Hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 920

Our first hands-on with Nokia's hotly anticipated Lumia 920 Windows Phone
We go hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 920.

We go hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 920.

Nokia kept its Lumia 920 under pretty heavy wraps since it was first revealed to the world back in September, in New York. However, we were invited to a private, hands-on demonstration of the Lumia 920 before the device was officially unveiled in Australia at Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 launch event earlier this week.

Our hands-on was conducted with a pre-production model of the Nokia Lumia 920 at Nokia's office in Sydney. We weren't able to take away any photos of the device, nor were we able to publish our personal thoughts until Microsoft officially launched Windows Phone 8. That deadline has passed, so what did we think?

Excellent build quality

We've always been fond of the build quality of Nokia handsets and the Lumia 920 is certainly no different. Construction feels exceptional. We love how the device curves into your hands when it's picked up. You can immediately tell that a lot of thought has gone into the ergonomics. Despite being a pre-production model, there were no creaks, no rattles and no signs at all of poor craftsmanship.

We also love the look of the Lumia 920. Unlike most other smartphones on the market, the design is fresh and inviting. The bright colours on offer may not suit all tastes, but we quickly grew fond of both the red and yellow models we used in the demonstration. For those who prefer more traditional colours, the Lumia 920 is available in black and white models, too. We did note that the black model has a matte finish whereas the brighter red, yellow and white models are a much glossier surface.

The Lumia 920 is noticeably heavier than competitors, but it also feels incredibly well built.The Lumia 920 is noticeably heavier than competitors, but it also feels incredibly well built.

There are some small but appreciated design touches, too. The company told us users of previous Lumia devices like the Lumia 900 and Lumia 800 complained that the power, volume and home buttons scratched too easily. On the Lumia 920, these buttons are now made from ceramic, which Nokia says will prevent these scratches. It's only a small touch, but one we suspect will be appreciated by plenty of users.

With all that being said, the Lumia 920 is thicker (10.7mm) and heavier (182g) than most other smartphones on the market. While we can appreciate the amount of tech that's packed into that shell, particularly the camera and its floating lens optical image stabilisation system, f2.0 aperture and backside illuminated sensor, users who long for a thin and light phone are likely to be left disappointed. The weight and girth of the Lumia 920 is immediately noticeable, even coming from a large device like the Samsung Galaxy S III.

The red model of the Lumia 920. As you can see the finish is glossy rather than matte.The red model of the Lumia 920. As you can see the finish is glossy rather than matte.

Eye catching display

The screen of the Lumia 920 immediately looks very impressive. It's a 4.5in panel with a resolution of 1280x768, packing a pixel density of 332ppi. Colours are vibrant and eye catching and viewing angles are excellent. We loaded up a few text-heavy pages in the Internet Explorer browser and found text to be super crisp and clear, with no visible aberrations. It's almost impossible to distinguish individual pixels. We suspect the only way you'd be able to do so is with a magnifying glass.

We weren't able to test the Lumia 920 in direct sunlight outdoors, but we'll be keen to see how it holds up when we get our hands on a review unit for a longer play. At full brightness in an office room, the Lumia 920's display was exceptionally bright.

Here's the Lumia 920's vibrant screen in landscape orientation.Here's the Lumia 920's vibrant screen in landscape orientation.

Performance was also notable. Windows Phone has always been an efficient and smooth operating system, but we experienced no lag or slowdown at all in our brief play with the Lumia 920. Apps opened quickly, multitasking was fast and efficient and swiping through your home screen live tiles is smooth and slick. In a direct comparison with an iPhone 5, the Lumia 920 launched the camera app from standby quicker than Apple's flagship. It was only a matter of milliseconds, but it's pretty clear that performance isn't going to be an issue.

We weren't able to take any test shots of the camera away with us, so we can't comment on image performance. The camera app is fast, however, and there are plenty of settings to tinker with. Nokia's multiple camera modes, which it calls lenses, look impressive. There's a panorama lens to capture panorama shots (obviously), a cinemagraph mode that captures movement and turns still shots into a GIF file and a SmartShot lens that captures multiple photos and then allows you to remove elements from an image, like someone walking in the background of your photo, for example.

We were also given a demo of some of the accessories that Nokia and third-party manufacturers will sell for the Lumia 920. Undoubtedly the best of the bunch are the wireless charging accessories. There's a wireless charging pillow by Fatboy, a Nokia-branded wireless charging plate and a JBL speaker that will charge the phone and enable one-touch Bluetooth pairing using NFC. Because these accessories all work on the Qi wireless charging standard, they will be compatible with future models and should even work with non-Nokia smartphones that feature Qi wireless charging capabilities.

Wireless charging means you can just leave the phone on its charging dock and not have to worry about plugging in a micro-USB cable.Wireless charging means you can just leave the phone on its charging dock and not have to worry about plugging in a micro-USB cable.

We expect to receive a review unit of the Nokia Lumia 920 early next week, so keep a lookout for our full review.

In the meantime if you have any questions about the Lumia 920, let us know in the comments below. Are you planning to buy one? Annoyed about the long wait? Prefer the HTC Windows Phone 8X? Comment away!

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Topics: windows phone 8, Nokia Lumia, mobile phones, Nokia, Nokia Lumia 920, smartphones, Windows Phone

Comments

Salman Shoaib

1

Have been hanging to get one but Nokia are not making it easy to fend of the heckles from my Apple & Google lover friends. I wish the device was out & available for all to buy & judge rather than this tease. I mean you have to be die hard Nokia and Windows fan to appreciate a device that hasn't hit the market yet but I'll hold on for a little while longer. The Lumia 920 better be all that we hope it to be because Apple have spent a long time winning over a lot of people with their reliability and customer service. Essentially I'm breaking up with Apple for what looks to be a hotter Finnish babe over the fence and if she turns out to be a dud I won't be returning.

Mike Duffy

2

Very much looking forward to the Nokia Lumia 920 release. While Windows phone 7.5 has been very efficient and friendly in letting me get to what I want quickly, my entry level HTC mozart was lacking in performance and terrible sunlight visibility. So a bit disappointed you didn't get to review the sunlight situation, but staying tuned!

Andrew G

3

Would love to know if Optus will eventually have the 920. I'm not keen on moving to Telstra.

JBanga

4

Just buy one outright Andrew G then wack ya Optus SIM in it :)

Aaron C

5

Andrew, you can buy the lumia 920 outright from Telstra if you really want to stick with Optus (for a little less than $900 though...). Apart from the iPhone, Telstra don't network lock their post-paid phone so you should still be able to use it easily on Optus after buying it.

Metro a2a

6

any news on whether Nokia will tie up all sales with closed contacts or make it available freely?

Janne

7

Wonderful phone! Who is the idiot that wanted to keep those back, home, search buttons on the bottom.

Julian

8

I'm absolutely hanging out for this phone, but why the ridiculous delay from the launch date of the operating system to actual stock on the shelves?!

Phil

9

Allphones will be selling it outright soon ;) So there's a reason not to buy a Telstra one (full of telstra bigpond settings). Especially when Telstra charge $200 more generally! Optus will get it, but I believe Telstra have exclusivity for the moment.

Shyguy

10

All looks good.. but using a 185gm phone for day-to-day use is a bit much.. I'm using apple iphone 4 and at times even 137 grams feel a bit heavy when I'm watching videos or browsing web for long.. nonetheless, i'm looking forward to a hands on experience before deciding between this or the i5..

cmleeyas

11

Don't buy iphone. you might get into middle of the desert if you use its map to locate MCG

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