As part of the ongoing Social Media Week in Mumbai, I was lucky enough to be invited by folks from Nokia who had arranged for a photowalk and a brief photography master-class session in down town Mumbai. Now, Nokia doing a photowalk could only mean one thing! They will be bringing their newest imaging superstar – the Lumia 1020 to the event! So, apart from learning a few more photography tricks, I was also able to use the Lumia 1020 for extended periods of time – so much so, that it warranted a special column on OnlyGizmos – which you’re reading right now. This is basically going to be a quick preview/first look kind of an article that wouldn’t really go in to much detail. This is just about how I found the phone , its look and feel and the overall camera performance.
The Premium Feel
Before I got my first hands on of the Lumia 1020, I was using the plastic back cover toting Lumia 625 for over a week – which isn’t exactly what you call premium. This might be the reason why I was impressed right from the moment my hands touched the 1020 for the first time. One touch of the Lumia 1020 is enough to tell you that Nokia has left no stone unturned to make this handset feel premium. It starts with the “heaviness” of the phone which sort of reassures you that it is a quality handset. Of course, at 158 grams, this thing is actually quite heavy by modern smartphone standards.
The glossy AMOLED panel is eager to be touched by you and is highly sensitive – and the touch response is fabulous. The richness continues towards other areas of the phone as well and like most other Nokia’s (except for the few plastic clad Lumia’s we have been seeing of late), is built to last. On the downside, it is from the front visually identical to last years Lumia 920 – except of course for the large bulge at the rear which houses the all-important camera. It would have made sense for Nokia to slightly redesign the front side so that the new flagship can hold its own and be easily recognised. All this said, the 1020 is way lighter than the overweight 808 PureView and the buxom Lumia 920 – by some margin!
The 1020 is available in a bunch of bright colors- as the tradition has been with all these polycarbonate body laden Nokias.
Like I said in the previous paragraph, the display on the Lumia 1020 feels awesome and is great to interact with. But there is a problem – it still measures 4.5 inches across which is not a bad screen size to begin with. Another issue is that while its similarly priced competition proudly boast of full HD panels, this one still totes around with last years 720p screen. Not much of an upgrade – is it? It’s not that these things matter or add to the overall user experience of the end user (I can live with an awesome 720p screen) – its just that you would feel slightly short-changed since there are devices that have “better” and larger displays out there priced at around the same as the Lumia 1020. Why should they then invest on the Lumia? Oh yes, for something that we’d discuss in the next paragraph!
This is the 1020’s domain. Well over a year after the outrageously brilliant Pureview 808 arrived, the 1020 builds up on its legacy. This time round, unlike the now dead Symbian used on the 808, Nokia has used the Windows Phone platform and tied it to some serious imaging hardware. The result is an amazing cameraphone that takes some seriously awesome images. The kind of controls and fine tuning you can do on the 1020 is mind boggling. To start with, there is the insane 41 megapixel sensor housed inside it. While this is actually slightly smaller than the sensor on the PureView 808, the Lumia 1020 now also adds better low light imaging as well as Optical Image Stabilization capabilities. As for the decrease in sensor size, this shouldn’t really bother you because thanks to it being back side illuminated, the low light imaging experience should be superior to that on the 808. The lens also has a wider aperture at F/2.2.
Nokia bundles in a new camera application called the Nokia Pro Cam with the 1020 – which is a serious photography tool and lets users fine tune stuff very easily before they take their shots. You can configure the dedicated camera button to open either of these applications when needed. The basic camera application only lets you shoot stuff at 5 megapixels which should suffice for most casual purposes. The Pro Cam on the other hand – although initially daunting to look at, is actually quite simple to use with almost all the controls easily accessible from one single page. I would not be going through minute details of that app now as it needs a dedicated review and I just had the phone in my hands for a few hours. As expected of a camera phone, the 1020 is adept at video recording too. The Nokia Pro Cam easily turns your phone into a capable camcorder letting you shoot videos in full HD at 30 fps. You can zoom in 4X in full HD without loss of quality and up to 6x whilst recording in 720p.
I managed to take a sample video using the Lumia 1020 there. Here it is
Since it was a photowalk, I did manage to capture some pictures using the 1020.Now, I should add here that the particular day on which this happened was not a great day for photography. It was overcast and smoggy. Here are some examples. These are the five megapixel samples. Click on them to open in full resolution.
The Lumia 1020 will be made available in India starting October 11 this year. Nokia for reasons best known to them did not announce the price of the device in India and added that they would reveal the pricing a day before the launch. What they however did reveal was the price of the camera grip accessory and the wireless charging unit. For more on that you might want to check out our launch related article here.