Σάββατο, 21 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

--> Nokia Lumia 1020 review: View from the top !

- Introduction:
PureView is on its way down in history and while we loved the Nokia 808, it will be the Lumia 1020 that makes the name more than a footnote. With a modern OS and
improved design of both the camera and the phone itself, the 1020 is Nokia's - make that Microsoft's - best bet at having the best mobile camera ever made.

This is probably what Microsoft was actually buying. Windows Phone handsets are getting lost in the high-end and it's the Lumia 1020 that can raise the platform above the rabble of Androids and successive iPhones. The basic design has been around since the Lumia 800 (the Nokia N9 even), but nothing in the world can make a more decisive difference than the PureView camera.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 might as well be Nokia's loudest bang on its way out (along with the to be announced Lumia 1520 phablet). And we'll probably see the history repeat itself much like with the Nokia N9, where the last product of a lineup is always the greatest.

With 41MP resolution, the 1020 camera has twice as many pixels as its nearest competitors. Three times as many if you want optical image stabilization. And the sensor is four times as big as most smartphone sensors and more than twice as big as the second-biggest sensor. The 808 PureView had a bigger sensor, but it has since retired and it didn't have the stabilization and bright aperture to begin with.

But we shouldn't let our focus on the camera detract from the smartphone experience. The Nokia Lumia 1020 equals the best of the (admittedly not very populous) Windows Phone world and the opposing BlackBerry world. And with Microsoft's tight control on the hardware allowing for optimizations not possible on Android, the 1020 shines throughout, not just in terms of camera.

- Key features:

-Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
-Quad-band 3G with 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support
-4.5" 16M-color PureMotionHD+ AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 1280 x 768 pixels; Corning -Gorilla Glass 3; Nokia Glance
-41MP PureView sensor (38MP effective), 1/1.5" sensor size, 1.12µm, ZEISS lens, Optical Image -Stabilization, xenon and LED flashes
-1080p@30fps video recording; 4x lossless digital zoom
-1.3MP front-facing camera
-Windows Phone 8 OS with Nokia Amber
-1.5GHz dual-core Krait CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, 2GB of RAM
-Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band
-GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support
-Free lifetime voice-guided navigation
-32GB of inbuilt storage; 64GB Telefonica/O2 exclusive version
-Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
-Wireless charging with optional accessories
-Built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
-Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
-microUSB port
-Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP and file transfers
-SNS integration
-Xbox Live integration and Xbox management
-NFC support
-Digital compass
-Nokia Music
-FM radio

- Main disadvantages:

-Camera bump on the back
-Shot-to-shot time of several seconds is painful
-Screen has average sunlight legibility
-Non-user-replaceable battery
-Wireless charging needs an extra charging case to work
-No microSD card slot
-Relatively low battery capacity
-No system-wide file manager
-No lockscreen shortcuts

The new Amber update from Nokia (which integrates Windows Phone GDR2) brings a number of new software features, including Lumia exclusives, some of which are reserved for the platform's top brass. We're talking about the Pro Camera app, of course, which allows manual focus (no other phone has that). The Glance screen and color tuning are pretty awesome too, plus the old Nokia staple of free offline GPS navigation.

Still, the camera cannot completely mask the fact that the Lumia 1020 is a little boring - it's almost the exact same device that we saw late last year in the form of a Lumia 920. And Amber was more of a catchup update than anything, it's GDR3 that will bring the high-res screen and quad-core CPU support, though it won't bring these to existing products, of course.

Can the Nokia Lumia 1020 help Windows Phone become the viable third platform, alternative to both Apple and Google solutions, that Microsoft wants it to be? Only one way to find out - look at the hardware, then the software and then what we're really here to talk about, the camera.

- Design and handling -

Looking at the front of the Lumia 1020, the smartphone is almost identical to its Lumia 920 predecessor and pretty close to the first-gen Lumia 900. The only giveaway is the fact that the bulging camera module makes it sit at an angle when placed on a table or other level surface.

The build and finish quality are certainly among the best in business, although we have to admit the design isn't as impressive as almost a year ago, when the Lumia 920 launched. But even if it's a little played out now, the unibody feels impressively sturdy and with the color being inherent to the material and not simply painted on, it will certainly last a for quite a while and scratches will be harder to spot. The design is a bit worn out now, but the build quality and finish are supreme

At its launch, the smartphone will be available in three color versions - the yellow one is the so-called lead color, meaning that it stars in most promo materials, but there's also a black and a white version. There's a fourth version - red - but that's exclusive to AT&T in the US for now.

 Nokia Lumia 1020 in black & yellow!

Colors have become an important talking point recently - the launch of the colorful iPhone 5c must've given Nokia an extra measure of pride for having pioneered that feature.

All that's well and good, but a camera hump is not great for ergonomics and pocketability. The camera is in the upper half of the body, making it top-heavy. The polycarbonate is good to the touch, but not the most grippy and getting used to the weight balance may take a week or so - dropping your shiny (and pricy) phone would be heartbreaking.

You get used to it soon, but even after that, the camera hump will still be in your pocket. If we had to look on the bright side, we'd say that the Lumia 1020 is more pocketable than most digital cameras out there - certainly all that can challenge it in terms of image quality.

Even so, you have to look at the 8.5mm thick Xperia Z1 with a bit of envy - especially, knowing it has managed to sneak in a 20MP camera in this thin profile. Yes, the Z1 does have its own set of issues, too, but design-wise it's as mouth-watering as mobile tech gets these days.

It's a matter of balance and Nokia tipped the scales towards "Best camera" and away from "Slim" or "Compact." An understandable choice, considering the Lumia 925 and the 928 are very similar phones except without the camera hump at the cost of, well, the camera.

- Display -

The Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with the same PureMotionHD+ AMOLED display as the Lumia 925. There's Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top, to keep scratches away and provide extra impact resistance. The company chose to move away from LCD panels for its flagships after the Lumia 920.

AMOLED panels have the advantage to be slimmer, with more vibrant colors and far superior contrast due to the naturally deep blacks. Nokia has even supplied the Lumia 1020 will a cool color profile app that lets you tune the saturation and color balance to your liking. If oversaturated colors aren't your thing you can go tune them down to more realistic levels and if you like that effect you can go all the way up. 

The Nokia Lumia 1020's touchscreen also responds to gloves, which might come in handy when operating the flagship in the winter (Nokia is a Finnish company after all and winter in Europe doesn't come much colder than in Finland).

As far as image quality is concerned, the Lumia 1020 display performs excellently. It has good brightness levels for an AMOLED screen (it's on par with the Samsung Galaxy S4) not far behind the Lumia 920. Going from LCD to AMOLED was worth it, especially considering the excellent viewing angles and the deep blacks typical for the technology.
Sunlight legibility is where the Lumia 1020 disappoints. It's on par with the Lumia 920 (not bad for a slightly dimmer screen), but the 808 PureView is still the king in this category after all this time, but even more telling is the fact that even the old Nokia N8 has a slightly better screen in direct sunlight. Meanwhile, the Apple and Samsung flagships are crowding the top. For a phone that's so heavily focused on photography, it needs to provide a great viewfinder to frame your shots. The screen is good enough, but it should have been better. 

Then there's the resolution - a hard limit set by the OS, similar to the iPhone situation. Actually, 768 x 1280 pixels still adds to 332 ppi, which qualifies for the Retina label. Except for one thing - it has a PenTile matrix.

This means that it has two sub-pixels per pixels, and that reduces the perceived sharpness on some occasions. Windows Phone is quite adept at hiding PenTile matrixes. It's certainly not too irritating and you probably won't even feel the difference until you put the Lumia 1020 next to an Android flagship, but it's there.

- Hardware overview -

Microsoft keeps a pretty tight control over the hardware of Windows Phone devices, so understandably the Lumia 1020 brings little surprises here.
Above the screen you will find the earpiece, the ambient light and proximity sensors, as well as the 1.2MP front-facing camera.

Below the screen are the three touch-sensitive buttons for getting around the Windows Phone 8 UI. These are probably the most generously spaced capacitive keys in business. That and the extra space below them will be much appreciated for allowing an extra solid grip of that big and heavy handset.  Two-thumb typing in landscape is quite comfortable, but the uneven thickness makes getting a secure hold harder. There is absolutely nothing on the phone's left side but things get a lot busier on the right. The volume rocker is there, along with the power/lock key and a dedicated camera button. The latter would launch the camera even if the phone is locked.

At the top you get the 3.5mm audio jack, the secondary microphone and the microSIM tray. You'll need the SIM eject tool supplied in the retail package or another suitable sharp object to release the tray, but that's often the case with microSIM-packing devices, so we won't be deducting any points here. Moving on to the bottom of the phone, we find the microUSB port, which is flanked by the loudspeaker and the lanyard eyelet. There's no pinhole in sight for the primary microphone, so it must be located behind the grille, too.

The back of the device is where a large round plate accommodates the 6-element ZEISS lens of the 41MP camera, the xenon flash and the LED flash, which also serves as a video light. The bump is noticeable, but it's certainly subtler than those earlier leaks and the official photos made us believe. 

Unfortunately, it's located quite low on the phone, so when you hold it one of your fingers usually ends up on the bump. Now, that doesn't add too much to the thickness of the smartphone but it means you might get the occasional fingerprint on it, so make sure you clean the lens properly before the photo shoot.

The Lumia 1020 doesn't have a removable battery cover, which means you can't access or replace your battery. You can extend its capacity by another 1000mAh if you get the optional grip cover, which also adds a larger shutter button and a comfortable grip.

The two dots at the back connect to the optional wireless charging shell. Unlike the Lumia 920, the 1020 lacks that feature out of the box and you have to get the optional cover to make it work. The combo is certainly bulkier but you only need to connect the cover when you are actually using it, so we find this the better solution.

Aside from the non-removable battery, the other sacrifice mandated by the unibody design is the lack of expandable storage. Now 32GB should be enough for most users, but if you need more you'll have to go with Telefonica as the carrier has exclusivity on the 64GB version. 

- Battery life -

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a small (by today's standards) 2,000mAh battery, but Windows Phone 8's tight management of background processes should make a difference compared to Androids. Also, there's the Camera Grip accessory, which adds an extra 1,020mAh of battery capacity (along with a big shutter key, a great grip and a tripod mount). 

With an overall rating of 61 hours, the Nokia Lumia 1020 will easily take you through a couple of days of moderate usage. If you browse the web for more than an hour a day, you might have to charge the 1020 daily.
The talk time is very respectable at over 22 hours - other phones have lasted longer, but they had larger batteries. Plus 22 hours of calls is more than you can reasonably do over several days. Web browsing is not great at just under 6 hours, but we recently saw the Sony Xperia Z1 - one of Lumia 1020's most capable opponents in the camera department - manage only as much on a 3,000mAh battery. Finally, the video playback time is pretty great at 13 hours. 
 Source: GSMarena.com

1 σχόλιο:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)