Nokia Lumia 1020 review

by DannyUK

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is an intriguing phone.

If you’ve been a long-term mobile phone user, the chances are that you’ll have owned a Nokia in the past. In recent years, I’ve turned my back on Nokia after being seduced by an iPhone 4 and then a Google Nexus 4.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is an intriguing phone, though. I’m not a technical person by any means, so I’m approaching this review like a ballet dancer reviewing a Nirvana album.

The thing that appealed most about this phone above everything else was the camera. I think the first camera I had on a phone was 1.2MP. This went up with various upgrades to a whopping 8MP with my latest phone, the Nexus 4. The Lumia 1020 though has a 41MP camera. You read that correctly.

Going from a Nokia N95 to an iPhone 4 and then to the Nexus meant getting used to new ways of doing things. Being in my mid-thirties, I have now reached the point where I turn to my kids if there is anything remotely technical that needs sorting. As I sit there struggling with an instruction manual, the kids have picked up, flicked through various menus and set up whatever high tech piece of equipment has left me flummoxed before I can work out where the English instructions begin in the weighty manual. So jumping from using an N95 to an Apple iOS system and then to Android was hard enough. To then try using the Windows phone operating system was possibly a step too far for my feeble brain.

But let’s start at the basic stuff. The phone has a 4.5-inch touchscreen display that is 1280 x 720 in size. It has a micro-USB charging port, which seems to be the standard these days and has a microphone at both the bottom and the top the latter of which is supposedly for noise cancellation.

The back of the device has a large camera module, which sticks out and is quite unsightly. It also means that the phone will never sit flat on its back, which is a shame.

Dimension-wise (and I had to look this up!) it’s 130.4mm tall, 71.4mm wide and 10.4mm thick and weighs 158 grams, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB on-board storage and a 2,000 mAh battery inside. Sounds impressive, but means little to me!

Otherwise, it’s just plain old Windows Phone 8. The Windows 8 live tile system is well laid out, and fairly easy to use. The tile sizes can be changed in size, allowing you to make them large or small, and you can get a list of your apps and settings with a simple swipe on the screen. You can also do things like turning your phone over to silence it, or double tap the display to turn it on, which is quite nifty. The layout was visually appealing and very easy to use.

I was surprised at the lack of apps available, though. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the sheer volume of apps available on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. The most popular apps are available. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare are available, but it was missing some apps that I use all the time, like Vine, Instagram and DropBox (edit: Apparently some of these are available. I couldn’t find them. Make of that what you will). This immediately puts me off of the phone.

With regards to general performance, the Lumia performed well. Phone calls were clear; there were no noticeable issues that I could see. I certainly didn’t experience any lag when scrolling through apps which I occasionally do when using the Nexus.

The camera gives some excellent quality photos, as you may expect. It saves two versions of each photo that you take, a 5MP version and a much bigger version up to 41MP. The downside is that using the camera seemed to rapidly drain the battery, and I would find myself having to recharge after being out for a few hours. Not only that but having such a large camera on the back of the phone means that the phone wobbles when you put it on its back. This in turn means that it marks easily, which is a shame. The other annoying thing is that you aren’t able to upload full-size pictures directly from the phone. You can get the 5MP versions, but in order to get the much larger photos, you have to connect the phone to a PC.

Overall, the phone is pretty decent. It’s the first Nokia phone in almost five years that has even remotely appealed to me. Unfortunately, I think that I am too used to Android or iOS to successfully switch long-term to a Windows phone, which is surprising as I use Windows at home, so it wasn’t completely alien to me. Had the range of apps been much larger, it would have been easier to make the full-time switch, and I’ve no doubt that in a few years time, when the Windows app store is on a par with its Android and iOS rivals, this phone would have been much more appealing. The one thing I am definitely going to miss though is the camera. It really has to be seen to be believed, and I would even go so far as to suggest that this is more of a camera with a phone attached than the other way around.

You can get the phone for free on some pay monthly plans. To buy the phone sim-free is £520, or from £350 on pay as you go, though looking on Amazon (link below) reveals a cheaper price.

Buy from Amazon: Nokia Lumia 1020 - sim-free

I’ve put some comparison photos below showing the Lumia 1020 pictures against a Nexus 4 equivalent taken at the same time:

Chelmsford graffiti - taken by Nexus 4

Chelmsford graffiti - taken by Nexus 4

Chelmsford graffiti – taken by Nokia Lumia 1020

Chelmsford graffiti – taken by Nokia Lumia 1020

Chelmsford graffiti - taken by Nexus 4

Chelmsford graffiti - taken by Nexus 4

Chelmsford graffiti – taken by Nokia Lumia 1020

Chelmsford graffiti – taken by Nokia Lumia 1020

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