This is the phone that a lot of us have been waiting for. It’s the Nokia Lumia 920 and this is my review after using it for 2 weeks. To summarize this review, I think the Nokia Lumia 920 is the best Windows Phone 8 device out right now. The exclusive apps from Nokia like Nokia Maps, Drive, and Music make the Lumia 920 a better buy than the Windows Phone 8 devices from HTC or Samsung. The price is also too good.
You can also watch this video in HD on Youtube. Subscribe to the channel to preview the latest videos before they get published on the blog.
This is actually my second Lumia 920. I had to exchange the first one because after resetting the device, it just got stuck at the Nokia logo. Since the red Lumia 920′s are sold out all over New York City, I ended up exchanging it for the white version instead.
The Nokia Lumia 920 has a 4.5-inch touch screen with 1280×768 resolution. That’s the largest resolution on any Nokia smartphone right now. The glass is curved which makes it feel better to hold and another cool feature is the supersensitive display. You can use it with gloves on or even USB keys. It’s very visible outdoors too.
The design reminds me of the Nokia Lumia 900, but with a little more curve. It has that polycarbonate unibody shell. It’s noticeable that this phone isn’t light, but I wouldn’t say it’s “heavy.” If you’re upgrading from a Nokia Lumia 800, the size difference is very noticeable.
On the front display is a 1.2 megapixel camera. We’ll talk more about that later. Below that are three touch sensitive buttons. The back, windows phone key, and search. They vibrate on touch.
On top, there’s a headphone jack, microphone for noise cancellation, and the sim card tray. You insert a pin in this hole to take tray out. By the way, the Nokia Lumia 920 uses a microSIM card.
An issue I noticed with the build quality is that the top of the polycarbonate material makes noise when I press down. I didn’t notice this on my red Nokia Lumia 920 and it doesn’t affect the phone’s functionality, but you might want to take a closer look at this area.
The right side of the phone shows the volume buttons, power button and a dedicated camera button. According to Nokia, these are made from a substance called Zirkonium which is scratch and dirt resistant. Pressing down on these buttons feel good and I think the darker color looks better than the chrome-looking material used in previous Lumia models.
At the bottom is the micro USB slot and loudspeakers. I don’t really have anything to complain about here. They’re loud and clear.
Windows Phone 8 Experience
One thing that you’ll notice right away is the homescreen. You can change the sizes of the live tiles. I’ve put my most used apps on top as small tiles and my email as a large tile below that. I use medium tiles for the weather app and Mix Radio.
The lockscreen also has some new features. Apps can now integrate into the lockscreen. For example, you can use Facebook photos to show up on your lockscreen or use Bing images as backgrounds.
At the bottom of the lockscreen you can choose one app that’s able to show more information. On the Nokia Lumia 920, I chose to display upcoming calendar events.
You can also select up to 5 apps to show the number of notifications. It’s a nice feature to have, but I think it would have been better if there was a way to open these apps directly from the homescreen like on Android and iPhone.
The web browser is Internet Explorer and it’s actually very good. Pinch to zoom and scrolling through webpages work well, embedded Youtube videos play back fine, and full web versions of websites are displayed properly. Flash is missing, but I don’t mind at all.
I really like that you can easily copy and paste by pressing and holding on text then dragging the in and out points. The keyboard works great too. Another thing I like is that you can change the default browser search engine to Google. Bing is default, so you go to settings – advanced – then change the search provider.
Let’s now talk about the camera on the Nokia Lumia 920. It has an 8.7 megapixel camera with Pureview technology for better low light photos. You’ve probably heard this before, but night photos are really amazing. The Nokia Lumia 920 can make an evening photo look like a late afternoon photo. Thanks to the Optical Image Stabilization on the Lumia 920, it can allow longer shutter time. Most other cameras increase the ISO to increase exposure, but this method also adds noise to photos.
While I’m really impressed with the low light photos on the Nokia Lumia 920, I can’t say the same about daylight photos. In my eyes, they appear soft and flat. I prefer more contrast and saturation. I wish Nokia had these options available in the camera settings. A workaround is to use apps like Creative Studio to edit the photos afterwards.
Speaking of cameras, the front facing camera on the Nokia Lumia 920 can record 720p videos and shoot 1.2 megapixel photos. This is great for video bloggers who like to see themselves while recording. The quality is expectedly not as good as the rear camera, but images look fine when there’s enough light.
What’s also new to Windows Phone is the camera lenses option. It’s a way to access camera-related apps directly from the camera. Nokia has released a few already that are exclusive to Lumia devices. There’s Smart Shoot, Cinemagraph, and Panorama. You can watch demos of these apps in our Youtube channel.
Nokia also has some more exclusive apps on Windows Phone 8. One major app is Nokia Maps. A new feature for Windows Phone 8 that I like is the integration with Nokia Drive, a free turn-by-turn navigation app. You can also pre-download maps so it will still work next time you’re in an area without connectivity. I also like to use the public transit map option to help me find the nearest train station.
In comparison to Google Maps and Apple Maps, I still think that Google is the leader for searching places and addresses. However, many people in areas where smartphone data fees are expensive will prefer Nokia Maps for its offline mapping and navigation.
While we’re talking about apps, let me share some of my favorites on the Nokia Lumia 920.
I’m a Google Voice user, so I was glad to find a few Google Voice apps for Windows Phone. I like GoVoice which is free and it works well.
Rowi has been been my go-to Twitter app for Windows Phone. It’s simple and fast. I’m looking forward to their next update that’s optimized for Windows Phone 8. The app is $1.49 on the marketplace.
For checking in on Foursquare, I like 4th and Mayor. The app matches the UI of Windows Phone well and the live tile gets you directly to the checkin page.
While there are many apps that will keep Nokia Lumia 920 users happy, there will be apps on Android and iPhone that are missing on the Lumia 920. Instagram is one of those apps. You won’t find it on the Windows Phone marketplace yet and we don’t know how long we’re going to wait.
Another app for Windows Phone 8 that’s missing is Spotify. It works on Windows Phone 7, so it’s probably a compatibility issue. We might see it in the marketplace very soon.
In the meantime, Nokia Music has been a great alternative. It’s free music and you can make them available offline. I’m not not talking about unknown artists either. These are popular songs from popular artists. The small catch is that you can’t choose to play specific songs. It’s like listening to radio stations based on categories and artists, but without the commercials.
Another missing feature on Windows Phone 8 that I’d like to see is a notification center. The Nokia Lumia 920 gets notifications on top of the screen like Android and iPhone, but there’s no place to see the list of notifications you may have missed. Others may argue that the homescreen with live tiles is good enough, but I respectfully disagree. There are rumors that this feature will be added in an update.
Let’s now talk about battery life. The Nokia Lumia 920 has a 2,000 mAh battery. With my usage, it usually dies by 7pm when I leave the house at 9am with full charge. Your usage is different so you might get different results. I have 1 Gmail account that pushes email, contacts, and calendar and 2 other Gmail accounts that pull email every 2 hours. I also check my Twitter account throughout the day, upload a few photos, and browse the web. This is not a very scientific test, but I probably get 3 more hours of usage with the iPhone 5.
Speaking of batteries, the Nokia Lumia 920 supports wireless charging. The wireless charger may be given to you for free depending on where you buy the device.
To summarize this review, I think the Nokia Lumia 920 is the best Windows Phone 8 device right now. The exclusive apps from Nokia like Nokia Maps, Drive, and Music make the Lumia 920 a better buy than the Windows Phone 8 devices from HTC or Samsung.
If you’re an Android or iPhone user looking to switch, the Windows Phone experience feels refreshing, but keep in mind some of your favorite apps may not be available yet… like Instagram.
Also, I think it’s great that Nokia made this phone available in bright colors instead of the usual black or white. There’s cyan, red, and yellow if you want to stand out.
The camera on the Nokia Lumia 920 is amazing, mind-blowing, and even magical at low light conditions. However, the daylight photos aren’t that impressive. I’m not saying the photos are bad, but I think a firmware update or the addition of some camera settings like contrast and saturation will make them look better.
In this review, I talked about some of the important features on the Nokia Lumia 920, but I think its major selling point is the price. You get so much for the price. Here in the US, the suggested price is only $99 with contract, but keep watching Amazon. They already had deals selling the phone for $49 and even just a penny with contract. Those who don’t want to sign up for 2 year contracts can also buy this phone for only $449 at AT&T stores.
In comparison, the 16 GB iPhone 5 costs $199 with contract and $649 without contract. By the way the Lumia 920 has 32 GB of storage already.
So that’s my review of the Nokia Lumia 920. If you have any questions for this device, ask away in the comments section below or tweet me @markguim where I can respond faster. Thanks for watching!