8.2SCORE 64

Rogers Nokia Lumia 920 Review

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When we demoed the just-announced Nokia Lumia 920 in September, the reader response was massive. The preview we shot is one of our most-viewed YouTube videos, and the feedback we’ve received from current Lumia owners and genuinely curious parties has been awesome.

But, as it tends to, hype dies down and the product eventually gets released. With the 920, we have yet another example of Nokia’s superlative design prowess, and the limitations of a operating system with low adoption and developer support.

There is no doubt that the Lumia 920 is a great phone, but is it a good choice for consumers in a market saturated with “great phones”? Let’s take a look.

Specs

- Windows Phone 8 OS
- 4.5-inch 1280×768 pixel PureMotion HD+ IPS display
- 1.5Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 SoC
- 1GB RAM / 32GB internal storage (not expandable)
- 8.7MP PureView back camera with OIS / 1.3MP front camera
- 2000mAh internal battery
- 850/900/1700/1900/2100 HPSA+ / 700/850/1900/1700/2100 LTE
- 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm
- 185g

Design & Display

The Lumia 920 is massive. As it’s sold from Rogers, it is a dense, black slab of immaculate polycarbonate. It combines the best of the Lumia 800 and 900 into an enormous 4.5-inch device, and at 185g it is heavier than the Galaxy Note II. The screen maintains the gorgeous curved edged glass of the 800, and the perfectly balanced buttons of its forebear.

Its back houses the 8.7MP PureView module, but is otherwise unadorned; there is no lens bump and only minor accent or branding, just the mirrored metal stripe down running vertically down the phone’s centre. All of the Lumia’s buttons are on the right side — volume, power and, near the bottom, camera shutter — and the sides are curved in an exquisite, unbroken manner.

The front is equally austere, with just a small Nokia logo near the front-facing camera on the top right and three capacitive buttons below the display — back, home and search. The screen, unlike its predecessor, is an IPS LCD, but maintains the excellent black levels and low reflectiveness of the AMOLED-powered Lumia 900. Nokia also claims that its PureMotion HD+ technology boots — and helps maintain — frame rates while minimizing ghosting. This is achieved by employing one of the lowest-latency LCDs on a mobile device.

It’s worth noting that one of the main reasons to pick up a Lumia 920 — for cold-weather Canadians, anyway — is the ability to adjust the screen’s sensitivity to allow for gloved usage. To the average Canadian, this means one thing: using the phone, under any condition, in the long winter months. I tested the screen with the sensitivity turned high (you can turn it off to save battery) and found the screen impressively responsive. While it still worked better when I used my beloved Glider Gloves, most users will just want a screen that responds at all without taking off those thick, leather mitts. This is that phone.

Nokia has done everything right here. It’s created a stunning, unique smartphone that, aesthetically, is as close to perfect as it gets. When I reviewed the Lumia 800, I said that a larger version would be my ideal smartphone. And here it is.

And yet, due to its weight and girth, it’s hard to recommend to the general population. As someone who uses nearly every smartphone on the market, I have become accustomed to the annual increase in “normal” screen size. But for someone coming from an iPhone or last-generation Android device — or a Lumia 800/900 — the 920 may be too much phone. While it comfortably fits in the pocket, its weight is difficult to get used to.

Software & Performance

Before we can talk about performance, we must address Windows Phone 8 as an operating system. The Lumia 920 is among the first WP8 phones released to the market, along with the Windows Phone 8X by HTC and the Samsung ATIV S, and it’s a huge improvement over Windows Phone 7.

Not only does the OS support modern, multi-core hardware and high-definition resolutions, but it builds on the gorgeous WP7 aesthetic and fixes many of the performance bugs that plagued the first round of devices, even after they were upgraded to WP 7.5 Mango.

As a refresher, Windows Phone 7 was released in October 2010, and while it offered a vastly new experience to the incumbents, it was riddled with performance issues, limited developer support and a general sense of being “undercooked.” Windows Phone 7.5, debuting in September 2011, fixed many of the performance issues and introduced much-needed features such as third-party app multitasking and background events. But it took until WP8 for Microsoft to introduce a truly competitive operating system.

Without making this a review of the operating system — there are great ones out there, if you’re interested — let’s just say that WP8 looks largely the same as its predecessor, but even in this early stage offers an experience competitive with Android and iOS. There are some issues that linger — the notification system is still extremely limited, and multitasking is hit-or-miss — but for the most part, it’s a great update.

Nokia brings its own apps to the table and, for me at least, they have meant the difference between recommending a Nokia device to my friends over the competition. Nokia Maps, which is preinstalled on the phone, is one of the most robust mapping services available on any platform. Powered by NAVTEQ, it offers comprehensive offline map support, walking and transit directions, and excellent performance. Nokia Drive+ Beta is another enormous value-add to the Windows Phone ecosystem, but is only available to Lumia owners. Nokia Transit works great in Canada, and City Lens is a fantastic use of Augmented Reality. The company also provides its own “Collection” of curated apps in the Microsoft Store, and while many of them are available to all Windows Phone users, some of them, such as Words With Friends Free and PGA Tour, are exclusive to Lumias for a period of time.

Windows Phone 8 makes some impressive performance improvements over former versions. Apps, even ones that have yet to be updated from previous versions, open more quickly and scroll many times smoother than on Mango. And while the dreaded “Resuming…” screen still shows up occasionally, it is less frequent than it used to.

The keyboard and email clients have always been strong suits of Windows Phone, and while they are largely unchanged, their stasis has done little to take away from their excellence. So too is the home screen, full of moving and breathing Live Tiles, the same yet different. Apps can be resized — small, medium, large — and developers can take advantage of new hooks in the OS to display richer, more interesting things. For example, CNN has used the large rectangle live tile to display lush photos associated with leading stories.

Apps can also plug into the lock screen, allowing users to customize what they see, and what they are notified of, when they turn on their phone. The Lumia 920 has a big, detailed screen and lots of space for rich media, but it is the background image that takes precedence so as not to overwhelm the user. Due to the rather underdeveloped notification system — unchanged from Mango’s toast banners, which appear for a few seconds at the top of the screen — developers will hopefully find a way to convey important information to users. Live tiles and the lock screen are the only methods at their disposal, so we’re hoping more apps take advantage of them.

As it did before, the People and Me Hubs consolidate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live updates into a single stream. While the ability to respond to tweets or post to Facebook walls has been there since Mango, the experience is a bit more fleshed out here as you can actually view conversations (from within the Me hub) and save friends’ photos. You can even set these photos as your lockscreen wallpaper. The social network integration is still quite basic: you can’t use either hub to replace a dedicated Twitter or Facebook app, as they don’t notify you when you’ve been replied to or commented on — the number on the live tile merely changes.

Rooms is a great new feature that allows sets of people with Windows Phone 8 devices to chat, share photos, calendar entries and documents. It’s like GroupMe or WhatsApp groups, except that its reach will be limited, likely because the majority of your family members or friends will never have Windows Phone 8 devices. While you can invite users outside the ecosystem to chat, they will be sent text messages instead of nicely-formatted correspondance, which is more spammy than useful.

Windows Phone 8 also introduces Internet Explorer 10, a much more standards-compliant web browser than its mobile predecessor. It renders pages extremely quickly, but the interface is relatively unintuitive — tabs can only be accessed from the menu, for example — and it’s treated as a leper by many HTML5-heavy websites. Gmail, for example, defaults to the basic HTML version when visited on the Lumia 920, and that’s because it’s not WebKit-based like Mobile Safari or Chrome for Android. The situation will likely change with time, but right now it’s a problem.

On the plus side, it renders full desktop sides accurately, and performance is greatly improved over IE 9 on Windows Phone 7.5.

The biggest advantages to Windows Phone 8, at least to the user, are the performance increases. Now that the OS supports multi-core chips and high-definition screens, high-quality 3D games can finally grace the much under-utilized Xbox Live section of the Windows Store. We’ve already seen high-profile games like Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut the Rope and Words With Friends debut on the platform since its launch in October, but Microsoft needs to court some big name developers to the system. If they could get a big-name company like Rockstar Games to release, say, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 on the same day, it would provide some much-needed legitimacy to the burgeoning platform. We spoke to a number of excited developers, both of games and general apps, at Microsoft’s BUILD conference earlier this month, and they were cautiously enthusiastic about the financial viability of Windows Phone 8.

As it stands, Windows Phone 8 is undercooked and frustrating. A mix of old and new technology, there’s a lot of great stuff here mixed with a ton of poorly-implemented legacy code, such as the aging notification and multitasking systems, that need to be changed before it can compete with Android and iOS. While Nokia has done its best to augment the missing pieces of Microsoft’s app puzzle, it can only do so much, and until big-name developers grace the platform with the Instagrams and Flipboards users are looking for, it’s going to continue to be a hard sell. Even apps that are there — Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, IMDB, Kik Messenger, among others — are neglected and seem to be held to a lower standard than their iOS and Android counterparts. It’s an untenable situation, and one that needs to change for Windows Phone to find success in the long run.

Camera

One of the most touted features of the Lumia 920 — perhaps the most touted feature — is the 8.7MP PureView camera. The thing that gives it that unmatchable magic, that extra flare, that stability. The Lumia 920 boasts a camera system that won’t shake, the kind of technology that no phone manufacturer has yet undertaken: real optical image stabilization. A lot of hyperbole — and doctoring — has gone into making this phone’s camera a thing of legend, but ultimately you want to know one thing: does it take better photos than my iPhone 5, my Galaxy S III, my something something? The answer is, well, yes and no.

To answer that question, we have to address a number of topics. First, it is possible for photo quality to improve over time. What I mean by this is, thanks to the beauty of over-the-air updates, Nokia can make software changes to the camera that improves certain algorithms, adds features, or just improves the overall user experience. This is good, because out of the box the Lumia 920 doesn’t take great photos. “What?!” you shout. Again, it’s complicated.

See, Nokia seems to have taken the path of most resistance here and applied an inadequate amount of artificial sharpening to all of its daytime shots. That gorgeous landscape you took on your iPhone or Galaxy device? Zoom in on it and you’ll see clear lines — artificially added in processing — around many of the objects. This improves the perceived quality of photos from when zoomed out, which is the vantage point at which most users will look at their photos. Up close, the Lumia 920 produces images far softer ,and yet more accurate, than its peers.

This is a tradeoff for being able to capture gorgeous — and I mean absolutely stunning — low-light and nighttime shots. The 920 does not fail in this regard. But daytime shots? Well, right now they don’t stack up. Compare the series of photos below. We’ve taken the same shots, in the same lighting conditions, using the Auto mode on iPhone 5, Galaxy S III and Lumia 920. Yes, we could delve into specific Scenes or adjust exposure levels, but we’re testing the out-of-the-box abilities of these devices.

The results largely speak for themselves. The Lumia 920 captures scenes accurately and with plenty of detail, but the results are, time and time again, soft. It also tends to underexpose scenes with sufficient light, leading to photos with much less grain (captured at lower sensitivity levels) than the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III, but they look darker as a result.

Low-light photos, however, are simply, well… see for yourself. The above shot was taken without a tripod, nor does it have any post-processing.

Windows Phone 8 also introduces Lenses, apps that can be integrated into the camera app (or accessed independently) and used to hook into the phone’s sharing features. For example, you can take a photo and directly share it CNN’s iReport (for all those cat-up-a-tree stories, you know?)

But Nokia tries to improve its out-of-box Lenses experience with three photo-focused apps, Smart Shoot, Cinemagraph and Panorama. The last one is self-explanatory but impresses nonetheless.

Being a fan of Flixel, Cinemagraph has quickly become my favourite photo app on the Lumia 920: it allows you to capture a few seconds of a scene, and “animate” certain parts of it, optionally adding loops or effects. The only problem with it is that you can’t share your results straight from the app; you can upload the .GIF file to SkyDrive, and attempt to share it from there. But the workflow is convoluted for a feature that begs one-touch sharing to Twitter or Facebook.

Smart Shoot allows you to take a number of photos in a row, say of a group of friends, and choose the right overlaying “set” to ensure no one has blinked, or everyone is smiling the right way. Presumably, it uses Scalado’s technology, a company that was acquired by Nokia earlier this year, and it works amazingly well. Because it intelligently detects faces, you can switch between them with one tap in order to find a perfect combination.

As expected, the Lumia 920 shines when it comes to captured video. Not only is audio sharp, with barely any distortion, but the quality of the video is astounding, especially in scenes with comparatively high movement. This is accomplished with Nokia’s excellent optical image stabilization, which prevents still photos from blurring but, more importantly, keeps video from causing nausea.

The 8.7MP sensor can capture video at 1080p30 and has some of the sharpest, clearest results I’ve seen from a mobile device. In contrast to the phone’s soft photo quality, this is easily the best phone for captured video currently available — besides the PureView 808, of course.

Battery Life

Despite hearing complaints of poor battery life, the Lumia 920 is quite the contender. Not once in my week-long testing period did the phone die before the day’s end, and that is really all one can ask from a modern smartphone. We were able to obtain around nine hours of talk time from the phone, and nearly seven hours of looped video at 50% brightness.

I found that the phone’s automatic brightness setting kept the screen quite bright, and by manually turning it to the “Low” setting when indoors I could eke an extra one to two hours from the device. The same can be said of turning off the screen’s touch sensitivity, though the extra battery saving was negligible.

I did encounter an issue when the phone stopped receiving email — and would stay in a perpetual state of syncing all my accounts — which contributed to massive battery drain. Once I reset the device to factory settings, everything worked again as it should.

The phone also supports wireless charging via the yet-unavailable Qi-powered wireless charging pad. We demoed this during our hands-on with the phone, and though we didn’t have our own to test with, I imagine users will love the feature.

Network Speeds & Miscellaneous

Like many newer smartphones on the Rogers network, the Lumia 920 supports LTE on the AWS spectrum, as well as the not-yet-activated 700Mhz frequency. I was consistently able to maintain an LTE connection when other devices like the iPhone 5 had dropped to HSPA+, an indication of good antenna design from the Finnish manufacturer.

In speed testing, on the device itself and through a wireless hotspot, I achieved speeds of between 10Mbps and 25Mbps down and 8Mbps to 15Mbps up. While the phone we tested came locked to Rogers, we’ve heard other users have received unlocked handsets and have been able to throw a Wind or Mobilicity SIM in the device and use it on AWS HSPA+. Rogers, obviously, won’t endorse this behaviour, but we can imagine Windows Phone fans buying the device second-hand and using it on one of the new entrants.

Call quality on the Lumia 920 was good, and I enjoyed using it as an actual phone; it was comfortable to hold for extended periods, thanks to its rounded design, and despite its weight I didn’t fear dropping it. The thing is built so well that I have no doubt it would withstand a number of drops, even without a case. (I didn’t try, but this guy did).

We’ve also heard rumours that Nokia will be updating the Lumia in the next few weeks with a fix for its camera softness issue. If that was to happen, I would have no issue redoing the camera section of the review, so stay tuned for that.

In addition to wireless charging, the Lumia 920 comes with NFC capabilities as well as Microsoft’s new Wallet feature. While the company has yet to actually do anything with the app, you can add loyalty cards, credit/debit cards and your PayPal account. You can’t yet pay for items using your stored cards, but according to Microsoft, increased functionality is coming in the next few months.

The Lumia 920 has 32GB of internal storage, 16GB more than the high-end Windows Phone 8X and ATIV S. For $99, this is a deal, period.

A Comment on User Experience

Before publishing this review, I read Kevin Everett’s post called Why Are Tech Sites Reviews So Disconnected From User Experience on Windows Phone Devices? and felt I needed to comment on this before the backlash happens.

There was pushback when I reviewed the Lumia 900 and gave it a less-than-favourable score. Many of the user experience problems that plagued that device are still present here. Indeed, that the Windows Phone 8 SDK was released only days before the Lumia 920 came to market meant that few apps were going to be updated for the new platform at launch. Tech reviewers are at the mercy of the manufacturer; we have to review a product as it is at the time of release, not as it could be in six months’ time. The same goes for iPhone and Android devices, and we have been very critical of both platforms for their shortcomings.

The issue here is that, yes, Windows Phone 8 is a high performant, attractive and relatively easy OS to understand, but it still lacks many of the core features we expect from a smartphone OS. This isn’t about penalizing the OS for what it can’t do, but about recognizing that its strengths appear fewer than the competition, at least right now. I’m not willing to settle for second-class versions of my favourite apps, and it shouldn’t be controversial to expect Microsoft to deliver a similar app experience as iOS and Android.

Conclusions

The Lumia 920 is the best Windows Phone 8 device currently available. Not only does Nokia seem more invested in the long-term success of the Windows Phone ecosystem, but they’ve done more than any other manufacturer to build high-quality apps such as Drive, Maps, Transit and City Lens to ensure high value for their customers.

Yes, the phone is a brick. It’s enormous. But it’s also solid, stunning and unique. It’s certainly worth evaluating in store before purchasing, but Nokia has done as much as possible to ensure a great in-hand experience. Whether the phone is worth buying depends on your patience; it’s possible that the ecosystem will be built out eventually, and that web sites will stop treating IE 10 like a second-class citizen, but that’s looking optimistically to the future. At the moment, there are some great apps and some greater gaps to contend with. Windows Phone 8, too, improves on its predecessor in many ways, but remains without a robust notification system and a problematic multitasking workflow.

With one of the best camera experiences on the market — and the best low-light photos on a modern smartphone — it’s easy to recommend the Lumia 920 to a certain demographic. While we’re disappointed that the phone only comes in black, we look forward to a time in the future when we can purchase the yellow (or red, or white, or cyan, or…) version. By then, perhaps, 46 of the top 50 apps will be available, and we’ll be singing a different tune.

Final Score

OVERALL

8.2OVERALL SCORE

With one of the best camera experiences on the market — and the best low-light photos on a modern smartphone — it’s easy to recommend the Lumia 920 to a certain demographic. While we’re disappointed that the phone only comes in black, we look forward to a time in the future when we can purchase the yellow (or red, or white, or cyan, or…) version. By then, perhaps, 46 of the top 50 apps will be available, and we’ll be singing a different tune.

  • SAM

    OHHH SAMMIE!!!!!! YOU CAN DO IT SAMMIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OHHH SAMMIE MY SAMMIE!!!!!!
    GO SAMMIE!!!! AND THE NOTE!!!!!!!!!!
    FROM SAMMIE!!!!!!
    OHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • tech

      please dont listen to this guy. Not every samsung passionate fan is like him.
      This Lumia 920 is brilliant device, finally its large screen and using up entire screen. its camera is okayish… at times iphone5 camera seems best.
      but best device for me is my S3 :)

    • THIS IS BB10!

      Is this BB10?

    • phreezerburn

      The camera has a problem with its white balance from what I’ve read on photography blogs that have reviewed the handset. They’ve concluded that it’s a matter of software and can be easily remedied as it was in the 900. With the ease of setting white balance, exposure and the ISO though, a little manual tweaking gets you a better outdoor shot in daylight fairly easy. Learning your phone’s manual adjustments is something every user should do! There is one thing thought that can’t be overstated, none of the other phones can tweak their way to the 920′s stellar low light performance and none can dismiss just how important an OIS system is to any camera’s performance off of the tripod. As is happens, Nokia’s 808 was the first handset I’d ever read about on the Photography blogs and their OIS is getting the same attention. Apple couldn’t buy itself the same endorsements or enthusiasm.

    • phreezerburn

      As for the iPhone 5 camera hype, I can show you 100 different scenarios wherein the over-saturation of colour takes the iPhone 5′s pictures into the realm of cartoon. There isn’t an actual photo blog out there interested in the iPhone 5′s camera and contrary to the opinions of The Verge’s staff, most people like their pictures “too realistic”. Realism is why we upgraded from that Kodak Instamatic decades ago.

      Bottom line is that anyone taking the time to snap away at the scenery will be using an actual camera which none of the phone cameras, including the 808, can compete with on any level. Anyone grabbing quick pics at the club, a party or while flitting about the shops isn’t going to be in a well lit environment or have access to a tripod rocking a clamp and better served by the convenience of a phone that actually shoots something worth keeping which currently is the Nokia 920.

  • jellmoo

    Very thorough and fair review. While I am a big fan of Windows Phone, it doe have some limitations that need to be acknowledged. I will however be very curious to see what happens after a software update and if Microsoft can encourage app development.

    • EvanKr

      IMO one of WP’s biggest downfalls is the lack of a half decent voice assistant. TellMe on the 900 is pretty basic, is very limited in terms of functionality, and is far from accurate. Siri a damn good voice assistant, and Google Now is extremely impressive and the most accurate that I’ve seen by far. MS really needs to improve TellMe if they want to stay competitive.

    • Darth Paton

      EvanKr: Voice assisntants are for r*****s

    • Joe

      Features wise I agree, I’d like to see more things able to be done through voice assistance. On the plus side, they have an API that allows any problem to use Voice Assist so it opens the door for all apps to use the feature.

      I discaree on the quality though, it’s beat out both my iPhone and Android tablet in terms of accuracy. I’ve answered and replied to text messages through my bluetooth headset wile vacuming and it was spot on which is pretty impressive over that kind of noise.

    • phreezerburn

      Siri isn’t broken anymore? Better tell Woz then. He didn’t get that upgrade.

  • EvanKr

    Love the phone, but honestly pretty disappointed with the camera during the daytime. While low light performance is awesome, 90% of the time I’m shooting during the day.

    Also, I’m a little disappointed with Rogers’ outright price, it’s selling for $450 outright on AT&T, I’d much rather import it.

    • stylinred

      It’s not $450 outright with ATT you have to have a “voice plan & qualifying data plan” to purchase it at $450

    • phreezerburn

      Shooting in daylight with a phone instead of an actual camera is like french kissing your sister.

  • FIRZEN

    as always bader you have the most indepth and articulate reviews of the devices.

    • dern

      Daniel “the master” Bader!

  • Dalex

    Great review! Prepare to be roasted over an open fire by the WP lovers though :P. Hopefully, the non thickheaded ones will realize that this phone which was supposed to be the messiah phone for Windows Phone is still a ways away. As you’ve mentioned, it is not acceptable to have to settle for Windows Phone 8′s limitations. One day that might the case, but that day isn’t today.

    • stylinred

      you make it sound like he gave it a bad review…. yet he scored it 8.2/10 …

  • Brad F(anboy)

    As someone currently using a Lumia 800, I’m really looking forward to the 920.

    • SimonSeize

      As a Lumia 800 user myself, I was really looking forward to this phone… but it’s just too big and heavy. This “supersize my screen” fad is unfortuante. I’d be tempted by the 820 if only for the size, but the pixel density is bad enough to kill it for me (the same reason I passed on the 900. If Nokia brings out an equivalent to the 920 but with a 4″ screen they can get my $.

    • Brad F(anboy)

      @Simon Yeah, I’m pretty disappointed companies are making phones as big as they are. Nobody’s really catering to the “small but good” market outside of Apple.

  • Harris

    Gotta love how the iPhone 5 gets a 8/10 for Camera while the Nokia Lumia 920 gets an 8.5/10

    I guess .5 makes up for PureView technology…

  • Sean

    When I think of the flagship device for WP8 i think of this not the 8X and really I think Nokia made a really great device with the 920. Now it’s up to developers to make it truly great

  • Osama

    all phones have pros and cons, disapointed about the camera though, its a Carl Zeiss, cmon now….that night shot looks amazing though, i wonder if my xperia T could do that?

  • geekspad

    I installed android 4.2 on my nexus seven and it is like a beta; full of glitches and it freezes up, drains my tablet with in a day and you say the windows platform is lacking? Windows seems Mich more polished considering how young it is. I really question many of the 700000 apps that are available in iOS and android. I bet the regular usee would be perfectly happy with a lumia 920.

  • Meshach David

    Fair and excellent review

  • Thai

    Apart from being hideously fugly, not having expandable storage, small battery and crappy camera, you’re stuck with it’s equally ugly UI of WP8.

    • sid

      set your iphone on vibrate and shove it up you a*s

  • Keith

    Of course neither the 920 or WP8 are perfect but I would say this review pounded on the shortcomings more than was deserved. Most reviews I’ve read make the 920 sound better than indicated here.

    The daytime camera issue is a non-issue becuase we know it is a software problem and Nokia has acknowledged that and say a fix is forthcoming.

  • Poodz

    The Toronto shot is sick… but seems to be only 1278×720… could you upload the full res one?

  • Tom

    I was a Nokia lover – still am kinda’.

    Hardest thing for me would be using IE10. They should really allow Firefox like on Android. Hopefully they will change their policies.

  • Tomothy

    I may be in the minority here, but I will wait for a Lumia 820 to become available.

    It has the same software, but it will cost less, will have a removable battery, and expandable memory, and to me personally it actually looks better – slick and smooth, with rounded edges, and the buttons that are aligned better in relation to the screen and the bottom of the phone (my OCD is acting up, haha).

    What I will be giving up is a better camera (I can live with that), and a better screen (I’ll get past that as well).

  • gwydionjhr

    I bought a 710 6 months ago to give WP a spin. As someone how is tied into the MS ecosystem for my work, WP makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve been really happy with how stable WP has been and look forward to getting my hands on a 920. I’m pretty sure the 4g difference between the Note II and the 920 is not going to cause me back issues.

  • vong ngo

    I can’t believe critics are complaining about the weight. I actually felt the weight of this thing in store and I’m really surprised about how many people are critizing the weight. I swear, people need to do some wrist exercises. I’m 160 lbs and this is a no-issue whatsoever. Guys, when did it become overly complicated to lift 200g at a constant elevation? Grow some testies.

    • Ezk1el

      I have a Nokia Lumia 920 too and the weigt and size is just a non-issue. I’m 166lbs and 5’8.

    • stylinred

      whats hilarious is there’s that youtube video where a guy is trying to smash his 920 to test how easy it is to break and he hands it to a baby who lifts the 920 with 1 hand and doesnt let go but rather the baby plays with the 920 with ease

    • Lumia 920

      If you take someone to the store and ask that person to hold both Lumia 920 and Galaxy S3 in his both hands. He might not or might feel a very little difference between the both.

      When it comes to the textual form – Hey do you know Lumia weights abc grams, which is twice that of an iPhone 5. OMG that is so heavy I will never buy Lumia 920.

      People really need to user their brains and should not go completely with the reviews. Reviews are just to help us know a little more about the products and the decision should be ours not someone else’s.

  • Frederick Edwards

    The weight is a trendy thing to complain about.

    To give some perspective, an iPhone5 with an otter defender case, weighs more than the Lumia 920. The Lumia 920 doesn’t need a case.

    • Brad F(anboy)

      @Frederick Technically the iPhone doesn’t need a case. Most people who get a phone case get one because they’re afraid to ruin the phone’s aesthetics and therefore the perceived value of the naked phone.

  • Darth Paton

    Why are you always hating on windows phone? You complain left and right about “problems”, yet never say crap about the extremely buggy android operating system. Fandroid!

    • Ron Mexico

      It’s because no one uses or cares about Windows Phone. They will never advance past number 3, soon to be number 4 after BB10 releases.

  • Ezk1el

    Just to correct the review, the TABS aren’t in the menu in IE10. Go to IE settings and you can set the browser main ”button” to ”Refresh”, ”Tabs” or something else I don’t remember.

    Also, for the ”value” part of the review. The Nokia Lumia 920 is currently FREE on Rogers for the next 3 days.

    Great review otherwise. Thank you.

    • AvgJoe

      Free?

  • Jess

    Looks decent, but I think I’ll hold off on my upgrade for bb10

  • Robin Majumdar

    Excellent in-depth and fair review.

    I’m a tech guy working in IT, so naturally I had an HTC Touch with Windows Mobile 6.5, and now primary mobile devices include my Samsung Galaxy S (i9000m on Bell Mobility) and an LG Optimus Quantum C900 (also on Bell, though I can switch SIMs, I guess)…

    The Lumia 920 still is extremely attractive… It will probably be on my shortlist for my next devices along with (most probably) a Galaxy S4.

    You’re right about the nascent state of the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 app ecosystem but all I can say is : never count Microsoft out of the game.

    My take is that MSFT has a FAR better chance of coming back into the mobile space than say, RIMM, which has the far harder task of regaining lost market share (dominance) with BB10 which may, unfortunately, be too little too late.

    Robin

    • Skippypaccino

      How is it easier to gain market share then to regaining it? Lol. RIM still has market share. A luxury that Microsoft doesn’t have. People don’t see Microsoft as a major player in the mobile game but are willing to give rim a second look because they know that brand.

  • Skippypaccino

    I would use a Windows phone but…. I wouldn’t buy one. If windows feels like giving me a phone for free with no contract, we’ll you got yourself a new customer.

    • DonSod

      Your loss.

  • wmchen

    I was deciding to get this phone or the Nexus 4. I got the Nexus 4 because of Google Now

  • J

    Am I the only one that thinks they should have pushed the screen down just a tad so the “Nokia” logo wouldn’t look so squished and the capacitive buttons would be more alligned instead of that bit of bezel on the bottom? The 900 and 820 look better in my opinion but I might just be OCD. Great review! Phone looks awesome. Just wished they released it in colours up here.

  • alex

    is rim dead yet??

  • hoo dat

    For a phone of this class it’s inexcusable not to have an SD slot or a removable battery. Otherwise a nice phone but a phone I can’t use.

    Cue HCFC. LMAO!

  • Gary McIntyre

    Daniel,

    Thank you for a helpful, objective, and well-written article.

    The 920 would be my first smart phone if I go with it. I want something different but not a phone that may be a ‘black hole’ of problems. Though it seems Nokia is trying to get it right this time.

    I have a macbook but don’t feel bound to also have an iphone to complement it as the iphone is so damned small. I want something different but that will also not present a steep learning curve for my already addled mind -due to the countless reviews I’ve read on the S3, IP5, and the Nokia920.

    My question is do you think fixes will be made to address the day light camera shots and other points you’ve mentioned? I can’t see Nokia letting the little anomalies of the 920 continue to detract from what is in essence a very good product.

    Thank you!

  • POChartrand

    I don’t really get the ‘notification system’ argument. I mean, the live tiles are basically doing that job. Got a new email ? The tile shows you how many new emails you got. Got an sms message ? same thing… Its just another way of handling notifications, and i can say i don’t miss my htc desire’s notifications…

  • Chris

    Great review – I just picked up my 920 last week, and my sentiments are aligned with what you had to say here. It’s a great phone, a unique design and an interesting new mobile OS. If you don’t want to be like the other 90% of the planet using either an iPhone or an S3, this is a great choice. WP8 still feels a little rough around the edges, but if it’s one thing Microsoft knows how to do, it’s constant, persistant evolution of an OS.

  • bobfreeze

    I am new to smartphones this year, and have to say that after trying a Lumia 710 this past week, I almost regret purchasing my G-Nex at the beginning of the year for more than twice the price.

    The WP experience was more user-friendly, intuitive, and frankly less buggy – really liked it!

  • Crocography

    First time I have disagreed with a review on this site.

    2 things:

    “Value = 7.5″. I think the value of this phone is off the charts, I would give it at least a 9.5.

    also

    Please stop the b@llsh!t of the name calling “brick”. We are talking about the difference of 1.5 ounces with an iPhone 5 without a case that it absolutely needs! The old iPhone 4s was heavy as hell compared to the Samsung devices yet no one ever called that phone a brick!

    Otherwise another solid and fair review.

    p.s. you may find it helpful if you just start lifting your own milk in the morning to pour on your cereal instead of getting your significant other to do it. I am sure in no time you will gain enough muscle mass to lift another 1.5 ounces… ounces for god sake.

  • JS

    I own a lumia 920. The weight issue is TOTALLY overblown. It would be fair to say that it is heavier than an iphone5, or heavy relative to the iphone5, but to call it heavy is absurd. It is at the upper limit in terms of physical dimensions that I would consider buying, but I used both the 8X and 920 for about an hour at the MS store, and as small a difference as it sounds, the extra .2 diagonal inches on the screen really do make a difference. Overall, the nokia hardware is outstanding.

    The only two things I’d really like to see in the windows phone are a night mode for email etc, or even just an easy way to turn sounds off for email separately from the ringer. It would be awesome if night mode could be put on a schedule. The only other thing is VPN access. They need to add that soon.

    These issues I was aware of before buying the phone, and obviously I made the decision that the pros of the platform far outweighed the cons. I love WP8 and the Lumia 920. Best phone I’ve ever had by a long shot.

  • Braumin

    I thought this was a great review – well done. Yes the soft camera shots will likely be fixed soon, and once that happens this should be the best camera in a phone bar none.

    I need to get one of these. Damn you Telus. Damn you. One WP8 and it’s the Samsung – not that the Ativ is going to be a bad phone, but it’s not one of the phones that people are lusting for like the HTC 8X and the Lumia 920.

    Luckily I am patient and will wait it out until either Telus picks this up, or you can buy them unlocked somewhere.

    My gripes with Windows Phone (as a user since almost day 1 of WP7) are still not fixed though:
    1. Turn by turn – why in the heck do I have to tap the next step to get it to announce it? That doesn’t make any sense. Luckily the Nokia app isn’t this insane. I can’t believe they didn’t fix this with WP8.
    2. Multitasking – I’m all for the back button being like Alt-Tab for recent apps. I love that. But why can’t I just tap on the app on the home screen and have it open up to where I was JUST LIKE WINDOWS 8!

    The notifications are always overblown. You get a toast to let you know, and if you miss that you just look at your live tiles. Why is this so hard to understand for people? And the lock screen is ALSO a notification centre. Why do I need another menu for this?

  • astudent

    I don’t get why people complain about the weight… are we that lazy? I held it and it didn’t see that bad at all. I’ve held coach wristlets that are heavier.

  • Ali

    Just to add on, Rogers Plus store in Calgary confirmed they received the cyan version of the Lumia 920. I specifically asked them twice on the phone and they double checked the same for me.

    • vong ngo

      Are you sure? Highly doubt it, they might be talking about the L900 instead.

  • Gary McIntyre

    Got the 920 Friday afternoon and it is a delight. Much more engaging than the iphone and tactily more emotive. Sorry Mr. Jobs, but bite me.
    $0 dollars to boot!

    This is a handsome phone. Daniel Craig should have been so lucky to hold this in Skyfall!

  • roach_779

    There’s a good review by window central which explained 920 day light photos. It explained how 920 doesn’t apply post process to its jpg photos. iPhone and other phone does, but for some reason 920 doesn’t. The reviewer was able to tweak the photo using an app (colour and sharpener) and match iPhone’s quality. It’s ironic that the post process was removed because when Engadget was invited to Finland to do photo/video comparison, they did not encounter these problems.

  • Falco

    With all the hype about cameras these days, if the camera quality is a priority as it is for me, there is only one choice and that’s Sony. If you go into a TV studio, you don’t see Samsung, Nokia, HTC, and certainly not LG. You see SONY cameras. There’s a reason. I have an Xperia Pro and an Xperia U among older others. Nothing can touch those cameras. The video macro is particularly mind blowing. I defy anyone to find better. And the image stabilizer actually works. Of course, the call and overall qualities are superb. I’ve reached a point where I don’t waste time checking out any other brand.

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