November 6, 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 Review

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Feature set summary for 4G Nokia Lumia 920

The Lumia 920 comes with a feature packed 8.7-megapixel that has a Carl Zeiss lens. It also takes excellent photos. Add that to the NFC support, wireless charging, and free music service, and this 4G phone gives you value for your money.

Style and handling summary for Nokia Lumia 920

The Nokia Lumia 920 is fairly weighty for a smartphone, but makes up for it with an attractive, colourful design that feels robust.

Battery power summary for Nokia Lumia 920

The battery life on the Nokia Lumia 920 is unfortunately particularly bad. It took two charges within a 24 hour period, and we weren’t even taxing it unduly. Apart from the usual mobile phone use there was three hours of video streaming, A portable charging kit will be a must have for 4G users.

Performance summary for Nokia Lumia 920

At the heart of this 4G phone lies a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, supported by 1GB of RAM to ensure smooth running without lags when enjoying media or playing games.

User friendliness summary for Nokia Lumia 920

With a perfectly responsive 4.5-inch touchscreen the Lumia 920 can be activated when you’re wearing gloves. Perfect for colder months. Features like Nokia Maps and Drive are very helpful.

 

Nokia Lumia 920 Review Scoring Summary

Style & Handling
User Friendliness
Feature Set
Performance
Battery Power
Overall Score 4G.co.uk grey star

Pros: lots of camera features; crisp, colour-rich screen; robust, stylish design; useful Nokia apps; and wireless charging

Cons: Weighty; low battery life

Verdict: The Nokia Lumia 920 is a 4G handset that’s stuffed with all sorts of goodies. Among the unique, competition-beating, features are some great apps, the camera technology, and its wireless charging. On the downside you’ll be spending a lot of time charging it – best to get a portable charger pack.

Get this 4G phone on Superfast 4GEE

Nokia Lumia 920 Full Review

The Lumia 920 is Nokia’s first smartphone to run Windows Phone 8. At its launch Nokia had a lot of bold claims to make. The Nokia Lumia 920 4G handset was compared to the Windows Phone 8X by HTC and Samsung’s Ativ S and unsurprisingly perhaps Nokia found it came out better. The phone giant happily told the world that the Lumia 920 had a better camera (it has an 8.7-megapixel PureView lens with Carl Zeiss lens), a superior display (the bright 4.5-inch screen with Pure HD Motion+ technology) and it even had a better design. Not a lot for this 4G handset to live up to then.

Hey good looking

Ultimately, whether one phone looks better than another is down to individual taste. Even so we were taken by the Lumia 920’s minimalistic, gently curved finish. It reminded us of the Lumia 900 – this had a similar flat edge on the top and bottom. We also really liked the glossy colour and felt that although there’s a plastic frame the handset still felt robust and solid in the hand. Pick this phone up for the first time though and what will cross your mind immediately is “wow that’s weighty”. The Lumia 920 weighs 185g and that’s heavier than any other smartphone we’ve looked at.

After a while you do get used to it. And once you’re over the shock, it is time to appreciate the design of this phone. There is one large glass panel taking up the front, with three touch-sensitive buttons under the display. These are Back, the familiar Windows button, and Search. The rounded edges help the Lumia 920 fit comfortably in your hand. There’s no textured back so at least it’s hefty weight can help it stick to your palm. We got the white version, and this was quickly covered in fingerprints and grime. Other colours available are black, red and yellow.

Volume controls are located on the right side, along with the power and dedicated camera buttons. There’s nothing on the left. The Lumia 920’s case doesn’t open. So the Micro SIM card slot is situated on the top. Keep a paperclip to hand for when you need to pop it out.

Lifting the lid

At the heart of the Nokia Lumia 920 lies a dual-core Qualcomm processor clocking up 1.5GHz. This is supported by 1GB of RAM. A specification that puts it on par with HTC’s Windows Phone 8X. It should run any app or game with ease.

The Nokia Lumia 920 has twice the amount of built-in storage as the HTC 8X at 32GB. And also in common with the HTC handset, there’s no memory card slot. The expectation is you’ll use the complimentary 7GB of space provided online for extra storage.

At 4.5inches the screen on this 4G phone is slightly bigger than HTC’s 8X (4.3-inchs) but is smaller than the massive 4.8inches found on Samsung’s Ativ S. Overall a roomy display, with plenty of space for displaying web pages and watching TV. The screen is bright enough to keep the picture visible when viewed in the glare of the sun. Colours are vividly reproduced, and this includes the tiles on your desktop as well as video and still shots. Viewing angles are impressively wide, so you and a friend can view the screen comfortably.

Come the resolution

The Nokia Lumia 920’s screen has a resolution of 1280 x 768, and supports 720p HD movies. Video images are sharp, and nicely detailed. Action films and sports are enhanced for the better using Nokia’s Pure HD Motion+ technology. This eliminates motion blue, a problem when watching racing or even the balls on a snooker table. Naturally we tested this thoroughly on numerous sports clips. Well it is a tough job but someone has to do it.

The touchscreen is highly responsive instantly reacting to every tap and swipe. We found it possible to use both the touchscreen and the touch-sensitive buttons with gloves on. Particularly handy during those cold winters. No more frozen fingers when just trying to make a phone call.

Snap happy

Nokia last used a PureView camera in its Nokia 808. This is the camera technology that Nokia uses for snapping particularly good photos. We had found that the 808 took amazing photos although the handset was a bit bulky and difficult to use. So our expectations were suitably high when it came to trying out this 4G handset’s 8.7-megapixel camera.

The shutter button is held down to wake the camera from hibernation, and it takes just three seconds to be fully ready. One more push of the shutter button and a photo is taken straight away. We were impressed with the quality of photos in well-lit situations. But even more so when the day turned to twilight. Low-light photographs were definitely much brighter than those taken on other, similar smartphones. There was more detail apparent, and colours were more faithfully reproduced. The reason for this is the Lumia 920’s floating lens. It is kept open longer than on other cameras thanks to blur reduction. That said, pushing the shutter button was still enough to create blur on its own. We would suggest using the screen to tap for focus and taking photos to minimise movement.

The Lumia 920 4G smartphone supports Full HD video, and here again image stabilisation is used to good effect. When viewed on a monitor, video clips looked stunning. Jiggles and shaky hand movements are reduced as well by that same, amazing floating lens. Nice to watch hand shot home movies without feeling motion sickness for a change.

Extras

Photos and videos aren’t the only bonus features in this 4G phone. There’s the usual imaging tools but added to those are some excellent features to make this a really top-notch-toolbox.

First up there’s Cinemagraph. This rather cool tool can take a few seconds from a scene then present movement from that capture as an animation within a still shot. Let’s say you took some video of your dog running around a busy park. With Cinemagraph, the Nokia 920 can freeze all the other people while your dog runs about. A little like time has stopped. Except for your pet. This is then saved as a CIF file that can be viewed on a computer. It is a pretty funky effect, and there’s lots of room for experimenting with it.

Next up is SmartShoot. A little app that will take a series of shots when you push the shutter button. A little like the HTC One X’s burst shot mode. Pick your favourite image and delete the others. It doesn’t work quite like the One X’s burst shot mode though. You can’t just hold the shutter button down to activate. A little more fiddly than that, you have to load the SmartShoot app through the camera app first.

Look no wires

And here’s another feature unique to the 4G Lumia 920. It has a wireless charging plate (sold separately for £55 although some retailers are bundling it with the phone). Make sure the charging plate is plugged in, then to charge your phone you just need to lie it on top of the plate. Just a little less fiddly than using a charging plug or socket. From empty to a full charge takes around four hours. Wireless charging will come into its own if businesses take it up. Think about how handy it would be to have your phone charge in a cafe or pub just by lying it on the table.

Nokia’s 4G Lumia 920 handset has built-in NFC. Eventually NFC will be what you use to pay for items using your phone. For now though its best use is for swapping files. Nokia though is highlighting its ability sync up wirelessly with other devices. Like a JCB speaker designed specifically for this purpose. Your phone can sit on top of the speak and stream music wirelessly while at the same time recharging itself. Another gadget using this are the Monster headphones so you can listen to music, and movies, in privacy without annoying cables.

Battery power

It has all be glowing stuff so far, but sadly we’ve now come to the 4G Nokia Lumia 920’s Achilles heel. This is a problem it shares with the Windows Phone 8X by HTC too. Poor battery life. Having charged the phone up fully we streamed an hour of music, spent 15 minutes on the internet, took some photos, played with a few apps, and sent emails and text messages. Not really a lot to expect from a smartphone. Yet, eight hours later the battery was empty.

We played about to see if we could eke out the battery, turning off Wi-Fi, reducing brightness, and dropping music streaming from the test. There’s a battery saver mode that turns off auto-syncing and shuts down apps that aren’t being used. With this we got a full days use between charges. It seems a pretty miserly way to use a smartphone stuffed full of glorious features though just to get 24 hours out the battery. The Lumia 800 also had disappointing battery life and Nokia brought out a series of updates to address that. Perhaps it will do the same here.

If you thought that was bad, streaming video cuts battery life down to just over three hours. That’s half the time we have had from other smartphones doing just the same tasks. One advantage of signing up to 4G is streaming video on a regular basis. It looks like you’ll need a portable charger if you want to do this.

Own brand apps

You get Microsoft’s powerful mobile Office app and the usual range of Windows Phone 8’s pre-installed goodies. But there’s also Nokia’s own superb Maps and Drive apps. Maps is particularly impressive, doing a fabulous job searching the local area and finding shops, restaurants, pubs and so forth. Much better than Windows Phone 8 maps app. Search options include looking for places of interest, street names, and getting walking or driving directions based on your current location. No need to ask the way or get lost ever again.

It looks like Nokia City Lens could be a useful and interesting app. It picks out the best restaurants, hotels, shops, attractions for your location – in other words the stuff visitors need to know when in a strange city. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it to work so can’t say if it is as good as it looks. Presumably this is a one off pre-release issue that will be solved when this 4G smartphone goes on sale.

Top of the pops

Looking for an alternative to Spotify? There’s Nokia Music, a rather neat music service. With this service, specially-created mixes can be streamed to your Lumia 920 for free. You don’t need to sign up to anything first, and four of your favourites, amounting to 12 hours of music, can be downloaded onto the handset. That way your audio pleasure isn’t ruined by a lack of reception. Each track comes with cover art and information. There’s also the option to pay for downloads if you really want to keep something.

Unfortunately you don’t get to see a track listing for a mix before it is played. A pain as you can only skip six tracks in one hour. Still it seems churlish to complain about this little issue given this is a fully-featured and free music service. You may think differently though if you’ve already skipped six tracks and Justin Bieber comes on. On the upside you’ll most likely find some gems you may never have otherwise listened to (we did). And it is pretty amazing to be able to download mixes at all.

Occasionally, and we were unable to figure out why, the Lumia 920 wouldn’t spot that we’d plugged in headphones and would continue to play through the speakers. This didn’t happen every time, and it didn’t happen that often. Still a bit of a worry.

4G’s conclusion

It is undeniable that this is a 4G handset packed full of features you’re just not going to get anywhere else. The Nokia Lumia 920’s amazing PureView floating lens camera, the slickly useful Nokia apps such as Maps, Drive and Music, and then there’s those super cool, wireless charging gadgets and NFC accessories. It does weigh a lot, but this handset looks great. If only it had a better battery life.

Get this 4G phone on Superfast 4GEE

Nokia Lumia 920 Specification

Type of device Smartphone
Operating System Windows Phone 8
Dimensions 130 x 71 x 10.7mm
Weight 185g
Form factor Touchscreen
Input Touch Screen
Processor speed 1.5GHz dual-core
CPU Qualcomm S4
Graphic chipset
Status Coming Soon

DISPLAY

Screen size 4.55-inches
Screen type N/A
Resolution 1280×800
Display type 16 million colours

Memory

RAM 1GB
Internal storage 32GB
Memory card slot

Camera

Camera N/A
Secondary camera Webcam 1.3 mega
Special camera features Floating lens (Carl Zeiss)

Sound

3.5mm Jack
Music player Yes
Audio recording
Radio
FM Radio description

Video

Video recording
Video player Yes
Video calling
Video streaming

Additional Features

Browser IE
Games Windows Phone
Voice control
Voice dialling
Other

Messaging

SMS
MMS
Email
IM

Connectivity

Wi-Fi
Bluetooth
USB
NFC
GPS Yes

Network

Band Quad-band
EDGE
GPRS
HSDPA
4G/LTE Yes

Other

Colours (Standard) White, Black, Red, Yellow
Handsfree speaker phone
Customisable ringtones
What’s in the box
Website www.nokia.com

Battery

Standby 460 hours
Talktime 10.8 hours
Battery life multimedia 3 hours