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 Review: Nokia Lumia 920

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PostSubject: Review: Nokia Lumia 920   Review: Nokia Lumia 920 Icon_minitime10/01/13, 05:48 pm

The wait is over. Nokia has launched Lumia 920, its flagship smartphone, in India today. Much rides on this handset. Nokia believes the device will help the company come back in the smartphone game and match competitors like Samsung and Apple. Nokia fans — and there are many in India — are hoping that finally they will have a device that can compare favourably to the likes of iPhone and Galaxy S III.

So, does Lumia 920 meet the expectations? Is it worth picking this device over the high-end Androids if you are looking to buy a smartphone today?

Short answer: No. Hardware is fantastic, but the software lets the phone down. Long answer? Well, let's see where Lumia 920 hits the mark and where it misses.

Hits first
-- The 4.5-inch screen on Lumia 920 is excellent. It has very good touch sensitivity and shows punchy colours. It is bright enough to be usable in direct sunlight! With a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, the Lumia 920 screen is broader than the screens with 720 resolution, making it better for consuming multimedia content or web browsing. The high-pixel density means text is rendered crisply. Screen is flawless for all practical purposes.

-- Lumia 920 has a design similar to that of Lumia 800. With squared off top and bottom sides, it has a distinct personality. The phone uses a unibody polycarbonate shell with buttons made of tough ceramic. It's a classy design. But pay attention to the colour. Models with black and cyan colour have a matte finish while red, yellow and white have glossy finish. Glossy finish looks better but matte finish is more resistant to scratches and greasy fingerprints.

-- Lumia 920 has a camera with optical image stabilization. In our use we found the camera to be fantastic. It shoots pictures that have lots of details and accurate colours. Due to optical image stabilization, it is possible to shoot very good quality FullHD videos with Lumia 920. Another area where it excels — and trumps all other smartphones — is low-light photography. You can shoot in complete darkness and still get images that show something. Evenings and indoor shots are no problem for this phone. We would have termed Lumia 920 the point-and-shoot camera killer but it has one flaw. Lumia 920 uses a slower shutter speed by default to get better images in low-light. This means a user has to keep hands very steady for seconds after hitting the camera button. If you don't hold the hands steady, photos do not come out as sharp as they ought to be.

-- We have talked about Windows Phone 8 earlier. But just to recap, let us say it again: The Metro interface in Windows Phone operating software is unique and beautiful. It is colourful, which goes well with yellow, blue and red Lumia phones. It is also well optimized and has slick animations. There is no lag. Apps respond to touch quickly and web browsing is hassle free.

-- Lumia 920 comes with Nokia Drive and Nokia Music. Both are excellent services. Drive has detailed maps and is mostly accurate in showing directions. Nokia's Music app, which has access to lakhs of songs, allows users to stream (or download) songs for free for one year.
But there are some crucial misses
-- The biggest problem with Lumia 920 is Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft has improved it a lot with the recent version but it is not enough. Multitasking, for example, remains an issue. Except a handful of apps like music player, the others are paused as soon as they are in the background. Once you switch to these apps again, they are resumed. This is fine for apps like video players but not for apps like Twitter or IM+, which have to pull in data in real time. Microsoft has made the process of 'resuming' faster in Windows Phone 8 but users still have to wait before apps open and they get information. Similarly, there is a notification system in WP8 but it is not terribly useful.

-- Windows Phone continues to lag behind iOS and Android as far as apps are concerned. Good and powerful apps are hard to find in Windows Phone store and that limits the usability of Lumia 920. The situation is particularly bad if you are used to Google services like Youtube, Gmail and Google Talk.

-- Lumia 920 is a good looking phone. But it is also thick and bulky. In fact, at over 180 grams, it is one of the heaviest smartphones in the market currently.

But what about the wireless charging?
We are glad you asked. Lumia 920 comes with features like wireless charging and NFC support. Both are more of novelty at the moment and unless there is wide availability of wireless chargers and a proper industry standard that makes all NFC-enabled devices compatible, these features are not very useful.
And battery life?
Battery life is good, but we have seen better. When used with 3G, the battery in Lumia 920 lasts around 13 to 14 hours. This is enough to get you through the full day without requiring a charger. If not Lumia 920 then what?

Keeping in mind what it does and what it doesn't and its MRP of Rs 38,199 (market price is likely to be less), let's take a look at the competitors of Lumia 920. If you have a budget of around Rs 35,000 for a smartphone, you should buy Samsung Galaxy S III. At a market price of around Rs 32,000 it is an incredible smartphone. Functionally, it is miles ahead of Lumia 920. Yes, Nokia's phone has a better camera but the difference, except in low-light conditions, is not much. Lumia 920 also has a better design but at the same time it is bulky and heavy.

If for some reason you don't want a Samsung device, consider HTC One X.

Another option is iPhone 4S, which sells for around Rs 36,000. If you don't mind the a 3.5 inch screen, this can be an option. The phone is little old but its good design, well-developed app ecosystem, fast performance and capable camera make it a good deal.

But what if you are in love with Windows Phone 8? May be you like the interface and you don't mind even if some apps are not available or multitasking is not that good. Your choice is between HTC 8X and Lumia 920. HTC 8X is cheaper and lighter and is a better value for money. But if you care about camera performance and free access to music, get Lumia 920.

*4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack LCD touchscreen (768x1280 pixels)
*1.5GHz dual-core processor with Adreno 225 GPU
*1GB RAM, 32GB internal memory
*8 megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash, 1080P video recording, 1.3 MP front cam with 720P video recording
*3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microUSB
*2000mAH battery that lasts around 13 to 14 hours of average usage
*Windows Phone 8
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