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Review: Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8

People have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia’s latest flagship on Microsoft’s newest platform Windows Phone 8, including Nokia’s PureView technology. The smartphone is supposed to offer the very best Nokia currently has to offer.

It isn’t the only high-end smartphone on the new Windows Phone 8 platform to breathe new life into Nokia, but the Lumia 920 is the most complete and most discussed Nokia device – in a long time, in fact. In this comprehensive review (translated from an earlier Dutch version), you’ll find an account of my experiences with the Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8.

The Netherlands was a “launching country” for the Lumia 800, with the Lumia 900 readily available shortly after release. At this moment, the Lumia 920 is not yet officially launched in the Netherlands, but it’s offered in Germany through “MediaMarkt” and “Saturn” (unlocked for 599 euros). In Germany, the color choice was between black, white or red. I chose the latter. The first supply sold out quickly.

In Germany you can also buy the Lumia 820, but I’ll have to wait for a review unit to get to know it. In short, the Lumia 820 has a different design, whereas the Lumia 920 really is a worthy successor to the Lumia 800.

1. HARDWARE

Design 
Like the Lumia 800, the housing has a round shape and a display that isn’t completely flat (like the Lumia 900) but rounded. The unit is only larger in size and therefore is also heavier.

Especially American reviewers – apparently accustomed to the ultra-lightweight of the iPhone 5 – have been grumbling about the weight of the Nokia Lumia 920, noting it’s often their main objection to the device.

Personally, I don’t feel like the Nokia Lumia 920 is “too heavy” – at all. Certainly, according to the specifications, it has a considerable weight of 185 grams – even a fraction more than for example the Galaxy Note II (183 grams) that’s even bigger. The Lumia 920 just feels extremely robust and solid, and it’s remarkably well balanced – it really is a joy to hold.

Further design specifications: the device measures 13.03 cm, 7.08 cm wide and 1.07 cm thick – at the thickest point, so the exact center of the device. It is much thinner at the edges, so it doesn’t look as huge as these measures may suggest.

The format obviously serves a purpose. To begin with, the striking black display with a 4.5 inch diagonal, which is clearly visible in bright sunlight also. It has a Pure Motion HD+ display with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, which is substantially more than the acclaimed display of the iPhone 5 (1136 x 640).

The sharpness of the image (332 ppi) is absolutely unprecedented – it’s a treat to look at. Later (see “Hardware”) more about this display, about the new PureView technology (OIS, optical image stabilization), about wireless charging and NFC.

What more is there to say about the design? The micro-USB port is moved from being on top to the bottom (the Lumia 800 had it behind a cover on top, the Lumia 900 had it exposed). In addition, you will find the Lumia 920 has a 3.5mm audio jack placed on the top centre. The buttons are all still on the right side, but now made of scratch-free ceramic zirconium, and a fraction farther apart than the Lumia 900.

Finally, as the design is concerned, red is a color that can not easily be captured in photos, so I hesitated whether I would really appreciate it. But the “lipstick red” like Nokia has christened it, pops off the unit and looks extremely seductive.

Furthermore, the Nokia Lumia 920 is available in white, black and a yellow that resembles that of the Lamborghini - a not to be missed bright yellow: that is very tempting also. In addition, there is a gray version (which comes in a matte finish, like the black version) and over in the U.S. AT&T even has a matte cyan version for its customers. To my knowledge, these gray and blue versions are not available in Europa (although I’ve read rumours about Vodafone offering a cyan version on contract).

Specifications 
For convenience here you can find Nokia’s own summary of the hardware specifications. It saves a substantial amount of text in a review that will be long enough. I’d like to explain what has struck me.

The battery is 2000 mAh and in my experience the standby-time is amazing. However, there was another remarkable complaint I read in the American reviews of the device: the limited standby time. According to some sites it wouldn’t last longer than six hours… I suspected the LTE network first, later I realized many users might have had apps like Nokia Drive running in the background, or Skype. I don’t have much experience with Skype, but I know that not really closing Nokia Drive after using it, will drain your battery.

The Lumia 920 won’t leave you in the dark for at least a full day (and “one day” is now the standard anyway). If you switch it off at night (many do) you’ll be able to squeeze two full days out of it even. That of course depends on the use, so let me say that the standby time is comparable to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note II (with a 3100 mAh battery, mind you).

The display (as mentioned above) offers a razor-sharp resolution and has an excellent readability even in the brightest sunlight. A notable innovation is that you now can even use it with your gloves on – and who doesn’t know the frustration of “first to put your gloves off” when you have to pick up your phone in the cold. You´ll have to press the screen a little harder – and, of course, watch out the unit doesn’t slip out of your hands. But it really works!

You can also use the screen with the tip of a pen or with your keys, but I wouldn’t think of putting that to use – although Nokia is particularly confident in showing the quality of Corning’s Gorilla glass.

The speed of the device is impressive: it might be “only” dualcore – in Android terminology you’re already behind – but I think Windows Phone 8 works really fluent with the dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor (Snapdragon S4).

Installing applications is very fast. With loading apps, updating your timeline, or finding your location in Nokia Maps, the Nokia Lumia 920 is faster than you’ve ever seen before on Windows Phone.

Internal memory is 32GB (HTC Windows Phone 8X provides half) and as a user of Windows Phone 8 you get 7GB storage in the cloud service (“SkyDrive”) from Microsoft. The memory of the Nokia Lumia 920 is not expandable (nor is that of the HTC 8X), only Samsung will add a microSD slot to the ATIV S. The Lumia 920 has 1GB RAM.

Furthermore, the Nokia Lumia 920 (and the 820 also, but with a separate cover) has NFC and wireless charging. Both are not new in itself, but wireless charging with the Lumia 920 is the first to be built-in to a phone. You can therefore set your device down at a charging station and it will immediately begin recharging. This is useful for example at work or next to your bed, depending on how you prefer to use the device. Talking about wireless connectivity, I should also point out the presence of fast Bluetooth 3.0.

The speakers at the bottom of the unit provide a solid sound, and also the supplied headset has the quality we know from Nokia. This also applies to the recording quality of the unit: as with the Nokia 808 PureView, three HAAC (High Amplitude Audio Capture) microphones record noise-free and without any kind of distortion, as you can see and hear on numerous concert recordings.

Yet there is a small number of things the Lumia 920 does not offer. The device has no such notification light for missed calls or received messages. Furthermore, there is no FM radio (!) nor a FM transmitter. Others will miss the HDMI output. The recorded sound is – like the Nokia 808 PureView – excellent, but unfortunately not stereo. If FM radio is a must for you Nokia offers the beautiful BH221 bluetooth headset.

Camera 
Regular readers know that I’m excessively interested in the performance of the camera. In the lead up to the launch of this phone, there was a great deal of commotion about the built-in camera and the new PureView technology that Nokia introduces with this unit.

In the first version of PureView – the Nokia 808 PureView – the new technology is all about the possibilities the extremely large sensor of 41MP (!) offers. The oversampling technique enables you to take almost perfect noise-free shots. Zooming in on part of the sensor leads to unique “lossless zooming” in photo and video.

The photo and video quality of the Nokia 808 PureView is still unmatched, but this phone runs on Symbian and the platform is too dated for many users to seriously consider (even after the latest update to Nokia Belle Feature Pack II). I know many are opposed to Nokia’s decision to let Symbian go, and I don’t really agree with it either, but there is no denying the current superiority of Android and iOS is immense. Nokia’s hope is now on the new Windows Phone 8 platform.

The Lumia 920 offers innovative hardware, which consists of miniature springs stabilizing the camera sensor in the device. As a result, much longer exposure times are possible, whilst still getting a clear image, as well as a much more steady video recordings. This new technology enables you to realize great low light shots, without the need for flash. Also, the new technology allows for less jerky video recording when on the move.

Part of the announcement led to mass hysteria on the web. There was a video of a girl cycling filmed by her boyfriend, suggesting he had filmed her from his bike, riding next to her. However, it was spotted the girl was shot by a cameraman in a van – just as a demonstration of what could be achieved with the new technology, and not in fact using the promoted device itself. Most likely, it simply wasn’t ready at the time.

This became an unprecedented PR blunder, which led to an unlikely provoked outrage in the blogosphere: Nokia lied! Well, Nokia didn’t “lie” – it never claimed the video was actually shot with the Nokia Lumia 920. But yes, it suggested as much and was caught red-handed.

Nokia’s damage control was seen in them issuing apologies and clarifying the whole fiasco. The upside to the blunder, was that Nokia was getting free exposure around the world. Although it was essentially negative, it made people very much aware of a Nokia device that could stabilize shaky video.

Practice 
How is the camera in daily practice? That depends on what you’re used to and what you expect. I myself am accustomed to the Nokia 808 PureView, but I know I’m a bit of an exception, especially in the Netherlands. The Lumia 920 doesn’t perform as phenomenally but then again: no smartphone camera will for the next coming years – the Nokia 808 PureView is definitely a new landmark in digital imaging.

In saying that, the 8.7mp camera module of the Nokia Lumia 920 still takes great shots. They are in fact excellent in color in all light conditions, but the unit doesn’t always succeed in capturing distant details. I have a large collection of daylight shots worth to watch. There is an ever growing selection that you can find on Flickr.

The ability to capture great night shots truly amazed me. The picture below is shot in the device’s “night mode” in almost complete darkness. Against the background of the black water, the boat itself could in fact not – or just hardly – be seen in reality.

Night shots like this – taken in the night mode of the device – are often labelled “unnatural”, because they show much more light than you actually perceive. Personally, I think the result is often surprisingly attractive – you can find more night pictures here on Flickr - and being able to capture people at night or in dark scenes of course is a great advantage.

Where the video is concerned, the optical image stabilization makes for a noticeable improvement! However, it seems that more distant details are often blurred. It has been reported that a software update is coming to address these issues, but how soon we can expect anything is unclear.

Full HD video will also take up quite a bit of space, with a recording of little more than five minutes taking up more than 800MB of the device’s internal storage. Below is a video that I previously published here at the PureViewClub. I was riding my bike through the forest, could only hold the Lumia 920 in one hand.

Lenses 
Nokia has special photography apps on Windows Phone 8 called Lenses, that make capturing those special moments so much more fun, and creative. The quality of these images is quite impressive.

A panorama function is not new in itself, but Nokia has one that is easy to operate. While taking one, if you deviate from the right path, the device helps you back on the track. The result is a picture with a large size, and great quality, see the example below (original on Flickr)

The “Smart Shoot” lens is not entirely new either. When creating a group portrait, it offers you the possibility to select the best face of each person, and merge them into one perfect photo. This feature has previously been seen in the Samsung Galaxy SIII (and Note II).

Surprisingly, the CinemaGraph application lets you make a shot for a few seconds (like a mini video), and allows you to select part of the movement within the “picture” to be shown, while the rest remains still. The effect never fails to surprise people when they see it for the first time: you see a photo, but some motion in there as well… It gives your shot quite an alienating effect – even with a very limited application it’s still like a “magic picture”.

So CinemaGraph truly adds an new dimension to the image, and you can even share it because it is stored as “animated GIF” (you’ll need to send it to SkyDrive first). Below is an example of this app, taken ​​by Nokia’s Juha Alakarhu, who made ​​a recording of me during Photokina in Cologne (also previously seen on PureViewClub).

The longer and more complex you “animate” the picture, the larger the file will be. A modest animation takes around 1MB, but it can take up to more than 20MB.

Accessories 
In the box of the Nokia Lumia 920 you’ll find the usual charger, data cable and headset in matching color, with in-ear plugs in different sizes. But one of the unique features of the new Lumia 920 is that it offers wireless charging. A phenomenon that you may already know from Powermat (bought by Duracell), requiring a separate cover to charge your phone.

The new Lumia 920 no longer requires an extra accessory (aside from the charger itself) as this technology is built in. (Note: The Lumia 820 has the same technology, but you’ll need to purchase a special charging shell from Nokia.)

I have not tested it yet, but I understand it works fine. The charging stations are available in different colors, similar to the colors of the device. In cooperation with the Dutch FatBoy there is a cushion available where your phone can take a “power nap”- a funny and clever marketing gimmick for both parties.

More practical is the great JBL PowerUp speaker. Armed with wireless charging and NFC, it keeps your device wirelessly connected to the speaker not only to play music, but also to charge – so you can listen to music all day long and even charging instead of draining your battery. The price of the PowerUp is still unclear, however, in America there is a “suggested retail price” of USD$299. JBL also brings a new version of the Nokia Play 360 speaker, the JBL PlayUp speaker features NFC, and costs USD$ 149.

2. SOFTWARE

Windows Phone 8 
This chapter goes a bit beyond the scope of the Lumia 920 itself, because there are already other smartphones that have been launched on the new platform, such as the HTC Windows Phone 8X. Also, Nokia’s Lumia 820 has been launched in the US already, like the Samsung ATIV S. The following is certainly not a complete overview of the capabilities of Windows Phone 8 and is primarily intended as an introduction.

When Microsoft recently gave birth to Windows 8 for PCs, Windows RT for tablets and Windows Phone 8 for smartphones, they gave birth to a new ecosystem. Both Nokia and Microsoft were desperate for something like this; a coherent experience across all devices.

Windows Phone 7 was a prelude to Windows 8, in the sense of Live Tiles presenting you updated information, at a glance. Windows RT is a slight variant of Windows 8, but offers exactly the same user interface.

Windows Phone 8 is now fully grown, although it has just left university… And it’s very impatient to conquer the world, or even “make a dent in the universe”. But how does that work – the big men look over their shoulder, see the ambitious young guy approaching, know how untouchable they are themselves and think all will be fine.

Microsoft however, is not to be underestimated, because of the competitive advantage: the major part of the PC market. That market is working to adapt to mobile users, and the step from PC to tablet and smartphone is becoming easier, through the evolving notion of a mobility “ecosystem”.

You can connect all your devices seamlessly through your Microsoft Account. For example, you can create a new OneNote document on your Windows Phone, and when you get home, your Windows PC will have that document readily available to use, and vice versa. All known Microsoft Office applications run on all devices. That is the power of the ecosystem which Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop has boldly ventured into for Nokia’s Smart Devices portfolio. Of course I shouldn’t forget there are many other accounts you can synchronize, including your Google e-mail account.

Tiles
In practice, Windows Phone 8 is a relief, although Windows Phone 7.5 already worked quite well. The most drastic UI change, has been the start menu, with the choice for three “live tile sizes”, in a 1:4:8 ratio.

It is because of this resizing ability, that the user can have twenty-four(!) tiles on the screen. In practice, this seems hard to do, without making things look cluttered, however by dividing things up with varying sized tiles, it looks rather elegant.

Why has this happened so suddenly? With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft increased the supported screen resolution. Where Windows Phone 7 was limited to 800 x 480, Windows Phone 8 now supports much higher resolutions, such as the 1280×720 found on the Lumia 920. A second advantage over the previous version is that now the full width of the screen is used, whereas in WP 7.5, there was a significant part of the right side of the display that was black and unused.

This display now offers much more information when the unit is “closed”. When the device hits the lock screen, you can see your mail, text messages or missed calls. This set of notification icons has the option for up to five notification types (support by app is required).

Social 
During the official presentation, Microsoft’s charismatic CEO Joe Belfiore payed much attention to the social aspect of the new Windows Phone. It is not a mass product for “all of you” but a specific product for “each of you”. With such an approach, Microsoft acknowledges that the user experience is about the individual and his or her social networks. The emphasis – for this moment – is less on the supply of a wide variety of applications, but more about those that keeps you connected with others.

Microsoft realizes that including an elegant solution for Facebook and Twitter out of the box, via their People Hub is something that many users love. New is the ability to create “Rooms” and add family, friends, or colleagues. For each group of contacts you choose, you can create a “room”. These people do not have to be on WP, however WP will offer the best experience. Then you can exchange messages, photos and location information with everyone in the group.

During the presentation Joe Belfiore (with his children on stage) spent quite a lot of time on the “Kids Corner”, a protected menu that can be created for your Children to play around in, whilst removing the stress that they will delete things that are important etc. You can also control what apps they have access to.

Should there ever be an unhoped-for event where you lose your photos, the new backup feature is particularly useful. You can select to back up your applist, Settings, Messages and Photos in the cloud. If your device is lost or stolen, for some reason needs a reset, or you change your mind about your color choice for the Lumia 920, you can get everything neatly re-installed on your new phone – ideal!

Zune is dead, long live XBOX
Even before the arrival of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft pulled the plug on Zune. In Europe, Microsoft never launched the Zune HD Music player, and also recently the Zune software completely disappeared. That is a huge step because Zune was quite an elaborate solution for managing the content on your windows phone.

You could see it as Microsoft’s version of iTunes and it was just as impossible to directly copy music to your phone.Visually it was a nice package but everyone is happy to be rid of it.

Now you connect your new Windows Phone to your PC and it will appear in the browser as a disk drive, so you can easily drag and drop content to your WP as if it were a USB stick.. Moreover, there’s a beta version of a “Windows Phone App” for PC, which appears to be easier to synchronize than Zune.

XBOX is the brand for Microsoft’s portal for music, games and videos – and here you see a seamless integration between the XBOX you already may have at home, and your latest Smartphone on Windows Phone 8. Through the SmartGlass app you can now operate the XBOX next to your TV. Personally, I’m not really into gaming, but now that seems a matter of time.

Finally, something that all the previous versions of Windows Phone had, but it won’t hurt to bring it under your attention again. Windows Phone offers a completely different user experience with a user interface that is graphically much nicer than what any other OS has to offer.

Where the major mobile platforms simply use static icons, especially pages of them split across homescreens, the interface of Windows Phone dynamically changes, and a number of apps offer a much richer user experience, like through their live tiles.

It is not (yet?) possible to choose your own desktop background for the Start Menu and App List as you’re used to in Android. But you will be surprised by quasi-random shots in the background when you’re watching the Photo Gallery or Music on your phone – and it looks fantastic. And finally, WP8 has a screenshot capability built in, which is really useful for developpers, for reviewers, if you wish to share your screen with a friend, or just make a shot of some info you’ll need along the way.

Apps 
The “lack” of apps is still considered to be the “Achilles heel” of the new Windows Phone 8. It is a disadvantage that Android had to face in its early stages as well. During the official presentation, Joe Belfiore still proudly mentioned a figure of 120,000 apps, and by now – a few weeks later – there will probably be a few thousand more.

Microsoft emphasizes that the fifty most important apps are already on the new platform. A new version of Skype (also owned by Microsoft) is on WP8, and features deep integration with the OS. (At the time of writing it is not yet available, but there is already a beta version that has proved to work fine).

Other apps that I enjoy using on Android are not there yet, such as Pulse or Flipboard. As far as I’ve understood Spotify for WP8 is on its way (version is available on WP7.5), but there is still no word on the popular picture sharing network, Instagram (that took ages to reach Android). With such a rapidly changing app ecosystem, it may well be there by the time this article is posted (and you have finished reading it).

I’m not too sure whether I can expect a fast update offering the possibility to “swype” my text input. I really got used to doing that on other devices, and personally I have to get used to be limited to “tapping” the screen again.

In my original review in Dutch, I gave a list of all apps I used on my Nokia Lumia 920, and while translating I noticed there were quite a lot of typical Dutch apps available.

So this selection is smaller, but internationally available, useful, or just fun :-) Remember: it’s just a few of them I happen to like:

Angry BirdsFacebook (although its functionality is not as complete as on Android), Das Image (a wonderful collection of pictures from all over the world, you can even save the shots you like to use them as lockscreen), FlickrGoogle Mail, IMDb (the great movie database), Shazam and SoundHound, several Twitter apps, WhatsappWordPress and YouTube.

Obviously this is much too small a summary to do justice to the enormous range of available apps. Some specific apps deserve extra attention however: the Nokia exclusive apps.

Nokia Apps 
The last chapter of this review: the exclusive Nokia apps on the Nokia Lumia 920 – also available on the Lumia 820. I want to restrict it to a list, because otherwise this review will become way too long.

Nokia has something really special to offer on the new Windows Phone platform. The company made a good move by acquiring Navteq in 2007 and has since been a major player in the field of navigation.

The apps themselves are not new: Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, which can be found in Symbian & Harmattan devices, though Drive Beta on Windows Phone 8 is a major version update.

It’s a completely free turn-by-turn voice guided navigation package, with navigation around the world and heaps of local language support. You can download maps for free, to use offline. This is amazing when travelling outside your own country borders, where data roaming charges are often ridiculously expensive.

It is a unique service no other brand can offer, but Nokia has made it available to the other producers of Windows Phone 8 smartphones, if they choose to implement it. Of course, the entire new ecosystem will benefit from this.

Very recently, Nokia also  introduced a new brand for its location services called HERE, bringing the world of Nokia Maps to iOS devices even – and it quickly became one of the most popular downloads overnight, if I’ve understood correctly.

Nokia City Lens is an augmented reality app that shows you exactly what you”ll find where you are, in the field of entertainment, hotels, shopping, public transport, etc.). In several countries, Nokia Transport, also provides full public transport route information.

Beside these location-based applications I’d like to mention Nokia Trailers and Nokia Music. In Nokia Trailers you will find a lot of trailers of the latest movies, which you can even store on your device if you wish to.

As a part of Nokia Music, the option Mix Radio lets you stream music for free (!) within many genres. Next to Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps I consider Nokia Music to be one of the “killer apps” Nokia is offering on Windows Phone 8.

3. CONCLUSION

Nokia itself has been saved from the abyss once before. In Nokia’s history of (almost) 150 years, Nokia has been through a much worse period than the company is in now. This probably explains the radiating confidence of the Finns and their national pride when it comes to beating the odds. A radical change is not something new for Nokia. From paper to rubber, to computers and televisions, and eventually the full focus on mobile phones. The company knows how to adjust like a chameleon in times of need.

Symbian was the leader in smartphone OSes for some time, but Nokia’s leadership took too long to realise the market was changing, and Symbian wasn’t the right solution going forward in the touchscreen market. Nokia decided to put an end to Symbian, and go down a path or uncertainty with Microsoft, which many have criticized on a frequent basis.

Windows Phone 8 offers an incomparably better user experience than its predecessor. It finally utilizes the full screen and that is now almost completely customizable to your own liking – the only thing missing is the opportunity to create a background image, or each tile a different color to choose, for those who would appreciate that. Some users even wish there was a central notification centre.

The noted lack of apps is just a matter of time. And now the seamless integration with PC and tablet finally has become a reality and Windows Phone 8 is part of a much larger ecosystem. I’m even getting the impression Windows Phone 8 is paving the road for people to upgrade their PC to Windows 8.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is the first smartphone that I’ve used on this new platform. I have already stated that I think it is a great device, and for me it is one of the best smartphones ever - and I have used quite a few devices… As far as design is concerned, there isn’t even a smartphone I can think of with a better design. Of course, taste is personal.

I absolutely don’t agree with the most common complaint, that the Nokia Lumia 920 would be “too heavy” and “too thick”. Certainly, the Lumia 920 is a heavier device, but its weight gives it an extraordinarily strong and robust feel. The device is very convenient to use because it is so well balanced. Heavy: yes, disadvantageous: no.

In use, the device is very fast – it’s too early for me to compare it with the other key (dual core) devices on Windows Phone 8, but the Lumia 920 runs really well and amazingly smooth. Especially on such a large, sharp and bright display, the OS is a treat to use.

The storage capacity of 32GB is generous, only very fanatical music collectors will probably be frugal with their space. SkyDrive still offers 7GB extra storage, but if you have many photographs and automatically upload to Skydrive (in full resolution via WiFi) you will find you may run out quickly. Therefore, you will need to be selective about what gets uploaded, or purchase more space.

Given the PureView branding, I expected a bit more of the photographic qualities – but of course I have been spoiled with the Nokia 808 Pureview. Also, as with its predecessor, you’ll need some time to get accustomed to the use of the Nokia Lumia 920 camera – my own shots got noticably better after a while.

So your pictures certainly won’t be bad, in most cases they won’t be as stunning as on your Nokia 808 PureView. Chances are, however, you don’t have or would want a Nokia 808 PureView. The ones taken with the Lumia 920 in even the darkest environments are absolutely stunning, thanks to the new approach to PureView technology. The video images are also noticebly better, proving it’s all much more than just a marketing pitch.

Regardless of how good the camera is – or will be after a software update – it’s not the main reason customers will be purchasing the Nokia Lumia 920, nor should this be the deciding factor. The Nokia Lumia 920 is a very impressive package of both hardware and software. The latter is most likely the weakest aspect of the device at this time, due to the limited number of available apps. This will of course be gone in the near future.

The new ecosystem is still young, but with a smartphone like the Nokia Lumia 920, and Windows Phone 8, it is off to an impressive start. I am still testing out the HTC Windows Phone 8X, but it seems evident that the Lumia 920 is the top of the pack.

How popular the device will be in Europe, will depend on the price. In America, both the Lumia 920 and 820 are at AT & T and extremely well priced for early adopters – and they are even offering complimentary wireless chargers. It is hoped that such a promotion will also lure the European customers and those in other continents.

In many countries where the Nokia Lumia 920 is launched, it sold out almost immediately. Whether this is due to an unexpectedly huge popularity or limited availability is unclear. The Australian operator Telstra has reported that the pre-order numbers were overwhelming.

Recently we even learned of a number of 2.500.000 Lumia 920′s being sold/pre-ordered. If that is all true it only underlines my view that Nokia finally has the hit it has dreamt of for such a long time : an exceptionally complete, stylishly designed smartphone on a new, fresh and exciting platform.

The Nokia Lumia 920 just about has it all.

°°°

PS This is a translation of my review on my Dutch site Smartphone-Review.nl. Translating it would have been impossible without the kind (and patient) help of Michael Faro Tusino from Sydney, blogger at MyNokiaBlog and Unleashthephones. Thank you so much Michael!

(PureViewClub is also on Twitter and Facebook)

 
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53 Responses

  1. [...] Nokia Lumia 920 I bought the day it was available in Germany. A few weeks later I could publish my Review of the Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 here, translated from the Dutch original with the help of @MFaroTusino.The review didn’t go [...]

  2. Raiden

    I have lumia 920..the soft reboot problem cause by some apps that you download.I experience this once when I DL one apps.. My nokia lumia920 wont even turn on so, I did a soft reboot and delete that apps that I downloaded.. since then no problem at all..WP8 runs really smooth.Camera is excellent tried driving 70 mph taking video it doesn’t even shake or blurr my video at all.. All apps I need wp8 has it, aside from useless instagram..lol..Night shot is excellent. If you want to save some battery just turn off the NFC if you don’t uses it, Turn battery saver on that you can find on your setting, turn off Bluetooth if you don’t needed.. My lumia battery lasted all day with a normal use.

  3. [...] his full Lumia 920 review and keep an eye on Conversations in the coming days for a showcase of some of the photos that Marc [...]

  4. ARUN RAJ

    What about it’s bluetooth facility?Does it allow connection with any mobile phones other than lumias?

  5. [...] his full Lumia 920 review and keep an eye on Conversations in the coming days for a showcase of some of the photos that Marc [...]

  6. Marek

    Marc

    I really enjoyed your review, I’m under impression like other reviews on Internet are basically done on ” copy and paste ” way,

    I have Samsung Omnia W and I love it now time for BIG BROTHER LUMIA 920

  7. sunil

    30gram extra weight compared to competition is an advantage while taking pictures with ois functionality. It improves user experience so to say

  8. [...] is a very experienced user and fair reviewer as well.If you’d like to read it, here’s my own view of the Nokia Lumia 920(PureViewClub is also on Twitter and Facebook)  « New colorful shots of Nokia Lu… [...]

  9. Adam Lamar

    Wonderful review – with this site you have really done a good job showing off all of the facets & variances of PureView.

  10. [...] of the device. If you are interested in the device I really recommend that you read their review. http://pureviewclub.com/2012/7753 By: Samuelson Micael Category: News, Reviews Tags: 920, Lumia, Nokia « Previous Reviews [...]

  11. Jo

    also windows phone doenst have apps no poweramp or dropsync or flipboard.
    so far pureview branding is mediocre compared to the 808 even the nokia n8

    no wonder 920 is not selling well even compared to the n8. n9

  12. E55Mark

    You dismiss the weight issue because it’s obviously not an issue for you. It is for me. I put my phone in my shirt pocket. The N8 was about the limit for me; this phone is too heavy. I note, disappointingly that the camera sensor is smaller than the N8s too. The N8 will take better pictures in good light than this phone. It’s a matter of physics.
    I personally still look forward to a decent camera on a Nokia phone running on a decent OS. Turn volume down in music and the ringtone volume goes down too. An old problem still not fixed. I want to buy another Nokia but the competition is still too good to ignore.

    • civichief

      that is all true. So the Lumia 920 does not fit you.
      Therfore we all need such detailed tests, so we can judge ourselves if this is an interesting phone for one or not.
      And this test does all this. So this is a good test.

      And the commenting function gives us the chance to read other’s opinions, so we can see both sides of the medal.

      But one thing: you will not find a camera phone like N8 or 808. These are unique devices. You have to find the compromise. And the Lumia 920 could be it.

      • Marc @PureViewClub

        Thank you. The Lumia 920 won’t be a compromise in this case though – as the Nokia 808 PureView, it’s heavier than the N8, which was “the limit”. Can’t change that.

  13. Mafiatounes

    Very good and unbiased review! I had the joy of using a 920 myself and i can only agree with all topics in this review.

    I think all reviewers that where hammering on the weight are sissy’s or really weak, and after i talked to a asian (small) girl that was using this device and said she liked the weight and feel of the device. After i took the device out of the box i really was sure either most reviewers where biased or pussy’s.

    @Marc: Ik lees mijn reviews nu wel op de smartphonereview site, en zal minder kijken naar de amerikaanse reviews, goed werk doe zo verder!

  14. Hi Marc,
    This is probably the most amazing and unbiased review available for the Nokia Lumia 920. I love this smartphone, but this was adversely affected when I read other reviews on the Internet in which the reviewers complained that their phone ‘freezes’ quite often and they have to do a soft reboot and sometimes even a hard reboot or something like that. But now, I see that you have no problems with your Lumia 920 (assuming that you’re being 100% honest if you don’t mind). On Nokia conversations, a number of people (customers or someone else) have reported battery issues (quick battery draining) even when no apps are running in the background and the phone is in standby mode. Some users have reported that the issue is resolved after a complete battery drain and then a complete recharge cycle. However, others complain the issue doesn’t fix for them at all. Please look into this matter and feed me with your thoughts and experience on this.
    I live in Saudi Arabia and the phone will be available at all major retailers in 3 days! I’m a potential buyer of this smartphone, so please help me out. And which colour would you recommend for me (I’m a boy!)? Do we get matching colour headphones for all available colours of the Lumia 920? Please reply soon!
    Thanks a lot for your time!

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Well El Nino,

      I know of course about the freezes and reboots of the new WP8 devices. I just have not experienced them myself – yet, I might add. I’m not being pessimistic, but I read colleague bloggers noticing the same thing. Maybe I’m being incredibly lucky, maybe this Nokia just loves me, I don’t know.

      And yes, I’m 100% honest about this. I will share it as soon as I encounter similar problems. The thing that disturbed me most was the complaint of the device being “way too heavy”. I think that’s utter nonsense, to put it friendly.

      The other complaint – about battery life – surprised me, because I had no problems with it at all. First I suspected LTE, now I suspect apps like Nokia Drive running in the background. Others claim they have none, well, I don’t get it.

      I also read that a full hard reset of the phone has helped some with the battery – I don’t understand what it is with the battery, it’s puzzling, but as I’ve said before, I’ve had no problems with it at all. That doesn’t mean these issues do not exist, however.

      As far as the color… Can’t help you out, really. Have the red one, because the yellow wasn’t available. Hope to see the yellow version real soon. I didn’t want the black, although it’s matte – I’ve just seen black phones enough. My Lumia 900 is white, and that’s not a bad color at all, but I really wanted it to stand out (so either red or yellow).

      As far as I know blue (“cyan”) is only available in the US, and I don’t know where the grey version can be bought, I remember some pics from Asia somewhere. But that’s up to you, really. As soon as I get my hands on a yellow version, I will share pics of both red and yellow together. Shot with the Nokia 808 PureView, no surprise there :-)

      Headphones are all in matching colors as far as I know. Good luck with your choice!

      Marc

  15. wow wow, superb review marc, makes me excited to get an lumia 920..

  16. Adam Lamar

    Hey, with all the buzz about the 920, looks like Nokia slipped something under the radar – it appears that they actually stuck a kickass little camera into the 820 (non pureview). From time to time I’ve been checking GSMArena’s photo compare tool for the 920 which still doesn’t appear. But then I ran the 820 for the hell of it and was pretty surprised. Here’s a screen shot of a compare between 808 PureView, Lumia 820, and the older Lumia 900:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/72163792@N08/8219686340/in/photostream

    Cheers,

  17. Drew

    Hey. Great review! One of the best I’ve read so far. Any idea when the 920 will be released in the Netherlands? I’m dying to get one but the people at the KPN, Vodafone, etc outlets have NO idea when it’s coming to the Netherlands. Any info on this? Keep up the great reviews!

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I hope I’ll learn more on Tuesday and will update here during the announcement (follow @PureViewClub as well) Thanx for your kind reaction Drew!

  18. civichief

    Have you already forgotten the Palm Pre?

    “Furthermore, the Nokia Lumia 920 (…) has NFC and wireless charging. Both are not new in itself, but wireless charging with the Lumia 920 is the first to be built-in to a phone.”

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      No, heard of it, never used it, never even seen it once. A bit like the NeoNode I guess. Didn’t want to spend any words on it. Sorry.

      • civichief

        just wanted to say, that the Palm Pre had wireless charging as a feature years ago.

        If I understood it right, you stated, that the Lumia 920 is the first phone to have the wireless charging possibility. And then, your statement would be wrong.

        • Marc @PureViewClub

          I stand corrected. In fact, I should have written: “Nokia claims to be the first to offer built-in Wireless Charging with the Lumia 920, which is historically not correct since Palm offered this technology already with the Palm Pre a few years ago.”. I’ve never seen the Palm Pre in my life, so I forgot about it. But of course, you’re right.

  19. akcme

    This is one the best reviews that I have read about Nokia Lumia 920. Its supported with facts such as a lot of pictures and videos. Even though I believe that you are a Nokia fan but that shouldn’t matter. You have been very objective in this review and I wish if most bloggers/reviewers gave a fair review to any product.

    Most reviewers of Nokia Lumia 920/800/900/710/610/510 point to Nokia as a sinking ship (of course as a company) and I wonder why they have to mix financial situation of a company to the quality of a product and its merits.

    I really thank you for writing this review and I am spreading the word about this review.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      Well Akcme, what can I say. I did my best, with a little help from my friends. Hope you’ve noticed all shots in links to Flickr as well.

      True: I am a fan, since I really admire the innovative power of Nokia. Although I blog out of passion, I can be critical too. I just have a hard time understanding criticism that doesn´t make sense (“it’s too heavy!”) or is not supported by my own experience (“the battery sucks!”)

  20. hanstj

    Before the announcement of Lumia 920, I have always wanted to purchase 808PV. It is amazing how Lumia 920 has totally shifted my priority. Despite some missing hardware features that are available on the 808PV, I still find it very difficult not to put Lumia 920 on the top list of my next smartphone. I guess deep down, what I really want is a special phone with a promising future.

    • Marc @PureViewClub

      I completely understand what you mean. However, the Nokia 808 PureView will remain a special product for the many years to come, no doubt about that. Love my Lumia 920, but the 808 isn’t going anywhere – not without me :-)

    • Fruitful

      I totally feel the same! I’m still trying to choose. At least Marc can keep showing us the joys of both phones!

      I very much enjoyed this review too! Even the little details, like how natural it feels to pickup and hold the 920, make it a more dimensional review. Thanks Marc!

  21. Joyce

    Knap werk Marc! Good job!

  22. LONG

    Great review, although I really need FM radio and HDMI a lot from my n8 and 808 day to day living, I still can’t wait to get one lumia 920.

    • LONG

      forget to mention OTG…

      • George

        Thats the fact about Lumia 920, it missing a lot of features compared to N8/808… Example, HDMI, FM-radio/transitter, memory card, xenon-blitz +++
        Is the 920 really a flagship ?? I`m not sure….

        • Dan

          is the wp8 flagship! it misses also zoom while video recording. also the ois tech make the pics less crisper, much softer. but this is nokia today, that is the deal now, big price poor device,i think they are trying to catch up with apple with this policy.

  23. Winsly Jucar

    …as I have read this review, I am tempted to fly to US and buy this phone, rather than waiting the phone to be released here in the Philippines…It will be a great companion to my preordered Nokia 808…This is a great review… =)

  24. Great job!
    I hope 808 and lumia920 will merge into a night 41 mp shooter
    Maybe with the first mechanical zoom ever in a smartphone

  25. Sinestro

    Fantastic review. I totally agree with all you said. Im a german lumia 920 owner and i love it very very much. For me… It is the best device I’ve owned. I had the HTC hd2, different Android Devices, iPhone 4, Lumia 800..before all of that…Motorola Rzar, Nokia 95 8GB… And I can say… L920 is the best Smartphone so far. Go and get one..you will love it!

  26. Peter

    Great review, thanks!

  27. Mukhthar

    Awesome review