Say hello to adrian hughes and his review on the nokia lumia 1020,adrian is also well known from the NOKIA SUPPORT DISCUSSIONS forum.
You will be seeing more from adrian soon!
When Nokia announced to the world the imaging behemoth that was the 808 PureView, I must say my heart skipped about twenty beats, yet was filled with a geeky nerd’s excitement at the same time. Nokia chose to showcase their imaging prowess and go out with a bang on the Symbian side of things, yet also completely obliterate the competition at the time. There were some that were hesitant to invest in such a phone at the time, but plenty wishing and waiting for the same tech to come to a Windows Phone 8 handset. The low-light and optical image stabilisation factor came with the 920 in late 2012, and a further refinement of that in the 925 in early 2013. Then in mid-July 2013, the 1020 was announced. Is it the imaging beast that many wished and waited for?
Read on in Part 1 of my Lumia 1020 review, in which I cover the Hardware and Camera. In Part 2, I will cover the Display, Internals and Software of this phenomenal device.
The Lumia 1020 comes in yellow, black and white, much like the initial colour flavouring of the 920. Built of a matte polycarbonate, it has a beautiful texture to it that is smooth to the touch. I must say that while the glossy finish of the 920 was charming in its own right, the 1020’s feels even better and exudes a feeling of owning a premium product. This extends to the three hardware buttons adorning the right side of the phone, the standard volume, power/lock and camera keys for Windows Phone handsets. Being made of a ceramic material in contrast to the zirconium of the 920, they complement the matte polycarbonate and accentuate the feel of the handset in the hand. The positioning of the speaker grille this time around and the non-inclusion of screws on the bottom also feels like a refinement of the design of the 920. There is also a seamless transition from the backside of the phone to the camera hump and back down again. Everything feels well designed and thought-out. This is a phone to be seen with, and a phone to be cherished when held in the hand.
The undersides of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 1020 side by side.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 in all it’s glory.
Also included in the retail box is a handy wrist strap that you can attach to the wrist-strap pinhole at the bottom of the handset, which comes in handy for sunny days out taking photos. As the 1020 does not have wireless charging built-in, there are also wireless charging covers available (CC-3066), and the awesome camera grip (PD-95G), which doubles as an extra battery of capacity 1020mAH and a camera grip and tripod mount. These accessories make a product where its main marketing feature is the camera, even more appealing.
For your Facebook selfie photo and Skype calling needs, there is the 1.2 megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera on the front of the device. Nokia Glam Me takes care of those selfies, or with a wide gamut of apps in the Windows Store, such as DualShot, you can trust that you will have your needs covered.
Now onto the question on everyone’s lips, how is that 41 megapixel camera? In one word: breathtaking. After using the Nokia N8 and Lumia 920 over the course of the past year or so, it is absolutely mind-boggling to see the amount of detail captured in the photos from the Lumia 1020. In summary, scenes are lit up spectacularly by the Xenon flash, and outdoor photography is absolute bliss. As I am a casual photographer, this review will not go into detail about how specific parameters affect the final image output, but let me say this: even in fully automatic mode with the camera and video camera, stills and videos will blow you away. Into the next continent.
While Windows Phone already has a nice stock camera app, Nokia has gone over and above with the Nokia Pro Cam and Nokia Smart Cam apps (now integrated into the same Nokia Cam app as of last week, and only for the Lumia 9xx and Lumia 1xxxx series), which gives settings for manual tap-to-focus in addition to the hardware shutter key, scene modes, ISO exposure and white balance control, manual adjustment of focus timer, shutter speed and and bracketing. This affords incredible flexibility for the user, who is able to adjust settings at will. For example in the photos below, I was able to shoot the same flower with the foreground and then the background in focus. It also has a slide-in feature, so you are able to see the effect of your adjustments in real-time as you are composing your photo.
Nokia Camera with settings for white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed and exposure.
One of the most hyped features of the 1020 at launch is the ability to re-frame your photo after it has been taken. This way you can take photos from quite a distance away and then due to the PureView oversampling technology, are able to zoom-in to certain subjects in the image and save it, without any degradation of the image quality that is usually associated with digital zoom/optical zoom. If you want to zoom out again and have another part of the image highlighted, no worries, simply re-frame and you can compose to your heart’s desire. There is a plethora of additional options in the Nokia Camera application, ranging from framing grids to the behaviour of the focus assist light to the aspect ratio. Any casual and professional photographer would be more than happy with the amount of options on hand.
Video recording is equally as impressive with controls over white balance and an awesome video assist light. While I though the video assist light on the N8 was handy, the 1020 blows it out of the water. In pitch-black situations, the light is absolutely blinding and does an admirable job of capturing detail and the video subject. You never have to worry about having grainy low-light videos ever again, because the 1020 has it handled. Just don’t go filming your mates at night in a park. Bystanders will think the Blair Witch Project has been hashed out for another sequel .
Nokia Camera in video mode with video focus assist light enabled.
Last but not least, there is the Nokia Smart Cam application, now built-in to the Nokia Camera application. This captures a burst of ten images in very quick succession, allowing you to choose from Best Shot, Action Shot and Motion Focus. I won’t go into too much detail here, but it allows for choosing the best images from a situation that you have captured; motion blur where the object in the image is frozen and the background to the sides of them blurred, and also action shots, where say a person has multiple instances of themselves in the same image as they complete an action (for example, jumping to the side on a sunny day). There are also custom apps such as Nokia Panorama, Nokia Glam Me, Nokia Video Trimmer, Nokia Creative Studio, Nokia Cinemagraph and Nokia Video Upload to curb your photography fetishes. Anything that you can think of editing-wise or photo effect-wise, Nokia and the Lumia 1020 has you covered. It’s an awesome feeling.
I have attached a few sample shots I have taken with the Lumia 1020, to give you an idea of the image quality that it represents.
Join me later this week in Part 2 of my Lumia 1020 review, in which I cover the Display, Internals and Software.
Lumia 1020 close-up with background in focus.
Lumia 1020 close-up with foreground in focus.