Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands-On Review

The Finnish giant has apparently been experimenting with its devices and we saw some bold moves in the past. Not that we are complaining but some of them turned out to be disappointing in terms of units sold. Nokia devices have got good cameras and this fact has been true for a long time. The problem is that they all faded out along with Symbian. They launched the 808 Pure View with a huge 41 megapixel sensor but it was a tough job to sell that device due to the aged hardware and operating system.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

On the other hand, Nokia devices running windows phone were catching up and people actually loved the Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8. I am an Android fan but still I love the WP8 interface for its simplicity. The Nokia Lumia 1020 packs in the best of WP8 device features and the best Nokia 808 had (okay it is just the camera). The camera is something the enthusiasts will love on a mobile device. Even will we ignore the camera, the device is pretty good and not a disappointment like the Nokia 808.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

Design

Nokia Lumia 1020 is very well built just like other Nokia devices and is made of polycarbonate material. It is kind of wide which doesn’t really help. Some people might find it uncomfortable to hold and the weight of 158 gms doesn’t help the cause. Do note that even at this weight, it is lighter than the Lumia 920. Dimensions are almost the same as the 920 and so are the looks. The buttons and ports have their usual spot. Right spine has got the volume, power and camera keys. On the top there is the headphone jack and the micro SIM slot. The bottom houses the micro USB port and the loudspeaker.

It looks very similar to the 920 when viewed from the front. We don’t have any complaints against the design but it will start ageing soon. The most prominent visible difference between the two is the protruding camera module. Even though it is 10.4 mm thick at the camera module (which is obviously its thickest), it is slimmer than the fat Nokia 808. The phone, as we already said, is very well built and we have no doubt that it can easily survive some drops. It is a Nokia after all. The phone won’t lie flat on its back due to the bulging camera but that doesn’t make much difference. Apart from the usual black and white, it is also available in yellow.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

Display

Nokia Lumia 1020 has got a PureMotion HD+ AMOLED display which measures 4.5 inches. It has a resolution of 768 x 1280 pixels. The pixel density turns out to be 332 pixels per inch which might not sound like much on paper but is more than enough. The difference in densities is hardly visible once it crosses the 300 mark. As it is an AMOLED display, the contrast ratios are just superb and the abundance of black in windows phone interface make good use of it.

The colours are replicated very well and they are true to real. We have seen people complaining about colours being oversaturated on AMOLED displays but it is not the case here. Still if you are not comfortable with the display, you can oversaturate or desaturate the colours according to your liking. The brightness levels are good and the lack of any glare makes it good for use outdoors. The touchscreen works even when you have got your gloves on. The AMOLED is a pentile matrix display like on the S3. It has got two sub pixels per pixel which might make the display look less sharp on some occasions. This won’t be visible to you until you put it against something like the LG G2 or the HTC One.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

Software

Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with windows phone 8 amber update and it is essentially the same as other Lumia devices. The tiled interface of WP8 is smooth and neat. They provide some preinstalled Nokia Apps that you would find on other Lumia devices as well. There are some other camera related apps too that you would find on this device only. The OS is good for someone who wants simplified smartphone experience.

While most popular apps are available for windows phone devices, there are a large number of apps which are not. The marketplace is nowhere as good as the app stores on Android or iOS. Also many of the apps which are available for Windows Phone aren’t as good as the android or iOS counterparts. Though Instagram has finally made it to windows phone, so now you can flaunt your superb photographs in front of Apple or Samsung owners.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

Hardware/ Performance

The Nokia Lumia 1020 runs a Qualcomm chipset and the dual core Krait processor has a maximum clock speed of 1.5 GHz. To handle the graphics, there is the Adreno 225 GPU. It has got 2 GB of RAM which is more than enough for windows phone and is available with 32 GB of storage. The interface runs as smooth as any other decent windows phone 8 devices. The extra RAM doesn’t make a difference anywhere except for the heavy games and apps which require a certain minimum amount of RAM to run.

It has almost all the connectivity options you might need. It gets support for LTE, dual band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, standard micro USB, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS & NFC.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

Camera

Well this is the party piece here. The slightly bulging camera module on the back on this device packs in a 41 megapixel image sensor. It can capture 38 megapixel images in 4:3 or 34 megapixels in 16:9. It has a six element lens array with back side illuminated sensor instead of the front side illuminated sensor on 808. It has got optical image stabilization to reduce the blur in your photographs and videos. Also night shots will be better due to the stabilization feature as night photography involves prolonged exposure.

The sensor on the 1020 is slightly smaller than the one on 808 but Nokia says that it is better at capturing low light photographs. Also the aperture is slightly more at f/2.2 than the 808 with f/2.4. This would allow for more light and better night photographs. We have absolutely nothing against Nokia’s claims. The camera captures a lot of details even in conditions where most mobile cameras fail to capture anything at all without the flash. While we don’t like to use the flash, it isn’t the usual LED flash. It is a proper Xenon flash and it illuminates the subject uniformly when used.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review

The stock camera app would not let you click images in full 34 or 38 megapixels. Neither would it allow many alterations to the quality of captured photograph. Nokia has added the Nokia Pro Cam app which offers lot of control to the user. You can vary the exposure, shutter speed, ISO, focus and white balance. The app gives you a real-time preview of the current image and the image that would be produced after making the changes. There are various other smart options that you can use. The downside is that this app takes a while to save the photograph, almost 3-4 seconds. The high resolution photographs are saved along with a 5 megapixel copy of the same photo which would be used for anything on the phone except editing. There are various other camera apps that are available on this device but only the pro cam would capture high res images.

Verdict

This Nokia device is a great improvement over the Nokia 808. The camera is just superb and one of the best we have seen on a mobile device. If you need a simple smartphone and your phone doubles as your point and shoot, this is the device for you.

Nokia Lumia 1020 Review Pictures:

Nokia Lumia 1020 Hands On Review


Kamalahasan, or as we like to call him, Kamal, is a passionate ‘Motorman’ and a "Tech Savvy'. In the older days, riding/ driving fast was a demonstration of adolescent boys and their apparent manhood.. but no more does this hold true, especially since fuel prices have sky-rocketed and we motoring enthusiasts end up plucking hair. Our ‘Motorman’ took the elegant way out. He began writing about his passion. - Google+

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