Nokia Lumia 920 First Impressions: PureView Camera Raises the Bar

Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia won’t really get another chance to make a good first impression, so it’s going to need to make the Lumia 920 really count. The good news is that this Windows Phone 8 device looks gorgeous in person, both in terms of the physical design and especially the photos it takes. Although Nokia reps wouldn’t let us put our fingers on the 920, we did get up close to check out the design and key features in action. Here’s our take on this make-or-break phone from Nokia. 

Design

Despite featuring a huge 4.5-inch screen, the Lumia 920 looks manageable to use one handed, especially compared to the larger-than-like Galaxy Note II. The ceramic build looks quite solid, and it’s also scratch resistant. Color options include yellow, red, gray, white and black. While the back of the phone looks like it could pick up fingerprints quickly, we’ll have to wait and see. There’s no word yet on the official weight.

Lumia 920 Back

Super Responisve PureMotion HD+ Display

Yes, the 1280 x 768 pixel count is sharp, but we’re more impressed by the sheer brightness of the Lumia 920′s LCD. Plus, this screen’s Super Sensitive Touch technology can respond to touch right through gloves. No need to stab the screen to get a response here. Those with longer fingernails will love this screen, too.

Nokia Lumia 920

PureView Camera

This is the feature that steals the show. The 8.7-MP PureView camera inside the Lumia 920 is capable of taking gorgeous photographs with little to no light. The f2.0 aperture really plays a key role here. In a side-by-side shootout with the iPhone 4S, the Lumia 920 captured a flower vase in near complete darkness that was easy to make out, while the iPhone’s shot just looked black.

Lumis 920 vs iPhone in low light

The fun doesn’t stop there. Nokia showed us how the cool Cinemagraph feature works, which captures motion while you’re taking a photo and then lets you decide what part of the image you want to animate after the fact. This will definitely wow your friends, and it seemed pretty easy to set up. A rep even told us that these Cinemgraph images are stored as animated GIFs, a commond standard anyone can view. Cinemagraph is one of several Lens apps that promise to transform the photo-taking experience.

The Lumia 920 also shines when it comes to steadying your photos and videos. Built-in object image stabilization will prevent blur, and we saw proof when a Nokia rep started shaking the phone. As soon as he pressed the shutter half-way down, the image stopped shaking. Pretty amazing.

What remains to be seen is how fast the Lumia 920 can capture multiple shots. We didn’t see anything like a burst mode on display, which the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One Series offer. We’ll just have to wait for more details there.

Wireless Charging

Nokia actually set up a mock Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf shop to show off how easy it is to drop down your phone and start juicing up. Virgin Atlantic will be another partner, where you’ll be able to top off your phone before a flight right in the airport. At home and on the go, Nokia will make its own charging plate available that works with the Qi wireless power chip inside the Lumia 920. We’d like to know how much these accessories are going to cost, including the JBL speaker with built-in wireless charging. 

Wireless Charging

CityLens

The Nokia Lumia 920 also comes with Nokia City Lens, part of the Nokia location suite. During a demo, a Nokia rep pointing the 920′s camera outside and the phone displayed nearby restaurants and other businesses we could tap to get more info on. Other smart phones offer this kind of functionality through third-party apps, but having this type of convenience integrated out of the box will make a big difference in terms of discoverability.

Outlook

Without having a release date, pricing, or carrier info, we really have an incomplete picture of the Lumia 920. But based on what we’ve seen thus far we can say that the Lumia 920 looks like a worthy flagship device for Windows Phone 8. The camera takes stunningly gorgeous photos and we love the multiple color options. Just as important, Nokia has thought through the entire user experience, including wireless charging accessories and apps that augment the camera’s capabilities. We can’t wait to bring you a full review.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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