Introducing Windows 8
Introducing Windows 8
07/11/2012 12:31 | By David Phelan, contributor, MSN Tech

Nokia Lumia 920 review

The Finnish phone giant's latest Windows 8 goliath put to the test

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What is it?
Nokia’s new flagship phone, with the latest Windows Phone 8 software, a bright screen, lots of extras and a hefty profile.

What’s great?
The display is excellent: pin-sharp and vibrant, Nokia extras make the Windows Phone software sing and cool features like contactless charging add to the appeal.

What’s not?
It’s huge and heavy (50g heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S III which has a bigger screen!) and a design that not everyone will like.

The bottom line:
Nokia has put everything into this phone, stuffing it so full of features it became a handset that some will find just too big for comfort.

Nokia Lumia 920 review (© Nokia)

Nokia Lumia 920: Review
Last autumn, Nokia launched its first Windows Phone handsets. The Lumia 800 was well-liked, but didn’t quite take off in the way that Nokia and Microsoft may have hoped. A year later the latest software, Windows Phone 8, is here. Nokia hopes that its new flagship will benefit from the improved OS and sell in big numbers. It needs to: Nokia is no longer the world’s biggest phone company. So, will this phone save the company?

Well, there are several phones in the Lumia range. The 800 and 900 are still on sale, at more affordable prices, and the 920 will be joined by the 820 any day now. It has a smaller screen and changeable covers. So there’s a range of Nokia savers. But the Lumia 920 is the flagship, with the most features, the biggest screen and more.

Nokia Lumia 920: Build

As you’d expect from Nokia, this is a superbly built phone. It’s solid and smooth – the joints between screen and body are immaculately done, with no sharp edges where the gloss display and matte polycarbonate back meet. The SIM card sits in a tray on the top edge and this tray sits with perfect alignment in the phone. The phone has a sealed battery, which adds to the handset’s solidity. And it comes in a variety of colours: sober black or grey, glossy white or shoutily bright yellow or red.

There’s no denying this is a handsomely made phone and many will find it very good looking. It has a subtle but classic styling, a distinctive but classy appeal. But there’s no denying, this is a big, heavy phone. There’s a lot inside, but this phone is 52g heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S III, which also has a bunch of features and even boasts a screen that’s bigger (4.8ins instead of 4.5ins). Nokia’s is a thick phone, too, though the curved edges make it feel good – if heavy – in the hand, like a big, appealing worry stone to turn through your fingers.

Nokia Lumia 920 augmented reality (© Nokia)

Nokia Lumia 920: Display
Nokia’s screen is high-resolution. The 1280 x 768 pixel density works out at 332 pixels per inch. That’s even higher than the iPhone’s Retina Display, so unsurprisingly it’s breathtakingly sharp and detailed. And this is what Nokia calls a Clear Black Display, which adds to the colour vibrancy and vividness. Video playback looks great, and photos shine on the screen.

This works particularly well on the Windows Phone 8 ribbon of dynamic tiles which gleam brightly anyway, but especially on this screen. And even more so if you’ve opted for a particularly bright home screen tile colour.

See how it measures up - Nokia Lumia 920 v HTC 8X 

Nokia Lumia 920: Performance
This is a highly responsive phone with a super-speedy touchscreen and a processor which, though not quad-core, is very fast. It’s a dual-core 1.5GHz model and it’s enough to ensure that the phone never seems sluggish or overloaded with chores.

Nokia Lumia 920: Features
But Nokia has a lot more up its sleeve than a fast chip and whizzy touchscreen. For a start, there’s the camera. It’s an 8MP model, well, 8.7MP actually. And that extra 0.7MP seems to make all the difference. That and the wide-open lens (f/2.0) and something called a floating sensor which offers great optical image stabilisation. This in turn means the shutter can stay open longer, so images in low light situations are suddenly a possibility.

Nokia Lumia 920 Carl Zeiss lens (© Nokia)

And there’s more. There are photo effects which include a natty cinemagraph feature which combines a still photo and video to create a cool, slightly magical effect with parts of the image still and other parts moving.

Beyond that, there’s a skilful series of Nokia special apps to improve the Windows Phone 8 experience. Nokia has had downloadable maps for some time and these are now built into the Windows Phone 8 software, too. There’s a neat augmented reality app, City Lens, which shows where hotels, shops, landmarks and pubs are. There’s also Nokia Music, the music streaming app that’s free and offers a wide range of tracks you can play through your phone.

And that bulky hardware has a lot of extras tucked in. So you can use the phone’s touchscreen with gloves on. This works by having a capacitive touchscreen that’s so sensitive it can recognise a human finger’s touch even if it’s a fraction of an inch away from the screen, as it effectively is if there’s a layer of glove in between. If you find it too sensitive you can turn it down but this is a very neat feature. Expect others to copy this in the future.

And there’s wireless charging, so the reasons to plug your phone into a cable are diminishing fast. Just plonk the Nokia Lumia 920 onto a suitable charging unit and it starts building the charge. This will work especially well if teamed with one of the NFC speaker units which plays music from the phone wirelessly when you just place the phone on top of it, charging at the same time.

Nokia Lumia 920: Verdict

This is a handsome, powerful phone that has a lot going for it. The features are plentiful, eye-catching and effective, whether that’s Nokia’s hardware extras like wireless charging and a touchscreen so sensitive you can keep your gloves on or its software specialities like Nokia Music, or the Augmented Reality feature City Lens. But there’s no getting away from it, this is a big beast and set alongside the svelte, lightweight iPhone 5 it feels bloated and overweight.

If you like big phones, this isn’t an issue. But the trend these days is for featherweight and slim, so this is a bold exception. However, the iPhone 5 doesn’t have NFC, or wireless charging or some other features the Nokia has – it’s arguably the most advanced smartphone available. And the camera is exceptional, managing striking photographs in low light and outstanding ones elsewhere. Will this phone be enough to save Nokia? Maybe not, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

4 stars

Nokia Lumia 920: Available now, exclusive to Everything Everywhere on deals from £36 per month.

Check out its main rival in our HTC Windows Phone 8X review and its little brother in our Nokia Lumia 820 review
You may also be interested in our Google Nexus 4 review

10/11/2012 16:31
The 920 is an excellent phone and with EE,s 4g it will be a great addition to the lumia range, it is easy to use and  it has some great features
10/11/2012 16:27
excellent model of phone and with EE,s 4g it will be a great addition to nokia
19/12/2012 20:48
11/11/2012 15:46
i ordered mine, will be getting it wednesday, but what a waste as my time is going to be spent on black ops 2.
12/11/2012 12:21
I want one!! and I want a windows 8 device just for the Xbox integration!
16/06/2013 01:08
Good phone without a doubt - I actually LIKE the weight. A big but is that I am a tweaker and like to tweak my stuff so that it works better. TalkTalk has put in an internet/MMS setup on the SIM that is read only. So you cannot overwrite the damn thing. Next up TalkTalk has not provided the correct setup for this phone... Hopefully this will resolve later when some bright spark in the IT section of TalkTalk gets on the case. Their Nokia Asha setup is fine. Again the Asha is heavier than the usual but it feels classy and more robust than many phones with a hardware keyboard. 
13/11/2012 00:33
Hi I am still confused what is the batttery life of the new HTC against the Nokia   
12/11/2012 01:43

Can I change over the battery and have 1 on charge?

Why is the price so high on P&G?

13/11/2012 09:41
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