06/09/2012 09:25 | By Tom Phillips

Nokia Lumia 920 & 820: what the experts thought

Nokia and Microsoft today unveiled the first two phones running Windows Phone 8. Here's a selection of some tech experts' first impressions.


Nokia Lumia 820 (© Nokia)

Nokia and Microsoft took the wraps off two new smartphones running the new Windows Phone 8 software - the flagship Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 - at an event in New York today. They provided the world's first proper look at Windows Phone 8's capabilities, and the Finnish phone giant's latest attempts to get its smartphone mojo back after losing ground to Android and the iPhone.

Tech writers have only had a limited opportunity to play with the devices so far - but already the first impressions are coming in. So what did the gadget world think of the two handsets?

The Verge were largely impressed by their first look at the Lumia 920, writing: "The Lumia 920 feels every bit like a flagship phone... Thanks to the sharper edges the phone feels enormous in your hand (even bigger than the 900), but it's incredibly handsome."

They added: "The curved, Gorilla Glass-coated 4.5-inch display is a huge improvement over the 900, and thanks to Nokia's ClearBlack and PureMotion HD+ technologies it's one of the more impressive LCD displays we've seen… Its 1280 x 768 resolution is even denser than most 720p displays, and it looks amazing." They also thought that, on a quick play, Windows Phone 8 was "snappy and responsive".

The Lumia 820 also got a - qualified - thumbs up from The Verge: "The Lumia 820 feels much more like a normal smartphone than the 920, with rounded edges that don't feel quite as severe in your hand. The 4.3-inch display is every bit as attractive as its larger cousin's, but since the phone is a bit smaller it's more usable in one hand." However, they caution that "the 800 x 480 screen is also a big letdown after the gorgeous display on the 920."

Engadget were slightly less taken by the new phones, dislking the new finish of both devices compared to their Lumia predecessors - saying that "what once was matte and grippy is now a polished, glossy affair.  It's a design decision that we wish Nokia hadn't made, since it lends a cheapness to the handset that belies its hearty internals." But they admit this might be a matter of personal taste.

On the 920, they still found plenty to like, writing: "Viewing angles held up remarkably and the glass itself felt soft to the touch, allowing our finger to glide over the many live tiles unperturbed… the dual-core S4 powering the 920 makes for smooth scrolling and navigation. There are, however, minute delays when switching between screens and even launching apps."

And of the 820, they wrote: "Ultimately, the 820 feels and looks exactly like what it is -- a midrange handset. There's no shame in that and the software flies already. Still, it's hard to dismiss the somewhat lackluster specs and the unfortunate new design direction."

In fact, Engadget's strongest praise was for the operating system, which they said was "an absolute pleasure to use. At the risk of angering quite a few people -- there's simply no mid-range Android phone or iOS device that's as quick and satisfying to use as the Lumia 820, and much of that is thanks to the highly optimized Microsoft OS."

TechCrunch thought that the Lumia 920 seemed under-powered on paper, saying that it was "not exactly the sort of spec sheet that will set your world on fire — it’s on par with many current high-end Android devices — but Windows Phone has never been the most hardware-intensive mobile OS out there" - but added that "that said, there’s plenty to like about the Nokia’s refined take on Windows Phone 8 hardware. It retains the same design language featured in Nokia’s previous high-end Windows Phones (full disclosure: I still love the colorful, angular, polycarbonate chassis Nokia uses)."

Pocket-lint were particularly keen on one feature of the Lumia 920 - "The screen really is lovely though, and a feature we especially like is the fact that you'll be able to use it with gloves on - and not those special gloves either. A nice touch with winter coming." 

But they cautioned that "The problem for Nokia is that the competition isn't an easy fight to win and Nokia has to convince people that they'll want the new device. To do that, the Lumia 920 will need more than a flash coat of paint, but we now feel that it has the basics covered to do that."

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