A Nokia executive shows the new Lumia 920 phone with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system at a launch event in New York. Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Nokia finally unveiled their flagship smartphone, the Lumia 920, in India. 'Although the phone is still not out on shelves, Nokia allowed us to spend some quality time with the handset to test its new PureView camera with optical image stabilization.’. Here are some of our initial impressions of the Lumia 920.
Visually, the Lumia 920 looks almost identical to the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 900. Although Nokia has been recycling this design for some time now, it still looks beautiful. Nokia has once again used polycarbonate plastic for the unibody design, which has a glossy finish that looks and feels great.
Much has been said about the weight of the Lumia 920. There is no doubt that the phone is heavier than many of the current high-end smartphones out there on the market today. But is that really a bad thing? Not really. It takes a while to adjust to the weight if you're moving from a lighter device but after a couple of hours you hardly notice it. It's also not that big an issue when it comes to carrying it around in your pocket. The solid polycarbonate body and the heft also means the phone feels built to last like few devices out there.
Moving on, the Lumia 920 uses a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 768 resolution, PureMotion HD+ LCD with ClearBlack technology. That sounds like a lot of jargon but what's important is that the display looks fantastic. The colors are vivid yet natural and Nokia's PureMotion tech ensures no motion blur while scrolling. The sunlight visibility is also excellent, thanks to the ClearBlack technology. Compared side by side to a Galaxy S III directly under the sun, the Lumia 920's display was a lot clearer and less washed out. Also, you can use the touchscreen on the Lumia 920 even through gloves.
Now coming to the camera, this was the main feature that Nokia invited us to test. We especially had a good opportunity to test the optical image stabilization used in the camera, a first for a mobile phone.
First impressions were quite positive. The images, on the phone's display at least, looked absolutely amazing. This is partly due to the images themselves being pretty good and also because of the amazing display. Viewing the same images on a computer monitor revealed that quality was far from perfect, with chrominance noise being a major detraction. We were told the devices were pre-production units, so quality could improve with the retail units, which we look forward to reviewing in future.
As for the images stabilization, it didn't make itself felt while shooting stills since the images were mostly taken in bright sunlight that significantly increases shutter speed. However, during videos, it did help smoothen some of the jerks associated with minor movements of the hands, compared to other smartphones. The videos obtained, as a result, were easily some of the best we have seen from a smartphone.
In terms of software, the Lumia 920 is running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. Compared to other devices on the market, Nokia's Lumia series gets the benefit of Nokia's superior apps and services (Maps, Music, etc.) and also some exclusive games and apps from third party developers that you won't find on devices from, say, HTC.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this is still Windows Phone 8, which means the app ecosystem is still in its infancy. Although Microsoft does like to boast of increasing app numbers at every event, the reality is that Windows Phone still lacks most of the major apps and games that you can get on iOS or Android, making a switch a rather difficult decision. In our short time with the Lumia 920, this was the only thing that bothered us the most, with everything else being very impressive.
Nokia is yet to announce when the Lumia 920 goes on sale in India and at what price. It is expected to go on sale some time in January and we hope Nokia does not overprice it at launch, unlike some of their recent high-end devices. The hardware is good enough to go head to head with the best smartphones out there but the software is still lacking, which is something both Nokia and the buyers need to keep in mind.