GadgetsLab: Nokia Lumia 920

SHARE

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.53.50 PM

 

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.13” x 2.79” x 0.42”
  • Weight: 185g
  • Screen: 4.5” HD IPS LCD, 768×1280, 332ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Storage: 32GB, no expansion slot
  • Processor: 1.5GHz Krait Dual-core, Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.1
  • Network: 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – RM-821, RM-820, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 – RM-821, RM-820, 4G Network LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 – RM-821
  • Camera: 8MP Main, 1.3 MP secondary

What’s Hot:

  • Great feel and build quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • I really love Windows Phone 8

What’s Not:

  • Might be a bit heavy for some
  • Weak camera for its class

Bottomline:

  • If you’ve wanted to try Windows Phone 8 for a while, or just want a phone that could quite possibly outlast you, this is a great place to start.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.53.57 PM

Windows Phone 8 is one of the more neglected smartphone operating systems in the market. This is a real shame, since there are a lot of great phones that run the OS. Not the least of these is Nokia’s Lumia line, at the top of which is the gorgeous Lumia 920. Our good friends at Nokia sent one over for review last week, and in the short amount of time I have spent with the device, I have loved it.

The Lumia 920 is currently Nokia’s flagship device, and they have designed it to look and act every bit the part. The Lumia 920 is all curves from the rounded-off edges of its Gorilla Glass 2 screen to its  tough, polycarbonate sides and back. It feels warm and organic in the hand, like it is exactly where the phone belongs. The Lumia 920 brings more than just Windows Phone 8 to the table. It comes with a very roomy 4.5-inch IPS screen , a dual core S4 Snapdragon processor running at 1.5GHz and 1GB of RAM. The screen has a crisp resolution of 332ppi and looks great, even in direct sunlight. It is a little on the large side, at approximately 5 x 28 x 0.4-inches, and a bit hefty at 185-grams, but the build just feels solid. You know, as you move it around in your hand and use it that this is not a device that will let you down.

Our Lumia 920 came in a beautiful shade of red. At first, I found it to be a little on the orange side, but slowly, as I spent more and more time with it, the color grew on me. The color on the plastic used in the main construction of the device isn’t painted on, rather the plastic itself is colored. This greatly increases the wear resistance of the phone, and makes it look every bit the premium product it is. I can’t stress enough just how sexy this phone is, or how well the sleek finish and form go with the modern Windows Phone 8 interface. Those familiar with the Windows Phone 7.x OS should have no problem adjusting to 8.0—it’s pretty much the same thing, but with features that allow it to be more in-line with future hardware. Most will be content to see that it is just as pretty, simple and functional as the previous iteration of the Windows Phone OS. The home screen can be configured to your liking, icons can be pinned and resized to your heart’s content, and colors can be changed to reflect your current mood or whim.

Using the phone was dead simple. I have not really owned a Windows Phone device in the past, but that was no hindrance to getting the Lumia 920 to go. I just signed in to a Windows Live account, which I also use for my Windows 8 work laptop, and everything was good to go. My contacts, messages, settings and online accounts were all there, seamlessly and painlessly.

The OS kept the extremely smart keyboard that did a great job at prediction and auto-correction, even during my clumsiest attempts at messaging, and was as easy to use with one as it was with two hands. Of particular interest was Nokia’s City Lens app. It is a very well executed augmented reality app that combines GPS, a data connection and the device’s camera to show you what points of interest are nearby just by raising the Lumia 920 and looking at the city through the screen. Though some landmarks were a little out of date, the majority of them were just fine and, more than once, I was able to find a gas station or quick bite to eat thanks to the app.

Another feature I found extremely convenient was the Lumia 920’s excellent Bluetooth headset integration. With my Plantronics Voyager Legend paired to the phone, I was able to have messages read to me, dictate a reply, call or ignore the message completely. This made driving and communicating a much safer, and actually quite pleasant experience.

The camera on the Lumia 920 carries Nokia’s “Pureview” label, and is an 8-Megapixel affair, with Carl Zeiss optics. The camera, I’m sad to say, let me down a bit, with more grain than I was expecting for a top-tier device. It is more than adequate for the odd snapshot or two of a night out, but in a world where flagship devices offer cameras that are able to take magazine-quality images, the Lumia 920 lags behind. There is also a handy 1.3-megapixel front camera for video calls or self-portraits.

A huge plus for the device is the battery life. The Lumia 920 has more than just wireless charging in its bag of power tricks. We went on our yearly Gadgets roadtrip a few days after I got the device, and I wanted to put it through its paces, so I defiantly left the charger at home, just to make a point. Okay. Maybe “defiantly left” is too strong. I forgot the charger at home. I was connected to the phone via a Bluetooth headset, was connected to a mobile hotspot a lot of the time, and made about an average number of calls and texts during the two-day adventure, and I was very pleased to find that by the time I returned home, I had roughly half a day of use left. That was a total run of over 50 hours of real-world battery life, very impressive, considering everything the phone can do.

I said it at the top of this review: I love this phone. Sure, there are other more popular operating systems out there, but the simplicity of the Windows Phone 8 interface is pretty hard to top. The integration with Windows 8 (which many of you are likely using) is rather nice, and it feels rock solid. This, coupled with above-average battery life and superb Bluetooth support make for a phone that’s a winner all around.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.54.06 PM

First Published in Gadgets Magazine, May 2013

Words by Ren Alcantara