Good camera and features; Bright, colourful display; Neat, bright design
Auto mode a little disappointing; Pauses between taking shots; Dearth of decent apps
The Lumia 1020 features a powerful Carl Zeiss 41-megapixel lens and yet Nokia has managed to retain the slim chassis – it’s just a shame about the disappointing auto mode and the dearth of apps.
Last time Nokia tried to cram a 41-megapixel snapper into a phone, it all went a bit wrong, thanks to the fact that the handset – the Nokia 808 PureView, ran on the unfriendly Symbian OS and was spoiled by its heavy, thick design.
Happily, it looks like Nokia has learned from its mistakes and now it has come up with the Lumia 1020 PureView, which runs Windows Phone 8 and boasts a lovely, slender chassis. But there are so many competitors out there in the market today – can Nokia now stand up to the competition?
At first glance, the 4.5in Nokia Lumia 1020 looks like your average Nokia handset, thanks to the soft-touch chassis and rounded edges. It is available in a choice of three colours – white, black and a rather bright yellow – nice if you want to make a statement. It even comes with bright yellow earphones, so you’re sure to be noticed!
Nokia Lumia 1020 v Lumia 925 Size Comparison
Hold the handset in your hand and it feels quite similar to the Lumia 925 in terms of heft and size. It weighs 168g, so it is actually lighter than it appears, and feels comfortable in the hand, whether you are using it as a snapper or a phone. The lens sticks out a little but does not detract from its slender design particularly. The soft-touch body is nice and the screen feels sturdy enough to stand up to everyday knocks.
Of course the standout feature on the Lumia 1020 is the 41MP snapper. EightMP and 13MP snappers are commonplace on smartphones these days, so what sort of difference can you expect of a 41MP model boasting a Carl Zeiss lens?
Well, what you get are high-res images absolutely jam-packed with details – at the launch event, Nokia showed an image of a haystack, and the presenter was able to zoom right in to find the proverbial needle hidden within.
Because detail is so impressive, you can finally use the digital zoom to go in for close-up images, without being rewarded with a load of pixellated blur. When you zoom in digitally it doesn’t actually crop the image, it just gives you an idea of how sharp you can expect that part of the final image to be. Just zoom out of the image again to see the whole picture.
The lens is of the f/2.2 variety, so is able to let in plenty of light for interior and low-light shots – it is a pity that the auto mode doesn’t make full use of this, though…We took photos at the launch event and found they were rather darker than those taken on the LG G2, and had some kind of misty quality to them as well. We fiddled with the manual controls in order to get brighter images, but it’s a shame that auto mode doesn’t do that for you. The good news is that the Xenon flash really brightens things up when it gets too dark.
Megapixels are not the only important features on a camera though – snappers on smartphones often use techniques such as optical image stabilisation to keep images sharp – and on the Lumia 1020 this is really effective – even taking a snap on a boat or bus resulted in a crisp image.
If you want to really get some control of the camera, load up Nokia’s Pro Cam app. This lets you alter ISO, as well as shutter speed, contrast and white balance. All done using a user-friendly wheel on the screen. Anyone who’s new to the joys of photography can make use of the Nokia tutorials. Other neat features include the ability to take a low-res and high-res image at the same time – great if you want to share some of your images online on Facebook, Twitter and so on. The only downside of Pro Cam is that it lengthens the time taken between shots – there was a good second pause between hitting the shutter and the shot being taken – not great for action images. Still, there is a Smart Cam mode, which takes a number of shots at the same time, allowing you to choose your best one, or putting them all together for a great action image.
Under the hood sits a dual-core Snapdragon chip, allied with 2GB of RAM to keep everything running smoothly, even if you’re watching HD video. Image processing is its only downfall. The 1020’s battery life is decent – you should be able to wait until bedtime before charging it up – and if you’re streaming video expect it to run out of juice after around five hours. Storage wise you have a choice of 32 and 64 GB (the latter is exclusive to O2) – so that’s plenty of space for games, media, apps and high-res snaps.
The operating system of choice here is Windows Phone 8, which is user friendly and has lots of neat features, such as Kid’s Corner, which lets you control what your children can use, and live tiles. It’s a just a shame that the apps store is so depleted compared with the likes of Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
For anyone who just wants to watch films, surf the net and listen to music, it’s fine, but really there’s little in the way of first-party apps, and some of the third-party ones are really disappointing. Nokia has added some neat touches such as its Here suite (which includes Drive + and Maps), plus a free music service – but it still can’t compete with Android devices at the moment.
More impressive though, is the 1020’s display, which measures a very decent 4.5 inches – the same size as the fantastic display on the Lumia 925. It’s crisp too, with a 768 x 1280 resolution that offers 334 pixels-per-inch. Great for looking at photos and watching HD video. It’s not quite up there with the likes of the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1, but nevertheless colours are vibrant, and bring images to life. It’s also bright enough to stand up to the glare of strong sunlight.
The Nokia’s Lumia 1020 is a greatly improved incarnation of the 808 Pureview, thanks to its slim chassis and impressive 41-megapixel snapper. Only the slightly disappointing auto mode and the lengthy processing times let it down slightly. But the bright, colour display and the user-friendly operating system bring it back into contention – only the lack of apps might be a deal breaker for anyone thinking of making the break from Android handsets.
A camera shell that can fit around the Lumia 1020 PureView like a case, also offers features such as tripod support and camera grip. It does make the handset rather chunky, but if you’re heading out for the day and plan to take lots of shots, you will appreciate how much more comfortable it is to hold. The best thing about the case is that it contains another battery, so you can take more video or photos before the juice runs out. A useful power meter on the side of the case tells you how much you have left.
Dimensions : 130.4 * 71.4 * 10.4mm
Weight: 158 g
Screen size: 4.5 inch
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 768
Screen Type: ClearBlack, AMOLED
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 334PPI
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-core
Processor speed: 1.5GHz
Battery capacity : 2000mAh
Onboard Memory: 32GB
Memory card slot: microSD
Camera : 41 MP, PureView
Operating system: Windows Phone 8
Wi-Fi / Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes
Bluetooth : Yes - 4.0
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