Nokia 920 features killer PureView camera, impressive features

Nokia's new Windows Phone has features, a design and technology that go beyond raw performance.

Nokias new flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 920, boasts a powerful PureView camera as its centerpiece feature but specs are only part of the story for the device. When Nokia unveiled the phone the company focused on features, design and technology that go beyond raw performance.

The Lumia 920 has a 4.5-inch curved glass display with 1280-by-768 resolution, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. But the devices most important feature is the PureView camera, which despite the name doesn't have the same whopping 41-megapixel sensor found on Nokia's 808 PureView Symbian phone.

The sensor is a more typical 8.7-megapixels, but Nokia claims that the Lumia 920's camera captures five to 10 times more light than other camera phones, which makes it better at shooting photos indoors or in low lighting. (This was a major issue with Nokia's Lumia 800 and 900 phones, which struggled in these situations.) A 1.2-megapixel HD camera is on the front.

The Lumia 920's camera also has so-called floating lens technology for image stabilization. The floating lens is particularly beneficial for video, Nokia said, because it minimizes the erratic shaking found in some other smartphone cameras.

To take advantage of new screen resolution possibilities in Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 920 has a Pure Motion HD+ display. Nokia says the screen offers blur-free scrolling and enhancements to sunlight readability, so the phone can react to sunlight glare. The screen also works through gloved fingers, so there's no need to buy special smartphone gloves.

The Lumia 920 also supports built-in wireless charging and near-field communications. Nokia will offer its own charging plate, but design company Fatboy will sell a wireless charging pillow as well. Virgin Atlantic plans to install wireless charging pads in its Heathrow Airport lounge, and Coffee Bean will install wireless charging pads in its shops. JBL will sell a speaker dock called PowerUp, which charges the phone wirelessly and pairs through NFC.

The design of the Lumia 920 is similar to that of Nokia's previous high-end Windows Phones, with a scratch-resistant polycarbonate shell around the curved display. Nokia is expanding the available color schemes on the casing to include yellow, red and gray, in addition to the existing cyan, white, black and pink found in Nokia's Lumia 900 line.

Of course, Nokia's Lumia 920 will run Windows Phone 8, but Nokia is adding some of its own software features to stand out from competitors like Samsung, HTC and Huawei.

Nokia Maps will be integrated, as it will be on all Windows Phone 8 devices, but the Lumia 920's Maps app will also included an augmented reality feature called City Lens. Similar to Yelp's AR mode, CityLens lets users hold up the phone's camera to their surroundings and see information on nearby businesses. And on the Lumia 920, Nokia's Drive app will provide turn-by-turn directions with fully-offline maps.

The camera also has some software features to improve photos. Smart Shoot scans for unwanted people passing through photos, and can remove them from the image, and Cinemagraph can add a touch of motion to parts of an image, such as a flag waving in the background.

In addition to the Lumia 920, Nokia also announced the Lumia 820. The Lumia 820 has a 4.3-inch, 800-by-480 resolution display (without curved glass), a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics (not PureView), a VGA front-facing camera, 8 GB of storage and a microSD card slot.

Nokia hasn't announced pricing or availability for its new Lumia phones, but says both will be available in pentaband LTE and HSPA+ variants in select markets this year.

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Jared Newman

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