Feeds
85%
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset review

Microsoft's mobile OS refresh – is it more of the same?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Sound or vision?

In practical terms, the Lumia 920 offers the best cameraphone by miles. Good battery life, a great screen and zippy performance make up the key attractions. All this comes at a cost however, and the main one is the slab-like weight and ungainly finish. I got used to it pretty quickly. There are people who buy Volvos simply because they're built like tanks and to hell with the looks. But it might be a deterrent to anyone not drawn to the camera.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 with JBL charger

Design matters: forget the colours, what about the shape?

One surprise nobody expected two months ago is that Nokia’s designers have been comprehensively out-thought and outplayed by HTC. HTC is offering smaller Windows 8 phones (the 8s and 8x) which look and feel better, are really tactile, and even have richer and more subtle colours. HTC’s models might induce that “5pm panic”, on account of their smaller batteries; the Lumia 920 won’t. But they perform most things just as well, focusing on music rather than imaging.

What a pity so much good work has gone into these Lumias – particularly the 920's camera – that may go un-noticed because the design is so utilitarian and boxy. Nokia is making much better products than it did before the Windows alliance, and it’s getting R&D out of the labs into products quicker. However, design is now the weakest link. Still, if you’re tempted to have a look at a Lumia 920 then your carrier options will be limited. It’s only available in the UK through the EE family of brands: EE 4G, T-Mobile and Orange, through its stores of Phones4U. The exclusivity period lasts until the end of the year.

Inexplicably, there will be no unlocked version available for enthusiasts for this lock-up period. And Nokia said it may consider the exclusivity into the New Year, although no decision has been taken. I very much hope not. Unlocked models exist – an unlocked Lumia 920 is what I reviewed. Nokia’s other WP8 model, the Lumia 820, has its attractions too – removable battery, more friendly rounded corners, and it can support wireless charging through a slip-on case – but it features the old 800 x 480 screen resolution and doesn’t have the showstopper PureView OIS camera.

One aspect that is likely to disappoint punters is that they’re getting last year’s software, in most cases, albeit on a better infrastructure. Microsoft has done much of the the hard work in transitioning to the new kernel, and needs to announce and deliver updated apps sometime soon – by the end of Q2 next year.

Verdict

Evidently, with the Lumia 920, Nokia can once again deliver a phone handset with a game-changing and useful new technology feature. But relying on a platform partner means marching to its tune - and Microsoft has improved the bedrock of its Phone OS stronger without improving userland as it should have. Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether the camera benefits are worth the weight. And if you want network freedom, you're going to have to wait. ®

More Handset Reviews

Sony
Xperia T
LG Vu A History of the
Smartphone
Samsung
Galaxy Note 2
Apple
iPhone 5

Application security programs and practises

85%
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset review

Nokia's flagship WP8 handset focuses on camera tech to differentiate from its rivals.
Price: UK – on contract only RRP

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.