Ease of Learning: 3.5 / 5
Ease of Use: 3 / 5
Enjoyment: 4 / 5
Design: 3 / 5
Value for Money: 3 / 5
Nokia and Microsoft announced their first Windows Phone smartphone, with the Nokia Lumia 800, almost two years ago. Although the venture struggled to take off, the Lumia brand has made some leaps forward during the latter part of Q4 2012. Along with the release of Windows 8, Microsoft announced its new mobile OS, Windows Phone 8, on a number of manufacturer devices. One of the included smartphones was Nokia’s Lumia 920. As with the previous range of Lumia smartphones, the main question on everyone’s lips is whether it can compete with other flagship smarthpones on the market.
Note: The Nokia Lumia 920 has since been replaced by the Nokia Lumia 925 as the company’s flagship smartphone.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is as aesthetically pleasing as any other in the Lumia range. Although there are slight variations in the design across the range, the build quality and overall look remain intact, while packing on a few inches around the waist at 185g. Nokia has proven that their design team has created something solid, which we can fault too much; it would have been a nice touch to have done something bold with the, almost 2-year old, look and feel. The Lumia 920, though, does not rely on bold new looks and design statements, but rather as a more all-round performance smartphone.
While the Lumia 900’s display was a mere 4.3” with an 800x400px resolution, it looked impressive. The only downside was that you couldn’t help but feel that more could have been delivered from the display. The Lumia 920 has seen an increase in spec with a 4.5” IPS LCD touchscreen with PureMotion HD+ designation, at a resolution of 1280x768px and 332ppi. According to Nokia, the 920 sports a new technology known as “overdriven pixels,” which improves the response rate of the display when changing between frames and colours. The company claims an improvement in response time from a standard 23ms on IPS-LCD displays, to a mere 9ms. As with the Lumia 900, the 920 looks unexpectedly good. Immediately when turning on the smartphone for the first time, the Live Tiles, images and animations stand out with smooth rotations and sharp picture quality.
Compared to many flagship smartphones, spec-for-spec the Lumia 920 s no real match for leading OEMs. That isn’t to say, though, that the smartphone is a slouch in terms of its performance. The Lumia 920 has almost doubled its specs over the 900, shifting from a 1.4GHz Snapdragon Single-Core CPU to a Dual-Core 1.5GHz Snapdragon, 512MB RAM to 1GB, and 16GB internal storage to 32GB. Other improvements include its 2000mAh battery, Adreno 225 GPU, and inclusion of Dolby Headphone sound enhancement, to name a few.
The rear camera remains the same as fitted on the 900: an 8.7MP, 3264x2448px, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 autofocus, 1080p video capture, and dual-LED flash camera. Under normal circumstances and standard lighting, the Lumia 920’s camera doesn’t stand out much from other devices such as the Galaxy S3 or S4, iPhone 5, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and the rest of the big names. Skip over to low-light environments and photos by night, and the camera comes into its own. The camera shot images that were brighter and clearer, with substantially less noise, than any of the other previously-mentioned smartphones. Although its standard shot is somewhat average, the low-light imagery more than makes up for it.
In terms of the new Windows Phone 8 OS, Microsoft has included many updates, although most of them “behind-the-scenes.” Windows Phone 8 includes MS Office, OneNote and SkyDrive integration, making it easier to edit and share information and files as you move. Other apps and features include Kid’s Corner, Wallet, City Compass, Nokia Drive+ Beta, Internet Explorer 10, new start screen, ease of access capabilities, Tap and send (NFC-enabled), Rooms, Groups sync, Word Flow keyboard, Email by voice, Xbox Music (replaces Zune), more live apps, updated Store, and many more. The OS update has certainly made a difference with your Lumia experience, all for the better.
As mentioned earlier, the Lumia 920 now sports a 2000mAh battery. Although this is an improvement, there’s little change in the way of battery performance, as your phone still battles to make it through one complete day. Even more frustrating is that once the phone dies and you plug it in for a charge, it automatically turns itself on. This may not sound too bad at first, but after leaving it on for an extended period hoping to return with it fully charged, the device stops charging once it reaches 100% and then bypasses the microUSB power source and continues to use up battery life. On the odd occasion, you may return to find your device has already used 10-15% of its battery life without having used it at all.
Irrespective of its poor battery performance, Nokia has added a number of accessories to its range, one of which being the Fatboy charging pillow. This accessory allows for wireless charging for Qi inductive devices. While the charging pillow still requires its own power source, simply placing your Lumia 920 on the pillow makes for effortless charging. The only issue with the pillow is that is sometimes refuses to charge when the device is off centre, making the positioning quite important.
There’s plenty to love and hate about the Nokia Lumia 920, but one thing is certain, the Nokia and Microsoft partnership is here to stay; all for the better. Microsoft has rolled out a number of software updates since the release of Windows Phone 8 to fix issues encountered since its release, with many more to come in the near future. Although battery life is still a major issue, there are a few ways in which to eke out some extra minutes of usage, the most important of which is turning off the LTE capabilities.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is the best Lumia smartphone released thus far, and has the potential (with future releases) to improve enough to compete against the major players. As it stands, the venture has not reached that level as yet, while still providing a lot of fun for owners and prospective buyers.
You can find the full specifications here.