Lumia 920, 2 weeks in

Posted on December 10, 2012

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Full disclosure, I was getting a Windows Phone.  I made that determination after seeing Phone 7.  Nothing that happened between now and then changed my mind.

That being said there were choices to be made in the Phone 8 world.  At least two.  The Lumia 920 and the HTC 8x.  With the phones being priced the same and the Lumia having more storage (32Gb) it wasn’t much of a choice.

I went with red.

I was going to get the yellow one but the ATT store I went to didn’t have it.  10 minutes after the phones being available.

I’m not going to repeat phone specs.  You can find those yourself.  Or here for those who really can’t use Google.  What I can say is the phone is fast and responsive.  I don’t have any lag issues navigating menus and apps load quickly.

The screen is beautiful and crisp.  Video looks very good.  And since it is large, for a smartphone, I don’t mind watching video on it.  So win there.  I have used an iPhone 5 as well as the Galaxy 3 and I can say that between the 3 I’m not able to make the judgement as to which is better.  So I’ll go with bigger.

Speaking of bigger, much ado has been made about the weight of the phone.  It weighs 6.5 oz.  Or as much as one cup of uncooked white rice.  Or thisthisthis, or this.  The phone isn’t heavy.  It fits my hand well and thumb navigation works very well.  Better than on iOS and Android phones I’ve used.

That’s one of the advantages of LiveTiles that goes unmentioned.  Since the icons can be resized and made to suit, it’s very easy to scroll and hit the ones you want to use with one hand.  Even with gloves, another claim Nokia made that I can verify.  The new interface is designed to be a new interface, not a clone of Windows 95.

The camera is, decent.  I don’t like smartphone cameras.  There is only so much you can do with a fixed lens the size of a pea.  But the Nokia does well within the constraints of the system.  Not using the zoom it takes excellent pictures.  They are crisp and clear.  I’ve read that the color is flat and I would agree that the unprocessed images are not overly saturated.

I will say this.  Don’t use the zoom.  The images get very noisy, very quickly.  It’s better to crop the photo afterwards.  That’s all digital zoom does anyway.  Leave the focal length alone, take an nonzoomed image, and use software or an app to build the zoom.  There’s no snow that way.

The OIS feature of the lens is great for video.  What I have taken has been very smooth because the lens can steady out the minor hand twitches years and years and years of alcohol abuse has given me.  Part of that statement isn’t true.  But the OIS works very well indeed.

The app environment is sparse.  That is the biggest knock against the phone.  And that is more an issue with the OS, not the phone itself.  I really want Strava to write an app for the phone, as well as Training Peaks and Barnes and Noble.  Especially BN.  They’re partners with Microsoft on Nook development.  They really need to have an app for devices running the Microsoft OS.  Get on that guys.

The Windows App store has somewhat bare shelves, but the apps Nokia provides do help ease that pain.  Especially Drive +.  This is the best smartphone navigation app.  Fin.  Voice navigation is wonderful.  I haven’t been able to baffle it yet.  The only way it could be better is if Morgan Freeman started swearing at me when I start screwing with it.

There is also Office.  Office is the true driver of the Microsoft semi.  I’ve tried to get away from it and I always fail.  And now Microsoft has put it on my mobile device.  For free.  It’s not a tool I would like to use for heavy duty content creation.  But for a quick edit on the go it’s perfect.  Couple that with Skydrive and Windows 8 integration and Microsoft has leased my soul.  Again.

I have had no opportunity to use NFC.  I think there could be some interesting applications of the technology.  But right now, meh.  As to the wireless charger, I love it.  I know it’s mostly a gimmick but it’s nice to just lay the phone down and have it charge the battery.  When I take it off the charger in the morning I’m not screwing up the USB port.  Because I have forgotten to unplug a phone before.  Morning is early and full of suck.

The battery is phenomenal.  On a typical day of usages I can go 13 hours off the charger.  That’s includes heavy twitter use, the 6 news apps pushing notifications, some video usage, and usually some game play.  Also email, texting, sometimes even talking on the phone.  Not much of the last, no one buys these to talk.

Now for the best part.  My inadvertent stress tests.  In two days my phone hit concrete three times.  Twice because I hooked a chair arm around the USB cable.  The third time because I forgot it was in my pocket when I was taking off a bike jersey.  That one was a hard impact.  There are no scratches on the screen, no cracks, no damage to the case.  It’s not something I would like to repeat but the off hand comment on ArsTechnica that the phone could stop a bullet might be true.

In the Lumia 920 Nokia has produced a great phone.  It can get in the ring with any other feature phone, and while it may not beat it, the decision will come down to points.  For my money I love having a big red phone that works great with an fully customizable interface.  Now I just have to find a DON”T PANIC lock screen image.

That is all.

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Posted in: Reviews, Tech