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Nokia 1020 Review


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Nokia 1020 Review:


I was in Seattle attending an event and I found out that I could get the Nokia 1020 pre-ordered and picked up at the Downtown Pop-up store.  Me and my friend did this.  We then picked up the new phone on Friday morning right after the store opened.  They had all three colors in stock (yellow, white, and black).  Only had Black and White camera grips, but they ran out of black quickly.  Pointer is if this happens to you and you get the grip for free, you can simply go to another store and swap it for another color or come back and do that when the correct color is in stock.  I switched the white one for a black one at the Bellvue store since I didn't want the yellow / white combo.  So, I got the yellow 1020 and have been using it in different situations throughout the past few days.  I have ordered the yellow wireless charging case, but that is not in stock currently.  I asked if they had gotten any at the Microsoft store and the full store told me they only had a few come in and they were gone immediately. So, now off to the review:




I have had no issues with the phone itself as it seems to get the same reception quality and voice quality of the 920 that it is replacing.  That said they both do great as a phone and there are no issues to report.  I find this to be a topic that needs to be discussed as you have to say if a phone works well as a phone.




So, this is funny as I went to go pick it up the first time and it really is much lighter than a 920.  Paul T. was right that you almost feel like you are going to throw it over your shoulder when you pick it up.  The build quality is great the fit and finish is typical Nokia quality.  The thing that I really like is that it is a matte finish and that feels much better than the shinny finish of the 920.  The camera hump is usually the first concern by most and I can tell you that it was mine as well.  I find that it really doesn't get in the way and oddly enough, while it does make it not lay flat on the table, I kinda like that.  It means that when you sit it down on the table it is slightly angled back at you.  I guess I tend to pick up the phone if I want to type on it, but I can say that if you type on it while it lays on its back without a case it will rock a little.  The screen is definitely brighter than my 920 as it has the newer screen from the 928 or 925, but that really doesn't seem to be a big game changer.  The speaker volume sees to be a little better than the 920, but again nothing that would make me say drop and buy it now.  I do notice the 2 GB of RAM helping with performance.  I will hold the camera to a later section.  So, to sum up this section, I would tell you that the 1020 is an evolution up in all the general hardware aspects.  It seems that if you like the 920 then you will love the 1020 as it does all these things a little better than the 920.  Its kinda like if you like an Audi or BMW and they make a new one then you just love the evolution.




The device does come with the GDR2 update for Windows Phone 8 and the Amber update for Nokia.  I can say that there are new features and those are welcome additions, but as a typical user of the phone.  The one that seems like a no-big deal on paper is a great one in practice.  The clock being on the front before the phone is one.  Both me and my friend that bought it both agreed on this.  Here is why.  The clock is proximity driven.  So when you pull the phone out of your pocket, the time is just there.  It also shows you if the phone is charging or if it is on silent.  Imagine you are sitting in the Wolverine movie... you wan to see what time it is, but you don't want to blast the screen on and light up the whole theater with your 4.7" screen.  This allows you to reach in your pocket and just look and all that you see is a black screen with the white letters.  I am telling you it is an awesome feature and one headed to the other Nokia headsets.  There are other new apps and the ones for the camera are awesome, but I am going to lump those into the camera section as you really need to think of those pieces together.  All other software seems to open and move a little more snappy than the 920 with the extra RAM, but again nothing that most Windows Phone users are used to seeing.  Oh, and for those people that keep complaining about not being able to get the high-res photos off of it.  AT&T has an app called AT&T Locker that will do it over WiFi or over your data plan if you wanted (not suggested).


Battery Life:


I wanted to post write about this as I was concerned about it when I got the phone.  Here is the deal.  If you don't use the camera a lot then you get the same battery life generally as the 920.  If you use the camera extensively the you will feel the phone getting a little warm, not hot.  This is because the sensor and the screen in camera mode will pull on the battery pretty hard.  I a typical situation, I have not see this to be an issue, such as ohhh let me snap this quick photo.  It only really is an issue if you are taking a ton of pictures.  Ton meaning more than 3-4 at a time.  The camera grip does add the extra battery and in that case you will get 50% more battery life.  All in all there is really nothing to fear in a typical use case, but if you like to take a lot of photos, then get the camera grip.




Ok, here is where it gets interesting.  I have to say that I have heard that this thing takes good pictures.  Good is not a word I would use... its more like Fantastic, Amazing, Out of this World.... you get the idea.  I really think that the pictures from this phone are better than any of my point and shoot dedicated cameras.  The zoom that you can do is amazing.  You just have to see it to believe it.  I would love to show some samples, but I really don't have a good way of posting them here for you to see.  Especially in any format that you could really tell.  I show the shots from this thing to people and they are amazed.  I will have to work with Dave on getting a way to post some samples.  I am not kidding guys / gals you have just no idea how good this thing is on this front.  I have heard a few say that the launch of the Nokia Pro Cam app was slow or buggy, but the night I got the thing there was an update and another since.  I have never had that issue.  It opens in slightly longer time than the original application, but it is not a show stopper in any way.  The photo capture is also slightly longer than the original app, but that is really due to the writing of the file, but again not a real issue.  I would call none of this slow.  It does take you a second to remember at first that you snap and then zoom, but you get that down pretty quick.  The camera software has one major complaint for me. You can only really see the last photo you took on the software, other wise you have to back out to get to the others and then click the link in the photo gallery to load it into the Pro Cam app.  Not a major issue, but it is not as fluid as you are used to with the native application.  I expect that this will be something fixed in future updates.  There is a set of new lenses called Nokia Smart Cam and this allows all kinds of options such as letting you show action shots where the person moves across the photos or if you want to blur the picture except the moving object in the shot, which has an awesome effect.  There are numerous option in this lens and they all work great.  This is the kind of thing that you don't get on a point and shoot and shows off the post processing capabilities of the phone.




I don't have the wireless charger cover yet, so I will have to post details of that on this thread later.  I do however have the camera grip.  The camera grip does give 50% more battery life.  This is great for those that really want to use the camera a lot.  I found that it fit well in my pocket even with the camera grip.  It does add some heft, but nothing too bad.  I also found that holding the phone with one hand and taking pictures with it was much better.  It slides on well, but can be challenging to take off if you don't use the trick of pushing it out leveraging the big black circle on the back of the phone once you got one side snapped up.  The accessories are the same matte finish and the camera grip has a rubber section for your fingers to ensure that you get a good grip.  The camera button on the camera grip is much easier to do the half-push focus and works great.  The battery is easily chargeable with a micro usb cable and will charge the phone when the phone is in it and plugged into the wall.  You can even charge the grip without the phone in it as well.  You can plug in the USB and get the data on the phone as usual.  So, if you want you can just never take it out.  It does make it a little big for a phone, but not unmanageable.




The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a great upgrade to the 920 for the most part just doing everything slightly better in general, but once you get to the camera it is a game changer.  If you like to take photos or just don't want to not have to carry a camera to an event, this phone is perfect for you.  If you don't like photos or just want simple shots to throw on Instagram applying a polaroid filter to your picture, then you should look at the 920.  I personally think that this is the device that separates Windows Phone and Nokia from the pack.  It isn't a spec war on processors or in screen sizes that makes this one stand out, but it does something that the others can't do, combines a leading edge camera with a phone in a great way that gives you software capabilities to do what neither can do on its own.  All this in a package that is less weight than its old flagship phone.  It really is something to behold or to hold (LOL).  I can't recommend this phone enough.  If you are wondering, is it worth the extra money to have... the answer is YES!!

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I said it in another thread, but I do feel this is the beginning of a new era in photography. One day, DSLR's may become rare, but I think Point'n'Shoots are in greater danger. The 1020 has a better camera than most of them, and the software appears to really offer some amazing features. It's going to be interesting going forward.

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I have got to get some photos up and post them... I will work on that tonight.  Seeing is believing.


Ikon, you nailed it dude.  There is absolutely no reason for me to keep a Point and Shoot camera any longer.

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You will probably have to right click and save the one from above that is not a hyperlink as it didn't show it to scale.

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