Review: Nokia Lumia 1020

Review: Nokia Lumia 1020

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a thick design and a limited app ecosystem, but an exceptional camera.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a thick design and a limited app ecosystem, but an exceptional camera.

Design & display

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a very large smartphone, largely a result of the camera lens that protrudes from the back. You'll really need to get used to this design, especially if you're coming from a slimmer handset.

The protruding camera lens on the back means the Lumia 1020 doesn't sit flat on a desk or table, so the device rocks from side to side every time you tap on the screen.

The Lumia 1020 feels superbly constructed. There's no gap between the screen and the attention to detail in the bottom speaker holes, and the centrally positioned headphone jack on top is definitely welcomed.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 4.5in AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x768. Despite the resolution not being full HD, the screen is excellent.

Performance outdoors in direct sunlight is one of the highlights of the device — it's much better than most other smartphones on the market.

One minor complaint is that text can often appear jagged in the Internet Explorer browser.

PureView camera

The Nokia Lumia 1020's camera uses Carl Zeiss optics, comes with a Xenon flash for still photography, has an LED flash for video recording, and uses a 41-megapixel "PureView" sensor.

The "dual capture mode" in Nokia's default Pro Cam app captures two pictures every time you take a photo. A 34-megapixel or 38-megapixel full resolution image is stored for editing, while a 5-megapixel image is available for sharing.

Each time you edit or crop your original photo, a new 5-megapixel image is saved to the phone's camera roll.

The real benefit of the Lumia 1020's huge 41-megapixel sensor is the ability to zoom in up to 6x without losing any detail.

The PureView system means you can zoom and crop images without sacrificing image resolution. Then, when capturing basic 5-megapixel shots, the Lumia 1020 uses what's called oversampling to combine up to seven pixels into one "pure" pixel.

The results are seriously impressive. Photos we captured with the Lumia 1020 were consistently outstanding, with more detail than any camera phone we've reviewed.

The ability to adjust manual settings is the highlight of the Lumia 1020's new default camera app, called Nokia Pro Cam. Sliding the on-screen capture button to the left brings up on screen controls where you can manually adjust settings like exposure level, white balance, shutter speed and ISO and even focus.

These features are very impressive, though switching between all the available modes can be a little sluggish. The Pro Cam app can often take up to five seconds to launch from the lock screen, and we also experienced lag when adjusting some manual settings.

The Lumia 1020's camera also doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder with 4x zoom, or 6x zoom if you opt to shoot at the slightly lesser 720p quality.

Software & performance, battery life

The Lumia 1020 has 2GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of internal memory, but all other internals are almost identical to the Lumia 925.

If you already own a Lumia 925, it's really not worth upgrading to the 1020, unless your number one priority on a smartphone is the camera.

The downside to the Lumia 1020 is the lack of popular third-party apps on Windows Phone. A few examples include Dropbox, Pocket, Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard, Snapchat and Any.Do — none of these apps are officially available on the platform.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 offers reasonably good battery life compared to other 4G phones we've tested, though using the camera for long periods does drain the battery fairly quickly.

On most occasions, we managed a full day of use before our review unit required a recharge, averaging between 14 and 16 hours.

The Lumia 1020 is capable of wireless charging but only with an optional wireless charging cover which clips to the back of the phone ($39.95).

Nokia also sells a Camera Grip accessory for the Lumia 1020 in Australia for $89.95. It clips to the phone and comes with its own 1020mAh battery, a shutter button, and a tripod mount.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is available through Telstra and Optus and retails for $899 outright through "major retailers" across Australia including Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, and Allphones.

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