Nokia Lumia 1020: What To Know Before You Buy

by - Saturday, November 09, 2013

We have seen two new phones recently released that don’t slack on their smartphone aspects, but at the same time make it very clear that the niches of music and photography are their specialties and target-market. The music-lover’s phone with the best audio remains the HTC One, while for best-in-show camera we commend the July-released Nokia Lumia 1020. Before you bite the bullet and decide the Nokia is for you purely based on its outstanding photography skills, however, round out your knowledge of the phone’s other aspects, in addition to its clear strong point. 

For starters, we know that megapixels isn’t everything, but the Nokia boasts over 4 times the MP number of most phones in its class - a whopping 41 MP as compared to the 13 of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the 8 of the iPhone 5 or the 5 of the HTC One. Focusing in on the close-up features of the Nokia, we find that the Nokia Pro Cam lets you not only shoot, but zoom in ultra-high resolution, before freely rotating, cropping and reframing your image. Optical image stabilization and PureView technology you may not notice straight away - but what you will notice is that your photos are clean, clear, and naturally lit with no ill effects from shaky hands. It’s one of the only smartphone cameras that allows you to use your touch screen to adjust white balance, focus, shutter speed and more settings with ease to customize your photos. On the video end of the spectrum, Nokia Rich Recording is built into the phone to ensure the crystal clear quality of your audio as you capture HD video with 6x zoom in flawless focus.

Windows Phone 8 runs on the user interface of the Lumia, making it a far boxier, line-based affair than many of the circle-based operating systems we are seeing now. The coordinating 4-sided icons shuffle themselves around as live tiles on the home screen in a fashion that you can make sense of, but it’s definitely a unique look. On the review scene, the Windows 8 OS and MS Office software has not fared well, and the lack of apps, bugs with web-browsing and email, and overall paltry innovation, comparatively, do not hold up against the iOS and Android platforms. While taking pictures on the Nokia and creating media with photos, video and audio is an absolute joy, the OS leaves much to desire when completing everyday tasks.

Thankfully, the Nokia doesn’t skimp on its audio, including voice-guided commands and free streaming of more than 22 million songs with its Music feature. One miscellaneous added bonus if you’re going through tons of battery life is the option to get a wireless charging cover, a worthwhile extra that clips onto your handset and charges the phone with no annoying cables or cords when placed upon a wireless charging pad. 

The black or yellow Lumia 1020 ranges from free with contract to 599 pounds without, with a reasonable compromise coming from Orange at £29 a month after the phone itself is £41. If you want the Lumia with the largest storage option for all those HD pictures and video, the 64GB is exclusive to O2.

The Lumia is without a doubt the best camera phone of 2013. If this is your biggest draw towards the phone, go for it - and you won’t regret your choice. Professional photographers may end up loving the Lumia as much for its creative potential as for its reliably excellent shooting skills. But if fancy photography in your pocket sized phone isn’t your number one priority, you might be happier with a more well-rounded smartphone of similar specs and cost like the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, or LG G2.

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