Review of Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone

Introduction

This smartphone or rather cameraphone is a logical progression of Nokia 808 Pure View, which was surely good in everything as a cameraphone, except of its OS, as it had useless Symbian that is “dead” at the moment. Lumia 1020 is a logical offer of Lumia 920 and in general is not much different from it, as there is almost no competition among smartphones on Windows Phone. So there is no big sense to improve radically technical features, those who need a perfect camera and Windows will buy themselves a smartphone with outdated hardware. The PureView technology has been proved itself to be more than successful and that’s why it is being used in model Lumia 1020. This technology allows taking high-quality photos and now works on Windows Phone. Besides, Windows Phone has a great number of restrictions, including the display resolution. So Nokia didn’t have such a big field for manipulation within the new model and they focused on the main thing – they have tried to install the camera into the body of the device cleverly, in such a way so that its camera module won’t stand out too much and have improved software to work with the camera. Now the amount of applications in an online store for Windows Phone is very large, so in this case we shouldn’t speak about any kind of restrictions. Supporters of Android and iOS usually claim this to be their strong point but in fact, for an ordinary user Windows application store allows to choose almost any application you need. So I wouldn’t call this phone an exclusive one (I mean crippled), as it is only a little bit inferior to Android and iOS in terms of its versatility.

Attention please! All the photos and screenshots in the article are clickable. In order to see the picture in a full-size click on the necessary photo or open it in a new window with right button of the mouse.

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Technical features of the smartphone completely repeat model 920; here the platform is also Dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus operating on 1.5 Ghz, Adreno 225 gpu is responsible for graphics. The amount of RAM has increased and now it has 2 GB, it is done to make work with heavy photos, taken on Lumia 1020 easier. Flash memory is nly 32 GB, I wouldn’t say that it is much nowadays, especially if you use the smartphone giving it all: listening to music, watching movies, taking many photos and making videos, playing different games, for all that you have received only 24 GB available out of all 32 GB. Traditionally memory cards isn’t supported, what’s the sense of such decision becomes – a mystery.

Processor SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus (1,5 Ghz, 2 cores)
Video GPU Adreno 225
OS Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Display Super sensitive touch 4,5″, AMOLED, ClearBlack, resolution WXGA (1280 x 768), 332 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
RAM 2 Gb
Mass memory 32 Gb
Data Network 2G, 3G, 4G
Data transfer speed LTE (up to 100 Mbps)
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Additional features GPS, GLONASS, Compass, FM-radio, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Magnetometer
Camera Main camera: 41 MP, f/2.2, focal length 26 mm, Sensor size 1/1.5 inch, PureView, Auto focus, ZEISS optics, Xenon flash, Optical image stabilization, Backside-illuminated image sensor, 6-lens optics, High resolution zoom 3x. Secondary camera: 1.2 MP, f/2.4, resolution 1280 x 960 pixels.
Battery 2000 mAh
Dimensions 134 x 71,4 x 10,4 mm
Weight 158 g

The display of 4.5″ is made on AMOLED technology. The resolution isn’t very high: 1280 x 768 pixels (332 ppi). Here you see Clear Black technology, which helps to work in bright exterior light. The display itself is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and it is really wonderful compared with its competitors or its previous versions. Besides, the smartphone allows using it in gloves, in winter this option is incredibly useful. And it is announced that it supports work in thin gloves, probably everyone has different understanding when thin are mentioned. As for me, I successfully interacted with this cameraphone in full leather gloves and there were no problems. There are different old functions like PureMotion HD+, Glance Screen and other as well. By the way, you can bring the smartphone back from sleep mode by double tap on the screen. All reviews I’ve read about this smartphone, state that it has low maximum brightness, only 265 cd/m2, but in life it is really brighter than iPhone and many other flagman-rank smartphones. I don’t know what the reason is, but there is actually no lack of brightness, though figures prove quite the opposite. In general, personally I am supporter of IPS displays, as I like the picture there more as it is closer to natural one. But this specific AMOLED has got rather realistic picture quality if you set a color scheme (screenshot of settings is below) and color rendering settings. Moreover, AMOLED has a range of benefits, like displaying of clock in sleep mode; consumption of energy is minimal by that, and IPS surely isn’t able to work in such a way.

Color profile setup

Color profile setup

Comparison table with competitors

Nokia Lumia 1020 LG G2 Samsung Galaxy S4 Apple iPhone 5S
Display 4,5″, AMOLED 5,2″, IPS LCD 5″, AMOLED 4″, TFT
Resolution 1280×768, 332 ppi 1920×1080, 423 ppi 1920×1080, 441 ppi 1136×640, 326 ppi
SoC (processor) Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1,5 Ghz, 2 cores Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2,2 Ghz, 4 cores Samsung Exynos 5410 1,8 Ghz, 4+4 cores Apple A7 1,3 Ghz, 2 cores, 64 bit processor
GPU (video) Adreno 225 Adreno 330 PowerVR SGX544MP3 PowerVR SGX 6th series
RAM 2 GB 2 GB 2 GB 1 GB
Memory 32 GB 32 GB 16/32/64 GB 16/32/64 GB
Memory cards No No microSD No
OS Windows Phone 8 Google Android 4.2 Google Android 4.2 Apple iOS 7
SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM Nano-SIM
Communications 2G/3G/4G, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, NFC 2G/3G/4G, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, NFC, Miracast, OTG 2G/3G/4G, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, NFC, MHL 2.0, OTG 2G/3G/4G, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
Battery Not removable, 2000 mAh Not removable, 3000 mAh Removable, 2600 mAh Not removable, 1570 mAh
Camera Main (41 MP; video — 1080p), secondary (1,2 MP) Main (13 MP; video — 1080p), secondary (2 MP) Main (13 MP; video — 1080p), secondary (2 MP) Main (8 MP; video – 1080р), secondary (1,2 MP)
Dimensions 131 x 72 x 14,5 mm, 158 g 139 x 71 x 8,9 mm, 143 g 137 x 70 x 7,9 mm, 130 g 124 x 59 x 7,6 mm, 112 v

Delivery complete set looks like a nice colored box, which is quite big, but everything is made well inside, though we seem to get accustomed to these little things. Besides, the complete set also includes power unit Nokia AC-60, micro-USB cable, and key for SIM-card slot, headset Nokia WH-208, instruction for use. Also Nokia offers several official accessories, by the way very useful.

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Firstly, it is Nokia Camera Grip, about which we have a very big review, and those who are interested may read all the details HERE. Briefly speaking, it is case-battery to improve convenience of photo-shooting and to improve use of smartphone camera, and to prolong life of its battery as well, as this case has a built-in battery of 1020 mAh. It makes a shooting easier due to shutter release button, which is placed the same way as in classical photo cameras, and of course due to a comfortable holder with rubberized stripe that allows you taking pictures with one hand and all in all, holding your camera phone the same as you hold a common camera.

Secondly, it is cover-case Nokia CC-3066 for wireless charging. In my opinion, it turned out to be rather big, smartphone becomes thicker by installing it for 2 mm, which is a lot. This cover protects the camera a little bit, as its collar clasps in the camera, shows up above the camera just a bit and decrease chances to scratch it. And the weight of the cover is also not small; the full weight of the smartphone becomes 189 g, this is too much for just a cover-case.

Design, ergonomics and battery

By the way, there are only 3 colors of smartphone: black, yellow and white. They could add even wider palette, it’s not an iPhone after all. On the whole, the design looks very much like its previous model Nokia Lumia 920, the body of the phone is rounded off in edges, perfectly lies in a hand. The material of the body is polycarbonate, and I want to discuss this topic separately, because many flagman-rank smartphones from Korea usually have slippery, cheap plastic or at best patterned plastic or stitch imitation which is also made of plastic, this I repeat is also done in the best case. Polycarbonate is by an order greater. Firstly, it is much more pleasant by touch, you feel the solid material. Secondly, it doesn’t slide like a common plastic. Thirdly, there are almost no fingerprints left on it compared with a common plastic. So personally I am very glad that this smartphone has polycarbonate. In many reviews, which I have read it is written about slot for SIM-card of poor quality, but evidently those were the first batches, as there are no problems with the slot on this phone, everything looks even and neatly.

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The negative point of the magnificent camera is – bulkiness of its block, which stands out above the level of the back wall on 4 mm, it is quite visible. But I can’t say that it prevents somehow, as while using this cameraphone for several months I didn’t have any discomfort due to standing out block of the camera. By the way, the flash used is xenon one that really has some results on a short distance shooting, unlike cheap (more often single) diode flashes. The focusing has a separate light diode and very strong one that seldom allows making a mistake when focusing. Besides, you won’t believe that camera lens doors here are mechanical and movable. Probably, it is the first smartphone with such a photographic lens. But the main thing is that this cameraphone has a system of image stabilization, which really works, but I’ll describe it further, in the camera description section. Because of specific form of the smartphone, it is difficult to use it when it is on the table – it will bend from side to side, as it doesn’t have a steady basis, one side rests on the projecting frame of camera. The display is protected with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and it is really wonderful glass. I have used all three generations of this glass, and I’ll tell you that there is just a huge gap between first and third one, as the third perfectly pushes aside fat, deals with fingerprints, and the main point it is very easy to clean. If you know the first generation, you may recall how long you had to wipe display so to achieve and make it ideally pure.

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The left side of the smart phone is absolutely empty, and on the right side there are control buttons, that is: volume control button, power button and camera-shot button. Buttons are made of polycarbonate plastic, not of metal like some large publications claim. As for the buttons, they don’t cause any complaints, ergonomics is on a high level, they are fairly big, easily found, and the amount of effort to press is also correctly chosen. Buttons don’t hang loosely, as with many Korean models; they are absolutely solid as on the iPhone. The click that is heard when pressing is also a noble one, almost soundless. Unlock the smart phone is possible both with side power button and double tap on the display. The camera-shot button is a two-position, the first position correspond to focusing mode, as in common cameras, and the second is actually shutter release. Very convenient feature is possibility to switch on application of the camera from sleep mode to shooting mode of the smartphone at once, for which I give my big thanks to Nokia Company. This feature saved me a few times when I quickly had to take a good shot. I think it is very useful for all the clients of this cameraphone, as right for that we bought it. To do that you simply need to press and hold the camera button for couple of seconds and the capturing mode will activate.

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Let’s move to the upper side of the smartphone, where we can find headphone/headset jack, which is a standard one. SIM-card slot is also placed right here. Moreover, we may see a small opening; it is one of the microphones. In the lower side of the smartphone net-shaped lattice of the speaker and microphone are seen, and a strap hole as well so to carry the phone in hands or on your neck, as you like it. Well, surely here you may find USB slot and we have to notice that it isn’t plastic, as it is made most of the times, but metallic, which considerably makes it more reliable and durable. On the front panel of the smartphone, besides of standard control buttons (Back, Home and Search), there is very small speaker lattice and Nokia logo. Near it, on the right there is a front camera. And certainly control buttons are highlighted.

Display

I suppose that we should stop and describe the display. We have discussed above the points about Coming Gorilla Glass 3, with which the display is protected, it is perfect and there are no more questions to it. The size of the display is 4,5 inches, display resolution is 1280 x 768. The display itself is made with Amoled technology. Multi-touch is supported, it seems to have up to 10 touches, I wonder if anyone has even once used more than 3-4, as I have no idea for whom were these 10 really made. The Clear Black technology is also claimed to be present. And perhaps, in my opinion, the main peculiarity of the display is the ability to work in gloves. Moreover, it doesn’t fail by that; there are almost no fake responses, not more than during normal usage. And I’ve tested it in leather, winter, men gloves, i.e. in combat conditions. You can’t imagine how convenient it is when you don’t need to take off and put on gloves on the cold each time so to take a couple of shots. It is enough to take out the smart phone, switch on the camera with one camera-shot button and take a shot. Well, of course clocks are shown on the display also in a sleep mode, because it is Amoled and it’s foolish not to use its possibility to highlight only definite pixels.

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On the whole I have more than a positive impression about the display, honestly speaking – it’s better than on iPhone. Athough it’s Amoled and I don’t like it, but Nokia’s realization is just gorgeous, high contrast, color rendering is excellent, brightness is more than enough. Patches of light on the screen are minimal that is due to work of glare filter. Among layers of the display there is no air space, and due to it we get very vivid picture, which is seems to be placed right on the surface of the screen. And surely, if there is no air space between layers, the image won’t be seen double under any viewing angles, which is a rather logical thing. Display brightness is 290 cd/m2, if you are interested in concrete figures only. We’d say that it is quite possible to use this smartphone in a sunny weather, not worse than to use flagman-rank smarts from Samsung, HTC, Apple and etc. The brightness of the display is automatically set, in so doing you may set the border of brightness, which automatic adjustment system won’t cross. You can set not only brightness, but also color saturation and color temperature.

Macro picture of display

Macro picture of display

100% crop of macro picture of display

100% crop of macro picture of display

Software and communications

As OS there is Windows Phone 8 with package of various pre-installed programs from Nokia. Let’s go through not only pre-installed software, but a bit through settings and talk about sound. The smartphone has only one speaker and it’s placed on the bottom edge, there is nothing terrible in this, but in games, you may really easily cover it with one hand, but it doesn’t seem to be such a big problem. Personally I had to listen to music on flagman-rank smart phones like HTC with their branded Beats Audio and on all iPhones. I may say that this Nokia is not worse; the sound is clear, intense, and rather loud on maximum volume, surely, here we speak about listening to music in headphones. The loud speaker of the smartphone itself can’t play anything outstanding due to its size, but it is absolutely the same on all flagman-rank models of other makers, you really can’t argue with physics. Further, mostly there is going to be a description of features, advantages and drawbacks of Windows Phone and pre-installed software from Nokia. If you are already aware of this system and its software, I recommend going to a next section at once.

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And here it has an equalizer and possibility to switch on Dolby Headphone and level corrector of audio playing, which is trying to equalize the volume of all tracks or movies being played, so that there are no jumps and you don’t have to resort to the help of volume regulator. Well of course there is integration with Xbox account, where you may have musical tracks and other things on your Cloud.

A few words must are worth to be said about organization of work with music track list. Honestly speaking, I didn’t like this organization. Tracks may be sorted by genres, and what’s more there are only 4 genres: pop, rock, rock/indie and unknown. At least, I didn’t find how to add undefined genres, if it is really impossible, then such sorting is – just a mockery on the user. Further you can sort it by artists; here the alphabetic order is formed on the basis of metadata of your musical tracks. You may sort it by albums and compositions the same way. Also you may use playlists, which should be created beforehand or may use your account on Xbox Music.

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Generally, you can’t call music control convenient; I would evaluate it with 3 scores in five-point scale. And speaking honestly, I can’t imagine what is so difficult to take and simply copy all already realized ideas from iOS or Android. Eventually, ethical code doesn’t allow that, but in the end common users suffer with this product.

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Here on the screenshot to the left you can see a standard tiled interface of Winphone, it’s up to you only to decide whether it is convenient or not, but I won’t recommend you making any conclusions until you have tried it yourself. It is minimalistic; all that you can do is to change the size of tiles and their disposition. On the second screenshot you may see the second position of the desktop, there are only two of them by the way, either tiles or list of all installed applications, and everything is very simple, even too simple. On the screenshot to the right you can see Windows Phone taskbar, in which all currently opened applications are seen. Microsoft states that of course you don’t necessarily have to switch them off, as they don’t use up resources and are in the background. But however, it’s not like that, the phone battery is used more actively if applications are hanging in the background menu and far less if they all are shut off.

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On the screenshot to the left you see two settings that help to improve image on the screen during work with the smartphone in sunny weather and the feature of reducing display brightness for power-saving mode. On the middle screenshot you can see that you may set touch sensitivity. This feature is very useful so to work with the smartphone in gloves in winter. And you may turn off the feature of wake-up mode of the cameraphone with a double tap as well. I recommend switching it off at once, as the battery is so weak, and this feature expends it well. On the screenshot to the right the graphic of the filled smartphone memory, with what it is filled, how much is filled and free is seen.

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On the screenshot to the left you may see the option of blocking numbers. Personally for me (and probably for many people) it is very useful feature; I think its meaning doesn’t need any comments. On the middle screenshot you may look at OS version, when writing the review it was 8.0.1 version and at technical features of the smart phone as well. On the right screenshot we have rather funny feature, the opportunity of reading text messages aloud and also the voice recognition system which has my language. I’ll tell honestly that I haven’t checked its quality, as none of the makers has done one really working without mistakes voice recognition system yet. So you may only entertain with these features, nothing more.

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On the screenshot to the left we have rather useful options in the form of regulation of text size on the screen and also button of turning on a well-saturated scheme and screen magnifier for poor-sighted people. These features are really useful, even people with normal sight might well want to change the font size, personally I got used to the big one. On the middle screenshot there is a feature of automatically settings of display brightness, I’ll tell you that by touch it really has only 2 positions: either bright or very dim, I didn’t come across any average values while using them. On the screenshot to the right possibilities of creating backups, which are saved on the cloud service from Microsoft, are shown, basically it’s a useful feature.

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On the screenshot to the left you may set the place where to keep music, photos, video etc., for instance in the phone or in cloud service. Middle screenshot will be your favorite if you buy this telephone, as the battery lives 5-12 hours if you use it, take photos, while using the flash and large number of shots will consume it immediately at all. So battery saver mode is everything for us. On the screenshot to the right you may switch on the NFC, so to exchange the content between devices that support this Protocol. I tried to connect this Nokia and LG smartphone and nothing happened, as Nokia doesn’t see it, and why I don’t know.

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On the left there is a screenshot with Wi-Fi networks, available networks are always displayed. The middle screenshot is Wi-Fi settings, an automatic connection, notification about finding networks, automatically connecting to Wi- Fi in a sleep mode feature and other settings can be adjusted. The screenshot to the right shows how the dialing scoreboard looks, it is very simple and very big, convenient enough.

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On the screenshot to the left you see how the history of calls is organized, I made this review with the new device, so alas it is empty. But there is no peculiar difference from iOS or Android, i.e. it’s merely the list of the numbers or contacts, under which it’s written whether the call is incoming or outgoing. On the second screenshot the organization of contact list is seen, in my opinion it’s not very convenient, simply alphabetically. Moreover, intervals between letters of the alphabet are large; the list turns out to be badly perceptible. On the right screenshot the rest options of contact lists organization are visible, you may use groups, and you can create a family room or go to “last opened” tab, where tiles of recently added contacts are displaying. As for me, all this is still raw and not well considered; in fact there is no customization. My main complaint against it is that you can’t create random fields to contacts like in iOS or Android. It is a large drawback of Windows, as I may have 5-6 phone numbers in one contact and I have a lot of such people in my list. And for choice you may only choose standard fields, which are absolutely senseless for me like: home, work, fax. In my other phone, numbers in contacts are divided into cities and countries. When, for example, my friend has many numbers, as he goes abroad, to other towns around the country and so on, everywhere he goes he has new phone numbers. On the whole, this drawback has made me upset most of all in this smartphone, though Nokia has absolutely nothing to do with that, these are defects of Microsoft.

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On the screenshot to the left you see organization of the menu of photo section. Reaching it you may look through the photos taken by the camera, may watch albums, which are formed automatically. Photos are grouped by types in them: shot by the camera, saved screenshots and other variants that you can regulate yourself. On the second picture you see how the item “Albums” looks, and on the third how looks the screenshot category.

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Well, at least we are not deprived of the function of highlighting files, on the left screenshot you can see that they can be chosen and highlighted everything at once. On the screenshot on the middle there is just a picture from browser. You get photos of the screen in such form. Of course you won’t take full snapshots, only part which is seen on the screen at the moment. And on the right you see options available within a click of “right button of the mouse” for Internet Explorer, they are absolutely standard, the set is minimalistic.

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On the left screenshot there are settings of Internet Explorer, besides of standard features there is one convenient thing – it’s switching priorities between mobile and full version of web pages. For instance, it’s always convenient for me to look at the full version of the website, but by default mobile browsers always show mobile versions, and this feature helps to solve this problem. On the middle and right screenshots you can see additional settings of the browser, which in fact copy a desktop version of Explorer.

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Many bones are broken as for the topic of application store in Windows Phone, opponents often state that you can’t find almost anything for telephone with Windows, and there are too little apps and games. I may tell you that this is not true, surely WinStore has less of them (apps and games) than Google Play or AppStore, but exact figure is very big. Besides, all the bestsellers and well-known novelties anyway are present in Windows as well. There is a large amount of applications for any taste, both paid and free. On the left screenshot you may see how Store in Windows looks likes. It is standard – selection by categories: music, games, applications and special categories for sorting out apps from Nokia. On the second screenshot you can see how the list of apps looks like; everything is like all in all. On the third you may see how the page of a certain application itself is formed. Honestly speaking, it’s inconvenient, it has many empty space, many flaws and little things, which have already been fixed in Android and iOS for years.

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On the screenshot on the left side it’s noticeable how the folder with games on the smartphone is organized, and they are divided into two groups: downloaded through an account in Xbox and in Store from Microsoft. The second screenshot shows us branded application Nokia Here Drive+ and the third shows Nokia Here Maps. About them I can write a separate article, as Nokia’s services of cartography are just wonderful, there is nothing to take away. The car navigation works well and personally I didn’t have any complaints about it. If geolocation in smartphone settings is turned on, then the application automatically chooses your location that is the city you’re in. You only have to type the street – destination point and follow directions of the navigator. The situation with Nokia HERE Maps is even more interesting, as the application mostly serves for hiking routes, but may work in the mode “driving”. For me personally, its main point is that you may define your location very exactly staying at one place and see comments for object surrounding you like in augmented reality with the help of the camera. For that you need to download maps of your district in advance. This feature is extremely convenient, when you are at old European narrow streets and you need to find necessary address for you – this will be a separate story. Even if you are within 100-200 meters from it, this can be extremely difficult, and with the help of this application you simply “scan” space surrounding you with a camera. And on the screen of the smart phone the way you need to follow to the certain selected object is displayed.

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For fans of benchmarks and different tests, I have done several most popular tests, though honestly speaking I don’t understand why it is necessary to be here at all. Synthetic tests don’t give any useful information, applied to real life when working with the smartphone. On the screenshot to the left you see the information about the smart phone, as a proof of the fact that the test was really performed on Nokia Lumia 1020. On the middle screenshot there are results of AnTuTu tests, and on the right screenshot there are results of tests in Multi Bench 2. I can’t judge whether it is a lot or little, because the optimization but not figures in synthetic benchmarks is important. Here is a bright example – iPhone, it is far from being leader of hardware, and however, nothing freezes up on it, as OS and work with apps and games is correctly optimized. On this Nokia I didn’t have any lags.

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With the speed of the Internet there are also no problems, both like by Wi-Fi and on cell module, as it supports 4G. Everything works, is downloaded and uploaded very quickly.

Camera, examples of photos and videos

Now let’s talk about the main point, camera, in detail. Because this is why customers actually buy this smartphone. The main thing is BSI sensor, the size of which is 1/1,5″. It is huge taking into account smartphone standards, many digital cameras (expensive, top-class, comparable in price with this gadget) have sensor of smaller size. They also promise us 41 megapixels that is hard to believe. We will try to examine whether it is true or not, by the way, the size of used pixels is 1.1 micrometer. PureView technology is included into delivered complete set as well, along with the lens Carl Zeiss Tessar with mechanical doors. One of the main elements of the camera is image stabilization (IOS) system. Well and of course xenon flash, separate and LED lights quite powerful too. The lens has aperture of f/2.2, which is very large-aperture lens. The construction of the lens itself consists of 6 elements, 5 of which are plastic and 1 glass. The minimal focusing distance is 15 cm; here it is certainly an ambush for fans of macro shooting. But it is still so-to-say normal, sometimes it can be worse.

You may save photos in two formats: 5 MP and 5+34 MP, no more options, only these two. You can’t simply save it in 34 MP, only along with 5 MP. In Nokia Company they consider 5 MP an ideal size for social networks, exchanging photos, printing them and other use.

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Let’s move directly to the modes of the camera. All available settings you may see as long as you move the circle of camera shutter to the left. The settings are exposure, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, focusing and white balance. All these settings are duplicated on the right in a small control panel, which you can see on the middle screenshot. And, honestly speaking, the size of the little panel is just microscopical and it’s inconvenient to use it, especially for men with normal size of hands. Besides, you may set modes of the flash: on, off and auto mode. On the screenshot to the right applications available for work with the camera are visible, these are so-called Camera Lenses. Here you may see both pre-installed applications and side, which you may install from the store. There is a huge amount of them, including free.

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On the screenshot to the left you see the possibility to set shutter delay, possible variants are: 2, 5, 10 seconds. On the middle screenshot the option of setting bracketing is depicted, by that you may set even number of photos: 3 or 5. You can set exposure in the following limits: from -0.5 to + 0.5, from -1 to +1, from -2 to +2. On screenshot to the right you see available settings for photo menu, first of all, it is focus assist light that you can set to the flash, turn off and switch into automatic mode. Further goes framing grids that can be switched off, adjusted to the “Rule of thirds”, “Golden ratio”, “Sight” and “Square”. You may also choose the aspect ratio, either 4:3 or 16:9. Right here shooting mode is selected: 5 MP or 5 MP+ 34 MP. There is a button of face tracking mode, and view photo setting immediately after shooting.

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On the screenshot to the left video mode is activated, there aren’t many available settings here. You may turn the LED lightning on or off, you may set white balance and focus. On the screenshot on the center you just see the arc of adjusting the focus that can become: auto, manual and setting to infinity. By the way, the lightning on the second screenshot is off. And on the third screenshot to the left, the lightning is on, I think the difference is quite noticeable.

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Here you can see available settings for video mode. You may launch various framing grids, the same that are listed above for photo mode. You can choose display resolution; the maximum is 1080p at 30 frames per second. Moreover, you may switch on low-frequency audio filter in the mode of 100 and 200 Hz that provides with higher clearness of sound during recording a video. This filter really works, at least in the mode of 200 Hz. Video is recording in MP4 format, by Advanced Video Codec, and the sound is recorded in AAC LC format.

The camera has 3-fold zooming. What else I can tell you about the camera, very likely that it is slow in shooting mode 5+34 MP. Saving of a shot happens within about 3 seconds, and I won’t tell that it is very bad, especially for a smartphone, as I have experience with a top and expensive model of Sigma camera, which performs this very operation for more than 10 seconds. So Nokia has normal time for saving a photo, but it could be better. The maximum resolution in which shots are taken is 7136 x 5360 pixels. Besides, the smartphone knows how to save location that is it does geo tags, of course if the setting responsible for that is on.

There is a separate utility function Nokia Panorama, which allows taking panorama photos. But each time I tried to use it, I always got bad panoramas. In the portrait mode at least there is always some blurriness. Perhaps I have crooked hands, but I consider myself to be an ordinary user, therefore I am supposed to take panorama photos easily and quickly. If I can’t do so, there is something wrong with the software. Everything is shot well, when we have a lot of light. In photo gallery you will find an example of panorama.

Now I offer you to examine built-in effects of the camera and its work in various modes and with different ISO, with and without flash. Under every photo there will be an inscription in what mode and under which value it was taken. All the shots are full-sized.

ISO 100, no flash, all auto

ISO 100, no flash, all auto

ISO 200, no flash, all auto

ISO 200, no flash, all auto

ISO 400, no flash, all auto

ISO 400, no flash, all auto

ISO 800, no flash, all auto

ISO 800, no flash, all auto

ISO 1600, no flash, all auto

ISO 1600, no flash, all auto

ISO 3200, no flash, all auto

ISO 3200, no flash, all auto

ISO 4000, no flash, all auto

ISO 4000, no flash, all auto

ISO 100, flash, all auto

ISO 100, flash, all auto

ISO 200, flash, all auto

ISO 200, flash, all auto

ISO 400, flash, all auto

ISO 400, flash, all auto

ISO 800, flash, all auto

ISO 800, flash, all auto

ISO 1600, flash, all auto

ISO 1600, flash, all auto

ISO 3200, flash, all auto

ISO 3200, flash, all auto

ISO 4000, flash, all auto

ISO 4000, flash, all auto

Day light lamp mode

Day light lamp mode

Glow lamp mode

Glow lamp mode

Cloudy mode

Cloudy mode

Sunny mode

Sunny mode

All auto, no flash

All auto, no flash

All auto, flash

All auto, flash

Exposure +3, all auto

Exposure +3, all auto

Exposure -3, all auto

Exposure -3, all auto

All auto

All auto

As you see of great use are photos with about up to 800 ISO without flash and up to 1600 with flash, considering that the shooting will be done from a little distance. I’d also like to pay your attention that there is no built-in feature of HDR, still we are given the instrument even better than this, such as the possibility to take photos with exposure bracketing, everything is like on professional cameras. But of course, in this case you should use a tripod and branded Camera Grip. But finally you get pictures from which you will easily take gorgeous HDR shots again in the Photomatrix, right of the kind you need, and not those which are preferred by the producers that install HDR feature into their models. And going further, I’d like to compare the camera of Nokia Lumia 1020 and iPhone. All the photos are full-sized and clickable (heavy), so you should better open them in a new window. On the left there are photos taken by iPhone. On the right photos taken by Nokia Lumia 1020.

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In my opinion, in this battle Nokia deserves and wins, though the iPhone tried its best. In macro photos iPhone shoots almost like Nokia, as it simply has very short minimal focusing distance, and Nokia has long one. And by shooting in weak light the iPhone definitely looses, as it has much weaker flash and the sensor as well. In all the rest genres, except for macro it lost as for me. But this is logical, they have a bit different aims, though both are called smartphones and iPhone is more expensive. Next, I would like to present one more photo gallery made by Nokia in the most different modes and conditions, including many night photos.

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As you can see the quality of photos turns out to be rather high, even in such a cloudy weather. At night it is nothing wrong the way it is, on the level of top-class cameras like Canon G15 and the like. Due to image stabilizer, this camera is capable of many things, and in fact it is universal, as it can deal with any genres, it’s only difficult with macro, but quite bearable too. I have already written about panorama photos. This function is conveniently carried out, but I didn’t manage to shoot a high-quality panorama, as I tried it for 10 times and then gave up. So here I publish the best option of all I have. Separately, I would also like to note the strange work of the zoom. Honestly speaking, in my opinion as a user – there is no zoom at all. If you are zooming and taking a shot, then you simply get smaller crop out of bigger shot, which is reduced according to selected zoom. This means that there is no sense in the feature, as it doesn’t really zoom in the object. For at least it seemed to me being this way, and below you will find examples to confirm my words. The left photo is the original, and the snap on the right is variant with the zoom.

Zoom quality of Nokia Lumia 1020

Zoom quality of Nokia Lumia 1020

Zoom quality of Nokia Lumia 1020

Zoom quality of Nokia Lumia 1020

Panorama sample of Nokia Lumia 1020

Panorama sample of Nokia Lumia 1020

Well, and couple of words about video. It is on the same average but universal level, I would say that it is good, and gets a solid four. Nowadays, the resolution 1080p on 30 fps is just the necessary minimum. In twilight, quickly moving objects on the video are a bit blurred, though you get them rather clear on the photo. But here I am nitpicking. It is more than real to shoot from hands, the image stabilizer does its job, but less actively than in photo mode. I got such an opinion and you can see for yourself how decently the shot trembles, though I tried not to move the camera much and hold it steadily. But it is rather nitpicking than anything else, as nevertheless it is not a camcorder, and for its cost it shoots quite adequate. Look yourself, there are two videos below, and one is made at daytime, the second – at night. Surely it is complicated to shoot at night, as almost everything that moves is blurred. But the same thing is with all the rest competitors, more precisely it will be far worse than with Nokia, though the noise in the video is kept within moderate limits.

Conclusions

As a result we have camera phone with valuable abilities of a smartphone for price of all the rest flagman-rank phones from other producers. We have Windows, which has an advantage of peaceful synchronizing with your computer on windows. Photos and videos are at once copied from folders here and there, without any errors “dancing with tambourines”, any iTunes where anyone can run his/her legs off, and some Android models don’t accept a simple interacting with Windows and also ask to work through special software. There is nothing of this kind here and you don’t need anything, which is awesome, as you may download back and forth not only at your PC, but at any PC at all. And you don’t have to carry along and install iTunes each time to all the computers for these aims.

We have the name of branded producer. Although Nokia Company was sold, it doesn’t change the fact of the matter, as it is still strong company with serious engineering and programming background, which produces high-quality products. For me personally Nokia’s authority is better than all the Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese and other Asians. If only iPhone is probably better, as a product on the whole. But if you actually need a camera phone, then Nokia is the leader yet. We have Windows with so many complaints, and yes it really has some defects, but all of them are small. Besides, you may not doubt that Microsoft is going to develop this OS actively and will improve and solve all the problems, so the next update may actually fix all these defects. I’ll repeat as for amount of games, apps and soft for Windows Phone. For those who are sure that it’s a catastrophe, it is not true, as everything is already perfect on this point. All the new games, applications, widgets etc. are created for Windows as well. There is a huge amount of them in the store now, including free. It is not a problem to find the application you need; perhaps you won’t be able to find some exotic, but there is the entire mainstream, everything an average user may need.

We have an excellent camera, for a moment the best camera among all the smartphones. Perhaps in this 2014 year there will be released models with better camera, but I doubt it a lot. The models with the same camera as Nokia are more likely to be released, and in 2015 it is probably to be so – there will be something radically new, and Nokia is unlikely to stand still and will also continue to develop Lumia line. There is no sense to repeat and describe all the advantages of the camera, if you read the previous section – there everything is written in details. Of course it has little drawbacks, but nevertheless it stays the world leader among all smartphones at the moment. Buying this camera phone you may courageously throw away all common cameras, which you have as it shoots not worse than top-class cameras, comparable with it in price. So the market of compact cameras is to my mind doomed, as there is no more sense in it.

As far as I’m concerned the design of black is expensive and luxurious. The body from polycarbonate doesn’t leave even a slight chance for fingerprints to appear. I advise you to buy official accessories, which will allow improving working with the camera experience at once. Camera Grip is a must-have thing, if you were buying this smartphone because of its camera, moreover, the spare battery obviously won’t be an excess.

Among drawbacks or disputable points I can mark a short life-period of its own battery. Without battery backup from Camera Grip the phone lives for 2 days if not being used actively, with active use – only one day. If you start shooting a lot, and with the flash, then it will be dead in couple of hours. But, possibly, this minus belongs to all the competitors. By the standards of smartphones – the size is too big, but if you look at it as a camera phone – than it is just right. The hardware is average – that’s true, it is like going to the moon on foot, I mean far from flagman-rank smart phones on android. However, OS is well optimized, allows playing all modern games without any problems and set any applications without glitches. Although the screen is of perfect quality, it is too small in size as for 2014. In my humble opinion, I’d like to see 5 inched one, and it will be more convenient to take photos on such screen, and of course it is probably right the time to become familiar with the resolution 1920х1080. As 1280 x 768 on flagman-rank phone of 2014 is honestly speaking poor. And certainly, taking into account that this is actually camera phone, the slot for flash-cards is a must there. Great, that I’m a photo amateur and not video fan, as 24 GB are quite enough for me. But if I install 40-50 games and different apps, there will be about 10-15 Gb left and this is already a little. But if only I loved shooting videos, then I’d be very much upset, as neither 15 nor 24 GB are not enough for this, you need micro-SD slot and option that supports 64 GB micro-SD cards. In such a case there will be no problems.

All in all, I would give it 2 different marks. As a smartphone it only reaches 4 with minus, and as camera phone 5 points in five-scored scale. And so, first of all you should decide what you want to get from a smart phone. If you are buying it for a good camera, it’s unambiguously your variant. And if you simply take it as a smart phone, then you should certainly pass by towards a huge amount of Android devices. Personally I was completely satisfied with this smart phone, as I was buying it for its camera and it has fully met all my needs. The same I wish to you.

Thank you for reading such a long review.

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Author: Eric
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Comments

  1. yummi 03 July 2014 :

    The quality of pictures is really great and it is nice to know that the price is absolutely available. But the fact that it is not very good if to consider from the point of view of the smartphone disappointed me a lot.

  2. ferdinand 07 July 2014 :

    Everything depends on your preferences. If the main factor is good camera then this phone is really great. I don`t really like the design. Am I the only one?

  3. tinytreats 15 August 2014 :

    I also didn`t really like the design but I decided to buy this phone because I wanted to try something fresh and new. In a while I started to think that the design is modern and attractive.

  4. Fred 20 October 2014 :

    To my mind the design of the phone is not that important when it comes to the quality. The number of options dominates all the other factors.

  5. Rokki 24 October 2014 :

    I am absolutely satisfied with this phone. As smartphone it works great, especially if to consider the fact that this phone is not very expensive in comparison to other models.

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