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Review: Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8


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Review: Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8

Nokia switched to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS back in February 2011 from its ageing Symbian and the first Lumia devices were available in November 2011 when Lumia 800 was unveiled. While the first generation Lumia phones were not big hits primarily due to the fact that Windows Phone wasn’t a matured platform. With the release of Windows Phone 8 in October 2012, Nokia announced its flagship phone, the Nokia Lumia 920 running WP8 and quite a lot of features including a 8.7 MP camera with optical image stabilization (PureView), PureMotion HD+  IPS LCD display with a high-sensitivity touchscreen and a Qi wireless charging alongside near-field communication (NFC). The phone was officially released in November 2012 in many markets.

So is Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8 is a good enough smartphone? Lets find out..

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1. Specifications:

Lets first have a look at the specifications of Lumia 920;

  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon, Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
  • Dimensions: 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm, 99 cc (5.13 x 2.79 x 0.42 in)
  • Weight: 185 g (6.53 oz)
  • Display: IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 768 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~332 ppi pixel density) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 with PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack display
  • Storage 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
  • 3G/4G speeds- HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS
  • Camera- 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash, video recording at 1080p@30fps, video stabilization
  • Ports: MicroUSB, Micro SIM and 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: Li-ion 2,000 mAh non-removable with Qi wireless charging

The specs front, there seems to be almost all features needed for a flagship phone. Probably, the most talked about Lumia 920 is its weight, at 183gms it is definitely not a light weight phone. But we will discuss about this aspect later. Apart from this there is no support for microSD card on this phone, but 32GB is pretty decent storage space for a smartphone considering that many phones ship with 16GB. Apart from this, there is also 7GB cloud storage offered by SkyDrive.

2. Design and Build:

The design of Lumia 920 does not have anything new to offer, it is the same popular and winning design of Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 and also N9 . It comes with a rounded polycarbonate unibody with non-removable battery and variety of colors. The quality of plastics used by Nokia is top class and the plastic body does not have any textures like the Lumia 800 and hence it feels smooth and shinny. The first time you hold it, you definitely get the feeling that it is heavy compared to the competition. In fact, at 183 gms, it is one of the heaviest phones. But what comes as advantage for Lumia 920 is the design. The curved sides give a good grip on hand and does not feel like it is heavy.

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The phone isn’t slim as well, but at 10.7 mm thick, it is slightly slimmer than Lumia 800. Over a period of use, you never know you are using one of heaviest phones and size and weight will be of little concern to you.

The top panel houses the SIM tray and also the 3.5 mm jack. A pin is included in the box to remove the SIM tray.

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At the bottom you have the dual speakers as well as the micro USB slot for charging and also to connect to the PC.

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The camera button, power key and the volume rockers house the right side of the phone. The back panel consists of 8.7 MP camera with dual LED flash.

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Quality of materials used is far more better than the cheap plastics used on most Samsung Galaxy phones and Lumia 920 gives a solid feel with its superior build quality.

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Lumia 920 vs Lumia 800

3. Display:

This is one area where you wouldn’t have anything to complain. The Lumia 920 has a 1280 x 768 resolution 4.5 inch screen, bringing 322 pixels-per-inch. Nokia has branded this display as PureMotion HD+ with IPS LCD panel. While using the display for scrolling for apps or on web pages, it is extremely smooth. Nokia Lumia 920 also has a super sensitive capacitive touch digitizer embedded into the display unit, allowing easy touchscreen use with wearing gloves. This means, if you are using the phone in winter, you do not have to remove the gloves. This feature can be disabled if not required from the settings menu.

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One area where the display of Lumia 920 shines is outdoors. The display is pretty good even if you view under direct sunlight unlike the AMOLED displays. The Gorilla Glass is curved at the edges and blend to the design giving a good feel in the hand. Overall the display of Lumia 920 is superior and one of the best available on a smartphone.

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4. Windows Phone 8- Features and Performance:

Windows Phone 8 is vast improvement over its previous version of 7.5 (Mango), there are quite a lot of new features added both on UI as well as settings. Some of new features includes new start menu, kid’s corner, IE10, backup and restore, NFC, wallet, lock screen widgets etc. We will take up the new features of Windows Phone 8.

Start screen, Resizable Tiles:

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One of the prominent change with Windows Phone 8 UI is the new start menu with resizable tiles. You can simply touch and hold the tile to delete it or resize it. There are three different options for resizing tiles, rectangle occupying the entire width of screen, or large square or smaller squares. You can re-arrange tiles you have added to start screen based on your requirement.

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To pin any app to the start menu, simply tap and hold and select the Pin to start from the menu.

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Web Browsing: IE10:

Windows Phone 8 comes with IE10 as the default browser and there is vast improvement when compared to the browser shipped with Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). The rendering of websites is pretty good, you can switch to desktop version of the website from the settings. IE10 brings a lot of performance improvements including better HTML5 support. The tabs are separate process which means even if one tab crashes this does not crash the browser.

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The below image shows the desktop version of this blog, while the alignment and CSS looks very good, the font rendering isn’t perfect and most of the times it looks too large compared to actual text size. But overall, there is considerable improvement from previous version. The speed of loading is also good and with 3G connection, even websites with heavy content (images) loaded without any issues.

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Settings:

There are quite a few other additions to WP8. One of them is the ability to backup and restore. You can backup app list + settings, call logs, contacts, messages and also restore them. The backups are stored in SkyDrive. More details on backup in Windows Phone 8, available here. There is also improvement to the lock screen. It now supports background which mean you can add a compatible app to run in the lock screen background and show you notification. An example for this app is the weather app.

Apart from this, you can also add up to 5 apps to show quick status on Lock screen (this is similar to Windows 8).

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Office Hub:

The Office Hub is the place where you can access Microsoft Word Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, and Excel Mobile and this has been redesigned for simpler, clearer navigation. And now email attachments you’ve opened will show up there automatically. Apart from this Word now has full screen reading mode like the desktop versions.

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Wallet:

With wallet, a lot of the things you’d normally keep in your pocket can now be stored digitally in your Wallet on your phone, such as credit or debit cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, and coupons. You can keep track of your card balances and transactions, set up payment cards for purchasing apps and games, browse for local deals, and more. We couldn’t use the Wallet feature to complete extend, used only for app payments.

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Kids Corner:

Kid’s Corner, a place on your phone where your child can play with the games, apps, music, and videos you add there, but can’t get to the rest of your stuff. You can add any number of apps or games to Kid’s corner so that kids can play with your phone without accessing any other options like email, messages etc. Kid’s corner is a good addition to Windows Phone 8 and works very well. More details on how to set up Kid’s corner is available here.

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Nokia Apps:

One of the best aspects of getting a Nokia branded Windows Phone is the number of useful exclusive apps from Nokia. There are quite a lot of Nokia apps available including Nokia Drive, Transport, Music, City Lens, Smart shoot, Panorama etc. Apart from these, you can also install other Nokia exclusive apps from the app store.

Related Reading: Using Smart Shoot on Lumia 920

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NFC:

Lumia 920 comes with NFC feature enabled, this means you can simply send text, contacts, web pages to another NFC enabled phone by tapping it. To send files by NFC, you need to select Tap+Send option from the sharing settings. You can follow this tutorial on how to get started with NFC on Windows Phone 8. NFC works well on Lumia 920 and we tested it with Galaxy Nexus running Android.

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Performance:

Even with the first version of Windows Phone, performance was never an issue. Lumia 800 with 512 MB RAM didn’t have any lag and the UI was fluid. The same goes with Windows Phone 8 as well. Lumia 920 comes with 1GB RAM on board and the UI is responsive. There was one or two instances where there was UI lag for couple of seconds. But the UI isn’t memory hog like some of the Android phones. Launching of apps is pretty fast compared to old version, if the app is optimized for WP8.

Signal reception on the phone was excellent and there was no dropped calls. The 3G speeds are also very good although we couldn’t test 4G LTE as it was not available in our area. There is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth file sharing available on WP8. While the Wi-Fi bug of turning off when the phone is in idle mode is still present, Microsoft has already clarified that this issue will be sorted out in the first update.

Audio and Video playback on the phone are pretty decent, although it does not beat the Beats Audio in HTC. Nokia has added an additional settings option for Lumia 920 where you can set the equalizer and also switch on the Dolby effects. There is also volume levelling feature available under settings. Watching HD movies on Lumia 920 is a treat with the super clear display.

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Multitasking is similar to the one in Windows Phone 7.5 and you can press and hold the back button to switch between apps. There is also fast resume feature for apps (if enabled in apps), which allows you to resume the app from where you left off.

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One feature probably missing in Windows Phone 8 is a system wide file manager where you can access the files in storage or SD card. You need to access pictures from the picture hub and music and videos from the Music hub. When you switch on the phone for the first time, you get 29GB of storage along with 7GB of SkyDrive cloud storage which should be sufficient. You can use the SkyDrive space to backup files to the cloud.

There is no change to the notifications center in Windows Phone 8 when compared to WP7.5 and this is once again an area which Microsoft should have done better. Android and iOS have very good and better notification area.

Windows Phone 8 now allows you take screenshots by pressing the power button and the home button. The screen shots are stored in pictures under the Screenshots folder. Overall WP8 is drastic improvement over WP7.5 and does the job perfectly.

Quite a lot of users have complained about random reboots on Lumia 920, but after 2-3 weeks of usage we never had any issues, this has something to do with carrier version of Lumia 920.

5. Camera and Video Recording:

The camera is one of the most talked about feature of Lumia 920. It features a 8.7MP PureView camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). Camera features a backside illuminated (BSI) sensor with a Carl Zeiss, f/2.0 lens, dual-LED flash, 1080p recording.

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Firstly we were disappointed that there aren’t too many options for the camera. The photo and video settings available are too basic and does not even feature a timer for capturing. The options available in photo include scenes, ISO, white balance, aspect ratio and exposure. The video recording is defaulted to 780p although it is capable for 1080p. Nokia should have included more settings for the camera app. You can switch to front camera from the options available.

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Another feature of Windows Phone 8 camera app is the lenses. Lenses allows you to put themes, effects, and more right in your camera’s viewfinder. There are quite a lot of lenses app available in the app store.

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Daylight Capture:

The normal lightning photos taken with Lumia 920 came up mixed clarity, some of the shot were near perfect to the actual scene, while some shots are tinted very warmly, saturating colors towards yellow. The zoom works very good (4X, pinch to zoom) and produces shots with decent clarity as well. The camera comes with auto focus which does the job perfectly focusing objects pretty quickly.

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Some of the shots are not perfect, the one above has too much yellow tint when compared to the actual scene. Indoor shooting also also pretty decent, but the real problem with the camera is that it is not consistent with the shots. While some of the photos have clear reproduction of the color, some are worn out with yellow tint.

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The close up captures are pretty good, below is the close up capture of Galaxy Nexus screen.

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Low Light capture:

One of the best features of Lumia 920’s camera is the low light capture and this is where Lumia 920 really excels. The low lighting and no light captures are brilliant. When you use the low light feature you get stunning shots, sometimes much brighter and vivid than the actual scene lighting. Below are some of the shots taken in night mode and also with dual LED flash.

One important aspect you need to consider is that when you take photos on low light, there can be blurring occurring in the photos even if optical image stabilization is present because of slow shutter speed. So you need to hold the phone steady while taking captured. But small shakes of the cameras are absorbed by OIS producing brilliant shots. A tripod would do better justice to the low light photography. The camera also comes with a flash light for focus assist and the focus is done pretty quickly and once locked the photos are captured.

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This picture above was shot in complete darkness with dual LED flash and it has come out pretty good.

It seems Nokia is already rolling out an update for fixing some of the issues in the camera, so the daylight capture issues should be solved with that update. Overall, the camera is pretty good and excels in low light photography.

6. Battery:

Nokia Lumia 920 comes with a 2000 mAH battery and does a decent job. While the battery does not set up any benchmarks for smartphone battery backup, it performs very well. With heavy usage of downloading over 3G, listening to songs, decent amount of calls, playing games, taking photos on low light with flash and installing apps it still lasted for around 14 hours. So we feel with average usage, it should last more than a day.

The phone also comes with Qi wireless charging unit in build. Wireless chargers are available from Nokia as well as Fatboy, but these are not included in the box.

7. Final Words:

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So, is the phone worth buying? We would say yes. If you love Windows Phone 8, this is the phone you should be using. The phone is packed with almost everything you wish on a smartphone and it has been an awesome experience using it. But having said that, if you are a person who has used Android or iOS with too many apps, you might miss on few apps on this platform, but it is catching up fast.

The phone excels in many areas like great build quality, excellent screen, camera etc. Although on the heavier side, you might not even feel you are holding one of the heaviest phone because of the good grip and solid feel the phone gives. For all these reasons, we would definitely recommend this phone.

If you have an specific questions on Lumia 920, you may drop a comment on this article, we would be glad to answer your doubts.

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Nirmal is a Technology Blogger and a Microsoft MVP in Windows. He can be contacted at nirmal@nirmaltv.com. You can find Nirmal on , and .

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ashwin

    December 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Excellent, from where u purchased the Lumia 920 in India?

    • Nirmal T V

      December 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      I havent purchased it in India, I live in Bahrain and it is available here since Dec first week

  2. purushotam gautam

    December 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Does 920 has an micro HDMI port ??

  3. arpit

    December 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Excellent looking phone ..How do you compare it with 8X

    • Nirmal T V

      December 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Thats a tough question 🙂 I havent used the 8X so cant really say which is better

  4. Pingback: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Nokia Lumia 920- Camera Comparison

  5. Pingback: Review - Nokia Lumia 925

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