Nokia Lumia 1020

Been kinda wanting a new phone a while but nothing on the market had really appealed for me. As a photographer, when the announcement that the new Nokia Lumia 1020 would be released with the same tech as the PureView 808 and be based on Windows Phone 8; I was immediately sold. The PureView 808 was based on the dead Symbian OS and wasn’t something I wanted to touch.

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The packaging is pretty simple, colourful box with the inside a slide out tray, inside is just the phone, micro USB cable, charger and earphones in the colour of the phone. I grabbed a yellow phone so unfortunately for me that means yellow earphones.

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It’s design is similar to previous Nokia phones, polycarbonate body which feels quite nice in the hand and supposedly hides scratches quite well. The screen is quite nice and outdoor viewing is excellent, much better than my previous Galaxy S3 which wasn’t that great. Slightly rounded sides and screen leave for a nice touch; most of the phone is thin enough.

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The camera does bulge a little and when on the table doesn’t sit flat, not such a bad thing as it means the camera lens doesn’t make contact.

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So Pureview? It’s a 41 megapixel camera with the sensor size comparable to some of the better point and shoot cameras. The number is ridiculous, but it’s not as much of a gimmick as it initially sounds.
_DSC3530 Admittedly that was my first reaction, but reading into the finer details of what Nokia decides to do with the 41 megapixels is pretty clever. Essentially Nokia ‘super samples’ or combines multiple pixels to recreate a larger pixel with more colour detail and less noise.

What results is an image which has more accurate colour and better low light detail. The standard image which comes out is a more respectable 5 megapixel image which is stunning for a phone. The image below was in a room that was barely lit and it was able to produce a pretty good image.

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Further, they use this tech to allow a ‘semi lossless zoom’ by using native pixels as you zoom in digitally. You’re not losing quality as that’s how the sensor would perform normally but you’re not getting the benefits of super sampling.

Here’s an idea of the kind of detail you can get:

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What else is great? Xenon built in flash, this kinda tech had popped in and out of phone tech over the years; however the difference it makes compared to a LED bulb is night and day. Xenon flashes are brighter and have a shorter duration, allowing you freeze motion a lot better.

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The bits which are great about the phone’s camera is the inbuilt lens stabilisation (which uses ball bearings), this allows for shutter speeds as low as 1/4 and provides great stability when recording photos and low light images. Strangely enough you can hear the rattle of the stabilisation system, very odd.

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The Nokia Pro Camera app which allows full manual controls (not aperture as that’s fixed) including shutter speed and ISO and white balance. The lens is a snappy f/2.2 aperture and wide enough for everyday use. Due the fast lens and large sensor, it’s quite possible to get a nice depth of field without having the camera centimetres from your subject.The device also has Nokia’s PureAudio tech, this allows the phone to record super clear audio during video recording with plenty of dynamic range, this is something most cameras struggle with (let alone phones). I haven’t had a chance to play with this personally but the results can be heard online.

So that’s enough about the camera, what about everything else? Well to be honest it’s Windows Phone 8, there’s not much to differentiate it and it runs wildly smooth despite it’s weaker hardware. With pre-ordering, I did get a wireless charging kit to go with the phone.

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I really like Nokia’s idea of making the wireless tech optional, if you want it, purchase a cover which snaps on and attaches to two pins exposed at back of the phone.

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Snapping on the cover does add a little bulk but it’s not too bad.

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The charging pad is a bit smaller than I expected and does require a of careful placement, not the ‘just drop it on the table and it’ll charge’ mantra I was hoping for. Wireless charging standard used here is qi so it’ll work with any other qi chargers.

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Overall, so far I’m heaps happy with the phone, still getting used to the Windows Phone interface, it’s design intention is a lot different to Android and Apple and does have a bit of a learning curve. Compared to the Galaxy S3 its profile is pretty much thicker due to the camera.

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The Windows Phone OS is certainly snappy and doesn’t choke like the Android did at times.

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