HANDS ON: Nokia Lumia 920
07 Sep 2012
4G superphone with eight-megapixel PureView camera and NFC tech
Nokia revealed its new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 920, at a big New York launch last week. We live blogged the event (almost destroying our fingers in the process), and you can check out our full break-down of the Lumia 920's brand new features. We also had a Mobile Choice rep Stateside to get his hands on the shiny new device...
Nokia’s new handset is the slickest, handsomest Windows Phone yet. The Lumia 920 is the flagship Nokia for the new Windows Phone 8 OS. It looks like the current Nokia flagship, the Lumia 900, but the Lumia 920 squeezes in a bigger screen in a case that’s barely enlarged. As with the Lumia 900, the 920 feels great in the hand: because it’s made of polycarbonate it’s light and pleasingly warm to the touch.
Unlike the Lumia 900, which came in a matt finish in all except the white model, all the colours are glossy and include bright red and yellow options.
While the Lumia 900 had a flat-edged display, here it’s curved, making the phone even more tactile. And the 4.5-inch display looks glorious – Nokia’s high-contrast Clear Black Display is enhanced with a laminated finish to reduce reflections and new brightness levels and make it easy to read even in bright sunlight (and you’ll know that not many mobiles manage that trick).
But the look of the screen is just the start. This phone is stuffed full of innovations and improvements. Capacitive screens work by means of a weak electrical field across the display which is interrupted by another electrical field - namely, a finger. So gloves have always been incompatible. But a new, Nokia-only technology means the screen can recognise the presence of a finger even if there’s a thick glove in the way. Ideal if you’re skiing, for instance. It’s like the capacitive sensitivity has been dialled right up. It works well and could prove to be a sleeper hit feature that Nokia’s rivals will envy.
Nokia has always had skills with photography. From its earliest cameraphones to the 808 PureView with its 41-megapixel sensor, it’s shown skills with lenses and image manipulation. This phone carries the PureView branded tech, too, though at 8.7 megapixels it’s substantially lower resolution. On the other hand, did you see how chunky the 808 was? This phone’s pleasingly slim.
Still, there are plenty of extra photo capabilities to enjoy, from a neat way of combining information from different shots to erasing a passer-by who moseys into view, say, to an effect that combines video and still material together.
And Nokia has made much of the floating lens design which offers advanced optical image stabilisation. Not only does this give you steadier shots, it means the shutter can stay open longer to produce better results in low light.
Another headline feature is wireless charging, so you can plonk the phone on a suitable pad or pillow to rejuice, instead of fumbling for a cable. I mean, really that cable business wasn’t a major issue, but this is neater. And it has cool side-effects like the way you can charge it just by placing it on top of a newly announced speaker by JBL. As you move it towards the unit, landing lights come on to guide the phone into place, and the music you’re playing transfers to the speaker.
This trick is achieved using the phone’s NFC capabilities and worked very well in the demos at the New York launch. With NFC gaining traction in the UK, the Lumia 920 is well placed to support contactless payment technology and incoming digital wallet services such as coupons.
The Lumia 920 is well-connected: it’s a pentaband 4G LTE phone, and quad-band HSDPA. That means it will include the 1800MHz frequency about to launch in the UK with Everything Everywhere, and be ready for other frequencies as they arrive.
The processor, a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip, is fast – in our hands-on tests it made the phone very responsive and webpages built quickly, for instance. There’s no microSD card slot, though Windows Phone 8 supports this now, and the lower-end handset, the Lumia 820, sports one to make up for its reduced built-in storage. The Lumia 920 has 32GB on board, mind.
Battery life will be important on the phone, which obviously we couldn’t test, but overall first impressions were favourable. Though Samsung may have been first in showing off Windows Phone 8, Nokia has built a capable, gorgeous phone that looks like a perfect match for the new improved Windows Phone 8 OS.
We've pitted the Lumia 920 against the other big Windows 8 phone of the moment: check out our Samsung Ativ S versus Nokia Lumia 920 feature to see which is best!