Nokia 2013 Rating: Best and Worst Smartphone Brands

best worst smartphone brands nokia lumia

Having made the commitment to Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s Lumia phones look and feel unique in the marketplace. And Nokia adds plenty of value to Microsoft’s easy-to-use platform with its PureView camera and useful apps and services. Nokia placed in the top three for both special features and design, helping the brand to place 4th overall. While lackluster battery life and weak audio performance held Nokia back, we expect much better things from the company’s next crop of phones. 

Reviews (10/15)

Buoyed by a new partnership with Microsoft, Nokia bet big on Windows Phone 8 this past year, launching slick new smartphones to go along with the OS. And it seems to have paid off, as Nokia slid into fourth place on the strength of such devices as the Lumia 920. This handset earned an Editor’s Choice and 4 stars, partly due to its having the best low-light camera on any smartphone. The vestiges of its old Symbian OS still haunted Nokia’s ratings, though; despite the awesome 41-MP camera on the 808 Pureview, its creaky OS dropped this phone’s rating to just 2.5 stars.



User interface (11/15)

nokia user interface

The majority of Nokia’s devices come loaded with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. Windows Phone’s unique Live Tile interface is refreshingly different from Android and iOS and gives users a fair amount of customization options. Plus, you can now easily resize tiles on the fly. Parents will appreciate the Kids Corner feature, which gives children their own Start screen with pre-approved apps. Nokia doesn’t really add much to the interface mix because Microsoft prefers a consistent interface across Windows Phone devices, but the company does add plenty of camera features and branded apps. 

MORE: Top 25 Windows Phone Apps

Battery life (7/15)

While a couple of Nokia’s phones lasted close to 6 hours in anecdotal use, a few of its handsets brought up the rear, with the Nokia Lumia 521 lasting just 3 hours and 9 minutes and the Lumia 822 lasting a paltry 3 hours and 54 minutes on the Peacekeeper battery test. The Lumia 920 lasted a little over 3.5 hours. Nokia’s higher-end Lumias lack a removable battery. 

MORE: Best Smartphones 2013

Special features (13/15)

nokia special features

Nokia adds a ton of value to the Windows Phone platform, thanks to its apps and services. Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps help you navigate, while features like CityLens lets you see what restaurants and shops are around you via a virtual reality app. Nokia Music lets you listen to your favorite songs on the go with a slick interface. Plus, Nokia supports wireless charging for many of its handsets.

Display (7/10)

Both the Nokia Lumia 928 (AMOLED) and 920 (LCD) boast Nokia’s 4.5-inch 1280 x 768-pixel PureMotion HD+ displays, which deliver fantastic photos and videos. Both panels are also quite bright. However, other smartphone screens are sharper. The Lumia 822and the Lumia 810 sport 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 resolution displays that offer generous viewing angles and vivid colors, though text looked grainy. Nokia’s AMOLED 808 PureView uses ClearBack technology to make colors look bold, but photos appeared pixelated.

Camera (6/10)

There’s no doubt that Nokia’s Lumia 920 and 928 capture better low-light images than other competing smartphones, but color accuracy was a huge problem during our Smartphone Camera Shootout. That being said, the Nokia PureView 808 is the only phone on the market to come with an impressive 41-megapixel sensor, which completely blew away the iPhone. Nokia smartphones also come packed with Lens apps for customizing the photography experience, such as Smart Shoot, which lets you flip through eight photos to find the best shot, and Cinemagraph, which lets you add movement to still images.

Design (8/10)

Nokia’s phones are a lot like Legos: fun, colorful and a little blocky. Nokia goes against the design grain, choosing to wrap the Nokia Lumia 920 and in a chunky polycarbonate rectangle. Even Nokia’s curvier devices like the Lumia 822 tend to be thick around the middle. However, the Lumia 928’s slimmer frame showed off a level of polish and refinement that proves Nokia can peacock with the best of them. 

MORE: Top 10 Smartphones

Audio (1/5)

Do not plan on using a Nokia handset as a boombox at your next barbecue. The speakers on the Lumia 920, for instance, produced cacophonous fuzz rather than Adele’s beautiful depth on “Someone Like You.” We also had problems hearing callers on a couple Nokia smartphones when in a noisy place, with the Lumia 521 as an exception. However, when you plug in headphones, things improve for Nokia, thanks to its built-in Dolby settings. The Bass Boost setting added some thump to Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice.”

Selection (2/5)

Nokia’s high-end Lumia 920 and 928 are available on AT&T and Verizon, respectively, with the budget-minded 820 and 822 also available on those carriers. However, you won’t find any Nokia phones on Sprint, and T-Mobile only has the low-end Lumia 521.

nokia best worst smartphone ranking 4th place



Best and Worst Smartphone Brands 2013

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  1. Neil Katz Says:

    I have had a Nokia Lumia 521 for close to a month now. I don’t know how you test battery life, but this is the first phone, Smartphone or otherwise, that I feel confident will last me a full day without recharging. Granted, I do not use it for a lot of talking, less than 100 minutes a month, but this was the case with all of my other phones too. Since I am home much of the time, the majority of my data usage is over my home wi-fi connection, previous phones were used more on the cellular data network (don’t know if this made a real difference or not). At the end of my day, I still have over 60% of battery life remaining. Maybe my usage pattern is not typical, but it is a pattern that I had with other phones, all of which I had to recharge at least once during the day to prevent them from running out of power.

  2. Pieter De Greef Says:

    How can the writer be this biased? How can you deduct points for a device that is, by the time this article was published – close to one and a half years old… Knowing full well two or so weeks from the publishing date a successor will be presented! I don’t see any referencing to iPhone 4S… You also deduct points for using the dated Symbian platform which is bullshit… the last Symbian smartphone was the 808 PureView which was presented February 27, 2012 while the title states “Best and Worst Smartphone Brands 2013″… 2013! You also compare battery life of different Lumia devices (mainly low end) with the one from an iPhone, a phone that costs three times as much… The same with camera performance… referencing to a 16 month old device and while the company currently has a camera phone that blows away the competition… You might say “Ah well, but the 1020 wasn’t presented back then.” But remember, you state “Best and Worst Smartphone Brands 2013″, so just not the first quarter + a 808 successor was know to arrive that same month and you don’t mention it anywhere. Giving the PERFECT score to the iPhone on a subject as personal as design proves my whole point. Besides, I don’t think you know what perfect actually means… It means it can NOT be improved… Really? An iPhone’s design cannot be improved? Are you that cocky? We’ll wait when Apple “Reinvents everything again and again.” and we’ll see if indeed, the design couldn’t be improved. I am not implying Nokia is the better smartphone brand, far from it, but I am pleading for a more objective view…

    Also, making a device not available through a certain carrier in a certain country (USA) does not make for a BAD smartphone company… Once again the inhabitants of the US of A think the world ends at their borders… Sad
    + not having a removable battery is worth mentioning, but pricing isn’t… Good going…

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