At no point has a Windows Phone really captured my attention but with the release of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the fact that my mate just got one has opened my eyes to the platform.
The first thing you notice is the size of the device. It’s bigger and thicker than a Galaxy S4 (and that’s not a small phone), it’s a real slab. It’s enclosed in plastic but much in the same way that people have been saying about the iPhone 5C it doesn’t feel cheap, this really does feel like a premium device. The only downside is the fact that the screen is also plastic opposed to glass so you might want to get a screen protector on that bad boy pretty sharpish.
One thing you can’t ignore, especially as it’s the 1020’s main party trick is the camera. It extrudes from the case quite a bit. The one problem I did find is that when you put the phone down it constantly rests on the lens because it sticks out so far which would have me worried all the time.
But as with all Nokia hardware it’s really well made and feels great in the hand.
So back to the camera as this is the one reason for buying this device. It’s a stonking 41 megapixels much the same as the 808 PureView which had limited success mainly due to the fact that it was running Symbian but now packaged with a more modern phone OS it certainly improves things. You can take advantage of all this power using two custom Nokia apps, Pro Cam and Smart Cam. Pro Cam gives you all of the options that you’d expect in a professional setting, I can’t say that I understood all of them not being a photographer but you happy snappers out there probably know more about those than I do. The one thing that I was most impressed with was the Smart Cam option. This allows you to do some pretty high powered editing right on the device such as motion shots, sequences and even remove elements. It also runs in a burst mode and automatically selects the best shot which I thought was pretty clever.
The one thing you can’t deny though is the fact that the 1020 takes totally amazing pictures. Even for a novice like me everything looked amazing and thanks to those 41 megapixels you can zoom right in to the tiniest detail. Photos are vibrant and pin sharp, something I have trouble achieving on my iPhone most of the time.
The 1020 also comes with a camera grip (optional extra) to steady those trembling trotters which snaps onto the phone with ease. It also has a battery built right into the grip which can be charged separately so you’ve got backup but the one thing that myself and my good mate did notice is that Nokia doesn’t advertise this anywhere, not on the box or in any of their promotions which I think is a real miss. It also allows you to attach any conventional tripod.
Now for the elephant in the room. It’s running Windows Phone 8. Now I’ve never been a real fan in the fact that I would never adopt it but I’m not against it either. As an OS you can’t deny that it’s slick and on the 1020 it’s really slick. The main problem with WP8 is the lack of apps, yes it’s got Angry Birds but even my toaster has that now but the 1020 makes up for it as it’s bundled with some fab Nokia apps. As I mentioned before the camera apps are to die for, there are some really awesome options in there. Their maps offering ‘Here’ is probably better than anything else out there and just a joy to use and the rest of the goodies in there are a sweetener for the desolation of the Microsoft App Store.
I’d really like for Windows Phone to do well as it is a viable alternative to iOS and Android but developers really need to get behind it if only to support the 1020’s awesome camera.
So in conclusion this is an awesome phone and brilliantly made but let’s be honest, you’re only going to buy it for the camera. But if you want a pro device in your pocket (if you can get it in there) you can probably see past the OS. I really hope that with Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia that they keep developing this hardware and the software to match as it could actually be a contender.
I don’t get things wrong often but this time I did. The 1020 does not have a plastic screen. I have been expertly informed that it’s Gorilla Glass 3.