My very first cellphone was a Nokia, and while I was experimenting with different phone brands and models, the Finland based company evolved and adapted, and is back on the market with a suite of cell phones that are doing battle with the iPhones, Androids and Blackberries of today. I decided to see if the Nokia Lumia 1020 could stand up to the music (and other area) journalist lifestyle.
Let’s start with the outside. The Lumia 1020 boasts a vibrant 4.5 inch display with a staggering 1280 x 768 WXGA resolution packed into its very sensitive touch screen. The most visible physical feature is the Camera that protrudes slightly from the back of the phone, creating a very convenient built in stand for usage. At 10.4 mm’s thick, 71.4mm wide and 130.5 mm long, and weighing almost 160 grams, the Lumia is a fairly hefty phone compared to the competition, but feels solid in hand, which is great when you’re trying to take a picture of a band while standing in a crowd of dancing and thrashing music lovers. Check out the photos below comparing it to the iPhone 5s and the Blackberry z10 below. Like an iPhone, the Lumia’s battery is built in, which is somewhat disappointing, as you lose the option to simply replace the battery if it starts to deteriorate. As it stands, the phone’s battery life was on par with most other smartphones I’ve used, in that you only get about a full day’s worth of normal usage (talk/text/regular amount of data) per charge.
But it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Working with Microsoft, Nokia devices now utilize the touch screen centric Windows 8 mobile operating system. Getting started with Windows 8 was fairly simple: I already had a Microsoft account from my Windows 8 laptop, so I simply logged into the phone with the same account. My Gmail calendar and contacts transferred over easily and conveniently. The only caveat is that Gmail will only sync every fifteen minutes, as Google is not supporting Push email on Windows phones. If you’re someone who wants your email instantly, this may be an issue. Once I was set up, navigating the Lumia was simple and actually fun! I instantly loved the colourful and easy to personalize homescreen tiles that Windows 8 is known for. Certain tiles, like my photo gallery, were “live”: the images would shift and change every few seconds, making the homescreen more vibrant and entertaining than on the average smart phone. The tiles are also very easy to move around, resize and fit together. The phone comes with several apps already built in, including Microsoft Office, which is great for writing reviews and notes on the go, and simply transferring them to your computer, either via Bluetooth or the Microsoft Skydrive that you get once you sign up for a Microsoft account. For any apps not already on the phone, the Microsoft Store has a plethora of options for your social media, photo editing, gaming or any other needs. I especially liked that Instagram was available through the store, as this was an issue for me on my Blackberry z10. Another winner for me was Recorder Pro, a voice recorder program that’s great for on the spot interviews with bands. Check out my interview with Band of Skulls, recorded on my Lumia 1020!
The truly standout feature for this phone is, of course, the camera. At 41 Megapixels, this camera easily replaces point and shoots and in certain scenarios even DSLRs, making it the only camera you need. For the average user, the main camera function is enough: you can zoom, edit, and take incredible photos with very little effort. For the more camera savvy user, the Nokia Camera gives you the options to change your ISO, shutter speed, Whitebalance and more with a simple touch. Add to these built in functions the Panorama, Glam Me, Creative Studio and other camera centric apps, and the Lumia 1020 is a veritable photographic powerhouse that fits into the palm of your hand. Check out some of the photos I’ve taken with my Lumia 1020, in daylight, low light, with moving and still subjects.
While Windows 8 may take getting used to, it’s the Lumia’s camera that has won me and countless other users over completely. So if you’re looking for a new phone to help you document your work, play and everything in between, then check out the Nokia Lumia 1020.