a whole new way to interact with your console. The full version requires an Xbox Live subscription and puts on some touchscreen controls that map to controller buttons along with a content browser. SmartGlass-compatible content is signposted with its own icon, although not all of it has been switched live.
We were able to connect to Netflix, requiring a subscription. The contents don't appear to be fully furnished yet.
Nokia Music continues to expand its music offering, despite obvious competition. The app itself now supports Dolby sound and has its own built-in seven-channel equaliser, while the gig finder feature now taps into location data for search results. The app will even pop out navigation results and the ability to buy tickets for your show of choice.
Nokia's included plenty of additional camera and imaging apps, ranging from the reality-augmenting City Lens, which was more than capable of leading us to the nearest cafe or pub across the streets, to the GIF-crafting skills of Cinemagraph. After recording a brief clip, you can then select areas of the image to keep animated, while pausing the rest. This file can be then shared as a GIF file -- well, at least through a convoluted upload to SkyDrive.
However, the SkyDrive feature is yet to undergo a lot of tweaks, until then it may be little frustrating to get adapted.
Performance and Battery Life
Newer software demands more powerful hardware; the arrival of dual cores on Windows Phone, the Lumia 920 packs a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor. More than just capable of breezing through transitions, content-dense websites and the current crop of available games. Another impressive SunSpider score experienced with the handset; the device is more than capable of rendering the desktop versions of sites. The Lumia 920 has both a larger and slightly higher-resolution, its battery, is quite substantial, at 2000mAh. In typical use, the phone was more than able to keep up with a day's regular use. Using the Lumia 920's contactless charger was a bit slower than simply plugging it in, but that's the price for convenience. Its a wonderful concept, and we're looking forward to improvements sooner and with other mobile companies too.
Nokia has offered the best hardware yet with the Lumia 920 for the Windows Phone. Competitive enough, it still is substantially chunkier despite posing similar dimensions to it's rivals. The large shell gives room for the PureView camera, delivering remarkable low-light photography and effective Optical Image Stabilisation across both image capturing and video recording. All though the above features are on the positive side, the charging feature remains neutral requiring longer charge hours. The Windows Phone 8 OS requires major tweaks on a variety of issues. Until then the Nokia Lumia 920 is an amazing phone and a quite a choice for the brand's 2nd Flagship device under Windows Phone 8.
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