Nokia Lumia 1020 makes memories - review

2013-11-28 14:40
The Nokia raises the bar for smartphone photography. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Nokia raises the bar for smartphone photography. (Duncan Alfreds, News24) (Duncan Alfreds)

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Cape Town - Nokia wants you to take lots of pictures – and believes its Lumia 1020 is the ideal tool to do it.

Make no mistake, the latest Lumia is one of the best camera smartphones on the market and sports a massive 41 megapixel sensor. In addition, there are several manual tools for enthusiasts to explore the functionality of the device.

Megapixels, however, are not the whole story: The 1020 also has an f/2.2 aperture that makes low-light pictures sharp and clear.

But there are some compromises for this technology: The camera is quite prominent on the body of the Lumia and it spoils the sleek design of the smartphone.

You do get the dedicated camera button which grants instant access to the camera even if the phone is locked, and Nokia has built its extensive marketing campaign around the Lumia's camera as a differentiator.

Nokia Lumia 1020


Indeed, with the 1020 in your pocket, you are encouraged to take more pictures and though the device is somewhat heavy at 158g, the build is of high quality, even though it's plastic.

Does it mean that your images will be of National Geographic standard? Probably not, but better tools will make a noticeable impression - even in those late-night-out-upload-to-Facebook shots.

The Nokia Lumia isn't only about pictures and high definition video: The Windows Phone operating system is showing signs of growing up and the real genius of the Nokia is navigation.

Here Maps is arguably an industry-leading system in that the maps are detailed and, critically for travellers, the street level maps for an entire region can be downloaded and used offline.

Nokia Lumia 925

Similar to leading navigation devices, the Here Maps application as well as Here Drive+ sports details like speed and direction, the speed limit on the road, and voice guided navigation.

Critics will argue that one of the major shortcomings of the Windows Phone OS is the lack of applications, and it's true that there are far fewer apps than competing platforms.

But most of the useful apps are there. Microsoft makes demands about app functionality of developers to mimic the "look and feel" of the operating system.

Hero apps

The result is that there are fewer apps that are spam factories and generally, it does what it says on the box.

The OS admittedly is still young, but the potential is evident from the fact that Windows Phone has overtaken BlackBerry for the third place in the global smartphone market.

Two of the hero apps are Nokia MixRadio and Here City Lens. The former streams a music playlist like many similar apps, but users can also download a playlist in the free app and listen to the music offline.

City Lens uses the camera and indicates where in a city there are restaurants, museums or public transport as the user holds up the smartphone.

The app uses data, but it is particularly useful for people in cities that are unfamiliar.

The Nokia follows the trend of integrating the Lumia 1020 with social media and though you can switch it off, the phone pulls in your Facebook contacts by default.

Nokia Lumia 1020

And there are some shortcomings in the OS: The calendar limits you to the permutations of recurring appointments. You can't, for example, set recurring appointments every fortnight.


One would also like a feature to end running applications running in the background individually. The current system doesn't feel very intuitive, but on the other hand, the device is kind to your data bundle.

Though the Nokia Pro Cam software is very clever with the manual settings (even though you won't find much reason to use it because the automatic settings are so good) the software saves two versions of the image in the same folder.

The purpose is to provide a high definition image for large format printing, but it can be confusing when you want to copy images to a computer. It would perhaps have been more efficient to save the different sets in separate folders.

The Nokia has a relatively underpowered dual core 1.5Ghz processor with 2GB of RAM but you won't notice because the device manages the apps so well; there were no noticeable slowdowns (even when "researching" performance with Royal Revolt).

Onboard, there's 32GB of memory for all those pictures and video that Nokia wants you to take and even print, but don't expect a micro-SD card slot.

The fact that the device has a full mobile version of Microsoft Office makes it an almost perfect complement to the mobile office worker. Documents in your (free) SkyDrive account appear on the device and you can edit them on the phone.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a recommended retail price of R9 499, and is available from Vodacom and MTN for R399 on a 24 month contract.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    nokia  |  mobile
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